Few experiences make you realize you have way more than you need than packing up a house you’ve lived in for 12 years. I don’t remember the final box count, but it was much higher than it should have been, and that was with multiple donations to the Vietnam Veterans that were large enough to make neighbors think we were having a yard sale.
I knew we were boxing up items that should have been trashed or donated, but when you have two full-time working parents and kids with evening and weekend activities, you don’t have much time to assess each item’s worthiness of a spot on the moving van. We moved rather quickly from, “Should we keep this? Will we need it in the new house?” to “Just throw it in the frigging box and we’ll deal with it later!”
As much as it drains you, moving rejuvenates you as you get to start fresh. It was in this spirit that I read Marie Kondo’s The Lift-
Changing Art of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, a book I fortuitously saw on a friend’s facebook page as I was making arrangements to fly to our new house and meet the movers to start unpacking.
Kondo’s book echoes my life mantra: Let go of anything that no longer serves you. I highly recommend this book because it is a quick, easy read that will give you the shot in the arm you need if you’re at all curious about where to start reducing and why it’s important. Much of what she writes was not new to me, but the way she presents it inspired me to take stock of my stuff, and the order and method she suggests for doing so was helpful.
First: tackle your clothes. I use this verb on purpose because – I’m not gonna lie – I approached this process like a dirty barroom brawl – hardly the peaceful, zen-like activity Kondo proposes, but viewing my clothes as my opponent worked for my competitive spirit. If there could only be one winner, it sure as hell wasn’t gonna be a pair of corduroy pants or – GASP – my much-loved Tieks collection.
It was going to be me. I would own my stuff.
Each item would need to convince me of its rightful place on a hanger in my closet. And I would not fall for that, “Oh, but your father gave me to you as a Christmas gift in 2007 – don’t you remember?” crap.
There was no room for sentimentality in my dresser drawers any more, nor did I have space for items that fit my former self (even if that former self was 10 pounds lighter and a size smaller, and even if I hope that former self’s physique decides to visit again soon…ANY DAY now would be fine, really).
Because you know what wasn’t serving me any more? A closet and drawers overflowing with clothes and the feeling that I had nothing to wear. The feeling I got when a pile of pants taunted me because I cannot comfortably wear them. Wearing the same go-to outfits over and over again because they took the guesswork out of getting ready in the morning (does it fit? does it match?). Clothes I had treated like a security blanket and kept for far too long simply because I’d had them for so long.
None of that was serving me, so I had to let it go.
So, I knew I was going to do this closet clean-out crusade, and I knew I was going to win, but Marie Kondo’s book wasn’t quite enough to galvanize me. I turned to Google and Pinterest and read more about the idea of a “capsule wardrobe” – a collection of clothing staples you wear for a season. I stumbled upon Project 333, which piqued my interest because of my family’s penchant for the number “33” (a longer story than I have the word count for right now).
Project 333 takes the idea of a capsule wardrobe and breaks it into steps, and the end result is 33 items that you will wear for a three-month season. I bought a mini-course from Project 333, which gave me resources, pep talks, and handouts, which I supplemented with a free wardrobe planner from Unfancy’s blog.
I tell you all this so that you can replicate my planning process if you wish to take on this task. Stay tuned for how it turned out.
(Spoiler alert: I do, in fact, win.)