Welcome to the first category of my KonMari declutter! According to Marie Kondo’s The Life-changing Magic of Tidying, clothing should be tackled before anything else. It is supposedly the easiest category. I say supposedly because maybe it is in comparison to the other categories (which I haven’t started yet). But in my experience it was tough! It was time-consuming and it was actually more confronting than I thought it would be. Here’s why!
what did i do?
As you may remember from my introduction post, the basic rule for each decluttering category is to gather everything in one place, then decide if each item “sparks joy”. So one Saturday afternoon, I started gathering my clothes.
I started with tops – mainly because I realised as I started pulling clothes off hangers and dumping them on the floor, that I had far more than anticipated and knew I simply wouldn’t have enough space to gather ALL of my clothes in one go. After tops came jumpers and cardigans, then pants and so on until I had worked through all my clothes. I worked through my handbags, accessories and shoes the next day.
For each of these subcategories I sorted through what I actually liked and enjoyed wearing, and put those items in the ‘keep’ pile. I made a rather large ‘donate’ pile. And I made a pile of things to try on that I wasn’t sure about – the majority of those went in the ‘donate’ pile. As each subcategory was completed, I then folded and hung everything according to the book.
In the end I had one large garbage bag, and three smaller bags of clothes, a large bag of shoes, and a storage container filled with handbags and purses, to donate.
what didn’t i do?
I didn’t have conversations with my clothes as Marie Kondo suggests. I felt like an idiot talking to myself. But when I was sorting through my clothes, and all the emotions that came with that (see next heading), I did think back on some occasions I had worn certain things – some of the parties I went to, or the joy I felt when some of my clothes arrived in the post. And I did acknowledge that while I loved some of those dresses when I first wore them, they weren’t something I would wear now. And I also acknowledged that I have wasted a lot of money over the years. So there was definitely internal dialogue going on.
I also didn’t go through the process entirely alone. Kondo advises strictly against getting family involved in your decluttering. But for some reason, I really had a hard time with shoes and had to call my sister, and then my mum for advice. Ridiculous, but true! But in the end I managed to whittle down my staggering collection of 56 pairs of shoes down to 30. Which is probably still too many pairs. But that was quite an achievement for me.
A big part of the books is about your belongings having feelings. Marie Kondo talks about items as though they have personalities – like your socks doing so much hard work keeping your feet cosy all day that they don’t want to be scrunched up in a ball. While I don’t necessarily agree with that, having decluttered my wardrobe I do feel like my clothes have a bit more breathing space and look more comfortable in the way they are stored.
what did i learn about myself?
In a nutshell – a lot. I clean out my wardrobe once or twice a year already so I really wasn’t expecting the volume of stuff I still had. The thing about wardrobes and other storage is it masks your clutter! And I live alone so I have free reign to clutter up every storage space I have. Seeing everything in a big pile was actually embarrassing. And sorting through items that I realised I’d had for years and still had the tags on was even more so.
I also realised that I hold on to the past so much! Marie Kondo says just because something gave you joy in the past, doesn’t mean it still brings you joy now. And that was a big revelation. I was holding on to all these dresses from my “21st days” that I would never wear now, but had always kept because the dresses were nice and I loved them once. And there was guilt hanging among those clothes, too. Clothes that I hadn’t worn, clothes I had bought on impulse, clothes I felt obligated to keep. I realised I get sucked in too easily by fads and whims and I need to consider more carefully how I shop. I need to buy clothes that are better quality, and longer lasting. (I’m still feeling the effects of watching The True Cost on Netflix – check it out if you haven’t already!)
So in all, this process was emotional. But it was also very cathartic!
has it changed anything?
Absolutely. Not only have I reduced my storage, but it’s also easier to consider what to wear because I can see all of my clothes. My clothes aren’t hanging squished up in my wardrobe – it’s easier to find things. And I can see everything at a glance in my drawers because everything is folded and arranged vertically.
It’s motivated me to plan my outfits the night before – I never did this before, but always wanted to. Now all my clothes are clothes I love, so it’s fun putting together an outfit, and trying new combinations. Something else I got out of the book is making sure there’s joy all around you. I have these two beautiful beaded coat hangers that I felt were wasted being tucked away inside my wardrobe. So I decided to get them out on display. I used to have my dressing gowns hanging on the back of my bedroom door. I’ve now put these in the wardrobe, and have my beaded coat hangers there, ready to hang tomorrow’s outfit on. It makes this new habit feel a bit more special and they make me smile each time I hang an outfit up.
Books and papers is up next. These are separate categories, but as I am planning to tackle them close together they will form one post.
Have you cleaned out your wardrobe the KonMari way? How did you find it? I’d love to hear from you – drop me a comment below!