The magic of Marie Kondo has been going around again like fairy dust thanks to the new Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo and people ask me “what do you think of all of this?” They know that after a decade of doing Subtraction Projects I LOVE all things that help people simplify and get to live the lives they want to live and here’s what I think: If it works for you, fantastic….but it’s not for everyone.
Here’s my story:
One day I emptied the entire contents of my closet, my dresser, the storage containers for out of season clothing, everything on to my bed. (As I was directed) I felt no joy in this process. I would pick up an item and struggle – did this bring me joy? It was a lot to ask of a sweater that I purchased a decade earlier. I liked it, I think. I didn’t wear it as much as I thought I would, but I’m not really in the business of asking a sweater to make me feel joy. I set the sweater down. I went to get a glass of water and closed the door.
I slept in the guest room for three nights. I wasn’t opening that Pandora’s box of a bedroom. No way.
I think it was an episode of Oprah that inspired this action. It had a “deal with it once and for all” note to it. But that’s not what happened. After those three days on a guest mattress designed to encourage weekend-only guests, I hastily moved all of the Stuff back to where they had taken up space before my uninspired action. No progress made. Defeated.
This effort highlighted something important and something I’ve built into our journey of Subtraction Project: you didn’t get all of this Stuff in a day, over a single weekend, or in the last year. Let’s give ourselves permission for this to take as long as it takes while feeling joyful in the journey.
This isn’t a blank permission slip to procrastinate but it is an invitation to let this process feel great and highlight the happiness that can be triggered from that Stuff you like being within reach.
The 3 Things To Do When Your Closet Kondo Attempt Has Failed
- Put it all back. I know, this feels hard because you had every intention of dealing with this stuff. The reality is life will be even more overwhelming and chaotic if you leave it all out until you can “deal with it” because that mythical time will be “tomorrow” a day that never actually arrives as it always exists out there in front of you.
- Make a move towards progress. Grab a grocery bag and put on a favorite song and fill the bag with things from your closet that you can let go of with ease. You’ve got some things you KNOW you will not ever wear again, create the momentum of forward progress. “But it’s not enough!” you may lament. Tell that inner voice this: It will be. One day, after many days of forward progress you’ll be able to say “there, that’s better.”
- Make a commitment. Repeat the grocery bag challenge every day (or each Friday) until you reach the “there, that’s better” point. Need outside accountability? Share the success on social media and tag #subtractionproject to get cheered on by others on the same journey.
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