KonMari Tidying, Life, Organize, Style

Tidying Up the KonMari Way: Remaining Clothes, Shoes, and Accessories

Tidying Up Clothes Shoes Accessories

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.

Clothes on Bed Pic2

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.

Dresser Collage Pic3

I did the lingerie chest next, then moved on to the shoes, handbags, and scarves.

Before Shoes Pic4

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.

Shoes and accessories on bed Pic5This 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. 😉 )

Shoes Keep Sell Donate Pic7

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.

Beforeafter scarves and bags Pic6Now the baskets contain only the things that I love and will use (like my Stella & Dot clutch and wristlets in the middle basket.)

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.

Stella & Dot Display KonMari

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.

Final Closet with Shoes Pic8

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. 

Kelly Gartner Style KonMari

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11 thoughts on “Tidying Up the KonMari Way: Remaining Clothes, Shoes, and Accessories

  1. Thank you for your awesome post. I just found KonMari. It was the right timing. I was feeling weighed down by my closet. I love clothes and styling myself and friends, but the closet felt like it was in control of my life because I had to spend so much daily time rehanging and organizing the stuff in it. I love The KonMari process of saying goodbye and giving thanks to each item leaving. I haven’t reached the “click point” yet. I was relieved to read it took you a week to organize your closet. I’m on day three and kinda want to go thru everything again!!

    1. Hi, Kate – how is the closet cleaning going? Have you finished your clothes yet? The great thing about KonMari is that while it may take a while to complete a category, you never have to do it again! Since I KMed my closet, I have taken a few things out, whether they just don’t fit anymore, aren’t my style, or I realize they don’t suit me, but my closet remains organized, and I love everything in it! Can’t wait to hear about your progress!

      1. Hey Kelly. I finished my closet and drawers. I was soooo exhausted from the experience. I’m sure some of it was decision fatigue, but I was surprised to also discover how emotionally purging the experience was. I did go a little out of order and skipped books as my jewelry and makeup demanded immediate attention. How did I manage to accumulate so many lipsticks in slightly different shades of taupe I’ll never know!!

        Books are for next weekend. I hear my kitchen calling me, but I’m gonna need my strength for that.

        Btw I’ve really enjoyed exploring your blog.

  2. I have been KonMari-ing my apartment like crazy and am loving it. I was really touched by your story about letting go of the purse your mom got you. I have SO MANY items I’ve kept simply because of sentimental associations of buying them on shopping trips with my mom. Those have been the hardest things to part with, but Marie is totally right. And I definitely feel “lighter” after going through her method!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Naomi. It was hard to let go of the purse, but I know I did the right thing. It’s so freeing to fill your closet with things you absolutely love! It’s like there’s a dark cloud hanging over your belongings when you keep things for the wrong reasons, and once you’ve thanked them for their service and sent them on their way, the clouds part, and the sun shines! Would love to hear how the rest of your KM journey is going!

  3. Hi Kelly.
    Although I have read the KonMari book & listened to her tapes, I am having a hard time getting started. You see, I have gained about 40 pounds lately due to illness so I have various sizes of clothes and don;t know what to purge. Any insights and suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

    Btw _ I love your easy and personal expression here. It’s almost like having you with me in my room with a ‘cuppa’ encouraging me! Thanks so much, Kelly.

    1. Thank you for your kind words! I am glad I encourage you from afar! 🙂

      I have a closet organizing client who gains and loses weight, depending on medications she takes for her rheumatoid arthritis. She’s currently wearing her smaller size clothes. When we went through her clothes, she kept items she loves that are in her larger size, and we put them in a bin on a shelf for when she needs them. I don’t usually advise clients to keep clothes in multiple sizes because by the time they lose enough weight to wear the smaller size, they will probably want to buy new clothes. The exceptions (in my opinion) are if you’re within 5-10 pounds of your goal weight or because of illness-related fluctuations like yours.

      I would take everything out of your closet and group the items by size. Then go through each size, hold up each garment, and decide if it sparks joy. Put all the joy-sparking clothes you can wear now back in your closet and pack the rest away for when you can wear them again. If you can, store them somewhere away from your current wardrobe. I say that because I think even a glimpse of clothes in a smaller size can make you feel bad about yourself, and you shouldn’t have negativity in your life. If you lose weight, you can pull out the other clothes. I hope that helps you!

  4. This is a great post. The way you associate certain items with the memory & relationship you had with your mother really resonated with me. It’s ironic that clothes are first (b/c KM thinks they are the least sentimental, I assume), but for me going through my closet is actually probably the hardest! Thank you so much for your post, this was just what I was looking for & motivates me to tackle the mess in my closet tomorrow!

    1. Hi, Larissa – thanks for reading and commenting! It’s interesting that clothes are the first in the KonMari process – it can be really hard to part with certain items. Because letting go of our clothing and accessories can bring up a lot of emotions, it’s a good way to practice the joy-sparking principle. Having perfected my closet organization, I know what a difference it makes in how I feel about myself when I get dressed in the morning. I’m working on a new post about my current closet – a lot has changed since I wrote this post!

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