Your alarm goes off. Time to start your day. You step to your closet and the familiar feeling of dread washes over you.
There’s nothing to wear. Your clothes are cramped and crowded. You feel overwhelmed and you’re barely even awake.
There’s a better way to start your day and it begins with tidying.
Organization is a popular topic and there are many different methods and plans out there to help get your house and closet in order.
The problem with many of those methods is that while they create initial order, they don’t employ lasting change and the mess can creep back in.
Marie Kondo’s approach is different. In The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, her method centers around the questions, “Does this item spark joy?”
Marie has explored different organization methods since she was young. All her research led to her main theme: if you properly simplify and organize your home once, you’ll never have to do it again.
With tidying up, she focuses on finding things that spark joy. This is a key factor to her method. The idea is that once you purge, you are only surrounded by things that bring you joy and thereby your entire outlook on life changes.
Clear the clutter, keep the joy.
That is life changing.
It’s also a big task. In her book, she methodically walks you through her KonMari Method which tackles your organization project one category at a time. It isn’t just a way to clean and clear, it’s a process that helps you become more mindful and thoughtful about the things you keep in your home.
The KonMari method starts with clothes. Here are six basic rules to get you started.
Organization only works if you are committed. You have to be committed to doing the work that will lead to a tidier closet. Find a chunk of time you can focus on the task. Don’t try squeeze it into a quick hour between your workout and dinner.
Imagine your ideal lifestyle. Really spend some time daydreaming about this. How do you see yourself in your ideal life? How do you feel? The more detailed you can be about your vision, the better chance it will come true.
Respect the clothing that you have. Everything is there for a reason. That reason may be long outlived, but there was a reason. Marie asks that you think about how your clothes feel. Are your clothes happy squashed into a corner or smashed on hangers too close together? It might sound crazy, but if you think about how they might feel, your closet may look pretty unhappy.
You’re organizing clothes only. Ignore everything else, even if you find that long hidden box of letters deep in your closet that you forgot all about. Set it aside for later and keep your energy only on your clothes. Focus also means that you don’t talk on the phone or think about your To Do list. Keep your attention on this task.
Bring every item of clothing you own in one place. That includes your coats in the front closet and the extra set of gym clothes in your trunk. Everything from every place in your house (and car.)
Pick each piece of clothing you have one at a time. Hold it in your hands and ask if it sparks joy. Was it a gift that you feel bad getting rid of? What about pre-pregnancy jeans that you just know will fit again one day? Does it spark joy or just make you feel miserable about how your body has changed? If you need to, put it on. How do you feel? Is this the feeling you dreamt about as you imagined your ideal life in step 2?
Don’t keep anything that doesn’t spark joy. Don’t hold on to things that you might use or wear again (the exception is a utility piece that serves a specific function like snowboard pants or a logo work shirt.)
Sparking joy gives you permission to let go. Marie suggests you thank the clothing for its service. It might sound silly, but it is freeing. That item of clothing served a purpose for you and that purpose is done. You appreciate that and you’re ready to move on. Let it go live a life where someone will truly love it.
Now that only your most joy-sparking clothes are left, it’s time to put them away. There should be a lot less stuff in your pile. Marie is a big proponent of folding clothes. This is her primary recommendation for storing clothes.
For things in drawers, KonMari’s folding method keeps things tidy and visible. This video features Marie and gives you an idea of what her folding method is. By folding your clothes this way, everything stays visible in drawers and makes replacing them easier.
For thing you want to hang, put each item on a hanger with space in between. This makes each item visible, accessible, easy to grab, and easy to put back. This is where you can bring in other organization methods with velvet hangers or hanging clothes by color, style, or season.
Now that your closets and drawers are filled with items that you love, getting dressed should be energizing and fun.