I am moving out of my NYC apartment. In 1 week. While moving across the country and away from the life I love so much in New York is incredibly difficult, this post isn’t about that. This is about the life-changing magic of tidying up.
A girlfriend of mine handed me this book by Marie Kondo when I told her about my fast approaching move. In my years of NYC living, I had somehow accrued so much stuff. Most of it, absolute crap. Forever 21 tops from 2015, books I never finished, drawer(s) filled with - oh god just close it. I had so many things and for some reason, such a hard time parting with any of them. Yet, now I had to. There's just no reason 4 half used shampoo bottles need to come with me to the West Coast…
The first half of the book dealt with the art of getting rid of stuff, which is exactly what I needed. To summarize the Kon Marie method in 3 sentences: First, divide your belongings by category (ex: tops) and place every item you own in that category on the floor. So think every top, from every closet, from every storage bin you own, regardless of season, goes on the floor. Next, you take each item in your hand, one-by-one and ask yourself this simple question: “Does this bring me joy?” The key to this whole thing is, you’re not throwing things away, you're deciding what to keep. “woooah”
The book warned, when you start to feel a tinge of attachment to an item that doesn’t necessarily bring you joy anymore, you should ‘thank the item for at one time serving a purpose for you, but acknowledge that it does not serve you anymore’. I read this and immediately thought, “LOL whaaaaaaat?’ I could picture myself having a conversation with a pair of socks and scoffed at the thought. But then I got to tossing.
When I laid my first category (dresses) on the floor, the initial tosses were easy. That one has a red wine stain Sarah, good god. That one definitely doesn’t fit, and eww is that tulle? But as I moved through the items, it began to get harder. I held a little black dress I bought a few years back. At the time, it was out of my price range and I justified my purchase by wearing that thing everywhere. From work events to Fashion Week, to first dates… that thing had seen some shit. But it had faded and shrunk from hundreds of washes. Sighing, I clutched the dress, “Dress. Thank you for serving me. You gave me so much joy, and you have fulfilled your purpose in my life. It is time to move on”. I placed the dress in my donation pile. Holy shit. It worked! It sounds so fucking stupid to say out loud, but I had closure. It was easy to move on without guilt or indecision.
I continued through the process, thanking and letting go of the items that had served me throughout my twenties. Things that had been there for the wild nights, the hard times, the memories. Then I looked at my apartment. This tiny, 4th-floor walk up I had found at the age of 26. I remembered moving in and sitting on the floor when it was still completely empty. I had spent my very last dime on the security deposit and remember welling up and thinking “I’ve done it. Everything I've worked for since I was 15 years old was to get me to this place."
I looked around these four walls before placing my hands firmly on the ground. “Apartment. Thank you for serving me. You have given me so much joy through the years, and you have served your purpose in my life. It is time to move on.”
If you have something in your life you need to let go of, maybe its a pair of jeans, a friendship, a job, a relationship... I encourage you to try this method. Rather than focusing on the negative, why not thank them? They were in your life because at one point, they brought you joy. Thank them for serving a purpose in your life, then let ‘em go.