Oh my. I did it. I’ve been Kondo-ed. I watched the entire Netflix season of "Tidying Up"fronted by the diminutive and almost spiritual Japanese-native Marie Kondo. Her mission is simple: Tidy Up. Own less and only that which brings joy!
"Does it bring me joy? Do I wish to take it into my future," she begs her "students" to dig deep for answers.
Participants on the show shed tears, toss out, excavate whole homes — not just closets — and then donate like crazy and fold fold fold the stuff they’re keeping like an origami swan-maker. It’s all stashed where you can see it. Every. Single. Thing.
It is a humbling and extraordinary process, with unexpected psychological consequences. You suddenly approach everything with "is it joyful?" Marie’s referring to the practical items of clothing, dining, living but I started thinking about financial products, business arrangements, even people. If it doesn’t bring you joy, bin it. Quite a concept!
The closet stuff was humbling to me as I have previously performed "closet clear-outs" for others, being in the fashion and style business in some form for more than 20 years. However, previous closet clearing had a focus that always stemmed from questions like:
"How much do you wear this?” And, "Does this deserve space, or should we recycle it?" By this filter, one might, for example, toss a seldom worn cocktail dress on the basis that you don’t wear cocktail dresses very often if at all. However, when you need one, you won’t want to have to buy one. By Marie’s method, if you have one you like, it will be waiting for you. So simple.
I’m also huge on arranging by color the "keepers" in the closet, which Marie doesn’t seem concerned with. I’m sticking to that. As a stylist I need to see the full nuanced color-range of all, no matter weight, texture or warmth. We’re in an every-season culture with travel and while in town wear many things winter and summer.
So I embark on Marie’s method, except that I’m unprepared to place all of my clothes on my bed at once. I don’t want to be caught short with a nightmare pile to get through in a day or two that hijacks the room for the rest of the week. That I can’t live with. My tidy closet keeps me sane, and compartmentalizing I figure earns me the right to tackle a "section" at a time. My place is not a bomb zone and there’s no need to create one.
The first few items are easy. Grab something you love, hang it up, move along, sip a gin, and repeat. Then there’s the items you need but don’t love. I don’t need to "love" a shirt I’m grooming the horse in while she rolls in mud-season poop, so I make some "Aspen problems" related rules. I can keep one outfit per activity that I don’t have to love but have to use. Something for gardening, something for grooming the horse and mud-season sneakers so the new hikers last and look new, for five minutes at least.
For me, the process is a huge success. Stuff held the longest time, now gone. Yay! And, in our fashion-bubble, we have such a worthy and accessible thrift shop for the donations and three fabulous consignment stores for the higher end things that, recycled, may even bring you some dough.
Judging by the gorgeous Brunello Cucinelli offerings at The Little Bird, a pair of Louboutins for $100 at Susie's and some terrific European purses at Amber's Uptown Consignment spotted this week, you’ll get something to love that brings you joy, for less. And that’s what Marie is all about.