I have finally finished The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo *. I utilized her method for our clothing edit as I switched out our clothes from Winter/Fall to Spring/Summer. I did my clothes by myself and then my husband and I did his clothes together. I’m happy to report that my husband said it was “fun” to edit his clothes together with the KonMari Method!
The KonMari Method
If you’re not familiar with Marie Kondo’s book, she advocates tidying up by category – not by space, and to do it all at one time. Her method has you follow this order:
clothes that should be hung
clothes for specific events (swimsuits, uniforms, etc.)
4. komono (miscellany)
skin care products
valuables (passports, credit cards, etc.)
electrical equipment, appliances, cords
household equipment (stationery, office supplies, etc.)
household supplies (expendables — medicine, detergents, tissues)
kitchen equipment (tools and appliances)
other (spare change, home decor)
items related to a particular interest or hobby (ex: cds, dvds, kitchen equipment, etc), and
5. lastly mementos (sentimental items and photos)
She recommends doing it in this order because it goes from least sentimental to most sentimental. The thought is that as you are editing, you are honing your intuitive sense of what gives you joy.
The KonMari method asks you to hold each item and ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?” If it does, you keep it. If it doesn’t, you donate it or throw it away.
Current State of the Clothing
My husband and I share one small closet and one dresser. We each have two large dresser drawers and a smaller drawer. We used to have two dressers – one for each of us, but when my sons’ dresser fell apart, I made a conscious decision to pare down our clothes so that we could share one dresser and our two oldest sons could use the other one.
My husband and I don’t have an excessive amount of clothes. When this year began, I did a quick edit of his clothes without asking him (I know, I know, this was before I read all the recommendations of only dealing with your stuff first) – mostly just old t-shirts that were frayed and stained but he kept around for working in – how many work t-shirts does a man need?
I did a quick edit of my clothes as well. I had received a huge influx of clothes handed down to me by my oldest sister. I couldn’t keep everything. At the start of winter I put our spring/summer clothes in plastic rubbermaid tubs – one each. This made storage manageable with the amount of space we had to work with.
Tidying in a Quiet Space
I did my clothes first alone. I usually listen to podcasts or an audiobook while I declutter, but I didn’t this time based on Marie Kondo’s recommendation to “tidy” in silence. She writes:
The work of carefully considering each object I own to see whether it sparks joy inside me is like conversing with myself through the medium of my possessions…For this reason, it is essential to create a quiet space in which to evaluate the things in your life…I feel that noise makes it harder to hear the internal dialogue between the owner and his or her belongings. (p. 58)
I agreed with her that there is often an internal dialogue happening as I decluttered – usually full of rationalizations of why I should keep an item. This time, however, I was going to edit my clothes intuitively – touch each item and see if it “sparked joy”. To be honest, I was skeptical. How often do people feel a thrill of joy when they touch one of their possessions? If I were to only keep clothes that sparked joy, I may not have any at the end – which would definitely be problematic.
Hand Me Downs
As a third child, I was given my sisters’ hand me downs, and still gratefully receive my oldest sister’s clothes. I joke with her that I am her donation drop off. When I read Kondo acknowledging this phenomenon of the younger sister, a light bulb went off for me. She writes:
..(younger siblings) don’t really know what they like, which makes it hard to decide whether they should part with it. Because they receive so much clothing from others, they don’t really need to shop and therefore they have less opportunity to develop the instinct for what really inspires joy. (p. 56)
This was so true of me. I have never enjoyed shopping. I often feel overwhelmed and tire easily when shopping. Hand me downs are a great way to “shop” in the comfort of my own home. I know what sparks rejection (“I would never wear that”) but I’m not sure what sparks joy.
Now that we have set the stage, I’ll share about our actual editing process and the results in the next post, Part II. Stay tuned!
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Have you used the KonMari Method to edit your clothing? How did you know what sparked joy?
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