After landing an article in the New York Times and selling 5 million books, the chances are that you have already heard of Marie Kondo. Her fervent belief is that lives can be changed drastically simply by tidying up your house in a specific way. But if this recent addition to the self-help shelves (albeit self-help with a difference) has escaped your notice, then here is her message in a very small nutshell – tidy by category and only keep things that “bring you joy”.
Kondo is the guru of tidying up – a Japanese consultant with a three month waiting list of people who are eagerly awaiting her visit to their homes to help them declutter for once and for all. But you don’t have to live in Japan to benefit from her revolutionary approach – “the life-changing magic of tidying up” is readily available online or in bricks-and-mortar stores and many of the 369,000 online hits are dedicated to distilling her message.
But how does this link to sustainable fashion? Reading Kondo’s book reinforced for me what I already knew - that I had too many clothes - and reminded me that I wasn’t happy with where many of them came from. Putting everything in a particular category on the floor and finding that, shock horror, I DID have over 100 tops was an eye-opener. Picking up each article in turn, asking if it brought me joy and recycling it if it didn’t reduced my clothing stock to the point where I no longer need to store off-season clothes in another room – a bonus when the NZ weather is being its usual fickle self, with 29 C one day and 16 the next! It also cleared my mind along with my wardrobe – cheap and unsustainable clothes featured heavily on the recycle pile whilst well-made, timeless classics that keep on giving now have more room to breathe on their hangers (or stacked vertically in their neat folds – google Konmari to see what I mean, try it and be converted!) For me, the follow-on from “Konmari-ing” my clothes and accessories is that all future purchases will need to spark joy, joy that comes from knowing that my clothing comes from a sustainable source and that it fits with what is already in my wardrobe.
Since I have not yet tackled categories two-to-five (books, papers, miscellany and sentimental items), I am still to experience my life being changed beyond measure… But if the freedom that has come with getting my clothes into order is anything to go by, then maybe the magic has already begun…