The KonMari method is no joke. If you truly take it to heart and only keep what sparks joy, you will likely have your work cut out for you as you get rid of massive amounts of non-joyful possessions. But I’m finding that the end result is completely worth it.
If you’re new to this series, this is post 2. You can find post 1 here where I go over the basics of the KonMari method. I am slowly moving through the categories of the KonMari method to completely sort through and purge all non-joy sparking items in our home over the next six months. And I’ve invited my readers to join in the fun!
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For the month of March, we worked through our clothes. I sorted through all of my clothes and both of my children’s clothes (ages 6 and 3). As per the instructions in the book (The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo), I left my husband’s clothes alone for him to deal with. So far, he has only sorted through his shoes, but I have faith that his motivation will come.
This was a much bigger project than I imagined. I feel like I should have dedicated one full day to the task and it might have been easier, but I just didn’t have that kind of time in my schedule. My husband works on an opposite shift, so every time I did have a long period to work on my sorting, he was in the bedroom sleeping! I am definitely looking forward to future categories that do not involve so much time in my bedroom so I won’t have to work around his schedule so much. I feel like I spent a large part of the month with a mountain of clothes on my floor, but now that it’s done, it was well worth the temporary stress and chaos.
Here are my top tips for using the KonMari method for your clothes as a busy, working mom.
Go Through All Categories Twice.
I know, it takes extra time and effort, but it was really helpful for me to go through each clothing sub-category twice. I think this is especially important since this is the first category of the KonMari method. I felt like I needed a little bit of time to warm up to recognizing what truly “sparked joy”.
Pull out all of your clothes and start sorting through your items one by one. For me, there were several items that were easily a “no” and a few that were a bit of a struggle, but still made it out in the first round. But I just didn’t feel satisfied when I was done. I think most of this dissatisfaction may have been spurred by the fact that I originally kept 12 dresses and I wear a dress approximately one time per year. I would like to wear dresses more often, but did I really need 12 of them?
I pulled everything back out and sorted through them again and was able to “release” a large number of additional items on the second go around. I had finally started to recognize what it truly felt like to spark joy. I also found it helpful to imagine that I needed to wear this type of clothing this evening (a fancy dress, for example) and tried to determine which one I would pick to wear. If I wouldn’t jump at the chance to wear the article of clothing tonight if the need arose, then I had no business keeping it. I still have more dresses than I need, but I truly love all the ones I kept and can’t wait to find an opportunity to wear them.
For the kid’s clothes, I found it helpful to go through all of the clothes with the kids for the first round. I was amazed at how quickly my 3-year-old son was able to tell me what he liked and didn’t like. He was able to help me get rid of far more of his clothes than I would have if I had gone through his clothes all by myself. Maybe it’s because he’s a boy? I don’t know, but let your kids have the first voice so you can keep only what they enjoy. However, after the first round, I sent the kids out of the room and went through their clothes again to ditch any beloved items that didn’t fit or had too many stains. (Shh, don’t tell.) 🙂
Take it Slow.
Normally I rush through projects like this just to get them done and crossed off my to-do list. My husband mentioned that the reason he isn’t going through his clothes is because we just did this a few months ago. He has a point, but a few months ago we rushed through the process just trying to free up more space in our closet so I could finish putting away the laundry. At that time we were just thinking of what we wanted to get rid of to make room. This time around, the thought process is to decide what you want to keep, which is a much more helpful question.
I realized that you really do need to pull it all out so you can see what you have, and you really do have to hold every single item and consider it individually. At one point in the book, she suggests imagining yourself in a boutique and deciding what items you would purchase. If you wouldn’t be excited to buy it at the store today, do you really need to keep the item in your closet? Get rid of it!
This really did take me the entire month of April. And there are still a few small things I want to do to improve our storage (mostly with my jewelry). I’m really trying to “do this right”, so I’m completely fine if it takes a while. The really nice thing is that now I recognize what it feels like to only have the things I enjoy so it’s easy to get rid of anything I don’t. As I’ve put away the laundry since my initial sorting and purging took place, I’ve added a few more items to the “get rid of” pile. They might have sparked joy to hold in my hand, but once I wore them, I realized that they didn’t fit or look the way I imagined and they needed to go.
Be Flexible and Make it Work for You.
I really love most of the folding and storage instructions that Marie outlines in the book. I still hate folding socks, but when I open up one of our sock drawers to pick a pair each day my heart literally feels happy to see all the options standing up and nicely displayed for us to see. And I don’t have to stress or worry about the ankle/leg areas getting stretched out nearly as quickly as they did when we used the fold over method of sock folding.
However, we hang a lot of clothes in our house and I have no intention of changing that. Marie suggests that folding all of your shirts and pants will give you more storage space and be better for the clothes themselves, but it just doesn’t work for us. We have plenty of closet storage space, but not as much drawer space, especially shorter drawers that would allow for standing clothes up instead of stacking them. I would have to go buy containers and drawers to start folding all of our shirts and then I would feel claustrophobic with all the extra furniture. It just doesn’t make sense. So I fold socks, underwear, pajamas, sweats, and workout clothes. All t-shirts, most pants, and just about everything else gets hung up. I think our clothes will still be happy, I will at least.
Another area that we pull away from her suggestions is how our clothes hang. She suggests that the clothes should all be sorted and hung to rise to the right. We have super awesome closet organizers and sliding doors in our closets, so it makes more sense to hang our clothes to rise toward the wall and away from the center.
Take her advice to heart, try it out, but most importantly, figure out what works best for your lifestyle and your home storage design. The goal is to have a home that sparks joy and makes you comfortable and happy to be in. So organize and store your things the way you want.
But seriously, try her folding techniques, because she really does have some good points there. If you need some videos for how to fold things the KonMari way, this site has some good demonstrations.
I am really impressed by how much better I feel about my clothes now that I’ve only kept the things I truly like. It has inspired me to wear more of the clothes I love and a lot more variety. Before, I would just grab the first t-shirt I saw, but now that my closet isn’t overwhelming, and is sorted by category I can easily see everything and choose what I want to wear based on how I feel each day. I’m dressing up more and wearing clothes I completely forgot that I own. This exercise has also helped me get a better grasp of what types of clothes I really like, so when I was shopping the other day I was easily able to pick out a couple extra pieces that I truly love.
How did the clothing purge go for you? What tips and tricks would you offer to find the most success in using the KonMari method for clothes, especially for working moms?
Follow along with all the posts in this series as we work through each category in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up book.