Have you ever stood in front of your closet and thought, “I have nothing to wear?” You are in good company if you answered yes. I have a theory about why this is so prevalent. And, I must thank Marie Kondo and Chriselle Lim for this epiphany and argument in favor of asking, “Does this spark joy?" Adding to that question, “If not, why not?”
This morning I was re-reading an article in Darling Magazine-Issue 7 written by Chriselle Lim. Her article, “Paper Doll” inspired a circuitous thought bubble as I contemplated my own challenges with curating my closet and outfits over the years. Chriselle notes a few key guidelines in her article. Her second key point, “Focus on your favorite object,” was meant to inspire the reader to begin building an outfit with a favorite item.
My ADHD brain went into overdrive considering the connection between the pitfalls of retail therapy and curating a closet of clothing we love to wear.
One possible reason many garments, shoes, and accessories don’t spark joy for some of us, is connected to our reason for making those purchases in the first place. Think about it. If you initially purchase something to soothe or validate yourself, is it possible you hesitate later to continue using that item, unknowingly, because it triggers negative feelings?!
I know this to be true for myself. I used to LOVE shopping! But my closet was filled with many garments that were just a little bit snug because I would only purchase clothes when I felt good about my body. Those clothes mocked me every time I saw them. And, I would no longer feel good about myself. I felt like I had almost nothing to wear in a sea of beautiful garments. Retail therapy as a reward system has its drawbacks, as I learned. At the end of the day, I still need clothing that is comfortable, fits well, and suits the body I have right now.
Purchasing something when I feel angry or sad is almost always regretted. Admittedly, retail therapy, feels good, but only in the moment. Later, I am reminded of the negative event and usually return my purchase unworn. If it cannot be returned or a small part of me really does like this item or finds it useful, I spend time reframing reasons for keeping it so that it brings me joy going forward. If I cannot find a positive spin, I give it away and consider this episode of retail therapy another difficult lesson learned.
If we are making purchases without considering the financial implications, even when we love something at the time of the purchase, it may become a negative reminder of an impulse that added to our financial woes. And, that is a good enough reason to reconsider the purchase and reinforces my theory that retail therapy doesn’t always bring the lasting joy we seek.
In my twenties, I LOVED earrings. Since, I wore scrubs to work every day, earrings were the only accessory I could wear that brought a little whimsy or personality to my outfitting. I treated myself to a new pair every month or so and enjoyed wearing each and every pair! My choices were mindful and deliberate, and their cost fit my budget. There was no negativity attached to them.
I don’t wear earrings as often any more. My style and taste have changed. So, letting go of most of my earring collection was really quite easy. It served me well for a long time and is now making someone else happy.
Perhaps, Marie Kondo really IS on to something when it comes to curating the contents of our homes from a place of joy. If we make mindful choices, choices that are needed, wanted, and/or bring us joy, then seeing and using what we bring and keep in our spaces will be more likely to foster less stress and more joyful living. And, that includes a curated closet that lifts us up.
I say, Amen to that!