NYR 1902: “Get Organized.” Part 2: The Joy of Socks.

In last week’s post, I talked about our plans to Get Organized this year…

In 2019, we will tidy our condo using the KonMari Method, and will finish by the end of March.

The KonMari Method involves collecting your items by category, deciding which ones “spark joy,” and discarding the rest. In this week’s post, I’m going to talk about my approach to the first category: Clothes.

First, I gathered all my clothes:

Then I got to work identifying which items “sparked joy.” This is where things got weird. The book instructed me to take each article of clothing, hold it close, and decide whether it “sparked joy” based on how it made me feel. If it didn’t spark joy, I needed to thank it for its service, and put it in the discard pile.

Did I really do this? Why yes I did. And believe it or not, I think it helped.

The Purple Shirt

As I made my way through the pile, I came across a bright purple shirt that had sat in my closet for over six years. I maybe wore it once; when I picked it up, I didn’t feel anything other than annoyance at having bought something I never wore. I asked myself, why did I even buy this?

I bought it because of the color. I didn’t own a bright purple shirt at the time, so I figured it made sense to fill a gap in my color lineup. But I never wore it; it wasn’t very comfortable and didn’t really fit me, so I got rid of it. But before I threw it in the discard pile, I thanked it.

Yep, I picked up this inanimate object and said, “thank you, shirt, for teaching me that I shouldn’t buy a shirt just because it’s a color I don’t have.” It felt silly, but in a small way this exercise made me feel like buying the shirt wasn’t a total loss, and feeling that it had “served its purpose” made it easier to get rid of.

Shirts, sweaters, and pants actually went by pretty quickly. Where things got more difficult was with my “go-to”s, the clothes I wore all the time but never gave much thought to.

The Trusty Bathrobe

Ah, the trusty bathrobe. Often I’d put it on within minutes of coming home from work. Which was fine, except for those nights where I thought I was in for the night, but then I had to leave the condo to take out the trash or something. That’s when I’d be walking down the hallway and pass a couple going out to dinner at 6:30 on a Friday night, and meanwhile I’m waiving and smiling at them in my bathrobe looking like I’m lost and off my meds.

But as I picked the bathrobe up off the pile, it was hard to say that it “sparked joy.” I wore it so much I didn’t feel much of anything. However, eventually it did bring to mind one of my favorite activities: making waffles with my daughter on Saturday mornings.

This got me thinking of a concept that was recently introduced to me: the Hedonic Treadmill. The idea is that something that once made you happy isn’t as effective once it becomes “the norm.” You get used to it – and that’s kind of what had happened with my bathrobe. I decided to keep it, but now I try to only wear it on Saturday and Sunday mornings so that it doesn’t lose its charm.

As I moved past lounge wear, I noticed that more functional items, such as socks, were even more challenging.

The “Cool” Socks

Can I really expect to find joy in socks? I basically have two types: dress socks, and athletic socks. Going through my athletic socks, I realized that they came in a variety of colors, and that the darker ones in particular sparked less joy.

The dark socks brought to mind early mornings getting ready for the gym, and stumbling around in the dark trying not to wake up my family. Often I would get the dark socks mixed up with my dress socks. And I got a little spark of joy when I saw a pair of white socks because I could grab them and know exactly what I was getting. So why do I even own the darker athletic socks? I could only come up with one answer.

Dark socks are cooler.

Somewhere along the way, somebody made fun of me for my white socks or said something nice about my black socks. And now I’m in my 30’s and that feedback is still influencing my decision making. Ridiculous. I tossed all my dark athletic socks, and I can tell you it sparks joy when I pull open the drawer and see all of the white ones lined up on one side and the dress socks on the other, ready to go with no confusion.

Well if you’re still here and you thought that reading about how I organize my sock drawer was interesting, buckle up: next week we’re tackling two more categories: Paper and Books.

See you then!

2 thoughts on “NYR 1902: “Get Organized.” Part 2: The Joy of Socks.

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