Last year I finally succumbed to reading the book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying” by Marie Kondo. I took it on holiday with the thought that I would be fully converted and on arrival in the UK would start ‘detoxing’ my wardrobe and live in a state of zen for ever more. For those of you who haven’t been ‘enlightened’ yet, this is the bestselling guide to clearing your possessions down to only the ones that matter or bring you joy, and then your life, mind and of course your home, will be uncluttered and peace will return to your life.
I read it on my sun lounger but instead of seeing the light I came away with a feeling of sadness. I felt for the author who had spent her whole life (even as a child) sorting, clearing and tidying rather than playing, climbing trees, arguing with siblings, you know – those things that childhoods should be filled with.
I didn’t rush home to detoxify my wardrobe. Instead it has left me prouder of my collection and home than ever. And it made me want to enjoy it.
Now I have A LOT of clothes.
Let me explain what this means – I have a coat cupboard, a jacket cupboard, a large dress cupboard and a double wardrobe with tops, knitwear and skirts (I own very few pairs of trousers.) I also have stacking boxes under my spare bed of clothes that I haven’t worn for a while or vintage items that need mending. I did tell you that I have a lot! I am lucky to be the same size that I was twenty years ago so I can still wear the pieces that I loved in the 1990s (those things that are of course back in fashion now). I love vintage but also some modern fashion, most of which are second hand and anyone that enjoys thrifting will know you can amass a lot.
Kondo tells us that you should only keep clothing that “brings you joy”. I agree you should choose clothes that make you happy and feel confident, but what about the practical? If I pull out a skirt I want a black top to wear with it – now I may want a tight one, a long sleeve one, a vest top, a polo neck – you get the picture. I am not saying you need to go out spending but if I have these why would I want to throw them away because they “don’t give me joy”?
And what happens if it all brings me joy? Every. Last. Piece of it.
I love a bargain so it can be hard to walk away from a beautiful vintage dress in a charity shop that happens to be your size. (Check out my guide to finding vintage in charity shops ) But if you can afford it and can justify it, then why not get it?
I can always resell it in the future if I change my mind. I’m not promoting hoarding either, I do give away to charity shop sometimes when I need the room as I do like to keep organised.
My blouses are colour coordinated in the wardrobe, my underwear is grouped in sets which then helps me to choose what to wear and accessorise myself. But I disagree that to rock your own look and have greater confidence that you need to detoxify your wardrobe.
It is also ok to have some mess – if you look at my Instagram feed you will see that I like to be tidy, everything has its place but if I don’t put my car keys in the vintage bowl in the hall it is ok! Living with my husband and two children I know that I couldn’t live like Kondo wants – and guess what? Most people don’t live on their own so it’s a tad unrealistic.
As we live in a world of perfect flat lays and curated lifestyles, and are being told years after the book was written that this is the way to make everything perfect I want to say:
Life will get in the way.
And with recent tragic events in the UK and around the world this has never been so poignant. Let’s not spend our lives detoxing our wardrobe and go and meet some friends, have a drink, have a laugh. Be organised if you want, don’t be organised if you want but for god’s sake don’t worry if your wardrobe is bursting at the seams. Just pull out your favourite dress, rock some cool wedges and go have fun.
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