How to Declutter for a Simpler Life — Part One: Clothes
And, we’re off! I’m well on my way to a decluttered home and a simpler life. I started to declutter before I even knew what I was doing. Who knew there was actually a method to decluttering? Well, there is. It’s called the KonMarie Method, developed by Marie Kondo. She wrote the book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” Now that I know there’s a method, I’m decluttering my home like a champ.
Decluttering is a necessary part of simplifying my life. And it’s essential for leading a minimalist lifestyle. Closets, drawers, cabinets and other areas become overfilled with personal belongings over the years. I’ve always been one to clean out my clothes and other areas of the home at regular intervals. But these “spot” cleanups haven’t had a huge impact on my psyche.
According to Marie Kondo, you must declutter everything in one fell swoop. She says that the decluttering process for the entire home should take no longer than six months. Since I live in a small space, it’s taking me no more than one month. It’s going even faster since I already did some decluttering before I knew of this process. I had already decluttered my kitchen and laundry room.
Now that I know the “proper” way to declutter and tidy, I’m going back based on her recommendations. She says it’s best to declutter on a category by category basis. She suggests starting with clothes. And that’s what I did.
I laid out all my clothes on the floor and couch in my living room. I was stunned by how much stuff was crammed into a little amount of space. She says it’s imperative to take all of the things in one category and lay them out on the floor. And then go through each item individually and ask whether it sparks joy. If it doesn’t, then you toss it. Or donate it. You keep only what truly sparks joy.
A lot of feelings came up for me during this process. I felt guilt over purchasing an item on a whim that I never wore. I felt good reflecting on good memories. Then I felt more guilt about parting with something a family member gave me.
I had my kindle on hand. I repeatedly turned to the pages about letting go of clothes. She says not to feel guilty about letting go of certain clothes. She says they served their purpose. Their purpose was to teach me about what not to buy. Or their purpose was the joy of receiving a gift from a loved one. Now it’s purpose is complete. And I can let it go with peace. I felt better about parting with certain items with these thoughts in mind.
Fears cropped up, too. I feared not having enough clothes by the time this was all done. So, I returned to the book to see what she had to say. She says not to worry. She explains that if I stick to keeping only what sparks joy then I’ll have the perfect amount of clothes left. And if at the end of the day I truly feel I have let go of too much, then I can always go buy a new outfit or two — ones that spark joy. The goal being that what I’m left with clothes I love and will actually wear.
Once I discarded everything that did not spark joy it was time to put back what was left. This task carried over into another day. In the book, she discusses how to fold clothes, whether its best to hang clothes or put them in a drawer, how to fold socks, how to hang what needs to be hung, etc.
After the whole process, my closet is much lighter. It’s 75% lighter! It feels good. I got rid of a lot. In reality, I really don’t need much. I only need a few nice outfits for special occasions, comfort wear, exercise clothes, and everyday wear. I wear scrubs three days out of the week and workout gear or comfy clothes almost all the other days — since I spend most of my time at home when I’m off.
To be honest, I did have pangs of fear as I laid in bed that night, scared I might have thrown something out that I’ll miss later. So, I decided to keep the five bags of clothes in my car for up to a month. If at the end of one month, I have not gone searching for something in the bags, then I’ll donate and sell them.
It’s been a week since I did this process. So far I haven’t missed anything. And I’m happy with the results. My closet is so much lighter. My drawers are organized. It feels really good! Life is all around better.
I’m happy with the results and excited to move on to the next category. Next week I’ll talk about the next category and share my progress. Stay tuned by signing up on my e-mail list in the bar above!