I have discovered a revolutionary way to declutter your home. It’s called the KonMari Method by Marie Kondo, a Japanese cleaning expert. She wrote a book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, outlining the process through which she takes her clients when she helps them organize their homes. The message of the book is simple, but powerful: surround yourself only with things that bring you joy. When you hold onto things because you feel guilty discarding them or think you might use them someday, you clutter not only your physical space, but also your mental and emotional space. Now that I have decluttered and reorganized my closet and dresser, including all my clothes, shoes, jewelry, and accessories, I feel peaceful and energized when I walk into my master bedroom.
Marie says the best sequence for tidying is to do clothes first, then books, papers, komono (miscellany,) and last, mementos, because they are the hardest to purge. She further divides clothes into tops (shirts, sweaters,) bottoms, (pants, skirts,) clothes that should be hung (jackets, coats, suits,) socks, underwear, bags, accessories, clothes for specific events (working out, swimming,) and shoes. I tidied my linen cabinet and the clothes in my closet (I did the linens before I got the book) and then moved on to shoes, accessories, and the clothes in my dresser and lingerie cabinet, and I’m already feeling the magic.
First, I took everything out of my dresser, including my leggings, and put it on my bed.
Then I picked up each item, discerning whether or not I felt happy holding it. (Some things, like athletic socks don’t necessarily make me feel happy, but I do enjoy wearing them on my walks!) Most of the things I got rid of were workout shirts that don’t fit me anymore. It feels great to have a drawer full of shirts I can actually wear!
Once I’d gone through everything, I put it back in the drawers and cabinets. I didn’t rearrange anything, but the purge left me with an empty drawer on the bottom.
I did the lingerie chest next, then moved on to the shoes, handbags, and scarves.
I put all my shoes in the floor (except for the ones hanging in the shoe bag over the closet door) and evaluated each pair.
This is where a little remorse kicked in: I kept some of my mother’s shoes when she died because we wore the same size, but I never wear them; I have some wedge sandals that I love, but they kill my feet every time I put them on; and I have several pairs of perfectly good, hardly-worn shoes that are nice but not my style anymore. Sitting with them, acknowledging the guilt, and imagining what it would feel like to open my closet and not see them on the shelves, judging me, made the choice to discard them easier. (Don’t worry – I’m keeping the doggies. 😉 )
See that metallic purse in the sell pile? My mom and I saw it at the Brighton store in Highland Village, and she gave it to me for Christmas. I loved it, but after I had used it a while, I realized it had too many pockets. I could never find anything in it. When Stella & Dot started selling bags in November 2011, I put the Brighton bag on the shelf. I knew it was time to let the purse go, so I held it in my lap and conjured the memory of Mom and me shopping, one of her favorite things to do. I recalled how excited I was to receive such a beautiful bag and how much Mom loved picking out just the right presents for people. When I was ready, I put it with the other things I’m selling.
No matter how wonderful things used to be, we cannot live in the past. The joy and excitement we feel here and now are more important. Marie Kondo
I have four baskets with scarves, wraps, small purses, and gloves, most of which I don’t use. These were hard to go through, too. My mom gave me several of the purses, and we bought some of the scarves on trips to London, Paris, and Ireland. I feel so guilty that I don’t use them, but I held each unused purse and scarf, remembered the joy with which my mom gave it to me, and put it in the donate pile.
My accessories collection is a little different than most women’s. As a Stella & Dot stylist, I sell jewelry, scarves, bags, and wallets at trunk shows, so I need to have a variety of the pieces in our line for my display. I also wear the jewelry, so I keep everything accessible in the other closet in my bedroom. I use Stella & Dot display pieces available only to stylists, but it wouldn’t be hard to create a small jewelry display area in your bedroom or closet. You can get some good ideas here, here, and here.
Now I just have to make myself unpack and put away everything after each trunk show!
My clothes, shoes, and accessories are officially decluttered! I know it’s crazy, but everything in my master bedroom is perfect, and I’m reveling in it. Liberating myself from things I no longer want or need has been a life-changing experience. One of the things Marie says in her book is that you just know when you have discarded enough stuff. I feel that way about my closet. I have just the right amount of clothes, shoes, and accessories now, and I don’t feel guilty about any of it. That doesn’t mean I won’t buy new things, but I will be more intentional about what I choose to add to my wardrobe.
Decluttering and reorganizing my bedroom took about a week. It might take you more time, depending on how much stuff you have and how organized it is already. Now that I’ve completed Marie Kondo’s first category, I’m ready to tackle my books. I’m motivated to get my whole house in order!
Are you inspired to go through your closet and get rid of clothes, shoes, and accessories you don’t love? Will be hard or easy for you to purge your wardrobe? I think you will be surprised by how good it feels to surround yourself with things that bring you joy, knowing that everything you touch is something you truly want to have in your life.
If you live in Houston or the surrounding area (50 mile radius) click here for information about my closet organizing services. I can help you transform your closet into a perfectly ordered space just like mine.
Quotes are from The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Act of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, Ten Speed Press, Berkeley.
Click here to read more posts in this series.