By the Book
First of all, I have to say that Marie Kondo is omniscient and omnipresent. She may as well have been standing in my living room with me while I piled my clothes up there. Her voice in my head saying “if an item of clothing isn’t here, you have to throw it out when you find it.”
So I checked my spare bedroom. I already pulled out my bag of dresses and graphic tees from there. Clear.
I double checked my bedroom. Closet empty. But there were some things on the floor next to the bed. Add to the pile.
Checked the car. Yup. A hoodie and some shoes in there. Add to the pile.
Checked my office. Yup. A pair of jeans, workout clothes, a cardigan, and an ugly shirt I once wore to the Hollywood Bowl. Add to the pile.
My piles are now impressive.
My living room is now filled with my clothes. Time to begin.
Top of the List: Tops
My first item was really hard. A snake skin tshirt.
It doesn’t look like much, but my first inclination was to keep it. Although I’ve only worn it maybe once, it seems like the perfect top to wear with a black suit.
Do I have a black suit? No. But I might someday.
If I did have a black suit, would this be your first choice to wear with it?
Now I was getting somewhere. This line of thinking ACTUALLY helped. Remember, this is supposed to be about JOY. Does this shirt make me happy? Would it be the first shirt I reached for to pair with this imaginary beautiful black suit?
Looking at my giant pile of tops there, I saw at least 3 things I would rather pair with my perfectly wonderful imaginary black suit.
To put the nail in the coffin on this shirt, I tried it on. The drapey neckline annoyed the crap out of me.
Finally! A real emotion. Something tangible. Something I can work with.
Annoyed = not joy = thank you and good bye
And so it went for the rest of my Saturday. Through the tops.
A blue top that I bought for work that is too pale and casual-looking. Good bye.
A black tank top with a weird ribbon detail on it. Thank you for teaching me that plain black tank tops bring me joy.
An orange tunic, a green tunic. Flowy and tropical, but the good version of you would fit me. Thank you and good bye.
After tops, I did my hanging tops, winter coats & accessories, pajamas & workout clothes, socks & underwear & leggings, and pants. Here are a few things that helped me say good bye to clothes that I cherished at some point in their lives.
#1 The good version of this item exists in my closet or out in the world. This is not it.
I love the colors pink and blue. The right shade of these colors makes me feel happy and powerful. That means the pink striped shirt that is too tight is NOT the right version of this item, so it’s time for it to go. Same goes for the black v neck t shirt that is too tight. And the old purple halter top. They all brought me joy at the time I bought them, but there is a better version of them in the world. That concept made it easy for me to get rid of a lot.
#2 Joy is the only rule.
When I looked at my clothes this time around, I realized that I had the whole rainbow of colors in many of my items. But there are just a handful of colors that really make me happy. Blue, pink, really fun prints, black & white & gray. As a blond, I think a lot of colors look good on me, but there is no REASON to own every color. I had grey leggings and brown leggings and blue leggings… and I don’t even wear leggings that much! My torso is long, so even long tops don’t cover my butt enough to wear leggings except under dresses. And I have plenty of nice slipshorts & shapewear shorts to wear under dresses that I don’t need the rainbow of colors in leggings. My point is, you don’t NEED pants or tops or dresses in every color. I suggest throwing these ideas and other “fashion” rules out the window. Even a professional stylist will tell you that you can make a lot of great outfits with a reasonable amount of basic clothes and adding accessories. And those items should be things you love. They should make you feel happy & powerful.
#3 Purpose of clothes is to be worn.
I had a lot of stuff in my wardrobe that was too small or that I simply didn’t have occasion to wear. I did keep a few things that made me happy even though they were a little small, but something that helped me get rid of more clothing this time than ever before was remembering that items have a purpose. Clothing is meant to be worn. If I am not going to wear it because it is too small, it is selfish and silly to keep it. There are people out there that ARE this size. They can use these clothes.
These 3 concepts really helped me ditch my jeans.
Before jeans: 29 After jeans: 14
I have a huge ass. But it is still 1 ass. 1 ass doesnt need 29 pairs of jeans
#1 The good version of this item… is this it?
I asked myself with each pair of jeans… If all your jeans were clean and available, would you pick these?
#2 Joy is the only rule.
I don’t NEED light jeans and dark jeans and skinny jeans and capri jeans and jean shorts. I kept the jeans that make me feel good when I wear them.
#3 Purpose of clothes is to be worn.
Cute jeans that aren’t my size? Good bye.
I had a lot of clothes that I thought was okay, and I didn’t mind wearing it. But the joy test requires really thinking about what the good version of those okay clothing items are. If you have all your clothes clean and sitting together, you can see this more clearly. I realized that my favorite navy hooded sweatshirt was the one right hoodie when I saw all my hoodies together. And I got rid of the hoodies that didn’t live up to the standard of this best one.
#2 Get Out of Your Closet
Doing my sort in my living room helped for a few reasons. I wasn’t thinking about storage, I was thinking about purging. I didn’t simply slide things from one side of the closet to the other, nor did I hang anything back in there while I was sorting. I suggest you get one of these. (or something similar for drying clothes)
When you decide you are keeping a dress or another hanging item, hang it on this rack instead of shoving it back in your closet without thinking about proper storage theories.
#3 Be Ready to Try Stuff On
Wear a good bra (one that puts your boobs in the right place) and light shorts/slip shorts so you can try stuff on. Clothes purpose is to be worn, after all. Something might be “your size” but without trying it on, you might not see that it hangs on your body weirdly now. Or that that awesome dress you bought at Athleta 2 summers ago hits you below the knee and looks bad because of that.
Closing This Chapter Opened Me Up
This was not easy. I hope my blog is positive and entertaining, but I want you all to know that this process was fucking hard. I LOVE my clothes. And from the start, I saw a few items that I knew would be easy to part with but more items that would be hard. I remembered buying nearly every SINGLE piece of clothes that I owned. I remembered wearing all of them as well. The good days at work in my brown riding boots and that cute winter dress, getting compliments from friends on hot summer days when I wore that tiny red dress, the dear friend who gave me the striped shirt that matches one that she still wears. And you know what? Using the KonMarie method I was able to part with all these items.
Going through my clothes and having all these intense memories alone on a Saturday night wasn’t easy. I am naturally a shy person. I often keep my feelings to myself, and sometimes I don’t get emotionally involved in a lot things. I find this to be very good for managing my stress at work, but in my personal life, I have the right… I have the need to be emotional. Taking this time to look at my clothes has had a real impact on my life. For an entire weekend, it was my thoughts and feelings and opinions that mattered. Nothing else. And because this was something I need to do, I didn’t have to feel guilty about any of it. I need to get my house in order for a number of reasons, and plenty of those reasons aren’t selfish.
Once again, Marie Kondo is a genius in all things. Starting with clothes really opened me up emotionally to even judge when objects give me joy, and put me in the mindset to be powerful enough to be emotional and push forward with getting my house in order. Now I begin to see my things like exboyfriends who introduced me to ideas or people that are now valid in my life. And that is kind of amazing.
Bags of clothing donated: 5.5