7 Things I Learned From Purging 75% of My Closet (Thanks to Marie Kondo)
Parting is such sweet sorrow… or is it?
Until you've really done a mass spring cleaning (or any kind of cleansing of your personal space), the thought of bidding adieu to the outfit you wore to your grandma's final Thanksgiving or that top that reminds you of the happiest days of your life is quite daunting.
As someone who purged 75% of her closet, let me tell you that nothing feels better. About two years ago (long before Marie Kondo's mainstream Netflix popularity), I read the consultant's self-help book, Spark Joy – an Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up—and as I continued to simultaneously read and purge my closet, I began to feel better and better with every moment.
I moved to a new apartment around the time of my purge, and as with any move, I got rid of a lot of things I absolutely couldn't stand. But it was then impossible to part with those few especially sentimental items, expensive items, and items I swore would fit me by that time the following year. Needless to say, when I went through my boxes and lined up my new closet, I was left with a space that felt mediocre. I didn't hate what I had in there, but there were more items than not that I brushed to the side when it came to picking my day-to-day outfits.
Enter: Spark Joy. The 250+ page manual guides you through letting go of excess all throughout your living space and organizing your remaining belongings in a way that will simplify your life—and therefore clear your head.
After just a few chapters, I looked at my belongings (whether in my closet, under the sink in my bathroom, in the kitchen or in my large collection of makeup) entirely different. I analyzed each article, each product, each item one by one, room by room, and if I felt like an item just didn't bring joy to me, I tossed it to the side.
Before I knew it, I had a huge bag of trash and two heaping bags of clothing—everything ranging from Lacoste polos that were way too short on me for years, BCBG dresses that just didn't do it for me anymore, one-time-wears from H&M and various other articles and handbags that I once thought looked so cool, but really—now that I put thought into it—I couldn't wait to purge.
It sounds a bit extreme, right? Well, once you do it, you will feel so much better! Sure, my apartment still gets a little messy, and I do need to devote one day a week to getting it back into tip-top shape—but—at least I do not have my space cluttered with undesirable items that bring me down. I genuinely love all of my belongings right now, which makes me happy to get up in the morning and relaxed when I go to bed. Anyone can achieve this state of being, it just takes the willingness to do so. Reminder: It's quality over quantity!
Still on the fence about such seemingly drastic measures? Keep scrolling for seven things I learned from the process:
1. Items Worn During a Negative Incident Can Still Spark Joy
Ever been in a blowout fight with your bestie or had a day when everything seems to be going wrong, but you just so happened to be wearing an outfit you loved? Rest assured the negativity from whatever transpired that day doesn't reflect on how you feel about what you wore (at least not for me!). The energy of the outfit can overpower the energy from a bad circumstance and give you a fresh start. I can't wait to wear certain ensembles with a whole new outlook.
2. Flattering Items That Garner Positive Attention May Not Spark Joy at All
Just because something looks great on us doesn't mean it will spark joy. I was actually surprised with how many articles I purged that stood out as items people genuinely raved about me wearing. For one reason or another—it's oftentimes inexplicable—some things just give us a weird vibe. Why did we love something a month ago only to absolutely despise it mere weeks later? Who can say…
3. The Hardest Part Isn't Parting Ways, But Rather, Figuring Out What to Do With the Stuff
Sure, it's awesome and honorable to donate your no-longer-needed belongings to Goodwill, but when you've got hundreds of dollars' worth of perfectly conditioned items crammed into two bags, it's perfectly acceptable to want to get the bang for your buck. The sad reality, however? Places like Buffalo Exchange are so particular with what used merchandise they'll accept—and even when they take it, what you get in return is essentially pocket change. Each time I purge, it's an endless process getting my stuff in the most suitable hands.
4. There Will Be Some Throwback Items You Still Can't Manage to Purge (Not Even Because You Actually Like Them)
I've been really strong at allowing myself to say goodbye to so many things I've been hoarding, but I've found that there are a few pesky pieces remaining that I just can't let go of—why is that? I seriously don't know. There's a pair of Rock and Republic jeans from 2007 when I moved to L.A., a knee-length flowered Bebe skirt from my cousin's 2003 Bar Mitzvah and this particular blue sequin handbag I got from my 2005 summer working at Nordstrom. With the exception of maybe the denim, these items aren't particularly meaningful, nor would I likely wear them again, but for some darn reason, I just can't let go!
5. Once the Notion of Sparking Joy Comes to Mind, Items Begin to Stick Out Like Sore Thumbs
The act of purging items that don't spark joy will give you a rush as the experience takes flight. The more you rid, the more you'll find one-by-one, items pop out and give you great disgust. It's crazy because you never felt this way before about certain belongings, but once you do, you'll feel so free (sidenote: Can you tell I have a certain style??)!
6. You May Feel You've Wasted Some Money, But You'll Be Convinced Your Items Got Their Use
Sure, as I'm racking up hundreds of dollars of items I never want to wear again, I'm thinking about how much they cost, but at the end of the day, each item served its purpose. There's nothing that simply wasted away in my closet without a fair chance. Dispose of these no longer useful pieces and think about 3-5 basics you absolutely need for your wardrobe that will complement the remaining items you've kept!
7. You Won't Think About Your Purged Items Once You've Parted Ways
Guess how many times I've thought about the slinky black dress I wore to my friend's birthday in November, only to recently purge? Zero! And that's the answer to all the items I tossed. There's not a single thing I've changed my mind about and not a single thing I've gone digging to find. Once you've established an item doesn't spark joy, you'll never want to see it again!
Cleansing your closet isn't the only purge that's beneficial to your well-being. Learn how to cleanse your entire energy HERE!