Friday ReBlog: Decluttering by Color

Janice over at The Vivienne Files is doing a two-parter on decluttering, and her first method is based on color. (No surprise given she’s a master at building capsule wardrobes based on color palette!)

It’s worth the read-through on your own, but a few highlights that caught my interest:

“You’ve got to WANT to accomplish something – your own personal something – when you plunge into this process. If you’re currently perfectly happy with your wardrobe as it is, don’t do this; there’s nothing to be gained!”

I think where the impact lies in this great insight is not avoiding a cleanout when you’re happy with your wardrobe, but defining your “personal something” when you’re unhappy with your closet but don’t know why. No one wants to spend a lot of time and effort decluttering according to someone else’s rules or approach only to still be unsatisfied with the results!  Take a few minutes to write down (or talk through, or Pinterest, depending on your style of learning) what you’d like to achieve from a closet makeover: a consistent color palette, a style refresh, to end up with only clothes you thrill to wear, etc.

That brings us to her second observation I want to engage:

“With all the respect in the world to Marie Kondo, I’m NEVER going to feel joy from a black tee shirt, but having a handful of them is really important to being well dressed, in my life.”

I don’t particularly care about defending Marie Kondo, but I do think (depending on your personality and style) that it’s possible to have an entire wardrobe composed ONLY of things you love – right down to your knickers. (Maybe underwear’s especially important in this category since only you will see it, but it can brighten up your whole mood to know you’ve got Animal underpants on under an otherwise somber or formal ensemble!)

An undershirt I thrifted at one point comes to mind. No one was ever going to see it, since it was designed to be worn as a base layer.  But it was made of the softest Pima cotton, and it felt luxurious every time I put it on.

My point isn’t to be dissatisfied with your wardrobe if your really practical pieces don’t “spark joy,” but to encourage you not to settle if you feel rather “blah” about a practical piece – it’s scratchy, worn out, cheap, doesn’t fit quite right… There’s likely an alternative out there just waiting to be thrifted that will give you, if not joy, a little more pleasure when getting dressed.


What are your thoughts on making sure you have figured out your raison d’être before decluttering, or about having your mundane pieces “spark joy”?  Scroll down to comment!


2 thoughts on “Friday ReBlog: Decluttering by Color

  1. I wrote this on janice’s original post but I’ll say again here that I think that a wardrobe basic that is comfortable and does its job well is totally compatible with the idea of sparking joy. In fact appreciating the joy that comes from objects that are reliable and well suited to their function has been one of the really transformative aspects of Kondo’s method for me.

    The funny thing is that the advice to know why you are undertaking a closet edit before you do it is EXACTLY in line with kondo’s method. She suggests that before you start tidying you envision what your ideal lifestyle would look like. (I admit, this seemed like hokum to me and I kind of skipped over it…though I realized the other day that actually I do know my “reason” for tidying and in fact it’s been there all along.)

    1. Thanks for chiming in here, too, Sarah! I hesitate a little around envisioning the life you want because so much closet clutter comes from clothes for the life you wish you had rather than the one you do have, and it’s an easy trap to fall into if you’re not used to parsing the two. But I agree with the spirit of it that you mention – find a life-giving, positive reason to reshape your closet and you’ll find motivation and joy in it rather than guilt and handwringing (or misdirected choices).

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