Chances are you’re familiar with Marie Kondo by now, the thirty-year-old decluttering queen from Japan who shot to fame stateside for her game-changing book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. With two million copies sold worldwide and a seemingly endless slew of articles about her unique organization method, often referred to as “Kondo-ing, “ Kondo has seduced us all with her tips for a simpler lifestyle that results in less stuff and more joy.
So when The New Yorker recently spent the day with her at Anthropologie to receive a primer on mindful shopping, we were beyond thrilled! As ladies surrounded by the coolest new items on the market, it can be tough to reel in our spending habits and to know if we’re actually making smart choices. The items sitting in our closets untouched seem to indicate that our process needs work, and who better to guide us than Marie Kondo?
If you'd like to step up your shopping smarts, too, scroll down and find out what’s required!
Aimless shopping is a no-no. You should only approach a store (or website) when you need something specific, and it's important to visualize your ideal version of that item before you begin to avoid settling for something subpar or buying something totally different.
Most of the items you buy belong in one sphere of your life, but not necessarily the other. Think work vs. play clothes, and the like. Make sure to assess what sphere you'll be wearing the new item in most, because that will help dictate your choice. Otherwise, you may end up with pieces that are too tight or short for the office, or "casual wear" that's actually pretty high-maintenance.
Just like Kondo advises for her house-cleaning method, it's important to touch everything you might buy. Potential purchases should spark joy and excitement when you feel them, and if they don't then they're not worth your money.
As mentioned above, the items you end up buying should spark joy. This means they should get you excited, about wearing them and about life, and that they should be free of any negative associations. Thus, you should avoid anything that makes you feel bad about yourself, is uncomfortable or that brings up bad memories from your past.
Despite the title of her book, Kondo does not want you to employ magical thinking whilst shopping. This means that if an item isn't available in your size, you should ignore it completely, rather than trying to make it work in a less-than-ideal way.
You want to make the smartest, most-informed decision possible, and the best way to do that is to evaluate everything the store (or website) has to offer. Though it may take longer, be sure to check out the entire space (or product line-up) so that you don't miss out on anything that's more in line with what you want.
When shopping is done as a social activity, it becomes too easy to slip into careless purchasing habits. And, if you follow Kondo's steps, it will be treated more like a mission than a fun way to while away the day. By not bringing anyone else with you it'll be much easier to stay focused on your goal.
More than just ignoring anything no longer available in your size, as mentioned above, Kondo wants you to cherish your body as it is. By learning to be more confident and comfortable in our own skin, we're less likely to make emotional purchases that aren't grounded in reality.
Kondo believes that if you wait too long for an item to go on sale, you're likely to end up missing the opportunity to buy the right size since sales tend to happen only when there are slim-pickings. To ensure that you only buy what fits you well, buy any items you love now rather than later. You'll get more wear out of them and save money on tailoring if they fit right off the bat.
Last but not least, you should only buy what you feel you HAVE to have. If there's any ambivalence or uncertainty about an item, you should definitely leave it behind. Shopper's remorse is very real, and you're much less likely to experience it if you only buy the items you know you need and instantly love.
Sam & Lavi Garden Patch Pencil Skirt ($148)