I recently came across Marie Kondo’s work and her inspiring philosophy on how tidying up can transform your life.
As such, I went on a mission to implement her advice by de-cluttering my wardrobe (a task that was well overdue).
Since leaving the corporate world at the end of last year, I hadn’t quite considered this sort of cleansing ritual as a way to move forward with clarity and joy.
As I remember, my default instinct was (unfortunately) to first wallow in self-pity from suddenly finding myself jobless, to then lean on my family and call on God to save me from the worries I had about my financial future.
Five months into this new season in my life, I understand and have greater appreciation for the things I have that I once complained about.
The pressures of working in the commercial media environment, especially as a woman – with fashion, beauty, wealth and status at the forefront – had played on my subconsciousness and seeped into my lifestyle, regardless of how much I verbally resisted its whims and strived to rebel against the conformity.
I earned a decent living and spent my money without qualms, I was generous yes, but still excessive and indulgent, an avid (at times, obsessive) online shopper, enjoying the transient thrill of a superficial environment that teaches us that money can buy you everything you want, whenever you want it.
The entertainment and advertising industries at their very core, drive consumers to become materialistic, but even being on the inside, I’ve realised just how much I was manipulated to keep buying and wanting unnecessary things.
My recent wardrobe cleanse brought with it such truths, that the period in my life where I was earning a steady income and associating with people only at surface-level, detracted me from a deeper sense of self, one which I feel blessed to have the space and energy to re-connect with now.
As I pulled hangers and mounds of clothes out of my wardrobe and onto my bed, I was confronted with the ills of abundance; how one person could have so many options and still find cause to complain about the things she lacked in her life.
Clothes barely worn, some still with their tags, had been cramped within the confines of my wardrobe, many forgotten and neglected but most no longer with a purpose to serve.
Marie Kondo teaches a technique by which you hold an item of clothing in your hands whilst asking of it, “Does this spark joy?” A yes answer warrants the item’s safekeeping, a no however, requests you let the item go.
Although I did not perfectly abide by this method, the process of eliminating clothes based on how they made me feel was constructive and enlightening. I learned that in most cases, it wasn’t the clothes that were the problem, but rather, my body image and self-esteem. Insecurities about my weight, shape and features began to rise to the surface and it made sense to me then how my reckless spending was in fact a defensive tactic that allowed me to avoid confronting the real issues.
The finest clothes tailored to your shape can help mask insecurities, but will never eradicate them. Learning to feel good in your own skin, embracing who you are and what you look like, becoming the best versions of yourself, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually – this is what leads to true fulfilment.
Now without a steady income, I’ve realised that I can survive on very little and in fact, reap great rewards from what I already have.
Even after de-cluttering, I still have a wardrobe full of wonderful clothes that will get me through this new season of my life. They may not live up to current trends or propel me into the ethers of high-end fashion or popularity, but still they are symbols of a good and comfortable life; one that others in many parts of the world only hope to have.
A life of possibilities.