I’m due for another closet cleanout soon. It’s a daunting annual task and a humbling come-to-Jesus moment when I try on almost every item and ask myself three questions:
- Does it fit?
- Is it flattering?
- Is it right for my lifestyle?
I recently discovered that I was missing one crucial question: Does it spark joy?
Last week, I came across an article that described the organization secret of Marie Kondo, the author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. She suggests cleansing your home–in this case, wardrobe–by asking one simple question: Does it spark joy? If it doesn’t, simply thank the item for the role it has played in your life and move on.
Yes, it does seem pretty hokey at first blush. However, the more I thought about it over the past week, the more I found myself using it as a litmus test for purchases. And you know what? It has been freeing. Take the striped DVF dress, for instance. It had all the hallmarks of something I’d love. It’s striped. It’s by my favorite designer. It’s a dress. It’s well made. It fit well. However, something about it didn’t spark joy for me. I tried on another dress I ordered from Shopbop (which is sadly sold out, but you can find the maxi dress version here) and I was over the moon. I was giddy and I couldn’t wait to show Dave.
It sparked joy.
What I love most about this process is that it doesn’t suggest giving items the heave-ho if they haven’t been worn in a year (the usual closet cleaning mantra). If an item resonates with you, you’ll wear it again eventually. Maybe last year wasn’t the right time. Maybe the year prior wasn’t even the right time. Maybe this year will be.
It’s really about getting rid of the items that feel like an emotional burden, allowing your closet to be a joyful space. It brings emotion back to clothing. I don’t want to “curate” a closet (and God forbid I ever have a capsule wardrobe). I want my purchases to be joyful. If that means a hot pink dress one month and a boyish button down the next, so be it.