Real talk: No one has ever accused me of being a minimalist. And if I'm being honest, I never really cared about minimalism until a recent sudden desire to purge all my shit.
When it comes to *stuff*, I was raised by two people who basically have diametrically opposed philosophies. My mom, raised by her own Great Depression-era mother, tends to save everything "just in case." And my dad never understood keeping things you don't need -- which is nice for him since he doesn't need very much at all.
Where does this leave me?
I guess you could say I'm packrat-lite with a tendency to get annoyed quarterly and throw everything out.
Of course, when I say "everything," I don't mean everything. It's much easier to chuck some things rather than others. Clothes are particularly hard for me to get rid of even though I work from home and only wear whatever I'll be wearing to the gym in the evening. Despite only getting dressed in non-stretchy pants once or twice a week, I am loathe to get rid of all my beautiful clothes from my past office-going life.
So when I stumbled across Un-Fancy, I really only fantasized about what it would be like to have a capsule-style closet. But I love her looks, and some desire to be more minimalist was sparked in me. Additionally, my boyfriend is moving into my cozy apartment with me in June, so I knew it was time for me to clear some space for him.
I had heard about Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up a couple years ago and appreciated the general premise of only holding onto things you actually love. If I look around my apartment, I can't say I'm only surrounded by things I love. In fact, there's a good chunk of shit I'd say I hate. And around the end of the year, I also discovered "By the Book," my new favorite podcast, in which the super funny hosts live by a different self-help book for two weeks and report the results.
One of their first episodes was on The Life-Changing Magic, and even though their results were mixed, I was intrigued enough to give it a read.
Even though this book is a step-by-step guide to cleaning your house and keeping it clean, it's incredibly entertaining and easy to read. I'm not sure it's meant to be as amusing as I found it, but even taking cultural differences into consideration (Kondo is Japanese and the original version was written in Japanese), I think Kondo is a little...extreme.
She writes about maniacally organizing as a small child, eventually graduating to throwing out her family's things when they weren't looking, just to give you an idea. In fact, when I wanted to see if there were any photos of her own home online and came across this article, without paying attention to the date, I got to the end of it without realizing it was an April Fool's Day joke.
That said, I think her method is legit. I've broken a couple rules -- I don't spend a moment holding each item asking myself if it gives me joy unless I really do need to think about it. And I didn't set aside a whole weekend to do the big purge because who has time for that? So it's taking me a while, and maybe I'll fail, but I'm making progress!
Kondo has a specific order in which you throw your things out, going from easiest to hardest. You start with clothes. In the past when I've done closet cleanouts, my criteria for keeping or donating has been "Does this fit?" and "Could I still wear this?" Using the ruthless "Does this give me joy?" method made a huge difference. Eleven bags of difference in fact ::covers face in shame::.
Honestly, you don't realize how many things you own until you put them all in a pile. It was kind of horrifying.
Then, as you get rid of each thing, you thank it for its service. It sounds kinda cheesy, but it does cut back on the guilt of getting rid of something that cost you a good chunk of money that you've only worn once.
The next category is books, which was tough for me because I do love books. But I know I own a lot of books I will never read again, and they're just collecting dust. The third is paper, and I truly hate piles of paper (not stationery...I LOVE stationery), so it was great putting most of my paper in a "to shred" bag.
The fourth category is komono (miscellany), and the fifth sentimental items. I haven't embarked on komono yet, and I'm nervous about the sheer enormity of the task, but I can't wait to clear space and give everything I love and need its own home, rather than trying to find corners for things I just don't know what to do with.
Following the great purge, Kondo's system involves putting literally everything away once you've used it -- even the soap by your sink or the shampoo in your shower. I cannot say I'll abide by all of these rules, but I am excited to see what my apartment looks like when I'm all finished (just in time for Scott to move in with all of his komono). And I AM impressed by her folding method, which allows you to see every item in your drawer -- it's a game-changer.
Stay tuned -- I'll keep blogging about my KonMari experience, and for the day-to-day purge, make sure you're following me on Instagram @crampedstyleblog. I can't wait to show you the finished product!