It's no surprise that once the KonMari craze fully swept the United States, I decided to join the band wagon.
Marie Kondo's method of organizing and tidying became popular in the United States around 2014-2015 when her first book was translated into English and published in the United States by Ten Speed Press.
It's now 2019 and the debut of her hit Netflix series, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, has reignited the KonMari spark across the country!
As the new year began, and I began thinking more seriously about preparing for the arrival of our first baby in a few short months, I decided to watch a few episodes of her Netflix series. I was hoping to find a few ideas to help with my New Year/Spring Cleaning routine.
I was so thoroughly hooked on her sweet, calm persona and her unique but also not so different organizing methods that I immediately logged into my local library's website to request both books.
A few days later, I was diving right in with Spark Joy, Kondo's second book.
This book is an illustrated guide to the first book. I would highly recommend reading them in the correct order, unlike me!
The KonMari method is a guided exercise in decluttering your entire home so that everything you possess brings you joy. Some items may spark joy because they are useful (a spatula, long johns, or toothbrush). Other items may spark joy for you because you consider it beautiful (a figurine, gown, or painting). Essentially, your entire home should be your personal shrine in which there is not one thing that does not bring you joy.
"Although it would be ideal if we could
continue using everything with care
and respect, if an item has completed its
role in our life, then it is time to thank it
and bid it farewell." - Spark Joy, 197
Now, you might be thinking about the things you keep because they're necessary but they do not bring you joy whatsoever. Appliance warranties, receipts, electronic cables and cords are just a few that come to my mind.
Kondo recommends sorting through all of your belongings in a particular order (see below) and once you get to the category in which your necessary-but-not-joy-sparking items belong, you will have honed your decision making skill and it will be easier to keep what you need and discard what you don't. You will check expiration dates, too. This helps make sure you are not keeping papers longer than necessary because you are under the impression you must keep them forever.
Also, by keeping items confidently, not hesitantly, you will be able to find them more easily and you will appreciate their purpose.
The order in which one applies the KonMari method is:
4) Komono (miscellany)
I won't go into much detail about categories two through five because right now I just want to focus on how I implemented the KonMari method to my clothes.
Clothes doesn't only include your tops and bottoms but it also includes coats, shoes, accessories, bags, hats, socks and underwear, swimwear, costumes, uniforms, and any other articles of clothing (daily wear and clothing for specific events).
I loved this illustration from Spark Joy about organizing a small closet so that even the arrangement of your belongings brings you joy.
I used this as my inspiration. My husband and I share a small walk-in closet and my half seems to be about the same size as what the illustration depicts.
"If you view the walk-in closet as a small room, you will be able to create a beautiful storage space." - Spark Joy, 109
I began by piling all of the clothes from my disastrous closet and all of the clothes from my over-stuffed dresser onto my bed.
My original pile! What a mess. Though it doesn't include undergarments.
This is the pile of clothes I kept. I made the decision on which articles of clothing to keep by picking up each piece, one by one, and assessing whether it brings me joy.
Here I am sorting through my bags and shoes.
I didn't get any before pictures of what my closet and dresser actually looked like "organized" or put away. These process pictures will have to suffice!
This is my pile of things to donate! (I did end up grabbing a back pack out of this pile that I couldn't stop thinking about. So, I'm keeping it confidently!)
I'm making progress. It's hard to believe all my hanging clothes now fit into about half of my closet! It used to be crammed full.
And (keep in mind this is still a work in progress) here is what it looks like today:
I recommend (it's not specified in the KonMari method) picking a type of hanger and using it for all of your clothes in order to make your closet appear more cohesive. I chose white plastic hangers because I had a mix of white and black and a few random colors. The most of one color I had on hand was white, so it was a simple decision. You could choose wooden hangers or the kind that are velvety - whatever you prefer. I would like to get my skirts all onto the same type of hanger (notice I'm using two store hangers).
This is just temporary storage. But at least it's organized! I have riding boots on the bottom left, a basket containing my winter scarves and hats in the middle, and my summer hats and caps on the right. Ideally I will purchase a set of drawers or shelves that fit into the bottom of my closet without crowding my hanging clothes.
I have a shoe organizer on the back of the closet door for the shoes I wear most often. Heels and shoes for special occasions are in the containers on the shelf in my closet.
I'm sorry if you're a bit OCD and the mismatched shoe container bothers you. That particular pair on the bottom right doesn't fit in the containers I bought for my shoes so I had to improvise! It doesn't bother me but it sure gets my husband.
Here is what my side of our dresser looks like. Remember the clothing category includes accessories, so I took this time to also organize my jewelry boxes which I keep on top of my dresser.
More inspiration - notice clothes rise to the right.
The process of organizing, decluttering, and tidying my clothes took me about a week. In the first day I only made a pile of all my clothing items and decided what to keep and what to discard. Most of my discard pile was able to be donated but there were a few pair of socks and other items that were damaged and had to be thrown away. Otherwise, I recommend taking your clothes to a thrift shop, selling them online, or giving to a friend who will get plenty more wear out of them.
My plans to further tidy my clothes are to get a set of drawers, cubbies, or shelves for the bottom of my closet so that my hats aren't sitting on the floor. Also, this would give me more space to create my own personal little shrine full of things I come across later that I can't part with but do not want to display in the public areas of my apartment.
Also, I am preparing for the baby so organizing the nursery closet will be on my to-do list once I make it through the next four steps of tidying my home!
Have you tried the KonMari method? How has it worked for you?