At age eight, when I acquired a new item of clothing, I would introduce the new dress or sweater or pair of pants to the other items in my closet. “Everybody, this is my new blue checked dress with organdy sleeves. She’s feeling a little strange right now. Do your part in making her feel at home in our closet.” I had the sense that group harmony was as important in my closet as it was on the playground.
Fast forward 60 years.
Always a sucker for books about simplifying and organizing, I recently read Marie Kondo’s The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up –The Japanese art of decluttering and organizing. Though I have read, if not acted upon, innumerable books on the subject of decluttering, this book was very different. Instead of a business-like approach to stashing my stuff into the right folders, bins, baskets, hangers along with some helpful hints about chucking the excess, Kondo offers a more spiritual approach to decluttering that calls to mind my childhood practice of anthropomorphizing my clothes.
Kondo’s method of organizing, known as the KonMari method, basically involves gathering everything you own by category: (Clothing, toiletries, shoes, knickknacks, etc.), handling each item(s) respectfully, but retaining only those items that “spark joy.” Items that fail to meet this test are thanked for their service and discarded, sold, recycled; etc. The remaining items should be carefully folded, hung, or filed without the need for more storage equipment.
Quotes from Kondo:
*One theme underlying my method of tidying is transforming the home into a sacred space, a power spot filled with pure energy.
*Does the storage space I have set aside for my possessions make them happy?
*Storage…is a sacred act of choosing a home for my belongings.
*Show appreciation to your possessions after you have used or worn them: “Thank you for keeping me warm.” “Thank you for making me beautiful.”
*Clothes, like people, can relax more freely when in the company of others who are very similar in type, and therefore organizing them by category helps them feel more comfortable and secure.
*When we take our clothes in our hands and fold them neatly, we are, I believe, transmitting energy, which has a positive effect on our clothes.
Kondo’s theories and practices have inspired me to re-vision my home and my relationship with my things. Though I can’t say that my home is as organized as I would like it to be, or that my possessions have been successfully culled and curated, I have reconnected with that childhood me who instinctively inspirited her wardrobe and acted accordingly.