It is understandable that we change over time. As we change, our needs change, as do our ideas of what we want to wear. Even starting a new job can cause us to suddenly feel like we don’t have a single thing to wear.
When I arrived in the USA, I realized quickly that my needs had shifted a bit, so I decided to switch a few pieces in my wardrobe. Before I left, I worked as a teacher and dressed more formally. But in California, I needed more comfortable, casual clothes because I was helping in a kindergarten. I also spent a lot of time in our van that we converted into an RV (and home!).
What is my motivation?
I only brought around 30 pieces with me to California, and the rest stayed packed in boxes in the Czech Republic. The whole time we were in California, I dreamt about coming back to Czechia and doing a deep declutter. Some pieces I really missed while I was away, and some of them not at all.
After reading Marie Kondo’s first book, I took to heart her methodology, called Konmari. So the first thing I did was pile all my clothes in one place. Every piece of clothing I owned lay on my bed, even all my socks! It was a mountain! I took every piece in my hands, then asked myself, “Does this spark joy?“
What happened next?
My first reaction was total surprise that I owned so many clothes. But, what does “too many clothes” mean? I live in a country with four seasons, so I probably have a few more pieces than a person who lives in a country with only one or two seasons.
On the other hand, one of the most important parts of the process is putting all the clothes in one pile, so you can really see how many pieces you have. For me, another interesting way to measure how many clothes I had is imagining how many suitcases I could fill. My favorite question during this process was, “If I had only one suitcase for all my clothes, what would I keep?“
The next phase.
When I was holding the pieces in my hands, it was really hard to let only my feelings decide. My brain often got in the way with comments like, “You can still wear this, it’s not so bad, you can wear it as loungewear around the house“. Sorting through your clothes is also like meditation–it takes practice and helps you connect the clothes to your heart.
Remember that you are not asking your brain, “What could I wear this with?“, you are asking, “Does this spark joy?“
I couldn’t do it.
Suddenly, I was stuck. I was stuck in a weird mood, and a sad exhaustion took over me. What was happening? After some time I started to understand that the things we own are connected to lots of emotions, experiences, and stories.
When we declutter our items, we’re also decluttering our feelings and energy on a very personal level. Some people might think you’re just cleaning out your closet, but no way! I felt lots of emotions saying goodbye to my old self.
Stare, and keep staring.
I had to switch off the music. I stared into the fireplace at the dancing flames, and wrote a few notes in my journal. The most important thing for me was letting myself experience all the emotions.
Cleaning out my closet was more difficult than it seemed to be when I started. It is not about asking if a piece fits or not, suits you or not. We are actually sorting through our life experiences and many of our own thoughts.
At this time it’s also customary in the Konmari method to say, “Thank you” to the pieces you will give away. Journaling can help you brainstorm how to thank each piece separately, or you can thank them at once for helping you grow into the person you are now. Thank the pieces in the way that works best for you.
I recommend that you take a day to do this for yourself and your mind. The best thing about the Konmari method is pulling out all your clothes, putting them on your bed, then truly asking yourself what sparks joy. Don’t let your brain judge, but your heart. And remember to thank the items for helping you change over time.
Good luck with your wardrobe
Translation with the help of Ellie Farrier