It’s Sunday afternoon and I have just completed a super successful clean out of my apparel. Yes – it is KonMari Method weekend! If you’re not familiar with Marie Kondo, check out my last post here. )

I know everyone wants pictures … so here are a couple of teasers. Read through the full post for my experiences, lessons learned, and photos of my drawers and closets at the end of the process.

(All quotations in this post are from Marie Kondo’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” )

All of my clothing on Thursday evening - read to sort and discard.
All of my clothing on Thursday evening – read to sort and discard.

And the discards AFTER

The Discards After

Before I embarked on this task I had to spend some time thinking about what I hoped to accomplish. Marie Kondo states that you need to visual the life you hope to live before undertaking the KonMari Method of tidying-up. Part of the goal-setting I have been working on this year has involved our residence and how we can improve our home situation so I’m happier. More than anything else, I feel weighed down by clothes and laundry. Ground zero in our house is our bedroom. Apparel makes up the majority of my ‘stuff’. Each morning I struggle to find something to wear to work. I have three closets, yet constantly sing that familiar old refrain of ‘nothing to wear,’ so I’m late for work every day!

My fantasy bedroom environment is tidy, bright and maybe a bit sparse. A simple white down comforter on the bed, a lamp and alarm clock on the bedside tables, a couple of photos and my perfume tray on the dresser. I don’t need a chaise or want knick knacks everywhere. I need a place to rest and dream, and where I start and end my day on a good note.

As I worked through the process I believe my subconscious told me that this is the solution I’ve been searching for.

Day 1: Gather

On Thursday evening I gathered together all of my apparel. My clothes were scattered amongst four closets, a dresser, and several bins in the attic. I spent about 2 hours piling things by general categories in the guest room, then stepped away for the night. (I did not pull out anything to wear to work on Friday morning, and also had my purse on the floor of the room when I started throwing stuff … made for a stressful Friday morning, but hopefully the last one!)

Initial Observations upon gathering all of my apparel:

  1. Holy crap – I have a lot of clothes. More than even I imagined.
  2. A number of garments still have tags, including clothes I bought THIS WEEK.
  3. What brings joy? Not much … I think about 5% of these items bring me joy.

As I pulled out boxes filled with long-forgotten clothes, I came upon all kinds of things that I’ve hung onto for a decade or more … college t-shirts, the gown and hood from my college graduation, and these three sweaters which could probably only be worn at an Ugly Sweater Party. (Told you I was a Cat Lady!)

Everyone probably has sweaters like these from many years ago, but I’ve kept these three for well over a decade. Why?

Day 2: Sort

“To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those that have outlived their purpose.”

Friday evening at about 6 pm I started working my way through my clothes. For the first 90 minutes or so, I seemed to be spinning my wheels. I have a lot of clothes and the pile of tops was never ending. Following the KonMari Method’s guidance, I touched everything, although in some cases I barely picked up the item before tossing it in the discard pile.

Multiple Sizes are an issue for me. I have refused to rid myself of garments in a size 8 or 10 because I felt good in those clothes, but I realized that the joy didn’t come from the clothes, it came from the fulfillment of a weight loss goal. As I touched items in smaller sizes, I asked myself, “would this bring joy to you if you fit into it tomorrow?” and in most cases I said, “no.” I did keep about 4 items in smaller sizes and they are now in my main closet where they will motivate me.

A few sentimental items made the “joy” cut and they were kept. My wedding dress (Lord, I pray I can fit into that again!), a party dress that my mother wore in the early 1950s and I wore on New Year’s Eve some 40 years later, and a necktie that belonged to my dad. As Marie discusses, it’s important to touch and feel our clothing, and when I rubbed the fabric between my fingertips on those items, I felt joy. The crazy sweaters? Okay, I did also keep “cats on holiday”, just because I love it and I will wear it at home.

There were a few other sentimental items that I chose to discard but did not want to forget. So I took pictures of those items and will deal with them and the memory (again) when the time comes to sort and discard photos.

I began sorting/tossing at 6:10 pm, and finished just before 10 pm.

Day 3: Set In Place/Shine

Saturday morning I was so excited to dust and vacuum the closets and put together my new wardrobe! Given that my dresser has relatively small drawers, I was concerned that I wouldn’t have enough space for my t-shorts, shorts and running gear but was about to be pleasantly surprised.

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Before putting clothes away I had to sort my clothes hangers. Like Joan Crawford, I hate wire hangers. I prefer those flocked hangers for my clothes and wood for coats, and I’ve never had enough good hangers. Let me tell you, I now have PLENTY. I think I’ll be able to colour coordinate my clothes and hangers.

I have two closets that face each other, and wound up changing the purpose of each. All of my day-to-day clothes fit into the closet without shoe shelves. There is space for each item to hang nicely and I can see everything! Sweaters, scarves, shorts and handbags are folded into bins on the shelf.

Shoes, boots, winter coats and bathrobes are in the second closet.

Running gear, knit tops, socks, intimate wear, and hose are in the dresser.

A place for everything, and everything in its place!

Lessons Learned

… why did you never wear it? Was it because you realized that it didn’t suit you when you tried it on at home? If so, and if you no longer buy clothes of the same style or color, it has fulfilled another important function – it has taught you what doesn’t suit you.”

As I worked through my clothes I discovered specific designs and patterns that didn’t bring a smile to my face:

  • Gigantic flowers and medallions printed on tops give me that all boob look, which makes me feel fat (well, fatter than I am). When I’m 30 pounds thinner I will reconsider.
  • Crew-necked tops = no. Scoop-neck tops = no. V-neck tops = yes!
  • Button-downs just aren’t my thing. Mental note to ignore those articles that say that every woman needs a crisp white button down in her wardrobe.
  • Cropped pants and ankle-length pants just make me feel like I have tree trunks for legs.
  • Flutter sleeves and peplums aren’t my friends.

The Result

I invested a total of about 14 hours in this project. Today I am really joyous and proud of myself for taking this on. I also feel greedy and spoiled for having so many articles of clothing … but in my defense, it did take me about 15 years to collect all of this. Never again.

My main closet! Everything I will wear is here except for my shoes, and my winter coats.
My main closet! Everything I will wear is here except for my shoes, and my winter coats.
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The secondary closet which now holds my shoes, winter coats and a lot of extra hangers. There’s even space for a kitty to hide, meaning my other closet can remain closed and free of hair.
My shirts actually look much happier here than they did on a hanging shelf where they were crammed into corners.

Total donated items:

28 long-sleeved tops, 3 short sleeved tops, 17 t-shirts, 13 golf shirts, 18 tanks (officially hate tanks now), 6 tunics, 2 fleece pullovers. 16 long-sleeved sweaters, 42 blouses (42!), 19 cardigans, 1 Siwash sweater, 22 workout tops

23 pairs trousers, 10 pairs jeans, 6 skirts, 11 capris, 3 shorts, 7 workout bottoms

1 sweatsuit, 23 jackets, 1 lovely wool coat, 7 cocktail dresses, 6 day dresses, 1 gown, 1 suit

23 scarves, 11 leather bags, 11 clutch purses, 2 wallets, 5 hats, 15 pairs of shoes, 1 pair of much loved Cowboy boots, 1 pair overpriced designer runners.

340 items … good grief

Next up? My toiletries, costume jewellery, then the Crafts Room!

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5 thoughts on “Some Life-Changing Magic

  1. Donna, I completely agree. It was too much stuff! Reading this book, and other blogs, has me thinking about how most of us collect a lot of junk. I follow a sewing blogger in the UK and she writes about how we in the US, UK and Canada buy a lot of really cheap clothing that we don’t value, yet people are hunched over sewing machines for 16-hours a day making our throwaway garments in poor countries. It’s all very eye-opening.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Congratulations! It looks so good! I can’t believe it only took you 14 hours – incredible. The last few times I’ve done this, the “inexpensive” pieces I had recently added to extend my wardrobe were the first to hit the donate pile. It made me realize I need to spend more money on better quality, even if I wear a few things over and over. Again, congrats!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, congratulations on your fulfilled project – I’m so proud of you :)!!! The wardrobe looks fantastic and spreads a great feeling of happiness… I wish I’d be able to manage as well!!! I just finished reading the chapters about the clothes and it scares me… I’ve got plenty of seasonal clothes, lots stored in my attic as well – it would seem endless to bring everything down into my room – besides, at the moment there’s not much space left where I could even put the clothes down as my room is currently crammed with stuff!!! I have the feeling I’ll have to try to sort the room a bit more first, to make space for the clothes. I wish I’ll be brave enough to handle!!! Well done and good for you ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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