When I was growing up, my Mom would take my sisters and I through an annual closet cleanup. It usually took place around the time of my birthday which also coincided with back-to-school. It was a dreaded event leading up to it, but I can always recall finding some joy in the process once I discovered some favorite clothes I forgot about, or a photo album that brought back some fond memories, or a favorite book that I thought I had misplaced. In hindsight I appreciate my Mom’s patience and determination to encourage me and stick with me through the process.
Over the years, that same dreaded anticipation coupled with the ultimate feeling of spaciousness and order followed me and my closets, season over season. It was this annual ritual that really planted the seed in terms of my awareness of how energy plays a role in how our space feels and ultimately led me to become a student of Feng Shui.
So when my annual birthday closet cleanup arrived this year, I felt the need to mix it up. I have been hearing a lot of hype surrounding the transformational stories about the KonMari method. Based on the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – the Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, KonMari is a refreshing approach to decluttering and organization created by Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo. In theory I wanted to love this, but it took some time for me to warm up to it. In fact, I actually bought the book a few months ago based on someone’s strong recommendation. At that time, it did not resonate because it felt too overwhelming and I actually gave it to a friend. But for whatever reason, I felt compelled to re-investigate. After reading the book over the weekend, I dove in – closet first.
While the entire method is a revolutionary system, I had several AHA moments. However, in my opinion, there are two game changing elements to the KonMari method.
1. Sparking Joy – The book recommends you follow a category-by-category system starting with closets. It is recommended that you throw all of your clothes from all closets in a pile. And then, take each item in your hand and ask: “Does this spark joy?” For me, I realized that in past failed attempts of closet organization, I had been focusing on what I wanted to get rid of, not what I wanted to keep. It was a huge revelation and allowed my intuition to really show up and be expressed. I discarded 8 trash bags of clothes. That is alot of non-joyful energy that unconsciously has been taking up space in my space. Needless to say it felt like a huge release when I was able to take those 8 bags to Goodwill.
2. Folding – Kondo introduces an efficient folding technique where the key is to store things standing up rather than laid flat. According to Kondo, “to do this, it means the clothes must be made compact which means more folds. The goal is to fold each piece of clothing into a simple, smooth rectangle.” What I discovered and what Marie Kondo articulates is that each piece of clothing has its own sweet spot where it feels just right. This was also a revelation in terms of reminding me that we all have that sweet spot inside of us (however we wish to define that). Sometimes it just requires a bit of patience and attention to find it.
Again, there were so many insights, but these were just the two that had the most profound effect for me. As you can see by the pictures below, the transformation is pretty remarkable if I do say so myself.
I won’t lie, the moment I threw everything on the floor – I felt a little overwhelmed, but I stayed the course. I have admittedly had questionable moments that maybe I discarded too much, but I have a deep appreciation for the simplicity, lightheartedness, and joy that this method has afforded me. I literally feel giddy when I walk in my closet and get to choose what I want to wear for the day because I love everything!
As I mentioned, it took a few tries before I was ready to dive in and I appreciate the process it took me to get here. It may not be for everyone. If it seems intriguing, I would recommend you google KonMari and take a look at some of the before and afters. Ater reading a little bit about it, take a pause and see how it resonates with you. Like me initially, the timing simply may not be right.
While the physical transformation of my space is obvious, at a more subtle level, this has been an important reminder of practicing non-judgement and simply being kind to myself.
As much as I like to think I’m not one to jump on the bandwagon, I am officially deeming myself a KonMari method convert. Now off to the next category – bags (this might take awhile)!
Finding My Joy Pile > 8 Bags of Non-Joy > Before/After