Monday, November 2, 2015

Decluttering, Ten Months Later

Recycling this photo from when I moved out of my first NYC apartment after graduating.

It's been quite a while now since I first read Marie Kondo's The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and I thought I would write an update on how my post-"KonMari method" life was going. As I mentioned back then, the book changed my relationship with how I accumulated objects, at least in terms of mundane things like papers, notes from school, and other household clutter. I was relatively certain that Kondo was correct about one thorough decluttering session being enough to permanently change one's habits. I still believe that, but with a few closet-related addendums based on new life events like moving into a new apartment with K.

First, wardrobe decluttering was never going to be a one-and-done process for me. I was decluttering in small sessions long before I read Kondo's book, and I'll likely continue with that habit almost indefinitely. I have a hard time being decisive when it comes to my clothing.

Second, I need even less than I think, and certainly less than I have. When I graduated, I vacated my old place, downsized my things, and stored my remaining possessions in K's studio apartment. Due to space constraints, two-thirds of my closet was packed away until our move. Not having full access to my entire wardrobe was strange for me, but I almost never felt the absence of so many of my clothes, shoes, and accessories. The only time I particularly regretted having so much stored away was when the weather turned cold and rainy sooner than expected, but even that feeling lasted only a day or two. Now that I've moved, I've done another bout of closet decluttering based on that insight.

Third, the book didn't have much to say about shopping, and I haven't had a 100% success rate with buying things that bring joy and are practical. One or two of the items I purchased this year are possible candidates for donation or resale. Kondo's book doesn't have much to say about new acquisitions, as far as I can recall. There were a few tips, some of which she reiterated in this brief New Yorker piece, but otherwise, there's not much guidance there.

I still think my experiment with the KonMari method was a massive success when it comes to non-fashion personal possessions, but her method doesn't provide all the answers for me when it comes to my general goal of cutting down to the best possible "minimalist" wardrobe for myself, nor is it intended to. Are any of you KonMari method adherents? If you were an early adopter, have you found that one decluttering session is enough to change your relationship to your possessions? 

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