I’ve skimmed Marie Kondo’s famous The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and I’m sure you’ve at least heard of it as well. The practice called the KonMari Method is (very, very basically) about methodically going through belongings and cutting back on anything that doesn’t “spark joy.” I love the idea and I’m constantly trying to pare back on what I have, with more or less success.
Now that she has a show on Netflix, it’s taking off like wildfire again. I watched a couple of episodes one night when I couldn’t fall asleep and nearly jumped off the couch at 2 am to start going through my drawers. I have a few issues with the show (the use of “babe” in the first episode nearly drove me mad) and I’m not sure you really need to watch more than one episode to really “get it.” I didn’t find it particularly entertaining– instead, more inspiring and perhaps even eye-opening. (If you’ve watched the entire series and think otherwise, let me know… I’m obviously judging it on the three episodes I watched and can’t speak for the whole thing.)
It’s funny because even before knowing about the method, I basically did my own version of it. Namely, when I switch my closet over between seasons (twice a year for cold and warm weather), I take everything OUT for the big switch. As I’m putting away clothes from the previous season, I take things out that I haven’t worn, don’t love anymore, or for any other reason just don’t want to bring it into the next year and sort it out for donations and giving away to friends or selling to a second-hand site (usually through ThredUp because it’s just so simple). And I do the process again as I’m putting away the new season’s clothes: as I hang everything up, I try to figure out what I don’t need anymore or don’t love. I’m always surprised that certain things still slipped through the cracks or that my preferences change even with just six months in between.
I also did a bigger version when I packed up my Connecticut apartment to move to Hoboken.
This has always worked for me and I can’t imagine how much “stuff” I would have accumulated had I not been in the practice of this. Especially as a blogger when stuff is flying into my apartment whether I like it or not and when sharing what I wear is part of my job.
I like clothes, but I don’t love them. I think if I weren’t a blogger and found myself going into an office every day of the week, I would have a very basic “uniform” that I would wear every day. Judging from my closet and what I tend to buy frequently (ahem, too often) it would be white button downs + black pants + black ballet flats and a grey sweater and jeans for days of leisure.
As I went through the process, I found that I had a WAY HARDER time letting go of books than I did my clothes. Books, I love.
What I like about the method though is that it’s one-size-fits-all BUT with personalized outcomes. It’s not about being completely minamilist– if that’s not what you like. It’s not about having a sterile house or a boring closet (unless that’s what makes you happy), it’s about keeping and surrounding yourself with things that you like and then allowing that to dictate your space. But at the end of the day, it gives everyone control over their space… and then their lives (which sounds like a stretch, but it’s something I believe in and it definitely was demonstrated on the show).
Even though I wasn’t ready for my seasonal switch of my closet this weekend, I decided to tackle it. At the very least, I knew I’d be taking everything out to refold which would result in a much more organized bedroom. I ended up with two garbage bags of donations, which felt pretty shocking considering I felt like I just did one a few months ago. I really tried to channel my inner Marie Kondo as I held each item to see if it “sparked” something in me. What I found was that I was much more inclined to feel a moment of “Oh, I remember not liking how this shirt tucked into skirts” or “Ugh, the waistband of these jeans are really itchy and I always end up wearing a different pair.” Toss, toss.
I had to improvise on her folding technique a little bit as apparently, my drawers aren’t deep enough for thirds. (Folding into quarters makes it small enough to fit inside so I can close them.) This is how I’ve always folded clothes for my drawers so I could see everything, but I tried to be more methodical and patient and ~appreciative~ of my clothes as I folded, just like Marie Kondo. I did turn on an audiobook while I did this process and just fell into a nice, relaxing rhythm.
I still have to do dresses and coats (dreading my coat closet, to be honest) and I will say, I liked doing everything by sections (sweaters then pants then shirts) because it made me feel more productive and made the task seem more manageable, too.
While I still plan on doing this bi-yearly, I think I’m going to incorporate a third wave of it at the beginning of each year like I just did. Here’s why:
Last year, I decided to challenge myself to not buying new clothes. It started off as a one-month challenge and then I pretty much kept it up through the first quarter of the year. I found that it’s way easier for me to resist buying new things January-March when it’s still very cold and very winter-y and that I have a bigger weakness for summer clothes and holiday-specific items. Even just knowing that from last year is helping me this year. (For example, I know a sundress brings me more joy than even a cute sweater… so I’d rather wait.) I was pretty good about the year overall, especially considering past behavior, and I think I can be even better this year.
Going through my closet this past week showed me what I do not need more of AND I was reintroduced to some old favorites, which will be helpful for putting together outfits. Since I tend to wear the same things, those favorite items were at the front of my drawers (since they were being put away more frequently) and then they’d be top of mind because they were right there when I opened the drawer the next day. I shuffled some things around so other items (that I still like!) get some airtime too.
I still have the rest of the apartment to go through, but the closet is my biggest obstacle right now!! Mostly because the closet is our only form of storage for the most part. We don’t really have space for anything besides clothes, haha.