I hate clutter ( I know shocker),
I purge items from my house often—sometimes even perfectly well functioning microwaves, (I still hear about that one) but one place I struggle with simplifying is in my closet and dresser drawers.
I’ve read all sorts of ideas in magazines, on blogs, and Pinterest, yet I never purged enough until The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing
I will admit I’m not even done reading her book. However I decided to read the part on clothes and start there. There are definitely pieces of her book that were a little weird—I’m not too worried about my socks’ feelings, but her method is what made my closet go from overflowing to spacious. Our house was built in 1949 so my closet is tiny, in fact it measures 26 x 38.
I wish I had a before picture, but the reality is I keep forgetting to take before pictures. I need to walk around our house and take all before pictures right now. It seems once I start a project I completely forget. Don’t think for one second that I didn’t consider messing up my closet on purpose to stage a before picture. Honestly, I am too busy to stage that picture and then have to clean it up again.
Trust me on this one, it was packed and messy.
Before the Konmari Method my closet was full of shirts, skirts, dresses, pants, etc. My dresser was full of everything else and being from the Midwest I subscribed to the idea of a winter/summer wardrobe where you put your off season clothes away in the attic.
One thing I hate about storing my off season clothes in the attic is that when the seasons become a little bipolar as they tend to do in the Midwest (this week we had 82 degrees on Sunday and then 35 degree yesterday) you may be longing for capris in March or a sweater in September, but they are packed away.
That is until now!
If you have not read the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing I encourage you to do so. You can read it all in one sitting or read a little bit at a time and work your way through decluttering your life like I am.
So the first thing I had to was move ALL of my clothing to one area.
I put it in my living room so I would be annoyed with it being in my way and get it done. This meant completely emptying my dresser drawers, closet, bringing clean cloths up from the laundry room and taking my off season clothes out of the attic.
It’s embarrassing to see how many clothes I have once they are all put together, especially since I guarantee the people in my life are wondering why they always see me in the same things if I have so many clothes.
You should start by going through off season clothes. The idea is that you are less attached to them since they are currently out of rotation. I tried on everything and was very discriminating about whether I loved it. Marie Kondo creator of the Konmari method teaches, “does it bring you joy?”
My ultimate goal was to get all my remaining clothes to fit comfortably in my closet and dresser with no more off-season storage.
Initially, I made a keep, donate and I’m not sure pile. Eventually, I went back and re-sorted the “I’m not sure” pile. Ultimately a lot of those items didn’t make the cut.
I purged from every category: underwear, socks (really who needed as many socks as I had), bras, shirts, pants, shorts, dresses, pajamas, shoes and hats.
It made me sick to realize how much stuff I had that I wasn’t wearing, and really how much money had I spent on these items that were just taking up space in our home?
Going through this purging process allowed me to say good-bye to three distinct eras in my life. I took a picture of these three shirts for my scrapbook and said good-bye. A shirt from my freshman year residence hall that had holes in it, but I just couldn’t part with until now.
My high school PE shirt, which was so comfortable and I was using as a pajama shirt; however, it was becoming a little too transparent after all these years.
The final shirt I threw away is the most embarrassing.
I was actually holding on to a t-shirt I had gotten for my 7th grade camping trip. That was 22 years ago. The fact that it was serving as a large pajama shirt up until this year tells you that it was way too big for me back when I was in middle school. How in the world did that shirt survive so many moves in my life?!
Simply parting with those shirts was a huge step in my ability to purge my clothing.
If I could say good-bye to 3 shirts that I had held on to for so long, I could get rid of a lot more in the interest of simplifying my life.
The after effect:
Now my wardrobe is simplified to only those things I like to wear. It is much easier to choose what to wear in the morning. It is also faster to put my clothes away after the laundry gets done.
If you have tried or thought about trying other ideas for simplifying your wardrobe, but none of them seem to work check out the Konmari method in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing I think she offers some great, practical advice and it’s what ultimately worked for me.
I caution you that this is not an easy or quick process, but it is worthwhile.
Set aside a Saturday and dedicate it to freeing yourself from your excess wardrobe. I promise you it will feel so good and it will simplify your life.
7 Quick Tips for Decluttering Your Closet KonMari style
Step 1: Move ALL of your clothing to your sorting area. This means everything. Check the laundry room for clean clothes, attic/basement for stored off season clothes. If you can do this after you have recently done laundry it’s even better.
Step 2: Put like items together. All shirts together, shorts together, pants together, etc.
Step 3: Have three distinct areas set up, with signage or boxes if you need. Keep, Donate, Throw away.
Step 4: Go through your off-season clothes first. Try them on and see if they fit and how they fit. Do you like them? Do they fit? Will you wear them. If the answer is no to any of these questions they go in the donate or throw away pile. If they have stains, holes or are way out of style they go in the throw away pile.
Continue doing this for every category of clothing you may have (short sleeve shirts, long sleeve shirts, sweaters, sweatshirts, comfy pants, dress pants, jeans, shorts, capris, skirts, dresses, pajamas, socks, underwear, bras, hats, belts, decorative scarves). It is okay to have a “I’m not sure pile.” This does mean you have to go back through all of those things one more time. Most of those “I’m not sures” will probably be no’s in the end.
Step 5: When you are finished look at your keep piles and be sure you still want to keep all of those things. Many times you will find you are more willing to part with something after you have gone through this process.
Step 6: Assess your dressers and closet and decide how you want to put it all back together. If you didn’t see my tip for organizing your dresser yet be sure to check it out.
Step 7: Reassemble your closet and dresser. If you did a good job of purging you should have ample room in both. Bonus: you will be left with the items you love to wear.
If you’re not sure what to do with the clothes you just got rid of check out these related posts:
14 Steps to Organize a Neighborhood Garage Sale
Earn Extra Money from Home with a Virtual Garage Sale
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