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Does your closet spark joy?

Dona Lim

For me, The answer is a definite no.

My closet is a mess.

I'm a hopeless sentimental that holds on to anything that reminds me of the past from the snakeskin prada shoes I bought with my first paycheck to my 20-year old ragged sweat pants I wore everyday studying in my little cubicle till the wee hours. I was hanging on to the only connection I have left to those fond memories. I've attached a nostalgic emotion to almost every item I have bought.  It has reached a point where I find myself arm wrestling with my clothes in the closet everyday. Just dressing up has become such a chore. In speeding up my morning routine and  getting out the door on time, I often wear the same rotation of easy-to-grab, reliable pieces without even looking at my closet. So when my friends mentioned about a book written by a Japanese professional organizer, I was intrigued. This book was exactly what I needed.



Marie Kondo, author of the life-changing magic of tidying up,  started a decluttering movement around the globe by simply asking one simple yet incredibly powerful question.


Does it bring you joy?


Sometimes all it takes is one simple question to revolutionize our thinking. This is exactly what Marie Kondo did to me. I got myself a copy and read it all on the same day.  The simplicity of her approach is what mobilized me. 

The first step is to place every item of clothing in the house on the floor. Make  sure you have gathered every last piece of clothing.


You then pick up one item and ask yourself "Does it bring you joy?" If the answer is yes, keep it. If no, donate it or discard it. It's as simple as that. Whether you feel joy or not is an emotional question, which elicits an instantaneous answer.  It's either you feel joy or you don't. 


Six Positive Results

1) Rediscover your individual style

In keeping only what sparks joy you get a stronger sense of who you are.  Clothes are very much connected to who we are.  What we wear is an expression of our spirit and character.  If what you want to wear is all you are left with, then it becomes undeniably clear.  If you end up with breezy gowns and ethnic-inspired looks, then you've got a bohemian style.


2) It shows what my wardrobe is missing 

I've now identified what's missing in my wardrobe. After weeding out all the has-beens from many seasons ago,  I now have a clear picture of the gaps that I need to fill in. It turns out I own too much black. My closet lack color.  Now, instead of shopping vaguely and coming home with something I already have, I am more intentional. I know exactly what to hunt for. And the list is long.  According to Marie Kondo, "Once the reducing phase is over, it's time to add joy." I'm excited to start building my wardrobe one outfit at a time. 


3) I'm a wiser buyer

Now, before I buy anything, I ask myself the same question, "Does this spark joy?"  I am no longer swayed by sale items or just because my friend says I should.  I've decided to stay away from trendy clothes that I'm sure I will stop loving as soon as the season passes. Having come this far, I can no longer buy something just to make do. I have to consider all the factors that will make me love each piece of clothing and cherish it forever.  I promised myself that I should stick to my 5 non-negotiable criteria. For one the fabric has to be natural, soft, and breathable, including the lining for the sake of comfort. The fit must be flattering and flawless. The seams finished in couture-like neatness. It has to be just as beautiful inside. And the color must suit my skin tone and not overpower it. The style can either be a timeless classic must-have or special pieces that defies to be classified as a trend. 


4) I treat my clothes with more respect

My closet was so full of non-essentials that I couldn't take care of the things that really mattered. But when we are surrounded  only with things that we love, we start treating everything with respect. Every item becomes part of a treasured collection, naturally handling it with care and showering it with love. 



 5) Every outfit sparks joy 

We all have our favorite outfits that make us feel an inch taller just wearing it.  No matter how wise a buyer we are, we all have made some not-so-wise choices. I've had my fair share of settling for less. But I also find myself reaching out for those okay shirts all because I feel guilty buying it and not even wearing it not once. When you get rid of everything that doesn't spark joy, you're left with only clothes that fit well, that you look good in, that you feel great in.  You're left with only things that you love, so you'll always be dressing with joy. I would rather have a  few perfectly tailored outfits that are flawless than a closet full of ill-fitted ordinary clothes.


6) My closet sparks joy

Getting dressed is no longer a chore.  Digging through an overstuffed closet was painful. Now my closet is loaded with good stuff.  I feel free, I feel lighter.  I'm surrounded only by what I love. Just looking at my closet sparks joy. 



I hope this inspires you to ask the same question and you might be surprised with the results just as I was. 


Have a great decluttering weekend!