There are 7 closets in our 2 bedroom Brooklyn apartment. That’s a lot. But I am using just one of them for my clothes with exception of few outwear items and “in use” shoes that I keep in our entry closet.
So, when I set out to declutter my closet using KonMari method, I did not have to confront the volume because I didn’t have that much clothes to begin with. What I immediately had to confront as I started sorting, was the lack of joy. I would pick up a skirt, try on a blouse, stare at a pair of jeans waiting in wain to get excited. And that was how I felt about 80% of my wardrobe. Don’t get me wrong – I had plenty of nice clothes from Banana Republic and the like that I wore to work day after day and most were good quality. There was just one problem with them — they could not pass the “joy check” and this is the main decision-making criteria of the KonMari method. When I feel happy, I love to wear clothes that make me look youthful, sophisticated but daring with a dash of international flavor and quite a bit of color. That would be a description of my ideal style but I hardly encountered anything in my closet that matched that.
This made me look deeper. I knew I was at war with my own body for a long time now. I never got back into my pre-pregnancy shape after I gave birth to my daughter almost 7 years ago and instead of doing something about it, I chose to feel betrayed by my body that did not miraculously spring back into shape after giving birth at 35. Over time, I lost all motivation to turn things around and with that, the spark of joy in doing shopping for myself was gone too. I would buy the usual work style clothes and comfy pieces for the weekend with only occasional purchases of something fun. I would pass by a pretty dress at Anthropologie (my favorite store) thinking, “Oh, how lovely… but it’s not for me anymore”. It’s as if I told myself that my body did not deserve fun colorful clothes and I could only go with basics, ideally those that cover up the extra weight in all the right places.
This realization was big. Facing a small pile of clothes that survived the KonMari review, I entered my empty closet and there again I had to stop short. My closet, stripped of clothes that did not bring joy, was beautiful: a semi walk-in, with warm eggshell walls, fully customized drawers and rods featuring beautiful wooden trim, it was perfect to host the most beautiful wardrobe. If I only wanted to. My closet, standing there empty and full of possibilities was ready to serve me. If I only wanted to. And I suddenly wanted…
The moment was like pressing a reset button. I felt a sudden urge to decorate my closet with photographs and posters before the clothes I wanted to keep would go back. I mounted four 8×10 close up shots of beautiful blooms taken by my husband, who is an excellent photographer. I taped a photo of me looking splendid on a hand-carved wooden bench in Bali, where we went for our honeymoon.
I hanged my favorite necklaces on a small rack that used to hold my “in limbo” clothes – no longer clean, not yet dirty. That “limbo” clothes was out of site now and only beautiful joyful images and things were on display. I gently hanged the remaining part of my wardrobe, thanked the clothes to be discarded for their life lesson and prepared them for donation.
A week later, I joined a private gym near work and started working out with a personal trainer. I also signed up for a personal stylist using Stitch Fix app. It was nice to have a stranger to hold my hand and send me some clothes she personally selected for me while I was getting back into shopping for myself with joy. As I started shedding pounds and getting fit, new clothes were arriving at my door every other week.
I would keep what I loved and sent the rest back and my small wardrobe expanded with beautiful unique pieces. My changing body and my changing wardrobe were giving me SO MUCH JOY. It was a very visible transformation!
I decluttered my closet 6 months ago in January and this summer I looked and felt my very best in years. I never enjoyed dressing up for work or for the weekend as much as I did this summer. On top of that, I re-organized my daughter’s room (we did it together) and the rest of my possessions in our apartment. Each time I did that, a new dimension of my life would open up for me to explore — relationships, career, creativity and more.
I contacted Kon Mari association and asked how I can become a Kon Mari consultant. In April, I attended a talk led by Marie Kondo herself. It was the first talk designed for those who were interested in getting certified. In early August of this year, I completed the first Kon Mari Consultant training course that was offered in US. I am now completing 50 practice hours of consulting in a quest to get certified and see if I can help others do what I did for myself. Because it truly inspires me.
These days I walk into my closet with a grateful and joyful heart.