For some reason, I never seem to fall into any "exact" category: I am an ambivert, who is also a noon-person, with semi-neat wardrobe. By "semi" I mean: I don't hoard clothes, but I definitely need some help organizing them. It is almost as if I can't keep up with my own dynamic lifestyle. This is mainly why I gave into the hype and purchased Marie Kondo's infamous book. After all it has words "life-changing" and "magic" thrown into the mix and I certainly could use both!
I have heard very mixed reviews on the book. Some people felt it truly changed their lives (for good), so now their homes resemble Scandinavian House images on Pinterest; whereas some would think Marie was a bit loony (after all she speaks about things like books or phones as if they were alive). I don't know whether my Japanese roots are to blame, but I felt a certain way about this book and gave it a chance.
As for me, I love the idea of decluttering, especially in the last six years that I am split-living between two homes/countries. Especially when I did my masters, I would jump between Boston, Dubai, San Francisco, Dubai, New York, again Dubai - my wardrobe ended up being scattered all over the place. Winter stuff here, summer stuff there, by the way - where did my favourite Golden Gate t-shirt go? So on, so forth. And then there is my mother's house, where I used to keep all of my "teenage" and Uni stuff. Books, study materials, Irish music albums, clothes and just a bunch of sentimental crap really. Marie Kondo's book is an easy read, what's not easy though is - discarding.
Marie believes in tidying by categories. She also gives great advice on what to do with things that we think we might need some day, but we never really reach out for them. To her, decluttering is an equivalent of a revival; being born for the second time, refreshing your aura and all that good stuff. She also explains how she came up with her own unique KonMari method and the minute I finished reading her "clothing" chapter per say, I would put the book aside, clean out my closet (and every common closet in the house) and then put everything on the floor to carefully sort through it. Not going to lie, I felt very anxious when I first looked at that pile.
This is when it gets ridiculous...
The first thing I have discovered were these shoe boxes. With no shoes. They have been sitting there in my closet for yearrrrs and I can't find a reason why I never bothered looking inside them. I then found some outdated leather bags I have been wearing back in Uni and a bunch of accessories from high school days, which I never really cared for even back in the day. When my brother moved to New York, I have invaded his wardrobe space as well. I would keep all of my favourite, but already old, clothes there thinking "well, some day I will have my cup of coffee, open these drawers and show my kids what kind of stuff we used to wear in the 00s". For starters, I have no kids yet and God knows when I am going to have them (even better, would they give a monkey's about their crazy mother's teenage junk?). It is like me going to my grandfather's garage storage back when I was little. I was scared of that place! Dark, dusty, with a bunch of old magazines, postcards and books, which smelled funny.
Secondly (here comes an embarassing realization) I can't fit into most of these clothes anymore. Truth is, six years ago I had a different body type: I was this very skinny mannequin girl with no hips or curves. Being in my 20s now, I had to learn how to accept my "new body" and dress in a way that would make me feel feminine, comfortable and most importantly "myself".
Back when I was a teen, my mother would buy all of my clothes and shoes. I had no problem with that, because she has got an excellent taste. But, do I really need that Betsey Johnson prom dress, which I clearly never wore again? Or, what about those cute colourful sweaters she bought me in Shanghai? Am I still a girly girl or have I grown into a young woman, who loves her casual-chic clothes preferably in white, black or red only? You learn a lot about your style when you experience the KonMari method.
What Happens In Your Room, Stays In Your Room
Marie believes that when you go through your entire closet and discard things, no one should be around and most importantly - no one should look at what you are getting rid of. My mom can be noisy at times; she even "casually" walked into my room while I was decluttering. Sure, she wanted to make sure that I don't get rid of anything too valuable, like that purple winter coat, which was nice at the time, but clearly - I would never wear it again. I then placed everything I was getting rid of into this huge black garbage bag and that wasn't the end of it. I went through my books, CDs, papers, notes, stationery and got rid of 10 kilo worth of junk I kept holding onto for no clear reason. Funny thing - I had to call a trash company to schedule a pickup. My dogs genuinely panicked at the sight of these trash bags and boxes, probably thinking I was moving out. I had THAT much crap around the house. I don't try to sound dramatic, but even with my (sort of) minimalistic approach to life, I had no idea just how cluttered my room/mind was.
Of course you should take this book with a grain of salt; although Marie says that you should not adapt her method to your own lifestyle, but! We are all different; you might need one lipstick in your stash, while I would feel okay with fifty. You might never want to say goodbye to that sweater your grandmother knitted for you back when you were a toddler, while some people would consider it first grade junk. Some need million printed photographs, while I stopped printing them a decade ago and I am fine with it.
Does It Spark Joy?
Although I am still not sure whether I would ever need to declutter my home ever again (Marie says that with her method you only do it ONCE in a lifetime), I have learned a valuable lesson: always keep/buy only those things, that spark joy. I still have to declutter my flat in Dubai (which might be more difficult, because all my *new* stuff is there), but even now I feel like I can already BREATHE BETTER in my old room back at my mother's house. I have also learned that quality is more important than quantity; something I kind of knew before, but when you actually hold every single piece of clothing in your hands and say your sweet goodbyes to it, it makes you learn more about yourself and your taste/style, than anything else. It made me realize that I should appreciate who I am now and focus on what would make my home/living better today, rather than dragging that old rusty suitcase (or ten) from my past into my modern life (quite literally). I bet we all keep a ton of useless crap, that we don't even remember we own.
Do you need this book? If you have read this article and felt inspired, then yes! If you feel like you can never get rid of your ex-lover's letters, t-shirts from that yoga class you took back in 1995, your high-school photographs and other stuff - then you might need a few extra years before you realize that you too need the book. KonMari method helped me feel more organized and in control. After all it is not only about tidying, it is about finding yourself and focusing on what's important; not being afraid of your future, not dragging your past behind you; being more selective and at peace with yourself. Because clear home leads to clear mind. I loved every page of it; although some parts were a bit too Beauty & The Beast for me and I am not sure if I will ever properly fold my clothes KonMari way, overall I think Marie Kondo's methods work and I am sure she would be proud of me. "The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying Up" is a 21st century must have.