What happens after the #Kondo purge?

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You survived the Kondo-ing of your possessions and it’s the first day of the second month of the new year.  If you live in the Midwest or the Northeast, you are wondering, why on earth did I get rid of my favorite heavy sweater?  I am freezing! Not to say, I told you so, but…

The Marie Kondo Method, although it is appealing, is a fad.  And like all fads (the Keto diet, platform shoes, bright blue eyeshadow, ice showers) it is popular in the here and now and it works for some of us and not for others.

Don’t get me wrong. We all have too much stuff!  I will say this again. We all have too much stuff. But there are more efficient ways to live with and consume a great deal less, without feeling like we are being deprived or like our possessions are overwhelming us and our space.  

Every time I look at an Instagram photo I am struck by mega closets that house a hundred pairs of shoes, sixty bags, sweaters galore, not to mention pants, dresses, jackets, hats, etc., in numbers fit for Kate and Meghan.  Seriously! No one, and I mean NO ONE needs that much stuff! The Real Housewives of Sillyville are just that, SILLY! And rather disgusting! OK. You can send me whatever hate mail you wish, but again, what kind of values are we encouraging? Teaching our kids to buy, own, to covet is sending the wrong message.  And it’s fiscally and environmentally irresponsible. At the beginning of the year we should be figuring out how to save money, save the environment, give back to the planet and to those less fortunate (without overwhelming thrift stores and charitable organizations so they are forced to dump the excess into landfills), and that in itself should absolutely “spark joy.”  And yes, if you need new underwear and socks because you have holes in them, by all means, go out and buy a few pairs, but recycle the old ones or use them for rags around the house.

I think we can all approach life after decluttering with a little more mindfulness and consume a little more consciously.  When shopping, consuming, and purging, think of these tips as you go along:

  • Use what you have first.  You will be amazed at the items of clothing, household goods, art supplies, furniture and storage equipment that actually is in wonderful shape and fits.  
  • Borrow the things you need to use infrequently.  I don’t know about you, but I haven’t needed a fish poacher terribly often, and my neighbor actually has one and is happy to let me borrow it when I am in need for a party.  Same goes for that evening gown I will only ever wear once in my life. If I can borrow from a friend, perfect. If not there are companies like Rent the Runway which will let you rent a frock for a few days without a long-term commitment).
  • Swap for items you use regularly.  I need something that you have more often than not, and vice versa.  Let’s swap. Take good care of said items and then swap back.
  • Thrift for items you use seasonally.  Other than Christmas cards, which can be used for art projects when they have been used, there are loads of seasonal items that people unload in thrift stores that you can buy cheaply which will work for all of your holidays, and if you care for them, can be thrifted again for someone else’s thrift purchase.
  • Make the things that nourish you.  Here we get into food, health care, beauty care and a whole bevy of goodies.  My daughter just made me the most delicious body cream and it was as good as anything I would have spent tons on in a department store.  The same goes for baked goods, candles, oils, etc.
  • Finally, buy the things that are left.  There are going to be things that you just can’t find in a thrift store, or borrowed from someone else, or made from scratch, and that is ok.  But you will find that your spending will have decreased dramatically, your spending will have become more thoughtful and each purchase will have significance, and meaning.  Each item will spark joy.

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