The 8 Stages of Marie Kondo-ing My Clothing (by Audrie, notorious clothing hoarder)

Stage 1: Binge-watching Tidying Up with Marie Kondo

Like 99% of other Netflix subscribers, I recently binged Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. I watched the tiny well-groomed Kondo enter cluttered homes, and I watched her teach those home-owners how to sift through their belongings to identify which items “sparked joy” and which could be purged. After this process, their homes were tidy and organized, their previously-strained relationships were relieved, and everyone generally was 100% team KonMari.

“Before” closet, feat. Riggins

“Before” closet, feat. Riggins

Stage 2: Extreme motivation

 I had to try it for myself. I was too impatient to order a copy of Kondo’s book, so I Googled “How long will it take to KonMari my clothing?” and decided one day would be sufficient.  

So picture this - It’s a cold Sunday morning. I wake up, take Riggins outside, come back in and make a big cup of coffee. I make my bed (literally only for purposes of taking those “before” photos above because I never make my bed), and start emptying drawers out onto the bed. I’ve never been so motivated. I pile dresses, leggings, sports bras, sweaters, jeans, sweat pants, shorts, pajamas, old t-shirts, button-ups, suit jackets, literally everything onto my bed. Then, I step back and admire the collection of clothing I have spent years curating.

And then it hits me. What have I done?!

Behold - clothing mountain.

Behold - clothing mountain.

Stage 3: Regret...

 Riggins throws side-eye glare at the bed covered in clothing, annoyed and pouting because there is no space for him to hop up and take his morning nap. He grumbles at me and settles for his dog bed on the floor nearby.

 I stand before the mountain of clothing I have just created and think to myself: “What have I done?! Am I really going to spend a precious Sunday doing this? I need another coffee…”

 So I make a second cup of coffee and I dive in.

Stage 4: Finding the difference between “joy” and “what if I want to wear this someday”

 The cardinal principal of the KonMari method, at least when it comes to clothing, is that I am supposed to keep items that spark joy, and get rid of items that don’t but only after thanking them. I’ll be honest, I skipped the “thanking” part… but I did actually pick up each individual clothing item while considering whether it made me feel any particular kinda way.  Some items were an obvious “yes” or a very clear “nah,” and some went into a “I’ll return to these later” pile.

 After about an hour and a half, I had three beautiful piles: 1) keeps – yay joyful clothing; 2) donations; and 3) slightly too small but still very cute clothing for Tina.

Stage 5: Gym break

 Having completed what I thought was the hardest part of the day, I decided it was time for a break. So I dug a pair of leggings out of the “keep” pile and hit the gym.

Stage 6: Take donations to Goodwill

Here’s something I have learned about myself over the years: if I don’t immediately drive donation clothes to Goodwill or another donation center, they will mysteriously make their way back into my closet.

So, to avoid undoing my very hard work, I tossed 4 giant garbage bags of clothing into my car and hauled them down to the local Goodwill. I smiled knowingly at the other people dropping off very similar bags of clothing – we all watched this Netflix show and we now all suddenly have 50% less clothing than we did 5 hours ago. But we wanted this, and now we have succeeded.

Stage 7: The long arduous process of putting everything back in closets and drawers.

 I return from my Goodwill trip in good spirits because the hard part is over. Or so I thought. Turns out it takes a lot longer to put stuff back where it belongs than it does to build a clothing mountain.

 Dresses are actually easy because they’re still on their hangers. I move them from the “keep” pile into my main closet, and organize them by color (an old habit from my brief stint as a Victoria’s Secret employee).  Long-sleeved shirts are also still on hangers, so I do those next, again organizing by color. Same for outerwear and sweatshirts. Tanks and short-sleeved shirts go in my second closet, along with activewear tops (holla at having 2 large closets in a city apartment – never moving). That does it for clothing on hangers.

 Time for another cup of coffee… because that early afternoon lull is real, and I still have to get the rest of my clothes back into my dresser. At this point Riggins has said “f*ck it” to the dog bed, and is napping on top of a few sweaters. Its cool, he’s a clean dog and I’ll just lint-roll the stray hairs off of those later.

 Then I begin by sorting the remaining items into categories: gym leggings, sports bras, jeans, running shorts, regular shorts, sweaters. Then, one by one, I fold each garment into a perfect little rectangle and place it standing upright in the drawer.

Leggings and sports bras go in the same drawer of course, but there’s no room left for running shorts. Shit. Those can go in a new drawer with… regular shorts? Fine. OK.

 Jeans go with other pants, and I guess skirts can go in there too. Will sweaters fit in here? Yes they wi… Uh, no they won’t. Sweaters in a new drawer. Pajamas go with… shorts? OK fine, there’s room.

 And slowly but surely, every item of clothing is tucked away in its place. It is visible when I open the drawer – no digging around under piles or pulling everything out just to find one pair of leggings. They’re all just there, ready for easy selection.

“After” closet, feat. Riggins.

“After” closet, feat. Riggins.

My favorite drawer - leggings and sports bras.

My favorite drawer - leggings and sports bras.

Stage 8: Extreme satisfaction

 I’m not kidding when I say that I felt (and still feel) very satisfied after this process. I definitely cheated on the “thanking” thing, and I only did my clothing as opposed to my whole apartment, but still.

 During previous attempts at de-cluttering I would look through my closet and try to pick things to remove. This KonMari thing was different because it forced me to look at everything and decide what to put back. I think that is what made it feel so much better than other de-cluttering experience. I was mindful and intentional with each “keep” or “toss” decision.

 So at the end of the day, I highly recommend giving this KonMari method a try (at least for clothing) if you’re feeling the need to tidy up. After a couple of weeks with in my tidy space, I’ve been really good about putting clothes away promptly, and haven’t missed a single thing I donated.

Cheers to a tidier 2019!

 - A