Ladies and gentleman, start your (Dyson) engines: Spring cleaning season is upon us. You now officially have an excuse to spend an entire Saturday going full KonMarie on your closets, kitchens, and bathrooms, but there’s one problem. No matter how much joy-sucking stuff you get rid of in honor of the season ahead, it somehow always manages to creep back in as the year goes on.
So how can you master the art of spring cleaning and parting with things and then live that existence 365? To find out, I asked Shilpa Shah, co-founder of Cuyana, the clothing and leather goods brand behind Marie Kondo’s first ever collaboration.
Cuyana was founded on the principle of “fewer, better, things,” which Shah believes can be applied to any facet of your life. “For us it’s not about minimizing and getting rid of stuff (though that might be the outcome of thinking this way) but it’s about approaching what you buy with intention and really valuing where those products come from,” she says. “It’s about making sure that it’s quality that lasts and that you fill your life with pieces that you love.”
Read on as Shah breaks down how to find happiness with “fewer, better things.”
Discover your POV
Before you dive headfirst into your shoe pile, stop and think about what you’re trying to achieve with what you own. “I think a lot of times when people immediately jump into cleaning their closets or getting rid of stuff, they make decisions on the fly,” says Shah. Instead, she says you should form a point-of-view to identify what’s really important to you. “Develop your own criteria for whatever that is and then your approach to cleaning can be about those things.”
Think “quality” over “quantity”
It may be tempting to load up on cheap, trendy pieces for your closet and your home, but we all know they always end up falling apart. “I think the one thing that we’ve really lost in the last generation or two is that we stopped knowing how things are made,” says Shah.
As you begin to question the quality of products and understand the supply chain, it can feel rewarding to have a period where you save up to later invest in something that checks all of the boxes for you. Be in tune with what you’re buying, whether it’s the clothes you’re filling your closet with or pillows you’re putting on your bed. While high quality doesn’t have to equate to a high price tag, doing research and knowing what you’re buying will help you love it more in the long run.
Design with intention
Your home should be functional and help you live your life to the fullest, so practice mindful design when it comes to your closet and your home. “You have to go back to your goals about how you want to live your life,” says Shah, who told me she recently had to contemplate the question herself. “We want an open home for our family and friends because we love having people stay with us… so we designed every room with that intention.” Figure out what you want to get out of your home, design it in a way that helps you meet those goals, and then get rid of all the excess throw pillows.
Ask yourself the important questions
When it comes to buying something new, or holding onto things you already own, Shah suggests asking yourself the following: How many different ways am I going to use this? Is it going to fit into my life in a way that is actually unique or intentional? Do I have something that already functions this way? If you can answer “yes” to all three, congratulations — you’ve picked a winner.
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