Will The Life Changing Magic of Tidying really change your life? Do you need to read the book at all? And does your handbag really have feelings? Read on!
So, I’ve donated half my clothes to charity using the KonMari method (!).
If you’re one of the few remaining people in the world who haven’t heard of KonMari, it’s a method of clearing out your clutter based on the bestselling book The Life Changing Magic of Tidying, by super organised Japanese lady Marie Kondo.
When I picked up the book (months after it came out and from the local library – I really wasn’t willing to spend my money on it just to try it out!), I was pretttty unconvinced that it would be as life-changing as all of these people were saying (in blogs and articles just like this one you’re reading right now, HA!).
A lot of these people’s lives (and hair) just looked too suspiciously perfect and I didn’t believe it could really work for someone normal (prone to Primark binges and frizzy hair).
I thought I’d read the book, have a half-hearted clear out of my wardrobe (as I have done before – just a few months ago I got rid of 3 bin bags of clothes too) and then slip back into my old ways.
Before and After
The stuff we’ve cleared out so far, looks like this:
Just to give you the background – before I did this clear out, I had a massively packed wardrobe, plus a huge cupboard full of dresses, workout clothes…. I shoulda taken a picture of just how stuffed it was!
I was holding onto A LOT of clothes that I’d had for years/ decades, including a skirt from when I was about TWELVE and various things that had been gifts.
I had LOADS of pjs and nightwear (plus underwears, bras, underwear and socks and that were past their best).
I had beautiful expensive shoes that I’d bought and never worn because they were just too high or impractical.
Reading this book really did inspire me to change that!
The KonMari method asks you to start with one principal – does this object bring me joy?
It may sound a little airy fairy at first, but after it clicks, it makes COMPLETE sense. The key is to look at an item and ask:
Does it bring me joy?
I think the me and the joy are the most important parts of that. An object or item of clothing could be beautiful, but not bring me joy because it doesn’t and will never (realistically) fit me.
For some reason I’d always felt compelled to hold on to things if a/ they were still wearable (ie not full of holes) and b/ they could possibly be of use again.
Reading the book and using the ‘joy’ method made me realise that:
- those grey gym socks may not be perfectly usable, but they’re bringing me down!
- That skirt that’s okay and that I feel I should wear because it was a bargain has got to go
- That dress I’ve had for years and only worn twice is clearly not bringing me joy
- The shoes that I’ve loved that are now far best their best should be consigned to the bin… sob!
- That shirt I was wearing when I met my husband doesn’t bring me joy as an item of clothing anymore, but it does as a memory, so I should move it out of my wardrobe and into a memory box
Do batteries bring me joy?
One area where it’s difficult to see the joy is in everyday items like batteries, or light bulbs, or post it notes, but I have applied the same method to clearing out the understairs cupboard and managed to get rid of countless ‘just in case’ items, old chargers, and even boxes to two iPhones that I was keeping for some mysterious reason.
It makes such a difference being able to see and access all your clothes – and getting rid of all the things you didn’t wear makes it clear when you do actually need to buy new things – for example, I absolutely needed some new pjs!
What to do with the things I clear out?
Recycle – Giving away and selling things that you don’t use is a great way of recycling! All of the fabric from socks, pjs, even underwear can be recycled into new things at your local charity shop though (just put them into a sealed bin bag and tell them its for recycling, not for resale).
BOOKS – we packaged up two massive boxes of books and got paid for someone to come take them away for us! Ziffit, a great company that helps charity shops to recycle books and make money from products that would otherwise have gone to landfill.
You can download the ziffit app, scan the books/dvds/games you’re wanting to get rid of, and it’ll tell you how much your box is worth. Then, you can send it off or a courier will come and collect it for you!
Sell – I also gave away lots of good quality branded items that a charity shop would be able to sell on and make money on*. I’d rather those expensive shoes and dresses were in the hands of someone who will wear them rather than being unloved in my cupboard.
*I know a number of people who’ve used eBay or other sites to make money from selling stuff like this but I’d rather give it to charity.
What about folding?
In the book, Marie Kondo recommends folding clothing in a particular way, so that you’ll be able to see everything you own at a glance. Here’s a guide on how to do it. I mainly hang my clothes, so I haven’t bothered to do this.
Another thing I didn’t take on board from the book was the idea of taking absolutely everything out of your bag at night, thanking it for doing a good job, and putting it to rest on a shelf. For me that would be a complete waste of time (and I’d feel quite silly talking to a bag!).
The verdict! And a new attitude to stuff…
From a starting point of being a total doubter, the KonMari method absolutely worked for me.
The core idea of asking if things bring joy works so well and immediately helps you to work out what you want to keep and what (quite a lot, probably) you want to discard.
If you’re like me, reading the book and asking yourself which items in your life bring you joy will cause a shift in the way you buy stuff.
I’ve noticed that I’m far more selective about what I bring into my home. I’m willing to spend a lot more on items when I find something I know I love, and my fast fashion habit has definitely slowed right down…. plus I’m continuing to donate things that I find I’m not wearing.
If you give it a go, let me know if it worked for you!