This is the second post in my KonMari Method blog series. If you missed the introduction, you can read it here!
In today’s blog post, I will be discussing the topic of clothing! This is the first decluttering category of the KonMari Method. After recapping a bit from my introductory post, I’ll walk you through the process of decluttering your wardrobe, explain how to organize your clothing properly, and give you some tips based on my own KonMari experiences.
In my previous post, I talked about how important it is to stop and think about the type of life you’d like to live in your tidied-up home before starting the tidying process. Since I’m not starting from scratch, I didn’t feel the need to sit down and write a detailed vision in my journal, but instead I decided to make a vision board on Canva to help inspire me for this year’s home “refresh.”
As I gathered images and colors on my board, I noticed some common elements emerged. All of the pictures have a bright and airy feeling. The colors are vibrant and fresh, but not too intense. Many of the pictures have greenery or other natural elements like wood, leather, flowers, or fruit. All of the rooms featured in these photos are orderly but still seem casual and comfortable.
I didn’t realize I wanted or needed so much light and color in my life, but working on this vision board really gave me clarity about how to move forward with my space! Our home is pretty orderly but our organization systems could stand to be tweaked. And going forward, I’ll try to add more greenery and color to our home to achieve my desired atmosphere.
If you are attempting to get your home in order for the very first time with the KonMari Method, then I highly recommend doing some deep reflecting and journaling to nail down what exactly you want to achieve by decluttering, and what types of activities you plan to pursue at home when you’re done. Making a vision board like the one above can also help guide you as cull your collection of belongings.
Now, let’s get into today’s topic, the first decluttering category, which is clothing.
Why Start With Clothing?
Marie Kondo has determined that the best order for decluttering is as follows:
- Komono (Miscellany)
- Sentimental Items
You may be curious as to why clothing must be the first category. According to Marie, clothing is the easiest category to start with. I think it’s because clothing is so easy to acquire and replace so we feel less attachment to them compared to other types of items in the home.
I think another reason why clothing is a great place to start is because you get to see tangible progress right away. With other items, it may be hard to feel the impact of your decluttering efforts due to where they are stored or the size of the item, but when you declutter clothes, you can see and feel the difference in your closets immediately, and it motivates you to continue the decluttering process.
Last, making decisions about what to keep in your wardrobe can be very empowering. Not only are you streamlining your closet space, but you are also defining your personal style with each decision you make. By the end of the first category, you’ll already have gained a clearer sense of self.
Greet Your Home
You may be itching to get started, but there is one more thing we need to do before we start. We have to greet our homes!
This is one of those things that many people find odd and quirky about the KonMari Method. Marie Kondo admits that she often gets odd looks from her clients when she sits on the floor and introduces herself to the home she is about to start working on. It’s something she adapted from her spiritual beliefs, and she feels that it makes the entire process go more smoothly, and helps her to better intuit where to put things away during the organizing stage.
But even if you don’t share those same beliefs, I think taking the time to greet your house at the start of this process can still be beneficial, even for us skeptics. Tidying up your entire house is a momentous occasion so it’s nice to mark the beginning of the process with this ceremonial act. You don’t have to pray to any house spirits or spend a long time ruminating on your knees if you don’t want to. You can simply say, aloud or to yourself, “House, thanks for giving me shelter. Sorry I haven’t kept things in order until now, but I’m going to start tidying you up today!”
It’s a great way to start off on a positive note. And again, even if you don’t believe your house literally has feelings, it’s a helpful mental exercise to imagine how your house might feel, being overstuffed with too many belongings and poorly organized.
How To Declutter Your Clothing
Finally, it’s time time to start decluttering the very first category, clothing!
Step 1: Gather every single item of clothing and pile them on the floor.
When Marie Kondo refers to “clothing,” she is also including all out-of-season clothing, anything in storage, clothes for special events, handbags, shoes, belts, scarves, hats, gloves, jewelry, sunglasses, and any other accessories you might have.
So gather up everything you have and make a giant pile! If you’ve never done this before, the size of the pile will surely shock you. I know I felt overwhelmed the first time I tried this with my clothes. Make sure you check every room and storage space in your house for any clothing you might have missed. If you don’t bring it out now, you won’t be able to keep it later. It’s one of Marie Kondo’s stricter rules about decluttering.
Once you have gathered everything together, you can start to arrange the clothes into smaller categories to help you during the sorting process. You can make a pile for outerwear, a pile for dresses and skirts, a pile for tops, a pile for bottoms, a pile for undergarments, and so on.
Step 2: Handle each item one by one and ask yourself, “Does it spark joy?”
This is the fun part! It may take a while if you have a large wardrobe, but it will feel really good to pick out your favorite items and declare, “Yes! This sparks joy!”
Marie recommends starting with off-season clothes if you are having a hard time sorting through the current season’s clothing. In my experience, it really helps to start with items you know you absolutely love. It will help you to understand that “spark joy” feeling. The items that don’t spark joy will stand out like sore thumbs once you’ve established what a spark of joy feels like for yourself.
Remember, there is no ideal or goal number of items that you must reach. Keep as many items as spark joy. If you’re a fashion lover, then you might still have a larger-than-average wardrobe by the end of this decluttering session, and that is perfectly fine.
Step 3: Thank your items before you discard them.
As I discussed in my introductory blog post, this is a crucial step. Treat your belongings with a little dignity and show some gratitude before you toss them in the bin (or in a box for donation) for good.
You can say thanks to garments for having kept your warm, for teaching you about your personal style, for fulfilling a specific purpose, and so forth. Doing this helps you release your guilt about getting rid of them, and helps you get closure about your past bit by bit.
How To Organize Your Clothing
Once you have completely finished sorting and decluttering your wardrobe, it’s time to put everything away.
There are two main ways to store clothes, and that is by folding or by hanging. Marie Kondo encourages readers to fold as much as possible and to hang garments that are flowy or stiffly tailored, but you also have to take into account the space that you have in your closets and dressers.
For example, I only have two drawers in a dresser in the bedroom which I use to store undergarments and pajamas. In our spare room, we installed a closet system just big enough for two and I have two hanging rods and a single shelf at my disposal. On the shelf I store sweaters and jeans, and everything else that I own is hanging on the rods. I definitely hang garments that Marie Kondo would recommend I fold, but I have to work with what I’ve got.
For folded items, try your best to fold the item into a small rectangle that can stand up on it’s own. When clothing is folded like this, it’s easy to store them in drawers like files.
One controversial item that Marie likes to fold is socks. This is to prevent the elastic from getting worn out. It’s a hard rule for some people to follow because it seems like tedious work and hard to keep organized, but I’ve been doing it for years without any problems. If you are having trouble with your socks, you can get a drawer organizer with individual spaces for socks. I have one in my drawer and it’s made the whole process of putting away my laundry even easier.
For hanging items, Marie Kondo recommends hanging like items together. If you are having trouble keeping your hanging rods organized, then you can try hanging them in a way that they ascend to the right, as pictured above. It’s easy to arrange clothes by length and it’s pleasing to the eye. (Note: I have my clothes arranged by type and they happen to descend to the right, but it feels appropriate for the design of our closet and doesn’t bother me at all.)
There are a few more important things to keep in mind when storing your decluttered wardrobe.
First, store all of your clothing in one place. Again, this may not be possible depending on the design of your home, but try to adhere to this principle as much as you are able. Keeping like items together is an effective way to avoid gathering clutter again in the future.
Second, in relation to the first piece of advice, don’t keep any clothes in storage. I don’t have a seasonal wardrobe tucked away to unpack come summer or winter. All of my clothes, regardless of season, are in my closet or dresser, ready to be used. When things are packed away, you tend to forget what and how much you have, so it’s better to have everything out of storage once and for all.
Even though I can’t wear most of my clothes at the moment (25 weeks pregnant!) I wanted to go through my wardrobe and check if everything still sparked joy. I try to be mindful when I shop and I feel like I’ve curated a pretty nice wardrobe that fits my personal style. I’m also pretty diligent about putting things away, so it’s easy to keep track of all of my clothes. Even so, I like to reexamine what I have every once in a while to make sure everything is in alignment with my current vision for my life.
At this stage of my KonMari journey, I didn’t feel it was necessary to pile all of my clothes on the floor, but I did touch every item to check what sparked joy and what didn’t. I wasn’t expecting to get rid of anything, but I ended up finding a handful of items that I was ready to part with.
After carefully examining all of my clothes and accessories, I decided to discard:
- 1 t-shirt (didn’t like the color)
- 1 sweater (didn’t like the color)
- 1 lounge set (elastic waistband was too tight)
- 1 pair of compression socks (wrong size)
- 3 sets of earrings (caused irritation)
I thanked my items and put them into this little bag so I can take them to a donation center later!
I want to quickly note that I did not touch any of my husband’s clothing during this process! He can make his own decisions about what to keep and discard if he wants to. Even though it’s tempting to declutter other people’s stuff during this process, doing so will only damage the trust you have with each other and it’s not worth it. Let others see the positive changes you’re making in your life, and it may inspire them to follow suit later on. Just focus on yourself for now.
So now that you’ve learned all about how to declutter and organize your wardrobe, are you feeling ready to start your tidying adventure? I hope I was able to equip you with all of the information and helpful tips that you’ll need to take on this exciting project!
Creating my vision board, writing this post, and decluttering my wardrobe has left me feeling inspired and motivated to take on the next category, which is books! I’ll be going over how to declutter and organize books in the next post, which I will share next week.
So let me know in the comments, are you going to try to declutter your clothing with the KonMari Method? If you have any questions about decluttering this crucial first category, don’t hesitate to ask!
Thanks for reading!