Minimalist in DC

The Quest for Less "Stuff" & More Time

Tag: clothes

Spark Joy: KonMari & Organizing My Wardrobe

Marie Kondo has a new book out, Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up, that serves as a deep dive into the KonMari Method and aims to explain all of the questions left by her first book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I’m only a few chapters into it, but I’ve happily discovered that she does explain many of the confusing aspects that I’d wondered about after Life-Changing Magic.

 

On the Necessary Stuff that Doesn’t Spark Joy

For example, “What do we do with the stuff that doesn’t spark joy, but that we NEED (like a funeral suit or a screwdriver)?” The answer is keep the item, but thank it often for the service it provides. Appreciation helps you get over the fact that you dislike it — at least until you can replace it with something you love.

On Starting Over

I still haven’t finished discarding my sentimental items, but I’m starting to see new things creeping into the other categories (like that new T-shirt I got from work that I’m pretty sure doesn’t spark joy). I was starting to wonder if I had to start over. Kondo answers that question too and the answer is no. Keep going and when you organize you’ll naturally cull the new items that don’t spark joy. (Although, since I know that T-shirt doesn’t spark joy, I should probably walk right into my bedroom and throw it out right now.)

On Organizing Clothes

I liked how most of my shirts were organized in my closet, but I think Kondo is right about folding them. I was so inspired by her illustrations of how to fold clothes that I was dying to try it. So I did!

Spark Joy - KonMari Drawers

KonMari Drawers

Spark Joy

Folding my clothes DOES take longer and I’ve often found myself annoyed when I have a pile of them waiting for me. That feeling disappears when I get the clothes in the drawer. It is easier to pick them out because you can see each and every one. It is also a nice way to know when you’re accumulating too many clothes again. When the drawer feels stuffed, it’s probably time to consider whether everything in there sparks joy.

I thought this method might fall apart in a couple of weeks, but it’s been 1.5 months and I’m still using it. My underwear looks really nice all folded and lined up from light to dark. I actually have matching pairs more often than not because I can see all the options. (My husband likes that. Could that be one extra benefit to the KonMari Method that Kondo doesn’t mention in either book: improved marriages?!)

Have you organized your clothes KonMari style? How’s it going?

Why (and Why Not To) Shop at a Thrift Shop?

Halloween is here and this holiday is generally the only time I set foot inside a thrift shop to buy something. Despite my minimalism project, this past year was no different. I dropped stuff off at Good Will many times, but I wasn’t shopping there. However, my team at Opower decided to dress up as Minions for Halloween and I needed a pair of overalls to complete the ensemble.

Minion Costume

Minion Costume (w/o Overalls)

There is a thrift store near my house (Treasure Trove) that benefits the local INOVA Hospitals and my search for overalls was the perfect excuse to try it.

For being a place that sells random, unused items, Treasure Trove was refreshingly clean and organized. I quickly discovered that they didn’t have any overalls, but by that point I didn’t care anymore because I’d found the rack with my shirt size and was having a good time perusing it.

What’s so great about a thrift shop?

Brands

This store had some really good brands. People in DC spend a lot on clothing, but it’s nice to see their lightly used items being recycled! The shelves were filled with everything from Banana Republic to Calvin Klein to Loft (one of my favorite stores). Not everything was a gem, but there was enough for me to find about eight items to try on.

Quality

Everything was in really good shape. I found nothing that had stains, holes, or anything else that would suggest someone else once owned and wore these clothes. Some items were wrinkled, that’s about it.

Prices

Everything I took into the dressing room was between $7-$13, even the two sport jackets (Banana Republic & Ann Taylor). Not too shabby.

When not to shop at a thrift shop?

Don’t buy something at a thrift shop if you answer “no” to any of these questions:

  1. Is this versatile and well-made?
  2. Do you love it? Does it look great on you?
  3. Is this something you’ve been thinking about getting for a while?
  4. Do you have the money?

Even though the stuff is cheap, you still shouldn’t buy something you don’t need!

I got two shifts for $18.

Thrift Shop Finds

Thrift Shop Finds

I could potentially be hooked. Next time I need something, I know where I’m going first.

Have you found a good thrift store? Where is your favorite place to buy used?

How Minimalism Ruined Shopping for Clothes

MinimalismLast weekend, for the first time since I started my minimalism project in the fall, I realized that I had a legitimate reason to go shopping for clothes. After months of de-owning the items I don’t wear, like, or fit into and with the weather heating up, I was left with less than a week’s worth of short-sleeved shirts I could wear to work. I also had about $36 left on a Loft gift card that my brother-in-law had given me over a year ago. So, with a real need and some money, I gave myself a license to go shopping.

I went to the new Springfield Town Center mall to see what I could find. At several stores, I tried on shirt after shirt, a couple of capris and a couple of sweaters and I found nothing! Why is this so hard?

I’ll tell you! I have a new voice inside of my head that asks me really annoying questions:

  1. Does this look amazing on me? Do you absolutely love it? This gets rid of most items I tried on.
  2. Is this something you really need? Is this what you came here to buy? This got rid of more items.
  3. Is this significantly different from everything else that you have so as to justify buying it (when you could just wear what you have)?
  4. How often can you really wear this? How long will it last? If it’s something that I could wear every week or layer in every season and it’s good quality, it’s probably a good purchase.

That’s how minimalism ruined shopping for clothes and that is how I walked out of the mall on Saturday with just two items: a blue, plain tank top (which is great for wearing or layering) and a black cardigan to replace one of the most versatile and often-used shirts in my closet (the old one was missing several buttons and fraying along the sleeve edges).

I honestly wonder if I need to find a new set of stores. Most women’s fashion comes with an expiration date and to help you buy more clothing, stores make everything really thin and cheaply.

Any suggestions? Where do you shop for your clothes?

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