And other questions to ask…
Happy day, reader dear!
If this is your first visit, welcome! If you are returning, I’m so glad to have you back! What’s been on your mind lately? On mine is decluttering, purging, cleaning out, or whatever you want to call it. Wardrobe and life. I should explain… This isn’t some flash brought on by the plethora of simplifying and minimalism content out there. Or by Marie Kondo’s darling self on Netflix. (But she certainly doesn’t make it better!) As you may know, we live in Augusta, Georgia, and have for 12 years now. That is the longest I’ve ever lived anywhere. My childhood was spent all in one place, until 9th grade. Then we moved to Caracas, Venezuela for two years. It was eye opening. And the beginning of my peripatetic life.
After university, I ran off and joined the Navy. For the next 21 years, the longest stay anywhere was three years. It sounds crazy to many, but I loved that life. I never minded the moves; the heavy lifting and hauling was done for us. I loved settling into and exploring our new place. I did not love finding a new hairdresser and dry cleaner every move, but that was a small price to pay for the luxury of a fresh start and a new adventure every three years!
I also loved the clean out. Each move was a time for letting go of what we had outgrown, physically and emotionally, and releasing it into the world. Clothes, books, movies, toys, furniture, holiday decorations, you name it. Now that we are “stable,” there is no catalyst for the hard work of evaluation except my own stress level with the build up. Unfortunately… My stress isn’t motivation for the others with whom I live. So what’s a girl to do when there’s no move in sight?
You know what I mean… After a big clean out, things start creeping in. A new tee here, a new serving bowl there, some hotel toiletries and cosmetics samples, and the next thing you know the clutter feels overwhelming again! This isn’t meant to be a post about clearing out your closet and doing a complete Wardrobe Audit (Part 1) (Part 2), but more of a follow-up to use anywhere, and any time! (Not just in the closet, and not just seasonally or as a New Year’s resolution.) The habit I am trying to acquire in August is to choose one spot and just have a quick whip round to see what needs to go regularly, as in: 15 minutes daily. AND get it gone, or at least into the holding bin for Goodwill! I’m starting early. Right now.
So how to choose what deserves to stay? With half the world Marie Kondo-ing, I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “sparks joy.” What do you do when joy isn’t the measure, though? That’s where William Morris comes in! No, he isn’t a home organizer… But his quote makes a great touchstone.
The small stack of old washcloths in our laundry room doesn’t “spark joy,” but they clean up messes beautifully, and so fit the criteria of useful; they stay. I love the phrasing “know to be useful.” Notice that it doesn’t say “might be useful someday.” That keeps me grounded in the present! When caught up in a “practical” item, one powerful question to ask is…
“Would I buy this again?”
That’s the question I ask myself each time I get out the storage box when pulling together a new season’s capsule. I ask “Would I buy this again?” when putting away the clothes from the previous season. I ask “Would I buy this again?” when I open the kitchen drawer. I ask it when I go through my makeup. If the answer is “No,” it’s time to release it. I’m no minimalist, but I am all about keeping things simple, getting rid of what you don’t need, and blessing others with what you no longer want.
So how about you? Any Marie Kondo fans out there? How do you know if something “sparks joy?” What measure do you use to evaluate? Anyone want to join me in my August 15 minute declutter practice? Do let me know in the comments below! I love to hear from you…