There are some advantages to your husband leaving you out-of-the-blue… For example, the initial period of shock and sadness might bring side effects such as losing your appetite. The ‘divorce diet’, as I have come to know it! The downside of that (or maybe another upside?) is that your clothes begin to hang off you… until the point that a well-meaning friend tells you that you look like you’re wearing a sack, and suggests you buy some new clothes! (Thanks, Mrs G).
All of the above has happened. What was missing was the ceremonial ‘getting rid’ of the now too big clothes. Because lord knows I don’t want to put the weight back on. Cue the addition of ‘wardrobe weeding’ to my list of 50 things.
Originally, I had planned to engage professional help in this task. The idea of a ‘stylist’ helping me to identify ‘statement pieces’ and compile a ‘capsule wardrobe’ appealed to me. Nah, who am I kidding? I could do this myself and save a couple of hundred quid!
My inspiration to get started was that long-standing tradition known as ‘coffee with a friend’ – in this case, Sally. Like me, Sally is a serial investigator of self-help/self-development/ self-improvement books / programmes / gurus (please delete as appropriate). Her most recent discovery was Marie Kondo. The Japanese ‘tidying expert’. It appears there is a worldwide movement of ‘KM’ – people ‘KonMari’-ing their homes and experiencing the joy that order and tidiness brings.
Well, it was worth reading a few chapters of her book anyhow. And maybe it would give me the required impetus to rationalise my wardrobe. So, me and ‘Spark Joy: An Illustrated Guide to the Japanese Art of Tidying‘ started to get to know one another. There is a complete method to this stuff (still can’t bring myself to call it an ‘art’). Which, thankfully, starts with clothes.
So it came to pass that on 1st April I began the process of wardrobe weeding. According to my ‘guide’, what I needed to do was gather every single item of clothing I possessed from its home and into one place… Thus every drawer, shelf, cupboard, box was emptied unceremoniously onto my bed. What. A. Mess. I have to be honest, I didn’t know I owned so many clothes or shoes…
The next step (which was of my own devising rather than the guide’s) was to ruthlessly rid myself of anything that did not fit. Too big (lots), too small (thankfully few), into the charity bag without so much as a by-your-leave.
Next, according to the guide, each item should be held close to my body and I should gauge my reaction to it. If it ‘sparked joy’, you told it so, and it stayed… if it didn’t…well you know the drill.
There I stood, in front of my bedroom mirror. Yes. No. No. Yes.
A face appeared at my door. ‘What are you doing, Mum?’ ‘Sorting through my clothes,’ I explained, ‘seeing which ones I like or not.’ ‘But who are you talking to?’ ‘My clothes…’
Sounds so dumb. But there I was, as per Marie Kondo’s instructions, telling my clothes ‘YOU spark / do not spark joy’ as I consigned them to the retain or reject pile. Oh, and the small pile for ‘undecided’.
As I’m sure you can tell from the picture, this was no small task. I have to report that at the end of day one (and days two, three and four) I ended up sleeping in the spare room as I still hadn’t managed to clear my bed so that I could sleep in it. Creating the piles was one thing. Organising the drawers and wardrobes was quite another. Fast forward to the entire chapters on the art of folding and hanging appropriately…
Several trips to IKEA ensued, with the purchase of drawer dividers and storage boxes of differing dimensions. The theory behind the storage is that rather than pile items on top of one another so you have to rifle through the pile to find what you want, you store things like books on a shelf (or in a box), so that you can immediately see what you need. The folding takes some practice (and I have to question the sanity of folding my knickers…) but the end result is extremely pleasing to the eye. I have been encouraged by my dedication to keeping things in their place in the weeks that have followed the initial fervour!
And my wardrobe… well, the clothes are hung by length and colour, making the question of what to wear each morning rather easier to answer. And it definitely sparks joy 🙂
Might move on to chapter two some day…
[15 down, 35 to go]