The first time I read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” by Marie Kondo, I cried. I finished the book on a plane flight, and tears were flowing down my cheeks. This may sound a bit insane, but you don’t know how much joy organizing brings to my life. Saying goodbye to things that do not “spark joy” is high for me. This was especially true during my divorce.
If you have not read Marie Kondo’s treasure of a book, I encourage you to, especially if you love to organize or simplify your life. The overall theme is to take time to declutter each area in your life once, so you are simply left with tidying daily. For example, if you were to tackle your clothes, you would round up every single piece of clothing you have, no matter the season, in the same room. Taking each piece of clothing in your hand, you would ask, “Does this spark joy in my life?” If it does, you keep it; if not, donate it. In the book, Kondo shares organizational tricks, like folding methods, to see all your items and create a visually transformational system that makes you feel at ease.
Now the real question, does everything in my closet spark joy? About 85% of it does. The point is to be surrounded by things you love. If I have 20 t-shirts and only really like 10, why keep the other 10? You should even like the clothes you clean in. Let’s just put it out there. If you feel good about what you are wearing, you feel better. Remember, we are creating new habits and transforming your life to rebuild and represent the true you.
After my divorce, I was left with the majority of the home goods and furniture. Since I was in transition between jobs, this seemed like a blessing at first. I had a fully furnished home equipped with possessions that most 30-year-old singles didn’t need like Waterford crystal. My first inclination was to do a full clean out, consign, donate, and rebuild. This is absolutely one approach and can be a successful way to propel yourself forward quickly, or backfire and leave you more distressed. If you are confident that you can move things forward with no regret, go for it! If you know you are traditionally attached to material items that hold sentimental value, grab a box, pack everything up and revisit it in 3-6 months. If you didn’t miss anything, send them off with love. If you did, reintroduce the items into your home and see if they still work.
When you are surrounded by material items that remind you of the past, it’s easy to dwell on old memories. You may not have the luxury of doing a full turn over, so the question remains, how do you “KonMari” your life to spark more joy? I have shared a few tips and tricks that worked for me as I transformed my possessions to truly reflect my own style, personality, and new life.
A few questions to ask yourself as you move through this process:
- Does this spark joy?
- Would I miss this?
- Does this reflect who I am or who I am trying to move into?
- Is this painful to be around?
- How does this serve me?
Remember the painting or piece of furniture that you never really loved, but he or she did? I call these your “compromise” pieces. If possible, it’s time to clean house and create the life that you want. You will be amazed at the difference decluttering, and de-compromising can free up space for mental clarity.
Tips & Tricks to Start
- Declutter and organize the things that are entirely yours. Your clothes, shoes, jewelry, books, etc.
- Create a vision board or Pinterest board to hone in your style.
- Visit furniture stores, clothing boutiques, and daydream. Be inspired.
- If it is in your budget, hire a personal stylist, interior designer, or professional organizer.
- Consign, consign, consign. Why not make a little cash off your old valuables and/or trade them in for something new?
- Donate. If you are having trouble parting with something, remember how much joy it could bring to someone else.
- It may take a few rounds. In KonMari’s book, she encourages decluttering once; however, that may be too emotional, or pricey, to start. It’s ok to move in phases. I think I’m on stage 20 of rebuilding my furniture and style.
- If you are sentimental, create a “maybe” box. Place items in it, stow it away and revisit it in 3-6 months to reevaluate.
- Create your Sex in the City panel of judges. Make it fun. Pop the champagne and do a fashion show for friends and tell them to be VERY honest with you.
- Take breaks! It can be exhausting and emotionally draining, depending on how your divorce went down.
Please let me know how your organization project went. Seeing before and after pictures is my guilty pleasure, so please share!. Do you have any tips and tricks to share with the community?