“The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.” – Marie Kondo, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Last month when I began The Minimalist Project, I started the series by reading Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” to kickstart my minimalist life into high gear. Living minimally takes a lot more introspection than I had ever realized. By continually assessing the things you choose to edit from your home, and what you feel should take up valuable space (physically & emotionally) in your home, you are actually making very personal choices about how you want to live your life.
This is one of the biggest realizations I’ve come across while reading through Marie Kondo’s book – while at first I found her advice to ‘touch each item in your home to see if it sparks joy’ more than a little amusing, I promised myself that I would honestly try her tips in my own home, so I could really see if her “no fail” method was actually failsafe.
And so I went to my closet – the first place Marie Kondo suggests you should start, as most of us have way too many clothes (often going unused) packed away in our homes. My own wardrobe is actually quite small, as I am constantly pulling things out if I think they’re not being used and bringing them to consignment shops. I actually love clothes, but I’m extremely picky/choosey when it comes to deciding what I want to bring into my closet, and whether it will complicate my what-to-wear decision-making. As I stood there looking in my closest, I realized:
My wardrobe was a total drag.
In my effort to create an easy (and chic!) daily routine of getting to work/school/events, I had created an entirely black & grey palette which definitely did not spark any “joy” when I looked at it.
So I got rid of it all.
I pulled everything out, cleaned and pressed it, and took it all to the consignment shop up the street. As my funds came back to me, I peeked into shops here and there to find items that sparked “joy”. Now when I open my closet, it is full of fresh white, and brilliant colours. I still don’t have a lot – four pairs of pants, a handful of shirts, and a few dresses; but, I find that it’s all I need and everything I put on actually makes me smile and it is way easier to decide what to wear each morning.
Hooray for colour!
I decided to do the same thing with the kids too.
I asked Finn and Gus the other day to sit down with me, and I asked them to go through their clothes themselves and tell me which ones made them happy, and not to worry about hurting my feelings. Unsurprisingly, Finn got rid of all the dresses she never wore (but had insisted she would one day). Gus was like me, and got rid of anything that wasn’t colourful, or wasn’t “soft”. Even though I thought our clothing was pretty pared down, it was even more slimmed down. I pulled their big dresser out of their room, and put up an IKEA bookcase in their closet where they could see all their clothes at one glance.
It’s so much easier in the mornings to get ready. The kids can see all their options and also LIKE all their options. They prance out of their room in the morning super proud of the outfits they’ve picked out. I open my closet and don’t let out an enormous sigh of boredom, and – gosh darn it – I feel pretty good going to work in my bright and sunny duds.
Minimalism, I’ve learned, is not just about discarding, but also about what you decide to bring into your home. Not only should it be of value, and something that you need, but also something that brings you joy, or makes you smile in some way.
Next edition: Books & Knick Knacks!