Marie Kondo’s best-selling improvement bible, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” has been captivating readers since hitting American bookshelves in 2014. Influenced by her youth in Japan, Kondo’s “KonMari” method advocates simplifying – and not just by chucking the contents of your hall closet – by identifying which of your possessions stimulate “joy.” Sensible yet seemingly impossible, the basic message is: keep what makes you happy; toss what doesn’t.
That’s generally good life advice for most of us.
Kondo’s smash hit on streamlining your closets (life?) heavily influenced me to pare down. A former clothes addict, I am now a proud “Konvert.” I used to store everything. This Missoni bag came from Italy. This gown I wore to Obama’s first Inaugural. I know you’ve never seen me in that – I only wore it once, but I’m not getting rid of it.
Every item had a pedigree, therefore I could justify cramming it in my limited city-apartment closets. One leather jacket for this, one leather jacket for that. I might wear that sweater; it’s cashmere. Those shoes I’m saving for the perfect outfit/outing.
But year after year, that perfect time never came, and those shoes moved from shelf to shelf, from apartment to apartment. My bedroom looked like a Bloomingdale’s, only Bloomingdale’s had less Vince.
I frivolously traded financial freedom for fashion. It was time to come clean.
Collecting clothes had a real price – I was swimming in credit card debt. Partially the result of some really fabulous travel, but bolstered by an out-of-control shopping addiction, I frivolously traded financial freedom for fashion. It was time to come clean.
So that’s just what I did. A trunk full of clothes went to a domestic violence shelter. Bag after bag went into the blue boxes. I tried my hand at local consignment (and proceeded to get ruthlessly ripped-off).
As a result, in December of 2014, édgérie on eBay was born. Nearly two years later, I have sold more than 250 items. Critics will argue that you never earn back the money you spent, and that’s certainly true, but misses the point. I have reaped great rewards. I’ve made some much-needed cash, learned a very tough lesson about Keeping Up with the Joneses, and developed a positive new hobby. While I may always buy waaaaaay too much, I’m trying not to shop, but to sell!
When asked if I ever regret parting with beloved items, the answer is an unequivocal, “no.” I like the concept finding a second life for items with new owners. It’s sustainable and brings me “joy.” The KonMari method at work.
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(Photo: édgérie. Michelangelo Pistoletto, “Venus of the Rags,” 1967, 1974. Hirshhorn Museum.)