**Let me preface this by saying: the book for me was a great guideline. I didn’t agree with everything and I had to adjust things for my family (hello, 4 children) because she doesn’t address things that I needed to work around. So I have decided to write all about what I did and how it worked out for us. Hopefully it helps make it more manageable for others to do the same!
When my husband and I decided to officially “Kon-Mari” our home and possessions, it wasn’t difficult to start. In the life changing magic of tidying up, Marie Kondo breaks down the exact process of sorting through and getting rid of things. She doesn’t agree with buying lots of fancy organizational tools for your home. That is merely a way to store the things you own. Instead, rid yourself of the stuff and you won’t need a closet organizer! Broken down into steps about what to go through, in what order, and how, the book is simple to follow.
The first step is CLOTHING. You bring all of the clothing in the house to one room. This part disgusted me a little bit. To see all of those clothes in huge piles everywhere . . . it was enough to get me fired up to DO THIS THING. My husband did his first. I did all the kids’ and then eventually went through mine (yes, I was putting it off).
Following a very eastern based philosophy, the idea is to hold each item in your hands. If it brings you JOY, keep it. If you are indifferent or it doesn’t immediately spark joy for you, get rid of it. People get hung up on the items they wore for a special occasion, or things they “might” wear again one day, something that was a gift, etc, etc. You take each item in your hands, think about it, and decide right then. It’s incredibly empowering to do. Once I got going, it got easier and easier, and I felt lighter with each piece of clothing.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I form emotional attachments to things. From the beginning of this process until now, I have gone through my own clothes 5 times. I thought I did it the first time, then I realized there were items I was holding on to for sentimental reasons, and some that I didn’t ever wear but the “what if” kept me from getting rid of them previously. As I whittled things down slowly, it got easier. I don’t think I am finished even now.
When going through my children’s clothing I went through one at a time. Each time I sorted into 3 piles:
- give away
- throw away
Because we live on a farm there are several items that were completely trashed from playing hard outside. My eldest child is really hard on her clothes and puts holes in all the knees, chews holes in arms, etc. It was easy to throw lots of hers away! My second daughter has been given TONS of hand me downs and I had to find the good quality items and only stick to those. With kids, there are always things they grow out of or will pass on to their younger sibling, and things they need to grow into.
This was one area not addressed in the book because the author is not a mother and works with a lot of Japanese couples without children or not many children. I involved my two oldest daughters, ages 7 and 5. I asked them about certain items, or held up two jackets and asked them to choose their favorite, etc. I used to have a couple of totes full of clothes that my two younger girls would grow into from their bigger sister. I got that down to one tote of only the really nice stuff (including coats and shoes) for my 3 youngest children. As an example, instead of keeping 8 dresses in size 3T, I kept 3. Instead of my 5 year old owning 10 pairs of shoes (hand-me-downs), she now has one really nice pair of runners, a pair of sunday shoes, and a pair of boots.
My kids each have ONE DRAWER for ALL of their clothes: pants, shirts, pajamas, dresses, jackets, tights/socks/underwear. They have nothing hanging up except their winter coats in the coat closet.
The book also addresses how to store your clothing. There is a very specific method of folding your clothes so that they stand up in little rectangles in your drawer. This way they are all right there in front of you and you can see everything you have. The author suggests storing things in drawers over hanging in a closet because it looks cleaner. I have to agree.
Since adopting this strategy and having most of my clothing in drawers, everything feels more streamlined and clutter-free. I hang my dresses/skirts and a few shirts/cardigans, but now most of my things including sweaters and all t-shirts are folded and tucked away. My husband and I each have 2 drawers for our clothing. Everything I own fits and when it starts to look crowded, I know I need to get rid of a few things that have been lingering near the back without being worn. Even socks are given special attention and care, and are folded and neatly put away in a box within my drawer to keep things tidy. I used to loathe my underwear drawer and now I love it. I keep all underwear, socks, tights, leggings, workout clothes, etc in one drawer, and all shorts/capris/pants/jeans, t-shirts, and sweaters in another.
One thing that has DRASTICALLY changed since adopting this new minimalist approach to clothing is the LAUNDRY. My kids used to throw all the clothes in the hamper even if they weren’t dirty as they cleaned their room. They also used to change their clothes a lot throughout the day — did I mention I have three girls? Now they don’t have as many clothes and don’t do that = LESS LAUNDRY. When things are dirty and are in the hamper (I have one small one for 6 of us) we do a couple of loads of laundry and it’s all done. Everyone’s drawers are full again and the hamper is empty. It’s marvelous.
I can’t begin to describe how this one little thing has lifted such a burden that I didn’t even realize was wearing on me. Not having to do laundry every day and never having the hamper overflowing is incredible.
My children choose clothing they absolutely love, as do my husband and I. When I am shopping I don’t impulse buy anymore. I look at what I have, and think about how that item will fit in with my limited wardrobe. When you don’t have as much, you make those pieces count! I am a very casual person so I basically own t-shirts, skinny jeans, and cardigans. But I have a few pieces that help me mix things up and those are the ones I really think about. For example, right now I am searching for some new every day shoes. It’s taken me a month of looking (and still looking) to find what I really LOVE and want to have for a long time. I think I found them, but am still thinking about it before I purchase.
I know this method may not be for everyone, but it has worked well for us. My girls are learning the new folding method and are doing great. I am taking better care of the clothing I do have, and am trying to purposefully think about what I buy. If for nothing else, do it for the laundry. I promise its worth it!
–> Next up, BOOKS. Our biggest struggle!