As you may know, I am in the throes of a “Year of Mindfulness.” This commenced in August and since then I have taken several mindful steps. I had an amazing unplugged week in nature, I used the Konmari method in my daughter’s room and in my sons’ room. Then I got addicted to discarding and hit my kitchen. (I even imposed my Konmari ways on poor Megan as she edited her closet.) I started a new thrifting budget and came in under budget in August! I challenged everyone to avoid fast fashion this Fall and recently shared more insight into why fast fashion should be a concern for anyone wearing clothes. I finished doing my 5th round of Whole 30 last week! I’ve started doing and leading a Bible study, concluded my summer by reading my 20th book and have read 3 more so far. I am back into the swing of work and have tentative plans to start swimming with a friend in October. I recorded a podcast and had the chance to talk all about my mindful plans! Phew! It seems like mindfulness endeavours are self-fulfilling which is good news for me and anyone else considering taking some mindful steps!
BUT what I’m here to share today is something you’ve all been waiting for: THE GREAT KONMARI OF THE SPIRITED THRIFTER’S CLOSET! This is going to be epic so grab a coffee (or wine depending on the time of day), settle in and get ready to share an intimate look at my closet and my Konmari process. Let’s start with an amble through my closet before I started…
So. In Marie Kondo’s book, she recommends going through clothing in a specific order which I followed over the course of a couple of weeks: tops, bottoms, clothes hung (dresses, coats), socks/tights, undies, bags, accessories, clothes for events then shoes. Let me warn you, there is a STORM before the calm. It is inevitable. I made sub-categories for tops and went through tank tops, then t-shirts, then long sleeve shirts then my hanging shirts by colour section. I might have discarded more had I done everything at once and put it all in one mountainous pile, but it simply wasn’t realistic for the time and energy I had available.
I have a sad interlude at this point. I neglected to take photos of my shoes!! (I was doing Whole 30, un-tempered by chocolate or wine, what can I say.) Instead please accept my testimony that I had a LARGE bag of shoe donations when all was said and done. I said goodbye to my green pointy flats and every other pair showing signs of wear along with many that hurt my feet. I kept irreplaceable pairs like my floral flats and my Robert Clergerie and my beloved Ferragamos, and as was the theme for my Konmari, I discarded any pairs that I hesitated over even if they were “good” shoes, like my El Naturalistas. My shoe collection now fits comfortably in my closet and front hall closet and I even have room for a few more pairs so I better go thrifting ASAP.
When you do Konmari, expect to have A LOT of bags and boxes to donate! You can donate in-store at any Value Village and they recently opened Donation Drop Spots in Edmonton area.
Now, I’m going to share some insider information because this isn’t even on the Value Village website yet. There are SEVEN Donation Drop Spots throughout Edmonton with donations at each one supporting different local non-profits, and here are the addresses:
- 18715 Stony Plain Road NW, Edmonton, AB T5S-2X6 (supports Inclusion Alberta)
- 14915 Stony Plain Road, Edmonton, AB T5P-4W1 (supports Cerebral Palsy Association in Alberta)
- Whitemud Drive & 17th Street, Edmonton, AB T6T-0B9 (supports Cerebral Palsy Association in Alberta)
- 99th Street & 23rd Avenue, Edmonton, AB T6N-1K7 (supports Cerebral Palsy Association in Alberta)
- 2331 66th Street, Edmonton, AB T6K-4B4 (supports Big Brothers Big Sisters of Edmonton)
- Terwillegar Road NW & Rabbit Hill Road NW, Edmonton, AB T2C-3Y5 (supports Big Brothers Big Sisters of Edmonton)
- 4005 Clover Bar Road, Sherwood Park, AB T8H-0M4 (supports Canadian Diabetes Association)
The Donation Drop Spots are open and staffed from 10am to 6pm daily but just FYI you can’t get a discount sticker card for donations made here like you can get in store.
Still, convenience is a huge factor in donating vs. throwing things out, and Value Village wants to make donating as convenient as possible.
Just like in-store donations, VV pays these nonprofit partners whenever community members donate goods to Donation Drop Spots.
Value Village has become one of the largest recyclers of used goods in the world, keeping more than 650 million pounds of reusable items from landfills each year. That’s pretty impressive and a good fit for anyone moving towards mindfulness and sustainability. Don’t throw things out; donate instead and help make our world a better place! AND, just because it doesn’t spark joy for you doesn’t mean it won’t spark joy for someone else. Au contraire! Marie Kondo says “set it free” and by donating, you’re doing just that!
If you’re like me, donating makes you want to shop! We are wired to fill the void – and you certainly can, but be mindful that what you purchase sparks joy! Luckily, Value Village has a HUGE selection – up to 10 000 new items placed on the floor daily, and somewhere in there, Mr. Style is sure to find long-enough pants and stylish sweaters. Right? Say yes.
I learned some valuable lessons in the Great Closet Konmari and I hope sharing this wisdom will be helpful to you too.
- I had to let go of the low cost-per-wear standard that I previously held. I kept things that didn’t spark joy, waiting for them to get to a dollar or less per wear (which is hard even for $5 items when you have, er, a substantial wardrobe).
- Would it be too bold to ask teachers everywhere to stop with the Mother’s Day gifts of jewelry? Pretty please?! I have enough guilt to contend with without explaining why I’m donating a macaroni necklace, and my kids don’t really care as long as they’re expressing their love. Consumable things are my new go-to for gifts, and I am encouraging others to do the same.
- Along the same lines, it is very hard for someone else to re-gift something to that sparks joy for you. It is an intensely personal feeling – even for 5-year-olds! – so think twice before passing something along without explicitly saying it’s okay for the other person to decline.
- Discarding is hard, but the more you discard, the more “wear time” you give for the remaining pieces. It’s less competition for the things you love to shine! So just do it!
- Konmari doesn’t aim to take away all the things you love just so you can have more room on your shelves. Konmari and minimalism are NOT about having less, they’re about loving what you have, then letting what you have inform your future purchases – in other words, it’s all about learning mindful consumerism.
I am doing the Konmari process throughout my household. Now that I’m done my closet, I’m working on outdoor spaces and then will tackle books, papers and “komono” – all the miscellaneous crap that clutters up my home. I’m still hoping to be done by Christmas! I thought I would feel tired or burnt out from decluttering and purging but on the contrary, IT IS INSPIRING! During the Konmari-ing of each category, you gain momentum to keep going. I can hardly wait to get going on the next category!!
What do you think? Any burning questions? Inspired? I hope so!