I read this book and immediately wanted to get rid of everything I own.
(Half kidding… half serious 😉 )
I read it in one afternoon/evening… which included nap time and then a pause until after bedtime routine had finished. I was SO inspired!! And then I went to bed, woke up the next day and my resolve started to crumble… so I re-read bits, and got super fired up again!! (Like, Christmas-morning-is-happening-tomorrow-and-I-can’t-sleep, fired UP!)
I am not going to touch on ALL of the pieces that make this completely fascinating to me… but suffice it to say, Marie is Japanese and she has a unique approach to purging.
The goal is to purge your “stuff” until all that is left are items that bring you joy. (And even if the item may not bring you “happy-feeling joy”, its usefulness can bring joy… ie: vacuum, snow shovel, long-john underwear….)
There are 5 categories, and they are in a specific order to help you ease into severing unnecessary emotional attachment/obligation/guilt over parting with something you may not need/use/want or that doesn’t make you happy (or joyful) to own it. (Clothing, Books, Papers, Komono (NOT kimono-the clothing) [which are sub categories of “stuff” like children’s toys, craft supplies,or maybe your tea cup collection], and finally Sentimental Items… like photos.)
The other things she insists on for this process to be successful are: to gather EVERY SINGLE ITEM in the category, together in the same place, BEFORE you purge. AND it needs to be done in ONE go. (As opposed to choosing an item a day-for infinity.)
Now, I have two YOUNG children. So, I got one full day and a half (starting after dinner Saturday, cause Darling Husband works that day), and then worked during nap time over the rest of the week. So, it took me about 7 days. It was my focused goal when I had time, and it was done as quickly as I could have done it.
Anyway, I gathered every stitch of clothing (minus my wedding dress and maybe 3-4 dresses my mom has sewed for me over the years) and shoes for every member of the family. (Which also, went against what Marie suggests… which is “do your own stuff first, then tackle your family’s stuff”… and I learned quickly why that would have been a better idea, because I got overwhelmed by the sheer number of items a few times!!)
She also recommends you dress up for the event! Nicer clothing than you’d normally wear to purge. (ahem– yoga pants and a t-shirt) The next picture is after a full day of wearing my dress, hair done, and make-up done… but I also added my Japanese apron (most of the homemakers in Japan wear these when they go to grocery stores or other household related errands). I do have to say, it definitely improved my mood!!
She also recommends silence or “white noise” so you can focus on what brings you joy… but music gets me PUMPED and helps me maintain my energy level!
I also made sure to turn on my Scentsy, and favorite scent… This also helped maintain my energy and helped me focus on the task at hand.
Because, when things are visually overwhelming… hearing and smelling should be senses that can relax!
Oh my goodness.
There was barely enough room to make sorting piles. My husband and I slept on the sofa-bed in the living room all week… ’cause, well, look at it…
Fun memory, the pile of “joy” that I kept on the first round, was still so big, that I went through it again and halved it. And REALLY tried to pinpoint the “joy” that Marie talks about. (Was I excited at the thought of getting to wear it??)
Marie also “talks” to the house before a purge. To let it know what she is going to do that day.
My house, while a blessing, isn’t who I chose to talked to.
I just prayed. I prayed to not be overwhelmed. I thanked God for the blessing of this stuff, and the needs the stuff met during different seasons. And I prayed for wisdom and discernment for when I would get rid of things… that it would be purposeful and not cause any future regret.
Marie also says that you need to touch each and every item (and even hug it) to see if it brings you joy. I touched them, but mostly because I wanted to feel fabrics. I generally knew by sight if the item brought me joy. I found myself becoming very aware of a smile that would spread over my face if it, did indeed ,sparked joy!
And yes, some of that joy was “oh! I wore this shirt when __________ happened!” which is why you also consider practicality (will I ever ACTUALLY wear this again??) and functionality (when it snows next winter, long-johns will keep me warm… and I only have the one set).
I purged the rest of my maternity stuff that week. And that was hard. They are just clothes, but it is a season of life that I am definitely passed and won’t be returning to. (Barring a divine miracle- I always feel the need to add that, just in case…) They served their purpose, and I wouldn’t be wearing them again… and someone else was going to be able to use them again.
So they went into a “give-a-way” pile.
Marie also says that you should thank every item you intend to get rid of. I really found that strange initially (and I DID NOT do it for 98% of my stuff)… but then when I got to my maternity stuff, there was one shirt I actually thanked-out loud-as I got a little teary…
And no. It wasn’t because I believe that shirt has feelings. (Ask me how I feel when we get to the stuffed animal purge though…) It was closure for ME. It was ME, verbalizing out loud what I already knew was true in my head… it was time for the shirt to go. And somehow… that closure made it easier!!
I went to bed completely happy and “lighter” feeling. The stuff had been weighing on me… and I hadn’t even realized how much!
Tried the dressing up thing again… it really truly made a difference for me!!! (The hat was something I’d forgotten I had, but was so excited to find it!! My sister made it!! Definitely something that brings me joy!)
I parted with quite a few things that I’d never been able to part with before. High School homecoming dresses (from ALL 4 YEARS!!!), a choir dress, and a multitude of too big, or too small clothes that I have no idea why I bought… because it would depress me to wear them!! I EVEN finally got rid of old high school t-shirts I’d used for painting/home renovation projects. I took pictures of them all… kept a couple that were in good shape, and then trashed the rest.
And I even purged baby clothes…ALL of the outgrown ones (newborn-12 months)…. some to be donated, some to be sold, and some to be turned into a quilt.
(Oh my goodness… holding a newborn outfit that your babies wore, will make you want to have more babies… just so it can be worn again!!!
Which is insane.
So, just add that to the PILE of EMOTIONS I was also sorting through… 🙂 But not to worry, I am completely sane again, and very happy and at peace with the completeness of our family!)
Oh. My. Goodness.
This is: one bag of shoes, one bag of legit TRASH clothes, one bag of my husband’s stuff, and the rest were mine and the girls’. This photo is missing the large box of maternity stuff we were able to send to a loving home…
The black trash bags held about two kitchen garbage bags worth… so total, I’d say this is about 22 kitchen garbage bags worth of stuff.
I’ve never felt so free!! And because all of the clothes we currently have bring me/us joy… laundry doesn’t seem to be as much of a bummer (OR pile up as high, or take as long to do!!) anymore! 🙂
Books are next!!!