Can I make a confession? I have way too many clothes. My husband and I live in a wonderful 1980’s ranch-style home. The closet is a look-in, not a walk-in. And we share it (his clothes mostly on the top rack, while mine hang on the lower rod). When we moved in after we married in 2012, the house was plenty big for us. With four bedrooms and two bathrooms, storage was never an issue.
Over the last 4+ years, we’ve accumulated more stuff. More clothing, more furniture, more books, more kitchen appliances, more clutter. Sometimes I would look around the house and wonder how the heck we’ll have room for more once kids come along. I knew there were things I could let go of but I still wasn’t sure how everything we wanted to keep would fit.
I know you’ve heard me talk about Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I seriously had five different people from different areas of my life (coworker, professional mentor, friend, etc.) tell me they thought of me when they read the book, ask if I had read it, and recommend it to me. After the fourth of fifth person, I decided to go on Amazon and order the book.
The title of the book pretty accurately describes how this book will help you. If you’re open to organizing and tidying, and especially if you want to embrace a less-is-more approach, this book will definitely change your perspective, and possibly even change your life.
Today I want to share about what happened when I used the KonMari method on my wardrobe, and take you through the first step in her tidying in my experience.
I decided to do all my wardrobe decluttering in one day, so I scheduled it for a Saturday and blocked off my entire day (except for a walk outside with my neighbor in the afternoon, which was a great way to step back for a little while).
The first step using the KonMari Method is to gather all clothing (which Marie Kondo considers to include shoes and accessories) into a pile on the floor. The trick is, if you forget about something and find it later, you’ve got to let it go. So, I pulled everything out of my closet. I have one small nightstand style dresser and 4 drawers of a larger dresser- I pulled clothes out of there. Across the hallway, we have a spare bedroom which has another dresser. I had about 3 drawers worth of clothing in there. All my shoes are in the closet in that room, along with a few miscellaneous hanging items. In the basement, we have a closet where I keep my off-season clothing. I had three storage totes of clothing there.
I thought about doing a video of everything, but honestly, I was too embarrassed! The most embarrassing part was that in November before I started reading Marie Kondo’s book I went through much of our house and donated a car-full of items to Goodwill, including two bins/bags of clothing.
The KonMari Method suggests going through clothes by category. Start with tops, then bottoms, clothes that should be hung, socks, underwear, bags (handbags, etc.), clothes for special events (swimsuit, uniform,etc.), then shoes. She also recommends starting with off-season clothes if you’re feeling too attached to something you may have just worn last week.
The KonMari Method requires the organizer to hold each item to see if it inspires a thrill of joy. I looked at my pile and, one by one, picked up each article, asking myself, “Does this spark joy? Do I love this?” Some things were easy. I have a striped peplum top that I love wearing. Seeing it makes me smile. There were other items I picked up and was so surprised at the lack of affection I felt. It was actually confusing for me.
There were other items I picked up and was so surprised at the lack of affection I felt. It was actually confusing for me. Let me explain. When I had my first “real” job I purchased work trousers and I was really into buying camisoles and shells that could be worn and layered under cardigans. I ended up with quite the rainbow collection of cardigans. It was a style I associated with looking professional. When I was going through my closet I realized I actually don’t love wearing any of those things!
Cardigans and shells were something I thought I liked, so every time I organized my wardrobe I kept them.
I had so often gone through organizing and discarding with the thought, what can I get rid of? Instead of, what should I be keeping?
I felt like I was discovering a new side of myself. Using the KonMari method forced me to think about the clothing I love wearing and the lifestyle I want to have, there were several other wardrobe pieces that just didn’t fit in with what I wanted.
I was a little worried at first that I might be getting rid of some things just to replace them with better versions, but as I went on, this was really a non-issue.
In the end, I kept less than half of what I started with. I started with an entire rod of hanging clothes, plus more across the hallway, as well as 10 drawers and 3 storage bins of clothing! I was able to cut down to just use the 7 drawers I already had in my bedroom and the hanging space in my closet with room to spare! This includes clothing for every season, socks, unmentionables, athletic wear, dresses, etc. My outerwear hangs in our hall closet, and my shoes are still across the hallway.
Truthfully, I never thought I’d be able to fit all my clothes in our bedroom. I feel so relieved that I was able to cut down on my clothing and pair down to only the items I really love. I probably kept a few things that might get weeded out once I’m a bit braver, but I think I did a pretty great job of being honest with myself and a bit ruthless with things I didn’t need to hold onto.
For my shoe storage, I said it’s still across the hallway. Someday we’d like to use that room as a kid’s room, and my shoes will have to go. We’re planning to complete a project in our garage this spring that will add storage for shoes, and hopefully, that will help.
One thing I really love is how Marie Kondo suggests folding the majority of clothing and storing it in drawers. Her book explains more on why she believes this, and I’ve heard some people think it’s a little over the top. I’ve been folding almost everything and loving it. The KonMari way of folding is basically to fold the piece of clothing into a rectangle so it can stand on its own. When you put your clothing away int he drawer, you can see everything (you can see my drawers below- sweaters, denim, and my athletic wear).
I would fold more- but I only have so many drawers! Plus, my closet had lots of room, so I ended up hanging a few things I would rather have folded. You can watch this video to get an idea of how to fold and store clothes using the KonMari Method.
Well, if you stuck with me this long- thank you! Hopefully, you found some of these insights to be helpful. I’d love to hear your comments below. Also, let me know if you’d like to see more of how this book has affected our household. There are other areas I have organized using the KonMari Method and would love to share if you want to hear more. This past weekend we went through Mathew’s wardrobe, so our closet is even more thinned out. Aside from our clothing, our office space has made quite a transformation as well due to getting rid of so many papers and books.
Have you organized your wardrobe recently? What do you do with items you no longer wish to keep? Do you donate them or consign them? Have you read Marie Kondo’s book or heard of the KonMari Method? Are you on the fence about trying something that seems a little radical when it comes to decluttering and tidying your home?