So I read this book called The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. You’ve probably heard of it (especially if you watched the Gilmore Girls revival), and boy, did it change how I looked at the things that I own.

The essential message of the book is: if it doesn’t bring you joy, let it go. If something has fulfilled its purpose for you, then you let it go.  I first read it a year ago now, and I gave away 6 trash bags bursting with clothes in a single day, and I’m a Taurus, which means I just really like things. Clothes. Books. Trinkets. Decorations. Everything. That, mixed with a splash of nostalgia, means I can’t get rid of anything.

I don’t know about you, but when I was little, I thought cleaning my room just meant putting things out of sight. I never learned how to purge the things I didn’t need or want anymore. I would dread cleaning day because it would take me hours and hours just to find a place to put every single toy or book or t-shirt. I literally broke the drawers on my dresser because I had too many clothes that I didn’t even wear. I just didn’t know how to give things away.

Needless to say, I am a terribly unorganized person. So much so, that when I was in 3rd grade, my teacher thought I would benefit from “PAC.” From what I can remember, this stood for “Personal Accountability Class,” and it was for the students who had trouble focusing or behaving: essentially, the bad kids. Shy, introverted Erika did not belong here, but she had no choice. I sat through several group-building activities that were supposed to test our focus but only tested my patience. Did this help my organization skills? Nope.

In 6th grade, I had a zip-up binder that I lovingly filled with dividers and pocket folders and an agenda I was determined to use. I had dreams about recording my assignments in the calendar with color-coordinated pens, keeping track of all my homework with the color-coded folders. I imagined myself thumbing through the dividers to the right spot on the first try. I had dreams, people. A few weeks into the school year, I couldn’t even fully unzip the thing because I had jammed it full of papers. The only way to access anything was to unzip the top, fumble around for a few minutes, and hope for the best.

Now, I have condensed my t-shirt drawer to 10 shirts, I have 3 pairs of jeans, and my closet is designated by clothing type. So when I tell you that it inspired me to get rid of most of wardrobe with very few regrets, you can believe me. (Although I’m still a little salty about getting letting go of my purple suede Puma knee-high boots.)

If it doesn’t bring you joy, let it go.