1836 U.S. Artillery Short Sword

Today, the center focus of our society is on the present. People often tend to worry about how the choices they make today will affect themselves and those around them in the foreseeable future. History, however, is the study of the past; it helps us comprehend the wealth of information about how people and societies behave and evolve over time. Always finding history to be a fascinating academic subject, I was thrilled to be given a unique opportunity to closely research an artifact from the archives of the Historic Huguenot Collection. Due to an interest in the Civil War era, the object I have chosen to explore is an 1836 U.S. Artillery Short Sword used by Union soldiers during this time.

Description and History

A full view of the 1836 Artillery Short Sword.

The U.S. Model 1836 foot artillery short-sword was the first sword contracted by the U.S. with the Ames Manufacturing Company of Chicopee, Massachusetts, with production starting in 1832. Despite there not being marking on this model from the manufacturer, evidence suggests that this short-sword derived from this company due to matching physical characteristics between this model and those produced during the Civil War era. The Ames Manufacturing Company was also a major provider of other side arms, swords, and light artillery for the Union during the American Civil War. With a whooping 16,200 models produced between 1832 and 1872, this weapon played a major symbolic role for artillery regiments during this time. Although the design was impractical for actual combat, it is alleged that artillerymen put this weapon to other uses, such as creating trails and clearing brush.

In terms of physical characteristics, the iconic design of this short-sword has remained relatively consistent throughout centuries. The first iteration of this design came from the Roman gladius, the standard sword of the Roman legionaries. Following the collapse of the Roman Empire, centuries later during the late 1700’s, neo-classical swords began to be revived in Napoleon’s France, and by 1831, the French army was issuing a short-swords centered on the gladius to its artillerymen as a backup weapon in the event they were charged by infantry or cavalry. Eventually, the United States were inspired and began creating their own in 1832.

A close of view of the hilt of the 1836 Artillery Short Sword from the Historic Huguenot Street Collection. The sword was donated in 1982 by Myra Wilkins and evidence suggests that her grandfather, William Ackermann, used this sword while enlisted in New York’s 10th Artillery Regiment which was stationed in Virginia. While not designed for actual combat, the weapon played a symbolic role in the events that occurred during the Civil War.
A close up photo of the tip of the 1836 model short sword from the Historic Huguenot Street Collection.

The U.S. model from our collection was a double-edged sword 25 inches long and was 1.75 inches wide. Moreover, the physical steel blade spans 19 inches with a small indent that runs down the middle, all with a corroded metal look due to length of time since its initial creation. Shifting to the lower part of the object, the sword has a 6-inch solid brass hilt and a 4-inch cross guard with a curricular design at each end. In addition, one of the most noticeable features is the fish scale grips that make up the hilt of the sword, along with the spherical pommel at the base of the sword with a faded image of an eagle.

Provenance

This artillery short-sword was donated to the Historic Huguenot Collection in 1982 by Myra Wilkins, an elderly resident of New Paltz. Mrs. Wilkins, who was born on January 31st, 1908, was 74 years old when she donated a vast array of weaponry to Huguenot street and would eventually pass away and be buried Union Cemetery of Lloyd years later at the age of 83 on the 15th of January, 1992. When analyzing the genealogy of the Wilkin family to determine if this sword was actually utilized during the Civil War, I came across Myra’s grandfather William Ackermann. Upon exploring enlistment records, I discovered an individual with the same name who served in New York’s 10th Heavy Artillery regiment. Although I can not say this with absolute certainty, but evidence suggests that Ackerman, who according to Census data from 1860 was 16 years old at the age of enlistment, served in New York’s 4th regiment which was eventually combined with other groups from New York into the 10th regiment that was listed earlier. According to historical records, the 10th regiment was mainly stationed in Virginia, the state with the highest slave population in the confederacy.

Narrative

The Civil War played a pivotal role in reshaping the status quo of contemporary America. Throughout the entirety of the states, the conflict truly divulged the horrors of war, racial discrimination and polarization. These effects were more than prominent in Ulster county which saw nearly 7,500 men, more than 200 of those from New Paltz itself, enlist for the war effort. As mentioned before, a majority of the soldiers who enlisted from New York eventually combined into the 10th regiment which saw most of their action in the confederate state of Virginia. Unfortunately, the Civil War was one of the bloodiest wars in American history and it is no surprise that many of these soldiers were unable to return home to their loved ones. Just from the 10th regiment, a staggering total of 267 died while serving in the military. What’s most shocking is that although this regiment fought in a total of five battles, 220 men died from disease while only a mere 47 were actually killed in combat.

Of the three million soldiers who served and fought in the Civil War, each represented a unique story waiting to be told. Although no two men shared exact same experiences throughout the conflict, whether their exploits in battle or their emotional state of mind, similar threads weaved their way through a significant number of these narratives. With nearly two-thirds of all enlistments being under the age of 21, Ackermann most likely included, the conflict not only became a test for survival due to gruesome and life-threating conditions, but also to the emotional narratives that ensued throughout their campaign.

A common misconception regarding the cause of enrollment is that Union soldiers fought to liberate southern slaves and Confederate soldiers fought to do the opposite. Unfortunately, evidence suggests that this was not what the soldiers during this time truly believed. During this conflict, Union soldiers fought in order to protect the United States and to reunite America. As a result, the underlying issue of slavery was often seen as a trivial issue by both sides of the war; for many, it seems, emancipation was not a prelude to equality.

Despite this, however, there were significant differences in the rights of African-Americans between those who resided in New York and those in Virginia. Within the former, slavery was officially made illegal in 1827, but in terms of representation, New York residents were less willing to give blacks equal voting rights. By the constitution of 1777, voting was restricted to free men who could satisfy certain property requirements for value of real estate. This property requirement disfranchised poor men among both blacks and whites. In spite of this, John Hasbrouck, born to an enslaved woman in New Paltz in 1806 and, later, as a freeman, was able to purchase land in the town. He is commonly believed to be the first African American eligible to vote in New Paltz.

Although African-Americans exhibited some rights in the north, slavery was still a strong issue throughout Virginia where Ackermann was most likely stationed. At first glance, one may think that Union soldiers would have stop to think about the cultural and socioeconomic differences between the north and the south, but to our dismay, that is not what occurred. Upon analyzing letters archived from the Historic Huguenot street, it can be seen that soldiers cared little about the lives or wellbeing of these individuals. The language of many of these letters suggested strong animosity toward the idea of equality, as many writers often resorted to dehumanizing names toward slaves they encountered.

Its important as a society to be able look back at these records and think about how much times have changed. During this era, even though there were different stances on the issue of slavery, it is undeniable that racism was heavily prevalent from both sides of the conflict. It’s no secret that Historic Huguenot street itself once owned a large slave population, and there are many items apart of its collection that continue to serve as a reminder of the past. In my opinion, I believe that the inclusion of this short sword has contributed an unprecedented amount to the nature of New Paltz’s history. This item in juxtaposition with old remnants of Huguenot Street’s early past help remind us how much we’ve progressed as a society and helps reiterate the demand for change in the near future.

Works Citied

Altschuler, Glenn C. “What the Troops Really Thought about Slavery.” Baltimoresun.com, 27 Oct. 2018, http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/bs-xpm-2007-04-15-0704130145-story.html.

Burgin, Chris. “Roman Weapons and Armor .” Roman Weapons and Armor, 2008, http://www.web.archive.org/web/20080105112407/http://www.eclectichistorian.net/Roman/.

Editorial Staff. “Exhibit: Freed Slave, New Paltz Landowner John Hasbrouck.” The New York History Blog, 12 June 2017, http://www.newyorkhistoryblog.org/2017/06/exhibit-freed-slave-new-paltz-landowner-john-hasbrouck/.

FamilySearch. “1860 Census Data.” FamilySearch, 2019, http://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:MCQQ-2WY.

Find A Grave. “William H. Ackerman .” Findagrave.com, 2019, http://www.findagrave.com/memorial/27427552/william-h_-ackerman.

Find A Grave. “Myra H. Gerald Wilkins .” Findagrave.com, 2019, http://www.findagrave.com/memorial/94069221/myra-h_-wilkins.

Historic Huguenot Street . “Civil War Letter Archive.” Hudson River Valley Heritage, 2019, http://www.hrvh.org/cdm/landingpage/collection/hhs.

Lanham, Howard G. “Enlisted Swords Model-1832 Foot Artillery Sword.” Union Army Uniforms and Insignia of the American Civil War 1861-1865, 2019, http://www.howardlanham.tripod.com/linkgr5/link230.html.

Lanham, Howard G. “Sword Plate from the 1861 U.S. Ordnance Manual.” U.S. Army Regulations Illustration: Link 11d Swords and Scabbards, 2019, http://www.howardlanham.tripod.com/link11d.htm.

National Park Service. “Battle Unit Details.” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, 2019, http://www.nps.gov/civilwar/search-battle-units-detail.htm?battleUnitCode=UNY0010RAH.

New York State Military Museum. “10th Artillery Regiment.” 10th NY Heavy Artillery Regiment during the Civil War – NY Military Museum and Veterans Research Center, 2018, http://www.dmna.ny.gov/historic/reghist/civil/artillery/10thArtHvy/10thArtHvyMain.htm.

New York State Military Museum. “Civil War Newspapers Ulster County, New York.” Ulster County, New York in the Civil War – NY Military Museum and Veterans Research Center, 2018, http://www.dmna.ny.gov/historic/reghist/civil/counties/ulster/ulster_CWN.htm.

Course Blog #5: Vincero Watch

Throughout the duration of this course, one characteristic of myself that I have continually stressed is my desire to live a minimalistic lifestyle. In spite of this, I feel as if it is imperative to reiterate that the objects I do like to surround myself with tend to exhibit a strong sense of value either through monetary or symbolic means. Similar to my previous article on my Ray-Ban Sunglasses, another “luxurious” object I have recently acquired a few months ago is a watch from Vincero. Although this object is new and recently purchased, I felt that this would be excellent opportunity to discuss its unique physical attributes and history. Consequently, this week’s blog post will be centered around my newly obtained Vincero watch as explore to why I feel this object complements my minimalistic lifestyle.

A close up of my Vincero watch.
My Vincero watch laid across my desk.

For starters, I want to give to detailed description of what makes up my Vincero watch. In terms of physical dimensions, the face of the watch has a diameter of 42mm, a thickness of 10mm (top of glass to bottom caseback), and the length of the entire watch is about 24.5mm. Moreover, according to specifications on Vincero’s website, the face of the watch is made out of silver 316L surgical grade stainless steel with a very nice blue sunray on the dial of the object. In addition, the strap of the watch was assembled with high quality Italian brown leather and the glass that covers the mechanical parts of the watch was made from a sapphire coated crystal, a scratch resistant material. Also, the Vincero logo is printed in the center of the watch and on the back is the company’s moto “Veni, Vidi, Vici” which is Latin for “I came, I saw, I conquered” surrounds a piece of Italian marble that is placed within each Vincero watch.

The backside of my Vincero watch.

The case for my watch is also worthy of attention due the high-quality materials that make up its physical dimensions. The case is composed of a hard and durable cardboard like material with a sleek black matte finish. In addition, the name of the company and its unique logo are also printed in the center of the cover. Inside, there is a black, soft felt like material that composes the inner surface area of the case with “Live Your Legacy”, one of the company’s mottos, printed in golden color on the top portion of the case.

The inside of my case along side my Vincero watch.

To digress slightly, I received this watch as Christmas present this winter from my parents. I don’t usually ask for much when it comes to gifts, but they insisted that I choose something. As a result, I ended up doing research on different watch companies and when I came across Vincero watches, I’m not surprised why this particular object stood out to me. In comparison to other watches, this particular model was very minimalistic in design in terms of physical appearance. Unlike most other watches, the design of this model didn’t have any claustrophobic numbers or symbols on its face; instead, it was sleek and minimal, two characteristics that really resonated with me.

The top side of my case with the Vincero logo.

After owning this watch for the past three months, I feel as if I’m ready to explore some of the history of this object and how it was produced. When I conducted research, I discovered that all of Vincero’s watches are made inhouse with supplies gathered all across the world through their global value chain. According to the company, all of the designing and assembly is done by themselves and is never outsourced in order to preserve quality in their product. Furthermore, I had discovered that all of the watch movement mechanisms come from Japan, the leather and marble come from Italy, and the stainless steel and sapphire glass comes China. Moreover, Vincero is based in San Diego, California so it can be assumed that this is where these watches are actually assembled and shipped from.

Even after owning this watch for over this short period of time, it still amazes me that this company was able to craft a product at such a fair price while also being very high in quality. With such a strong attention to detail, a pragmatic and fashionable purpose, and a rich history in terms how this object was produced from parts from across globe, it is no surprise to why this watch remains one of my favorite personal objects. In my opinion, I feel as if this watch truly conveys the ideals of a minimalist mindset, and as I continue to wear this object, I will be able to fully appreciate the skilled craftsmanship that went into its creation.

Course Blog #4: Ray-Ban Sunglasses

I really enjoy nice things. Despite that I have often shared my experiences of living a rather minimalistic lifestyle throughout previous posts, the objects I do like to surround myself tend to exhibit a strong sense of value either through monetary or symbolic means. One such object that I highly value is my pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses that I have recently acquired about one year ago. When pondering on what my focus for this week’s blog post should be, I felt that diving into the physical nature, history and functionality of my sunglasses would offer an interesting and educational perspective that serves as a culmination to what we have learned so far during our honors seminar.

My Ray-Ban sunglasses along with their case.

For starters, I want to give to detailed description of what makes up my pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses. In terms of physical dimensions, the glasses are roughly 5 and a half inches long, 5 inches wide and are about 1 and a half inches in height. Moreover, the frame of the glasses has a nice black matte finish which gives the object a smooth feeling while also preventing fingerprints from emerging across its frame. On both sides of the frame, the Ray-Ban logo extrudes from the corners to help maintain the objects identity in regards to its brand and affiliation. I personally like the Ray-Ban logo on the glasses because I feel that it helps signify its quality as an object. Since I don’t tend to own too many objects, I like to feel reassured that the objects I do own have a purpose and possess quality in both design and worth. As a result, this logo helps to assure that this object is of excellent condition compared to other glasses on the market.

A closer view of my Ray-Ban sunglasses.

Continuing with the physical attributes of my Ray-Ban sunglasses, the inner corners of the glasses have a stainless-steel joint that allows the frame to pivot in order to open and close. Although the frame is a very important aspect of any pair of glasses, it is undeniable the most important portion of this object is centered around its lenses. For this object, despite of having a myriad of diverse lenses to choose from, I ultimately ended up with a lens with a metallic finish. Since standard black lenses were not available for the frame I had chosen, I ended up choosing these silver mirror lenses instead. Although I was a little skeptical of them at first, I eventually became very fond of them as they would soon become my everyday sunglasses.

Before diving into the history of obtaining my object, I would like to touch on one critical aspect of these sunglasses that I have not mentioned yet – they’re prescription. I consider myself to be a generally healthy person but one area that I’m definitely lacking in is my personal vision; while I don’t have terribly bad vision, I don’t have the best vision either. Since I am near sided (meaning I can see clearer up close), and the fact that I don’t enjoy wearing normal glasses, I believed that obtaining a pair of prescription sunglasses would be a suitable compromise. I bring up this point because I feel as if this object perfectly brings up the debate of fashion vs function. I’m often surprised to how many people forget that sunglasses can be prescription and not just a mere accessory. One of the reasons I am drawn to this object is that it serves two purposes, it is a fashionable accessory while also allowing me to see much clearer. As a result, the pragmatic nature of this object is what led me to purchase it in the first place nearly one year ago.

As I stated before, I obtained these sunglasses last June in Danbury, Connecticut at a local retailer called LensCrafters. Ray-Ban, being originally owned by Bausch & Lomb, were eventually sold to the Italian eyewear giant, Luxottica, in 1999. Moreover, since my glasses are made to order based on my prescription and have the writing “Made in Italy” on its frame, I tried to look further to see where exactly they were manufactured. Unfortunately, I was not able to locate any resources online that pinpoint the exact location in Italy where these glasses were made. However, according to Luxottica’s website, the company’s manufacturing footprint includes six facilities located in Italy, the center of Luxottica’s luxury eyewear production, with five of their most prominent factories being located in Northeastern Italy, where most of the country’s eyewear industry is based, and one near Turin.

Although it is a shame that I wasn’t able to find to exact location of where my Ray-Ban sunglasses were manufactured, I’m sure they were produced with passion and exquisite Italian craftsmanship. With such a strong attention to detail, a pragmatic and fashionable purpose and a rich Italian history, there’s no surprise to why this object continues to be one of my favorite possessions. Perhaps one day I’ll have the opportunity to dig even deeper into the history and manufacturing process of these glasses. But for now, I look forward to continue wearing them as I will be able to appreciate and acknowledge this object’s significance, functionality and history.

Course Blog #3: Origins of my Sohmer Upright Piano

Everyone has a creative side. Despite the fact that I’m a finance major who’s constantly working with quantitative data from both small firms and the economy, I still manage to allocate some my spare time to hobbies I’m passionate about. If you have read my previous post, you would know that music and piano performance continues to be a major interest of mine. As a result, I desire to dig deeper into my personal piano to discover its history and the function it continues to serve.

The instrument I currently own is a Sohmer Upright Piano conveniently located on the first floor of my home, always ready to be played. However, though, it is important to note that this was always the case. Prior to the fall of 2015, and while I started to develop a passion for piano performance, my parents and I decided it would be appropriate to obtain a real piano to practice on. After a long summer of searching and inspecting a myriad of different instruments, eventually we came across a piano that both looked nice and had a quality sound.

Before continuing with my object’s history, I feel that it is imperative to this post that I acknowledge the schism of functionality that has arisen recently over the use of pianos in domestic households. In my opinion, people who own these very complex and elegant instruments fall into either one of two categories: the piano is used as an instrument or it is merely used as a piece of furniture. In the past few years, I have met many individuals who own a piano but are unable to actually utilize it; as a result, it usually just turns into a piece of elaborate furniture.

This claim was reiterated further when I stumbled upon my prospective piano while visiting a small home in Westport, Connecticut. The family had told me that no one was able to play this instrument resulting in it being turned into a piece of glorified furniture that has begun to take up too much space within their home. When inspecting this piano, I noticed it was a Sohmer and was in excellent condition, both structurally and phonetically. Eventually my parents and I decided that this instrument would be an appropriate choice and later decided to purchase it from the family.

A factory inspection slip from the manufacturers.

Unfortunately, the only information I was able to obtain requiring the origins of this piano from the family was that they bought it at an auction a few years ago. Around this same time, I decided to conduct some further research into this newly obtained object. For starters, I found that this instrument was assembled by Sohmer & Co., a piano manufacturing company founded in New York City in 1872. In spite of this, further research divulged that Sohmer & Co. was eventually bought out by Samick Music Corporation, a large piano manufacturer based in Korea. Since Samick bought out Sohmer & Co. in the late 20th century, and since I found some Korean characters on the back of my piano, I can infer that my piano was made in the past 20-30 years.

In an attempt to discover more about the origins of my piano, I attempted to call Samick and ask the company if they knew any more information about my instrument’s history. To my dismay, the phone operator was not able to find my piano’s serial number when the company’s database and told me that it was most likely made in Korea. Since Samick recently shut down the production of Sohmer pianos recently, the company left no record of Sohmer pianos within their internal database. At this point, I felt as if I hit a brick wall in terms research; neither the company nor I had any leads to the origins of my instrument.

Although there is a lot of uncertainty regarding the origins of my Upright Sohmer Piano, I feel as if this research experience has helped me to gain a greater appreciate for my instrument. Having the ability to obtain an object that previously had very little purpose, other than being a piece of furniture, was very empowering; I felt that I was able to give this object purpose again. Consequently, this piano has become one of my favorite objects and as I continue to look to forward to playing it once again, I will be able to appreciate and acknowledge its significance to both myself and to the environment around me.

Course Blog #2: Upright Sohmer Piano

Towards the beginning of high school, I had developed a deep passion for music. In order to supplement this passion, I began learning to play the piano on a fairly cheap keyboard I had received many years ago as a child. Eventually, the mundane nature of the instrument began to hinder my musical growth. In spite of this, during the fall of 2015, my parents and I decided it would be appropriate to purchase a true, acoustic piano. Following months of research, planning and dedication, we had finally found an instrument for a fair price that would suit my musical needs as a pianist. Consequently, for this week’s blog post, I have decided to write a detailed description of my personal upright piano.

A full view of my Sohmer Upright Piano.

For starters, it is important to note that this piano was assembled by Sohmer & Co., a piano manufacturing company founded in New York City in 1872. This logo can be seen on the front side of the piano right above the keys. The first aspect of the object an individual may observe is the rectangular shape the instrument conforms to. In addition, closer inspection reveals that the object measures 40 inches high with 59 inches defining its length and 25 inches defining its width. Although I am unable to give any quantitative information on its weight, I would roughly estimate that the instrument weighs somewhere between 500 and 600 pounds.

Moreover, the entirety of the piano, with the exception of the keys, is composed out of a dark brown wood that has been finished with polish. This ranges from the lid of the piano, to the music rack (the shelf that holds the sheet music), to the fallboard (the backboard directly above the keys), and to the legs and lower panel of the instrument.

Inside the top portion of my Sohmer Upright Piano.

Upon opening the top half of the piano, more insightful information can be collected about this object. First of all, it is important to note that the piano has a total of 88 black and white keys stretching across its surface, and when pressed, the keys lift hammers inside the piano that strike strings which allow it to produce its distinctive sound. Despite the fact that the piano utilizing strings to create sound and has more strings than any other string instrument, the piano is actually classified under the percussion family of instruments due to pressing the keys with your fingers, rather than plucking the strings.

Furthermore, based on the image of the piano’s interior, one can notice that the strings vary in thickness from one side to the other. This difference in thickness is what causes each note to produce a diverse range of pitches that, when harmonized, creates the everyday music that we are so accustomed to. In addition, one other critical part of this object I want to explore are the metal piano pedals that are located near the bottom of the instrument. In total, my upright piano has a total of three pedals: the soft pedal, the sostenuto pedal and the sustain pedal. These three pedals help to define the image of the piano as well as its functionality as an instrument.

At first glance, a piano can be seen as simplistic; despite this, if one takes the time to fully observe and analysis this object, he or she will discover the many complex structures that compose this instrument in its entirety. After going back and taking these seemingly trivial observations into account, I can say with confidence that observing my instrument in greater detail definitely led to an overall greater appreciation for my piano. With that said, I look forward to exploring this object in even more detail in my next post in where I describe other aspects on this object such as its history and overall function.

Course Blog #1: Testing Kondo’s Method for Tidying Up

I absolutely hate clutter. I don’t normally like to think in absolutes, but I feel that this animosity towards untidiness really originated during my time growing up. As a child, I was often responsible for performing the many household chores my parents would assign to me. Although I usually had to carry out a myriad of diverse tasks, the one I absolutely despised the most was cleaning clutter around the house. During this time, I began to develop the mindset that I should always attempt to prevent a mess from ever coming to fruition. As this ideology culminated during my days as a child, I feel as if this period served to define my personality as someone who maintains order by only retaining items that serve as a pure necessity.

In spite of this development, recent events have served to challenge my own conventional wisdom. Prior to writing the contents of this blog, I had been granted the opportunity to read and analyze Marie Kondo’s informative guide “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up”. After taking Kondo’s words and advice into consideration, I attempted to apply her same principles to my dorm room at Suny New Paltz.

Admittedly, I was slightly skeptical at first. Up to this moment, I had tried everything to make my room as clean and clutter free as possible. My personal and my drawers only contained very little items on or within them. After closer inspection, I deemed that the paucity of items would make it impossible to sort and categorize these objects. As a result, I found these beginning stages to be quite difficult as I was unsure on how I would actually begin this process of tidying my room.

My wardrobe at the beginning of the experiment.

Still skeptical on the practicality of Kondo’s instructions, I decided to inspect my wardrobe. To my surprise, only now had I realized how disorganized it was. Granted, I’m sure they are other far messier closest than mine but I reasoned that this would serve as a suitable first step in this tidying process.

I began by categorizing each of my different articles of clothing into the following groups: jackets, sweaters, polos, t-shirts, casual button downs and then more formal button downs. After completing this short task, I immediately noticed a difference in the contents of my wardrobe. As everything began to appear much more orderly and unified than before, I desired to continue and see how far I could push Kondo’s philosophy. In order to achieve this, I decided to utilize her “Joy Test” to determine what pieces of attire should be retained and what pieces of attire should be theoretically discarded.

My wardrobe after categorizing each piece of attire.
My wardrobe after implementing Kondo’s Joy Test.

Before implementing this action, I was faced with an imperative question: what exactly constitutes joy? Up to this point in time, there was much uncertainty to how I would determine whether or not a specific article of clothing delivers any sort of joy. In an attempt to resolve this issue, I eventually came to the conclusion that I enjoyed clothes that I utilize the most and, by that same principle, I would find the least amount of joy in the clothes I utilized the least. Ultimately, this development inspired me to sort through my wardrobe once more and identify attire that I rarely wear on a day-to-day basis. After carefully inspecting each piece of clothing, I had removed seven out of thirty pieces of clothing from my wardrobe.

Some articles of clothing I decided to remove from my wardrobe.

Despite my minimalistic approach to material objects, I discovered that the objects that deliver the most joy often serve an essential or important function within my life. Since I tend to own clothes that can be perceived as preppy, I often believe these pieces of attire help me emulate the professional and important characteristics of the successful businessman I see myself becoming in the near future.

Although I had only removed just under 25% of clothing from my wardrobe, the process of discarding underused clothing was quite more empowering than I had originally anticipated. After completing this small—yet impactful—endeavor, I can definitely state with certainty that this new streamlined wardrobe emitted a much greater vibe of joy than it did prior to the experiment. Since this process had seamlessly connected with my already established mindset of cleanliness, it has now become rather easy for me to see why Kondo’s ideas aided in maintaining the clutter-free environment I continue to desire. Moreover, this experiment also taught me a valuable lesson in that there can always be room for improvement no matter how perfectly you idealize your life to be. As a result, this project helped me to develop a greater connection and appreciation towards the objects that continue to influence myself and the environment around me.