Reverse Retail Therapy, Marie Kondo Style

If you’ve been through a Marie Kondo tidying process, or seen others go through it on Netflix, you may have been surprised at the strong emotions that the system evokes.

I know I was when four years ago I followed the method that Marie Kondo details in her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. After dumping all the clothing I owned in a dresser-high pile on the bedroom floor, I began a two-day process of evaluating everything. I picked up each item, examined its condition, asked myself whether it sparked joy, and then decided to either keep it or give it away.

If I decided to give it away, I first thanked it for the role it played in my life, whether that was bringing me joy or teaching me what does not spark joy. The process brought back decades of memories and stirred a range of emotions, some happy but many unpleasant, and led me to donate or discard over 90% of my clothes.

Spend Less, Feel Better

While tidying my clothes was emotionally difficult at the time, it’s been well worth it. I’m reminded daily how much happier I am with my now-reduced set of clothes and how good they make me feel. Going through this process for clothes and other possessions has also had a lasting impact on my spending, as I’m sure it has for thousands of other Marie Kondo readers and viewers.

I’m far more careful now about what I buy. Having painfully reviewed hundreds of past purchasing decisions through tidying, I have a better sense of which things truly make me happy. I’m now far more aware of the emotions involved in spending money—before, during, and after a purchase.

So often we’re inundated with messages that buying more will satisfy or soothe us, yet for me, and many others, the opposite is true. The tidying process truly was magical and changed my life for the better. I recommend this reverse retail therapy for anyone interested in exploring ways to spend less and feel better about what you own.

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