Last week, I posted about my adventures in re-reading The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up. If you missed last week’s post, I read the book a year ago, put it back on the shelf (after feeling overwhelmed), and just recently got it back down. I was craving order and clear space, which motivated me to read it through again and actually DO it!
The book’s author, Marie Kondo, says that once you complete the task of tidying, you should never have to do it again. If you get rid of everything you don’t love, you create space for items you do love, and when things have a designated place, it’s much easier to put them back in that designated place. I’m trusting this lady who sold seven million copies of this book that she’s going to be right.
Beginning the Journey to a Tidy Apartment
When deciding what to keep, Kondo suggests to start by category and pull out every single item of that category to display on the floor. Categories include clothes, books, paper, and komono which basically means miscellaneous categories (makeup, accessories, beauty supplies, kitchen, hobby supplies).
So, starting with clothes! I went through our apartment and pulled out every single item of clothing I owned. Shirts, blouses, pants, jeans, skirts, dresses, socks, underwear, overcoats, jackets, shoes, workout clothes and even off-season clothing.
Kondo suggests to not store off-season clothing for a couple reasons: 1) It forces clothes to be stuffed into storage containers, not getting any fresh air for sometimes over 6 months and 2) Keeping off-season clothes stored away hides them– you should be able to visually see every piece of clothing you own all at once. I had been keeping my summer/winter clothing in bins in my closet, and I’d have to stuff these full to the brim.
Here’s my giant pile, plus a little puppy sniffing my shoes:
I went through everything in my pile, one item at a time. Does this bring me joy? Every item I picked up, I decided if it made me feel warm, happy and excited to have it in my possession.
When I was finished, I got rid of FOUR large trash bags of clothes and shoes. Four! (Don’t worry, I gave to Goodwill.) I couldn’t believe I had that many clothing items that weren’t making me happy.
There were two key points from Kondo’s book that I reminded myself during my clothing purge:
- Someday never comes. Keeping clothes that you sort of like for “someday” — this never comes. Future goal: don’t buy anything that I can’t immediately use.
- Consider how we treat our possessions. Closets and drawers should not be stuffed to the brim with clothes. I spend money on my clothes, so I should treat them with respect if I want them to last a long time.
Once I was done sorting, it was time to store!
Kondo recommends folding in a specific way so that clothes “stand up” in the drawer, versus being piled vertically. This totally makes sense– every time you need something from the bottom of a vertical stack, you mess the whole stack up digging through it. Folding and storing horizontally saves TONS of space, and you can see every single item you own all at once.
If only you could see my sock/underwear drawer now. You’ve never seen a more organized and pretty drawer, haha!
And, this method of folding doesn’t take any longer than traditional methods, and I actually think it’s even quicker.
I folded everything that was cotton/not prone to wrinkles, and hung everything else. I swear I took before pictures of my closet and drawers, but I can’t find them anywhere– I think I accidentally deleted them off my camera before I could upload them. Try to imagine this closet stacked high with boxes, and the hangers so full that you couldn’t see any space between the clothes.
You can actually see my closet floor now, and I love being able to see every item of clothing I own all at once. All of my shoes are in the shoe organizer now, previously they were crammed into nooks and crannies all over the closet.
It’s been one week, and I’ve managed to keep everything looking exactly the same. Everything feels fresh and light, and I love the clear, open space in my drawers and closet space. Helps free the mind, you know? And I don’t miss the clothes I gave away at all. When I showed my husband, he was shocked to see how neat everything looks, since my stuff always looks like a cluster. “Let’s just see if you can keep it this way”. Yeah, we’ll just see. :)
I did put a pair of fuzzy winter pajama pants in the “give away” pile, only to dig them out the next morning because I realized I would really miss them. That’s how you know something gives you joy ;)
Be sure to check in on my journey each week! Next up: paper.
Hi! I’m Emily, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and self-taught intuitive chef. I firmly believe that cooking is the simplest and most important step we can take to improve our minds and bodies and build healthier communities. Join me and let’s bring food back to the kitchen!
I am very organized but have never tried to stack drawers upright. I will definitely going to try this on some of them. Thanks for the nifty idea.
dixya @food, pleasure, and health says
thank you sharing all this details. i have just started reading my book and i cant wait to start with my clothes. i have so many someday clothes…they need to go!
Emily Weeks, RDN, LD says
Yay– can’t wait to hear how it goes! It will change your life!