Adventures in Minimalism

Our personal experience on the life-changing magic of tidying up | real life application: clothes, part one.

By December 28, 2014 2 Comments

for the past few years,  we’ve been feeling weighed down: by clutter, clothes, excess things, un-tidy & unorganized rooms alike. it sometimes consumed & could even can drain us mentally and physically. we’d wake up tired knowing there were things we’d need to sort and we’d go to bed thinking about the things we own that we don’t need. earlier this year, we’ve read a few books that we hoped would help rid the overwhelmed feeling we’d been feeling.

All books were helpful, informative & sparked the great clean-out of 2014 in our household and since then have sold our second car, rid ourselves of heavy pieces of furniture that were taking up space, started using our china as every day plates (and donated our other every day plates), downsized from over 50 coffee cups to about 20 (hardly something to be proud of seeing as we only use 2 a day), and have made countless trips to the salvation army and local refugee center. We’ve held two clothing swaps & we’ve re-gifted countless things to friends & family that had expressed needs in some of our categories. (To read more about why our journey started, go here.)

but still. we feel weighed down. and still, the house feels cluttered. to put it simply, we sometimes feel as if we’re drowning in our things. and the ones that cause that hold the most weight seem to be the ones with sentimental value that we can’t seem to part with, (even if they only hold value in the memories they spark).

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for the holidays, we picked up this book from Amazon: the life-changing magic of tidying up, the Japanese art of de-cluttering and organizing by Marie Kondo. We read the first chapters within a few days and something new clicked. Marie Kondo’s method felt different. its no-nonesense, makes sense & is inspiring.  she promises that if we complete her “KonMarie method, ” on our whole house (within 6 months), we’ll never go back to our old ways.

challenge accepted.

her method consists of tidying all at once, intensely & by categories (not by room), we’ve only made it through the clothing part (which is what she suggests starting with because it’s the easiest to part with), and already we feel lighter and our bedroom feels more balanced.

tidying your clothes consists of taking every piece of clothing you own from every single storage area you have, and dumping it on the floor in a single space,  (winter hats, gloves, shoes, socks, underwear, pj’s, EVERYTHING). we had clothing hiding all over the place, so bringing it to one room was overwhelming.  the idea is that you will see how much you actually own and also see where you own duplicates of things and since you complete the category as a whole, it’s simpler to compare and weigh items.   You begin by picking up each piece, one at a time & and asking if it it brings you joy. if it doesn’t, you thank the item for the purpose it served you & discard it, wishing it well to it’s new owner that it can bring joy to. (there is a few more important things to this method such as you should do this in a quiet space so you can hear the house & clothes speak to you but we’ll leave some of the surprises to the book). If you’d like a little more information on the process before purchasing the book,  this article was very helpful.

the KonMarie method is supposed to be as simple as that.

we were both truly inspired by this concept and thought it would be much easier than it was. i, (christina), started with my clothes at 10:45am and finished at 5:30pm. i was able to part with almost everything that didn’t bring me joy, but still, there were a few things i couldn’t part with: a work-dress i use to wear while living & working in nyc (it brings back memories of my first real job), a flannel that i’ve never worn but is all so soft and I keep thinking one-day i’ll wear it, a dress I wore to my rehearsal dinner that hasn’t fit in 5 years (and will most likely never fit, but it holds sentimental value), and a handful of other items. my mantra throughout the process was “this is hard.”

& it was.

Marie Kondo addresses the issues with parting with sentimental items in her book, and we made the promise that we’ll go through our closets one more time and become more real with ourselves, but for today, we feel lighter and happier and oddly, like we have way more than we started with, seeing as almost everything in our closets bring us joy- that was the best surprise, having less of things that actually brought us joy, made us feel like we had more. and it doesn’t feel like it’s weighing us down, it’s making our decisions feel easier because we have less to decide between for each “dress-code” situation.

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also, to be transparent, we still haven’t physically cleared out the things we’ve decided to give away. they are all piled in our spare bedroom ready to be packed in bags and delivered somewhere else, wherever that may be.

**UPDATE! ALL BAGS HAVE BEEN DONATED & REMOVED FROM OUR HOME AS OF JANUARY 25th 2015. HERE IS AN UPDATED PHOTO FROM THE CLOSET FEATURING THE RISING ARROW METHOD SUGGESTED IN THE BOOK . The rising arrow method is arranging clothes from left to right so they “RISE” like an arrow from shorter to longer.

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5 Different methods we’ve tried for decluttering in the past:

1) selling clothes at local consignment shops

2) inviting friends over for clothing swap

3)simply giving the clothes to a friend

4)dropping off at refugee center/salvation army

5)throw out method  (for socks with holes in them or that are missing their counterpart, this is our choice, yet, i’m sure there is someone out there that has something creative to make from them).

What de-cluttering methods have you tried before? Have you tried the Kon Marie Method? Has it worked? We’d love to hear from you below on our comment section.