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What sparks joy and the closet edit...

In 2014 when Marie Kondo first published her book "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" my mum immediately purchased from Indigo, powered through it and then enthusiastically passed along to me. While I was reading it, she was working on mastering the folding techniques and frequently updating me on her progress.

Note: while I don't see myself ever folding my socks and undergarments in Marie's method, I am strongly considering adopting the Konmari method for my t-shirts and jeans as it is so much easier to look in the drawers and see exactly what's there.

Image courtesy of: justagirlandherblog

At the time, I was new to personal styling and still refining my approach . While my process of organization and closet edits was (and still is) quite different than the Konmari method, there are a couple of things that resonated with me that I still have on my radar today when working with clients.

Perhaps the most important is: look at every garment and ask yourself - does it spark joy?

I realize this can sound a little sappy. But, what we wear most definitely can have an impact on how we feel or how we are perceived by others. Like it or not, we live in a visual society.

When I go through a closet edit with a client, we break down things further: Does it fit and flatter (both your body type and skin tone)? How does it make you feel? Do you still wear it? Do you love it? Can you wear it three different ways? Does it suit your current lifestyle? Does it connect to your personality?

It's my belief that if you answer "yes" to the above questions, a piece is working well and for that reason alone will spark some level of joy. It could be as simple as a basic white t-shirt, but when combined with printed jacket and jeans becomes part of a fabulous outfit - one which brings joy.

A complete, workable wardrobe is a balance of basics and interest pieces. One that reflects your lifestyle, personality and current body size and shape. Having the necessary building blocks makes getting dressed in the morning so much easier. And not having to waste time and energy in the morning trying to figure out what to wear is most definitely joy inducing.

I have visited many closets where people are hanging on to things that no longer fit. Waiting to lose weight to wear again. To me, those garments aren't sparking joy. I often encourage my clients to (as Marie would say) "thank it for its service" and let it go. If there is a sentimental attachment to one, it can be moved to a different area of the closet or house in the meantime.

Often we are reluctant to get rid of things because we have invested money. If they aren't sparking joy (as outlined in my above wardrobe edit criteria), my advice is to thank it for its service and remove from the closet. Consignment could be an option to earn back a little $$, or a donation to someone else for whom the garment would actually elicit that joy.

I can't tell you how many closets I visit that contain items with tags still attached. Often, they have been hanging there for years, unworn. Again - these pieces can be difficult to give up as we still envision ourselves possibly wearing them one day. But, they get in the way of those pieces that we love to wear, or that make us feel amazing. And, overstuffed wardrobes make getting dressed more confusing. Confusion does not bring joy.

In her recent Netflix series that was released New Year's Day, Marie's solution to unworn garments with the tags is to thank the piece for letting you know that you don't enjoy to wear items in that style or silhouette. That can be a helpful realization to make.

I often encounter garments in closets that might not spark joy when being worn anymore, yet are hard to part with due to sentimental reasons. Again, a solution could be to move out of the main wardrobe area either to the side (especially if seeing the item regularly sparks a joyful memory), or to another storage area in the home if not ready to part with.

Emotions and memories associated with clothing I completely understand. As I write this, it is exactly two years today since we lost my mum. If she were still here, I know we would be powering through Marie's new Netflix series together and my drawers would already be Konmaried. I still have pieces in my closet that she purchased for me that I wear on a regular basis that spark joy (like the skull cashmere sweater pictured at the start of this post) - because they fit the wardrobe edit criteria and they have a wonderful memory attached. A couple of pieces that she purchased for me that no longer work, I passed along to a friend. They have brought her so much happiness and I enjoy seeing them worn in a new way. I know my mum would have loved this.

January is the perfect time to look at your closet with fresh eyes and re-evaluate each piece to determine whether it is serving you well. If not, offer up thanks and pass it along. A well organized closet filled with pieces you love is a great way to step into the new year.

Please feel free to reach out if you need any help with this process.

Happy New Year - I hope it is one filled with much joy!


PS: Many of you know in addition to my style work, I am a teacher-librarian. I've not adopted Marie's system of "tapping books" to wake them up before discerning whether or not they bring you joy. Not sure if I'll ever wrap my head around that one...

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