I discovered Marie Kondo about a year ago under a somewhat funny circumstance.
One evening, my love, Ludovic, came home with a package in his hands. He seemed a bit hesitant but finally handed it over to me and said,”It’s a present for you.” I was intrigued, not by the surprise gift, but more by the way he presented it to me.
As I ripped open the packaging, he rambled away beside me about how “it’s just a casual gift” and “I hope you take it in the right way” sort of things.
Filled with curiosity, I pulled out a book from the cover and rest my eyes on the title: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – by Marie Kondo.
(I actually received it in French, thus: La Magie du Rangement – Marie Kondo)
My first reaction was to laugh out loud – I was expecting something serious and was prepared to be offended in some ways. I certainly did not expect a book that teaches you about tidying up. I started to read the excerpt and was amazed by the things that they claim this book can do, changing people’s life and everything.
And that is what brought me here, writing this post to you, because a year later, I feel that Marie Kondo has worked her little magic on me as well.
I am certainly a little late to join the many testimonies that applaud the life-changing effects of this book, but it seems appropriate to write something about “resolution” and “cleaning-up” on New Year’s Eve. (Tomorrow is the first day of Chinese New Year, and we get a second chance to celebrate New Year all over again.)
Last year, we were just in the process of moving houses when I finished reading this book, and I took advantage of the timing to test out the KonMari method.
Here’s what the process looked like:
First, I had to clear out my closet and lay all my clothes onto the floor.
I admit that after I hauled everything into the living room, I was tired already. But I went through the process anyway and it took me the whole day, just for the clothes. (excluding shoes and accessories)
I was ruthless during the process, some of those clothes had been there since 8 years and they just don’t fit any more. Some were newer but I’ve worn them just once or twice.
Here are the before and after photos, in case you are interested:
I used up 9 bags in total. It was almost about half of my clothes!
It was a very illuminating experience. The repetition of asking myself the same question over and over again forced me to have a very clear vision of my true preferences. Does this item spark joy? I knew the answer almost straight away.
I had some doubtful moments, but I reminded myself to keep it simple and stick to my gut feelings – yes, it sparks joy, or no, it does not spark joy. Anything that needed logical reasoning eventually found their way to the donation bags.
Reflecting on the process, I’ve realised 5 points that I find quite interesting and would like to share with you:
1. There is no Grey Zone
When you can’t decide whether to keep it or lose it, chances are that you should lose it. When you need to reason with yourself in order to keep it, it means you have mixed feelings and it’s not pure joy.
2. Clothes that Truly Sparks Joy are Rare
I was a bit terror-stricken when 10 or 15 garments in a roll did not spark joy. It made me doubt myself heavily on my past shopping sprees and my decisions on buying things that do not really make me happy as a being. I started to realise that clothes that truly makes me happy are quite rare.
3. Clothes can Spark Joy in Different Ways
There are some clothes that I might not wear often, but just by looking at them makes me happy. They resonate with me. And I kept them even though I knew I wouldn’t really wear them that much in the future.
4. The Importance of Comfortability
The majority of the clothes that I chose to keep are those that makes me feel comfortable. There were just too many impulsive purchases that resulted in me wearing them just once or twice.
5. I can always buy them again
Very important to realise that if ever you regret throwing away any of these clothes, chances are that you can always buy them again. Of course, I do not wish it for it is a waste, but it is not the end of the world if you made a mistake. (Unless it’s something too valuable and rare and you bought it on the other side of the planet)
At the end of the process, I felt a great weight lifted off my shoulders, but at the same time, an unknown sense of guilt took its place.
I donated 80% of the unwanted clothes and gave friends and family the last 20%. I know Marie Kondo would not have approved of giving one’s abandoned clothes to another, but those people were so happy to receive them, many of which were very new.
Were there no such thing as donating clothes, I would have been forced to throw them all away. Imagine the amount of waste I would have created.
I feel ashamed of myself for not being responsible enough to make better decisions and judgments when consuming. My greed and vanity have created unnecessary pollution to the planet.
But keeping them in my house would not have solved the problem neither, sooner or later they would have met the same fate. The only remedy now is to learn from my mistakes and to choose carefully when I purchase next time.
Of course, I will buy again, but only if I truly madly deeply love the item. I am ready to make this commitment as a responsible consumer and think thrice before buying.
During the last 6 months, I am happy to conclude that yes, I did make some purchases, but thanks to the return and refund policy that many shops practice, I was able to return those that were not really suitable for me and keep only the ones that truly makes me happy.
I did still make some mistakes and there were impulsive purchases that I thought I really like, but actually not. Those encounters are getting less and less and I can see myself growing as a more intelligent consumer. Most importantly, I reflect on my mistakes and I am almost sure that I would not purchase the same type of item again.
The magic that the KonMari Method brought me was to have a clear outlook on who I am and the goals I want to achieve. It made me rethink not only my whole wardrobe, but my personality, my lifestyle, and what I really want in life.
It also, in some ways, brought about the birth of this blog.
I do not know where this blog will lead me, but after contemplating a lot on my true passion and what I want my future to be like, starting this blog seems like the most obvious conclusion.
For the coming new year, I would like to use this blog to share more accesible, intelligent design ideas that are stylish and functional. I would also like for this blog to help pass the message of living a responsible and sustainable lifestyle.
With many voices here and there slowly raising concern about the Earth’s ecologic future, I feel that mankind are ready for a little evolution and begin to be more conscious about the way we live.
After all, we are supposed to be the most intelligent specie on this planet, aren’t we?
With my most sincere salutation, I wish everyone a very bountiful Chinese New Year.