Pack. Light.

“Does it spark joy?” asks Marie Kondo, the creator of the KonMari method of decluttering and spatial organisation.

E. knowingly sings, “I bet you love can make it better.” And isn’t that what it’s all about? Choose you, choose love, roll your sleeves up and be all up to your elbows in it. Love, especially the kind you give to yourself, is incredibly verb-y. It means getting to work on yourself, on all your inside and outside parts and if you can, whatever is outside of yourself too. Love means saying “yes, today”. Love means not being lazy with yourself. Love means tidyng up and making room – for possibility; for air and simple gifts. I’ve done such a good job of decluttering my mental space lately. There are habits that I’m working on developing and many that I aim to get rid of. There are people who I have left in 2016, closed the door, turned the key and tiptoed away. No back and forth, no noise. This year is quiet and full of peace.

One thing that has been nagging at me though is my physical space, how cluttered it is and just how much stuff I have. Nobody hoards like I do.

I’m very much a “what if [insert obscure fashion thing] makes a comeback? You know this whole jig is hella cyclical” kind of person. Sentimental yet cynical. Despite the fact that I low key hate fashion and my personal style strictly consists of: as little as possible when it’s hot and a black dress with sneakers when I’m feeling fancy – I mean, I give the people what they want – I somehow always end up with more than I will ever realistically put on my body. At my very worst, I buy something that doesn’t fit, promise I’ll have it tailored asap and five years later, it’s in the furthest corner of my closet with the tag still on, faded from a bright white to an unlovable cream-white hue…

I used to think hoarding was my cute little quirk. I loved finding long forgotten items ranging from pretty clothing labels (I don’t believe in buying bookmarks), drinking teas that I’d put away “for a rainy day” in between good books (I said, I don’t believe in buying bookmarks), to saving items just in case I want to bless future awesome-daughter with some vintage fashions. The thing is, however, adulting means becoming financially self-reliant. I buy whatever pretty thing my heart desires. The more I buy, the less I wear of my older clothes and the more they pile up. It’s no longer a cute quirk. Having no space and resorting to closet-chair and closet-table and, when it’s really rough, closet-floor has been a cause of anxiety because the mess just screams: you are lazy and greedy. Lazy? That’s whatever but, never greedy. I don’t like that feeling. I don’t like knowing that there are people who could put these garments to perfectly good use and be happy with them yet I keep them stuffed away and out of sight; not loving them at all.

“Does it spark joy?” asks Marie Kondo, the creator of the KonMari method of decluttering and spatial organisation. I’ve had this line on my mind ever since watching Evelyn’s video review of her book and feeling grateful because the matter of a spring (or summer) clean for the new year had been pulling at me. Finding and reading the book is definitely on my list but for now, I had to get my life. Here are some KonMari basics:

1. Declutter By Category 

According to Kondo, you have to declutter according to category, not room. So, clothes. I got all of my clothes together in one place – including out of my car, the laundry basket and forgotten luggage bags.

2. Sort into Sub-Categories

From the huge pile, further sort your items into sub-categories such as dresses, jackets and shirts. This is a helpful tip that I got from Rachel’s video, courtesy of Alyx. I like this one for seasonal sorting, which obviously helps for optimal use of space because some of your wardrobe is packed away. Why even look at woolen items when you can just have that good feeling of seeing only summer dresses and short shorts? Exactly. What this part also showed me is that I really do hate jeans – I don’t wear dem tings.

3. “Does it spark joy?” 

A joy pile(s).

As you sort through your items, the above question ought to be the decider. At some stage I’d initially sorted all my Winter/warm clothes into my ‘no’ pile because none of it brings me joy. I hate the season so much. Rachel has a less strict approach which includes asking yourself if it fits and if it can be used across a range of outfits. I found a happy medium between both methods so come March, I’ll thankfully still have clothes. In addition to the question, Kondo advocates that you thank each item, too. I like her philosophy.

A ‘no’ pile(s).

4. KonMari Folding Method 

Casual dresses, shorts and skirts.

Kondo is impressive. She has a method for folding clothes in such a way that they can stand upright on their own, instead of folding them flat and stacking them. It actually works. The point is for you to be able to store your (joy-giving) items so you can see them, touch them and love them everytime you look for something to wear. That way, you’re less prone to forget that you own it and you’re more likely to give it away if you realise that you no longer like it. I really love that Kondo advocates for a positive consciousness in how we treat our garments and dress our bodies. See your clothes, touch your clothes, thank your clothes and love your clothes. Every day. When you no longer do, give them away to someone who will be able to appreciate them more. Returning my clothes back to my closet and to my drawers was the best part because I felt so light and so proud of myself for being able to let go. Won’t He do it?! A hoarder no more! It’s an attitude that I’ll be spreading to the rest of my things such as shoes, bags, underwear and more over this week as I begin the journey to hoarding less and also, critically engaging my relationship with consumerism. Besides having a physical space that reflects the calm of my mental space, buying less and saving more is another important aim. I look forward to giving my previously-loved goods away to relatives and taking them to the local orphanage where I’ll be volunteering soon. I love children so I’m excited for my post-thesis life chapter. Once my space is decluttered, I may even look into some DIY feng shui. My happiness levels are rising.

* * *

Thank you, Shonda Rhimes. Because of your book, I feel more present and pleasant in my mind.

Author: Nova

I'm an Anthropology postgrad or baby master anthropologist, poet and writer. Occasional badass too. Patricia Smith says: "Say a prayer and start slinging" - I do.

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