My Experience with the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – Part 1

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“Imagine yourself living in a space that contains only things that spark joy. Isn’t this the lifestyle you dream of? Keep only those things that speak to your heart. Then take a plunge and discard all the rest.”

-Marie Kondo in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Maybe it is just because of the circles I run in, but there seems to be a surge of interest in decluttering and simplifying lately. I guess it isn’t too surprising, since many Americans have way more stuff than they know what to do with. (If you need convincing, check out these 21 surprising statistics that reveal how much stuff we actually own.)

I’ve been intrigued by the mega-popular book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing for a while now, so I finally got a copy of it from the library. In a nutshell, the book is about the author’s unique method for tidying your home and how it can make a impact on other areas of your life.

Clothes Hangers, Coat Hangers

I absolutely love how passionate the author, Marie “KonMari” Kondo, is about tidying. It is so enjoyable to read something written by a master, and Marie Kondo is definitely a master of tidying up!

So I’ve decided to meticulously apply her “KonMari” method to my own stuff and document it here on the blog. Clearly I have no shame, since I’ll be sharing pictures of all of my clutter. But maybe it will inspire others to tackle that nagging pile of       fill in the blank   and reap the benefits of tidying up as well.

My goal with this tidying effort is to live in a space that brings me serenity and joy. And I’d also love to not spend 10 minutes looking for an item I don’t use very frequently! On to the tidying…

Step 1: Clothing and Shoes

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First let me say that I do not advocate trying to “Konmari” your home without first reading her book yourself! It is a really short book and enjoyable to read. Marie Kondo is truly a master of tidying, and she explains every step of this process in perfect detail. I’m just a novice, so take my experience with a grain of salt! 😉

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My totally empty closet

The author suggests that you start tidying with clothing, and begin by gathering every single piece of clothing you own into one place. I piled everything I have onto my bed (to my husband’s horror) and of course my daughter immediately wanted to climb all over the pile.

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Then you are to handle every item and decide if it sparks joy for you. If it does, it stays. If it doesn’t, it goes. This was extremely hard at first. “Does this t-shirt spark joy? Ummmm…. I’m not really sure?”

I went through clothes by category, and as I went along, the decision making got easier. Kondo suggests trying to not decide with your rational mind, but instead trust your feelings. I found myself relieved to toss items in the discard pile that I never really liked to begin with or that didn’t quite fit me right.

My discard pile

I didn’t have a huge wardrobe to begin with, and when I was done I had a pretty big discard pile. I went through the pile and sorted it into trash, items to donate to Goodwill, and items to send with my next shipment to Swap.com (the online consignment shop I use).

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Kondo recommends not storing any of your off-season clothes separate from all of your other clothes. After keeping only what I truly loved, I had an extra drawer for my hats, gloves, long underwear, soft shell coat and extra jeans for winter.

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I hung my winter coats on the far side of my closet and had plenty of room for everything else I felt I should hang up.

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The rest of my clothes are now neatly stored in my dresser. I think my wardrobe is likely very small compared to most women’s, but it works for me. Here is a count of what sparked joy, and therefore what I kept:

  • 9 long sleeved shirts + 7 sweaters/cardigans
  • 4 short sleeve dressy tops + 18 other short sleeve tops (including workout tops, pajama tops, and t-shorts/tanks)
  • 2 dresses + 1 skirt
  • 2 pairs dress pants
  • 1 suit
  • 3 pairs jeans + 3 pairs workout pants
  • 8 pairs shorts
  • 2 long underwear tops
  • 1 pair snowpants
  • 4 coats (puffy coat, soft shell, rain coat and dress coat) + 2 jackets (a fleece and a hoodie)
  • 2 robes
  • 5 pair pajama pants
  • 2 swimsuits + 2 cover-ups + 1 sunhat
  • 3 winter hats + 4 pairs gloves + 3 scarves
  • 6 bras + 3 sports bras
  • 15 pairs of undies
  • 13 pairs of socks

That may have been TMI for you, but it was interesting for me at least to document what I decided to keep!

I particularly love that I know where every single item of clothing I own is located, and that I can reach into a drawer and know that I will like what I pull out.

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I decided to keep 13 pairs of shoes and 2 purses. I’m not much of an accessory or shoe person, so I only had a few items to discard.

The next steps in the Konmari Method are books and papers. I hope to get to those this weekend and share what I learn.

What do you think of this approach to decluttering and simplifying? Would you ever Konmari your home? Please leave a comment below, I’d love to hear what you think!


3 Responses to My Experience with the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – Part 1

  1. Pingback: My Experience with the Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up - Part 2 {Yikes! Books & Papers} - The Frugal South

  2. Leah says:

    I thought the same thing, Kim! I always try to find a home for items with any use left, whether by reselling, donating to Goodwill, or at least leaving out at the Swap Shop at our dump! I don’t know what the ethic is in Japan either. I am curious to see how my husband reacts to the process! Maybe it will inspire him. 😉

  3. Kim says:

    First time on your blog –
    I JUST finished this book. I too loved it, so many people were
    on the library waiting list.
    One thing really bothered me about the book, the author uses the term throw away and discard over and over. Not sure if it is because they do not have thrift stores in Japan, or maybe
    she thinks people would oppose to giving to others.
    I have not really implemented her system as my husband is
    quite the “collector” of clothes and stuff and would probably give me the boot.

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