Posted in Minimalism

Letting Go : Clothing (Before & After)

Hiya!

I thought I’d do a “before & after” post of my clothing to document my progress (to check out the actual process, click here)

Most of my things were concentrated in three (no wait, four actually) spots in my room: my side of the closet, a dresser, a night stand (or whatever those things are called) and boxes under my bed.

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Now, I’ve never considered myself as someone who had a lot of clothing.  For the most part, I hate shopping for clothes.  This is why when I find a shirt or pair of pants that I like, I typically buy 2 or 3 in different colours (or not) and move on to other, more interesting things in my life.  And had you asked me how many tops and bottoms I had, I probably would have said about 20 tops and 5 bottoms.  It turns out, I was wrong.

Excluding hoodies, pajama tops (because only toddlers wear those to go out of the house) and maternity tops, I had 47 of them.  Forty-seven shirts.  I don’t need 47 shirts.  Case in point, when I’m lazy and skip a week washing my clothes, I would flip through 3-5 shirts before finding one that I liked (or liked more than the other things that my closet offered me).  Once I was done sorting, I ended up with 30 tops (and here’s the kicker) including maternity tops – most of which I can wear as everyday tops.

I cut the number of dresses I had in half and did similarly with my pants and sho

es.  I realized that I’d been hanging on to so many pieces of clothing because I felt guilty of letting go.

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Yikes!  As it turns out, this ended up filling two ginormous trash bags.  One went to the trash, the other to a donation center.

As of right now, all of my clothing is together.  I managed to store my maternity wear alongside my regular clothes without a problem.  Though I can’t wear my maternity pants (I can still wear all of my other maternity stuff), it doesn’t bother me that it’s in my drawers instead of being stashed under my bed.  I enjoy the ease of this.  I also enjoy opening my drawers and closet (notice the space between the hangers now!) and seeing quickly what I have.  Now that I’m done with my clothing, I know I’ll be able to let go more easily in the future whenever I find something that doesn’t spark joy anymore.

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I’ve also decided that I wanted to change the type of clothing I bought.  Purging the things in my home to only be surrounded by things that I love has gotten me thinking of the imprint I’m leaving in this world.  I would like to work towards living in a better world and leaving a smaller imprint.  This is why I’ve decided that from now on, I want to purchase sustainable, eco-responsible clothing for myself.  It’s odd, I’ve never been one to love buying clothing.  But this change in vision on my part has gotten me excited about it!

Next, I tackle the kids’ clothes.  Afterwards, I’m moving on to books.

Thanks for reading! 

Posted in Minimalism

Letting Go – Part 3: Clothing

This is part 3 of my journey to tidying and minimalism.  For part 1, click here.

According to Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, the first step in decluttering should start with clothing.  And by clothing, she doesn’t just mean tops and bottoms, she also means shoes, bags, scarves, hats, belts and jewellery.

So, how exactly should one go about cleaning out one’s clothing according to her?  Take everything out.  She is adamant about this.  Go around your house and pick up every last bit of clothing that is hiding in a closet or box and put it all out on the bed (or the floor, or…wherever).  This is important because it allows you to actually see everything that you have.  If you’re like me, you’ll be surprised by what you own.

Then, you pick up every item in your hands and ask yourself one simple question:

Does this spark joy?

That’s it.  No “if you haven’t worn it in over a year, toss it” rule, no “keep only x amounts of this and x amounts of that”.  Nope!  Does.  It.  Spark.  Joy?

Sounds simplistic and a little bit hazy right?  But if you think about it, it makes perfect sense!  I mean, why would you want to keep something that you don’t like?  Why would you want to keep something if it doesn’t suit you well?  Because it was expensive?  Because you received it as a gift?  Because you only need to lose 10 more pounds before you’ll fit into it again?  Because you thought you’d like it (and really, really want to like it) but it just doesn’t “click” for some reason?  Because, because, because?

Personally, if I’m going to live with less (and even if I chose to live with what I had in the first place), I would much rather live with things that bring joy into my life.  Things that I love.  Not things that I keep out of guilt or any other reason.

Now, given that I have kids and not a lot of uninterrupted alone hours, I decided that instead of pulling out every single piece of clothing and putting it on the bed, I would go sub-category by sub-category.

Once I finished going through everything, all that was left to do was to put my clothing away.  Now, Kondo, suggests folding pretty much everything (except stuff like dresses, skirts and stuff that just don’t belong in a drawer) and her method seems weird (at first, at least).

She explains that she believes the best way to fold clothes is to do so in a manner that they stand up (a great tutorial for visuals like me can be found here).  The point being that when you open your drawer, you can see very quickly exactly what you have.

Curious to see how my decluttering and sorting went?  Wait ’till you see my before and after post next week!  I’ll give you a sneak peek though.  Here’s a look inside one of my drawers (it’ll also help you visualize Kondo’s method of folding):

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Welcome to my shirt drawer!

 

 

Posted in Minimalism

Letting Go – Part 2

This is part 2 of my series on my quest to tidiness.  You can find part 1 here.

But you see, lately, I’ve come to realize that I’m not as zen in an untidy environment as I used to.  I’m feeling myself being slowly but surely pulled towards needing my immediate environment to be tidy in order to function better.

So now, the question is: how should I go about becoming tidy knowing that it has to be:

  1. easy (well, relatively easy)
  2. quick
  3. sustainable

I realized that the best way to keep my house tidy and easy to clean was to have less stuff.  If I have less stuff, then it’s simpler to find a spot for everything (so it’s easier to put things away where they go).  If I have less stuff, then it’s easier to dust/clean/vacuum because there are less things to move around.  If I (and the kids) have less clothing, then I’m less likely to be stuck with ridiculously large amounts of clothing to wash because I won’t be able to wait as long between loads of laundry.

I realized that the best way to keep my house tidy and easy to clean was to embrace minimalism.

So I started researching ways to gain control over all of the stuff in my house.  Now, there are a plethora of books, blogs, articles, documentaries that address the issue of minimalism.  After a fair amount of research, I found one book that had a method I found really interesting.

The book is called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.  It’s author, Marie Kondo presents what she has dubbed the “KonMari method”.  It’s basically a two-step process:

  1. Declutter
  2. Organize

I know, I know, you guys are probably saying :”well, duh, didn’t you know that already?”.  But the important bit is that you have to declutter everything before reorganizing your stuff.  One of my problems, being a perfectionist, is that I try to do everything at once.  But that has never worked out for me because it’s just too much to handle at once.

The other major point is how she approaches the act of decluttering.  You see, instead of tackling this task room by room, she had found that going category by category is a much more logical approach.

Following her method, I will be tackling my decluttering in the following order:

  1. Clothing
  2. Books
  3. Papers
  4. Komono (misc. like DVDs, electronic devices, hobby stuff, cleaning supplies…)
  5. Sentiment

She works from what she has found to be the easiest to let go of to what is hardest to let go of.  Since each category is divided into sub-categories, it means that it’s something that very doable even with a baby, a toddler and a 4 year old running around the house.

I’m going to start working on clothing this week, sub-category by sub-category until I’ve reached the end of the list.  Then, I’ll tackle my kids’ clothing.  After that, I’ll be able to move on to the next category.

Guys, I’m ridiculously excited!

Look out for part 3 where I’ll go through the process of decluttering with more detail and talking about the “rule of thumb” to help decide what to keep and what to let go of.

Are you a minimalist?  How did you go about it?  How did you proceed?

 

Posted in Minimalism

Letting Go – Part 1

For those of you who don’t know me very well yet, let me tell you a bit about myself.  I can appear to be full of contradictions.

I am, for instance:

  • Untidy but organized;
  • Calm yet intense;
  • An avid procrastinator and and equally big perfectionist

When I was a child (and a teen…and a young adult still living at my parents’ house), the state of my room would drive my mom nuts.  Like seriously nuts.  I still remember one instance in which my room was so untidy that even my dad came downstairs to help me regain control over it.  Eventually, my mom decided that in order to save her own sanity, she’d ask me to keep the door to my room closed.

But you know what?  I could find anything in my room.  It was an organized mess.  My mom once told me that she had trouble organizing her thoughts if the physical things around her weren’t in order.  In my case, I had to organize what ever was going on in my head to be able to organize the things around me.  Since I can be kind of intense and get into a whole bunch of projects at once, it would take quite a bit of time before my head was organized enough to be able to tackle my room.

I’ve never had trouble living in an untidy environment.  If you were to come into my house without previously announcing your visit, you’d probably wonder how I can find anything (or walk around without stepping on any toys, or sit on the couch without sitting on any clothes, or, or, or…).

I’ve always been able to totally chill even if there were some dirty dishes (or clean ones that had to be put away).  I’ve never had a problem with seeing loads of clean laundry sitting in the hamper, waiting to be folded and put away.  Floors needed to be swept (or vacuumed, or mopped)?  Bah!  It can wait.  Table needed to be wiped down?  Meh, I’ll take care of it later.  Bed not made?  Who cares, I’m going to sleep in it tonight anyways!  Clothes littering the floor (right beside the hamper, I might add)?  Not a problem, I mean, I’m going to pile them on the floor on Saturday to wash them anyways.

You get the picture, right?

But you see, lately, I’ve come to realize that I’m not as zen in an untidy environment as I used to.  I’m feeling myself being slowly but surely pulled towards needing my immediate environment to be tidy in order to function better.  I realized that this change has kind of creeped up on me since having my first child.  I mean, it’s not just me that I have to organize now, I need to organize my days with the kids as well.

But, you know, I think I’ve found a solution and I’m going to share it with you…in part 2.

Are you a tidy person or do you live in an organized mess?  Have you always been that way?