With an overstuffed closet and more on the way I was finding myself in an all-too common dilemma: what could I do to make room? My usual response to this- getting creative with storage- was starting to flounder, and the sheer amount of clothing and accessories I’d amassed had begun to overwhelm.
When it comes to the things I really enjoy, I tend to collect. You can truly see this manifest in our kitchen cupboard filled to the brim with teas, bookcases stuffed full of plush animals from overseas, and (of course) a lolita wardrobe overflowing in abundance. Unless I ended up with strong second-thoughts, everything I bought was there to stay. I was enthralled by the numbers my collections had grown to until the visual clutter began to suffocate. Instead of criticizing the space housing my wardrobe, it was clearly time to look at my wardrobe instead.
As I’m sure you know, it’s no easy task trying to get rid of a collection. When you take into account the rarity of lolita, the often sentimental value, and all the pretty details that go into every piece the task rapidly begins to multiply in difficulty. What if I regret selling this and can’t find it again, or it spikes up in price on the secondhand market? This color/cut doesn’t suit me quite right, but oh how I love this print so much! I will never get back the full amount I paid for it after service and shipping fees, so won’t this be better to keep? But this was my first ever lolita dress, there will be no other first dress! I have told myself every one of these things, and I’m sure they sound familiar to you too. But what is the point of keeping these things if we can’t enjoy them?
I was recently enlightened by reading “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo, which I highly recommend. Unlike many approaches to tidying which focus on creative storage methods or arbitrary timeline guides on when to discard, there is just one principle: only keep the items that truly bring you joy, and let go of the rest. This method, dubbed the “KonMari” method, ensures that by the time you are done you will be surrounded by only the things you truly love and everything will find its place within your home. Who could not want such a thing?
It’s really quite simple:
- Gather everything from one category into a pile
- Pick up each individual item and assess if it sparks joy
You will be surprised at how much you own that does not positively affect you.
The KonMari method asks that you follow a specific order in discarding. This is so that you hone your decision making skills before reaching the sentimental items, which are much harder to part with. The first category in this order is clothing, which may not be the best choice for someone who loves clothes. Still, it should surprise you to hear that within one night I had over 100 items from my lolita wardrobe for sale when beforehand it felt incredibly lucky to find myself willing to part with five. I could only sit in disbelief wondering at the large box of items I had been surrounded by that did not bring me complete joy.
When you gather every article of clothing and accessories in a pile you really comprehend the sheer amount you own. Handling each item one at a time and facing your emotional response can tell you a lot more than just whether or not an item has outlived its appeal. In the end I discovered nearly all of my sweeter pieces- which I had been holding on to for “that day” I would want to wear a sweet ensemble again- in the for sale box. Even my very first dress. And I didn’t feel any regret, rather, I felt a little lighter. I was left with a wardrobe uniquely me at this very moment, free from the clutter of what did not suit me completely.
It is important to be of the mindset that you are choosing what to keep, rather than what to get rid of, and to appreciate what you part with by the lessons it taught you. I was able to let go of about a third of my wardrobe by thanking it for teaching me it wasn’t truly my style or color, and had therefore fulfilled its purpose. I thanked the cheaper pieces I’d bought to “pad” my wardrobe for showing me that I should not buy something just because of it’s price, as that reason alone will not leave me with pieces I am truly happy for. The hardest to part with- those pieces I really did like but did not spark complete joy- I thanked for showing me what I did and did not like. And pieces I once loved but did not wear anymore I thanked for bringing me happiness when they had.
Now that I have a wardrobe filled only with the things I truly enjoy I don’t have to guess as much about what suits me, and I have more confidence in future purchases because I can make out my aesthetic much more clearly. Of course, there will always be more items that don’t end up working out, but when that time comes I know what I need to do. And this isn’t limited to just your wardrobe; try applying this technique to the rest of your belongings and you can see what it is you truly want out of life. Without the clutter of unnecessary items it becomes easy to see what is important to you.
Do you think you are up to the challenge, dear reader? I’d love to hear what things you could never part with! Have a sugar-sweet day and thanks for reading!