A few weeks ago, I devoured and adored The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I knew at once that this tidying method, dubbed the KonMari method, was one I would have to follow. As I said in the above-linked review, I am a fairly meticulous person, tidy and organized 95% of the time, but this method of choosing with what to surround oneself was entirely different from any method I’d employed before. I knew I had plenty of items, in all categories, that I’d held onto for reasons other than joy: guilt, sentiment, vague future intent, etc.
Originally, my plan was to wait until the boys went to school before I began The Great Tidy-My-Life Project. But then the fire inside me wouldn’t die, and I couldn’t stop thinking of this book. I found myself subtly disposing of things that I knew would eventually end up in the trash pile once I started tidying. I streamlined my social media, email, file folders, internet bookmarks…yeah. Then I received a notice in the mail in late July stating that a local charity for special needs individuals and families would be picking up donations in my neighborhood on August 14th. Today. Before school began. I knew I had to act.
I spent the rest of July rereading the beginning of the book and visualizing my ideal lifestyle and space – Step 1 of the process. Once I got that firmly in mind, and acquired a giant box of 124-liter heavy-duty trash bags, I got to work. First up? Clothes.
August 1st: Every piece of clothing I owned – for all season, in all sizes, and including everything from jewelry to shoes to handbags to hair clips – went into a pile in the middle of my bedroom floor. (As you can see, Gavroche tried desperately to help with this part of the project.) For several hours, I went through each item, one by one, with only one criteria: Does this piece of clothing bring me joy? It did not matter if the item fit – I’ve a lot that’s too small, as (boo!) I regained 35 lbs in the stress of the last year, two cross-country moves and a year of isolation, and all that – or if I’d worn it often/never, or if it was worn, or if it was a gift. All that mattered was the joy that piece of clothing did or did not give me.
What Kondo says in the book is really true: When you pick up an article of clothing that you truly love, there’s a spark that passes between you. I don’t get this for everything – I kept my socks, not because they’re particularly joyous, but because they are comfortable and I wouldn’t replace them with other kinds – but I do with others. Small example: I picked up a random pair of jeans from the pile. I have lots of jeans, and only saw the corner of this one, and so didn’t know which pair it was. Instantly, I had an electric pang go through me, much like the kind you get when you first have a crush on someone and they look at you or touch your hand. I thought, “I love these jeans!” Then I pulled them all the way out and discovered that they were my favorite pair from back before I regained that weight. Coincidence? I think not.
In the end, I filled two 124-liter bags full of donation clothes. Probably 2/5ths to a half of my clothes went into there. Honestly, I probably could have gotten rid of more. There were some neutral pieces of clothing that I kept for convenience sake, so that I would not have to buy new clothes! Every time I gave something away, I thanked it – in my head – for what it had given me, just as Kondo recommends. This is the part many people find cheesy, but I loved it. It helped me to be grateful, and to alleviate guilt, and to part with items free from burdens.
August 2nd: The next step in the process is to learn a new way of folding to store clothes more efficiently. It was this folding process that initially attracted me, via Gricel’s review. Every time I saw a picture float by on Twitter of someone’s KonMari-ed pants or sock drawers, I had a moment of delight. So putting away my kept clothing became next priority.
Closet: All dresses, jackets, skirts, coats, robes, formal blouses, and camisoles went onto hangers, regardless of size or season, and arranged according to Kondo’s recommendation. Altogether, there are 25 items of clothes on hangers. That’s all. On the floor of the closet are the seven pairs of shoes I kept: running shoes (2), sandals (2), a pair of formal shoes, winter boots, and slippers. Everything else went into my drawers.
Admittedly, I separated out my clothes into “currently fits” and “doesn’t currently fit.” The latter category were folded KonMari style and placed into two flat transparent bins under my bed. The rest of the wardrobe was separated into three drawers: pants, capris, shorts, and exercise bottoms; shirts of all sleeve length and season; and socks, tights, leggings, undergarments, swimwear, handkerchiefs, and pajamas. The top drawer of my dresser is empty. The third bin under my bed is empty. There is extra space in each of the filled drawers/bins despite containing all my currently-fitting clothes, for all seasons, for all purposes. And I can see every single piece of clothing I own.
I cannot describe out transformative this two-day process turned out to be. I am still learning – I still have more to cull, and more to learn about the best way of folding – but man I am so satisfied and happy looking in my closet and in my drawers now.