Monday, January 11, 2016

KonMari, My Clothes Edition

What is KonMari?

Check out this post here, the 1st post in this series.

KonMari-ng my Clothing

I've been dabbling in this method for about a year now, but I never really KonMari-ed my clothing. Silly mistake, right? It IS the first step after all! Well, I didn't do it because I already had my wardrobe under control, or so I thought. I purge regularly, and it's a small and manageable wardrobe. I finally did a half-hearted session a couple weeks ago and pulled out four dresses between two sessions, but otherwise felt smug that I was *done*. Never mind that I didn't give a second glance to my accessories and shoes! Recently, I threw away a too-worn pair of pumps and hemmed and hawwed over another that I LOVE but are too high for me to manage. I pulled out a jacket the next day that I bought and never wore, and realized it was too big! I then wore a pair of pants to work that I love in theory but are baggy another few days later, and finally I understood that I really needed to put my closet (and everything else) to the KonMari test. I need to pile it all in one heap, just like Marie tells us to do. I need to sit and touch each item and FEEL if it sparks joy, and if it does not, let it go. I think I was afraid to really do this because I'd lose 'options' and feel like I had nothing to wear. I needed to let go of that fear! I figure, anything I let go would be holding me back anyhow.

Starting Numbers

I felt like I wouldn't let much go because I'm pretty good at keeping my wardrobe purged, and that this is just going to be the final wax and shine. I guessed that I'd discard only a few items in total (less than 10 counting accessories, say, and another 10 from lounge and undergarments). I guessed I owned 110 items of clothing and 75 jewelry/shoes/other items. Separately, I guessed I owned 40 lounge/sleep wear items and another 30 undergarments and socks. A total of 255 items. I have not kept an inventory since spring of last year, and I did a lot of shopping in the spring and summer so I knew I needed to do an inventory before I started.

Now, here is the REAL count (remember I live in a 4-season climate that gets very hot and very cold):

Out and About Wear
20 Tops, 4 Sweaters, 11 Tees/folded tops, 7 Tanks and Camisoles, 2 Skirts, 10 Jeans, 10 Pants, 17 Dresses, 13 Jackets, 10 Cardigans, 3 Coats
Total:  107- I guessed 110 so I was right on the money.

23 Necklaces, 15 Earrings, 8 Bracelets, 5 Pumps, 4 Flats, 3 Boots, 4 house shoes, 6 Scarves, 2 Hats, 3 Mittens, 2 Swimsuits, 1 umbrella, 2 purses, 1 tote, 2 belts, 2 belly rings, my wedding ring.
Total: 84.  I guessed 75, but didn't think of the little things like belts, belly rings, etc so also very close.

Lounge-wear & Undergarments
4 Pajama Tops, 9 Pajama Bottoms, 16 Lounge Tops, 4 lounge bottoms, 5 Leggings, 3 Nightgowns, 29 Underwear, 3 exercise pants,  2 Bras, 1 Slip, 1 robe, 9 Tights, 17 prs. Knee-highs,  9 prs. Socks
Total: 112. I guessed 70, so I was way off- mostly in undergarments.

Grand Total: 303. I guessed 255, so I was off by a bit.

The Process and 'Before' Pictures

I piled all my clothing on my bed. This was upsetting because everything was nicely hung or nicely folded (KonMari style!). It wasn't even as massive as a pile - I don't really own excessive amounts of clothing. I did, however, see I have more than enough clothing for just one person!

I picked up each piece in my hands. I've always had issues with the 'spark joy' feeling that I was supposed to use. I always went with my first instinct before- keep or toss, often contemplating items based on the usual questions we ask ourselves. I never REALLY approached it solely from the 'Does it spark joy?' question, so I didn't really know how to use it. I didn't really know if something sparked joy or not, with the exception of a few of my favorites that were easy yes's.

I did my clothing in groups- tops, lounge, underclothing, dresses, bottoms. I first did my easy yes's in the tops category and piled them together. I thought about why those items sparked joy for me- they fit me well, they flattered my figure, they were in styles and colors I loved. But how do I measure everything else against these 'diamonds'? Is it even possible to have a closet that features all '10's? In that case I have a few '9's' I'd keep and then would have to toss the rest! I started getting frustrated until I remembered that Marie mentioned in her new book, Spark Joy, that I could rate my items. She says once you have your top 10, 20, or whatever number you intuitively feel is enough, you'll be able to let the rest go with no problems. I was curious as to what my own number is, considering that I have a pretty small closet. I tried the method and still had some issues, but was able to let go of the 'bottom' rated items. I think if I had a bigger closet this tool would have been much more effective.

I struggled through the 'feeling joy' part and kept having to stop and refocus. I guess I don't have a very good joy-meter, and the point of this exercise is to hone it. I think I did get a little better at it, but clothing is difficult for me. I remembered how I felt buying each item or wearing it. There was something in each that attracted me- color, design, or pattern, there always was a reason I bought it in the first place. Some items I was able to admit once brought me joy but no longer do- a dress I wore but cannot find an occasion to wear now I'm a mother, a bottom that is too big in the waist, etc.

I put away each category as I finished it and then did my accessories, again putting it all on the bed.

Accessories were not nearly as hard as I thought they would be- I don't know if my joy meter improved or if the category itself was easier. I was 'over' a lot of items, and when I had separated my keep and discard piles I realized that it looked like jewelry that belonged to two different people! My discard pile was cheaper, larger, and louder/flashy. My keep pile was more elegant, had more delicate items, and was more simple in design. I forgot a small box of jewelry in my before picture, which had some sentimental and small items.

I finally did my shoes, which I really resisted mentally since I have so few. I piled everything again (on the floor this time) and touched each item.

The Results and Discards

I discarded a total of 84 items! I really didn't expect this and am a little bit at a loss as to what to do with what I decided to let go of. I'll have to address this very soon because my discard piles are cluttering up my bedroom! The day after finishing KonMari-ing my clothes, I tried to wear a top and decided to let it go as well, so I've included it in the numbers.

Clothing Discards

Out and About Wear
17 Tops (-3), 4 Sweaters, 5 Tees (-6), 6 Tanks and Camisoles (-1), 2 Skirts, 9 Jeans(-1), 6 Pants (-4), 14 Dresses (-3), 11 Jackets (-2), 10 Cardigans, 3 Coats
Total: Was 107, now have 87. I discarded 20 items, much more than the 10 I estimated including accessories!

Lounge-wear & Undergarments
2 Pajama Tops (-2),  10 Pajama Bottoms (-3), 12 Lounge Tops (-4), 3 lounge bottoms (-1), 5 Leggings, 2 Nightgowns (-1), 15 Underwear (-14), 2 excersize pants (-1),  2 Bras, 1 Slip, 1 robe, 7 Tights (-2), 10 prs Knee-highs (-7),  5 prs Socks (-4).
Total: 73 items. I discarded 39 items! I estimated I'd discard 10 so again, way off.

Shoe Discards

Accessory Discards

16 (-7) Necklaces, 9 Earrings(-6), 2 Bracelets (-6), 3 Pumps (-2), 4 Flats, 2 Boots (-1), 3 house shoes (-1), 6 Scarves, 2 Hat (-1), 2 Mittens (-1),  2 Swimsuits, 1 umbrella, 2 purses, 1 tote, 2 belts, 2 belly rings, my wedding ring.

Total: 59 items. I discarded 25 items! I thought I'd only let go of a couple items tops.

I also did some of my sentimental jewelry out of order and let go of 4 items leaving 3 for later, not included in totals.

Grand Total: 219 items, down from 303.

'After' Pictures

Hanging Closet- My Side (Green blouse is now gone)

Pants & Jeans Drawer

Lounge Drawer

Sweaters/Tees/Camis Drawer

Undergarment & Swimwear Drawer

Accessory Storage (Missing Purses & Scarves, in closet)


  1. Well done! Your post made me think that I should rank my items in each category. From best to worst and then just get rid of the bottom ones. Not sure about the numbers yet, but I guess I'll know when I see the piles :-).

    1. Thank you! I'm surprised I caught as much attention with this post as I have. I'm happy to inspire anyone and flattered Debbie posted about my post.

  2. Great post! I did the Konmari method with my clothes when I swapped out the fall/winter items & packed up summer. I think I'll do it again when I get summer stuff out.

    I think I have the problem you mentioned~ when it comes to clothes, my joy meter is not strong. I find it easier with other things, like household goods. I'm hoping this will improve as I get the hang of it. Some of the winter clothing I kept, definitely did not spark joy when I tried to wear it, so those items I'm purging as I go.

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Really a great post, very inspiring! What did you do with the discarded clothes finally? Did you donate them or throw away?