In our last installment of Shepardia Goes KonMari, I KonMari’d the heck out of my tops (shirts and tank tops) and started my education in what sparks joy. My post has sparked (ahem) some interesting discussion with friends, online and off, about the KonMari method. (For the intro on my KonMari tidying marathon, go here.)
I went into this project assuming that the problem that people would likely have with majorly culling their belongings would be that too much of it sparked joy — that they would be too attached to stuff because of nostalgia or having spent a good amount of money on it, or something like that. In fact, it seems like people more likely have the opposite problem — nothing they own sparks joy. Is this a faulty joy sense in them, or a result of accumulating the wrong stuff? I think we all know what it feels like when our possessions spark joy. We’ve all felt it in a new nail polish, a beloved stuffed animal, a really thoughtful and perfect gift or a favorite pair of jeans that we wear to threads.
So I have to think that the problem lies in having accumulated a lot of stuff that doesn’t spark joy — easy to do in this throwaway fashion culture, where we feel rushed, and stuff is cheap and plentiful and convinces you to buy it because it’s on sale. For the sake of simplicity, let’s call the stuff that doesn’t spark joy crap. What if the reason you can’t decide if you like any of your clothes is because it’s all crap? If this is the case, you’ll never feel like you look that great, which is awful. All the more reason to get rid of the stuff ASAP and replace it with things that you really do love. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that if you find yourself surrounded by and wearing primarily crap, you need to get rid of it urgently!
There is the problem, I suppose, of winding up naked with no clothes to wear. But that’s surely not an insurmountable problem!
And so, on this note, we head into Part 2: Sweaters. Here are all my sweaters — pullover “jumpers” as the Brits call them, soft jackets, and cardigan type sweaters.
It is so very easy to rationalize keeping sweaters. Layering, people! Everyone who is smart about weather and stuff knows that you have to layer. Sweaters facilitate this. Many of my sweaters were very old — stuff I bought on sale at Loft (damn you, Loft sales!) and wore to the office in my old life, when my law firm associate uniform was neutral trousers, colorful top, coordinating sweater. I didn’t love everything, but it all worked.
So, those sweaters definitely served their purpose, and I thanked them for this as I hugged them and had happy memories of back to back conference calls and power naps under my desk.
I also had sweaters that held a lot of memories. Like my brown Arctix fleece, which I have literally worn all over the world. I bought it at a boutique in Amsterdam while traveling. It’s kept me warm on almost every continent. Here it is in Tanzania on safari:
It’s been to Canada, Japan, Thailand, England, Scotland, Iceland, and all over the U.S.A. And here it is in Maine in 2008 with my then-boyfriend, now husband:
But you know, it wasn’t hard to get rid of, because I wore the heck out of it, and it shows. When I bought it I was really into brown and warm neutrals, and since then my taste has shifted decidedly into charcoal/gray/black territory, so it doesn’t go with anything anymore. It is time for a new fleece sweater for my new memories.
All in all, I was shocked at how few of my sweaters sparked joy, and how easy it was to get rid of the ones who didn’t. Here is who made it:
I know, right? The few and the proud! I wore that whale sweater the first time I met my husband, by the way. Love.
And here is who didn’t make it:
Farewell, old friends. Maybe my sister will like some of you! (She always gets first dibs.)
Next up, bottoms! Until next time . . .