I have lived in many different abodes over the years. From my parents’ spacious country home to a tiny dorm, to a flat shared with roommates and then just my husband (then boyfriend), to a 400 square foot cottage, to a large three bedroom country home. Today, I feel like I’ve finally found the Goldilocks of homes: my two bedroom apartment. Not too big, not too small.
Every time I’ve moved from one residence to another, my belongings have shrunk or expanded to fill the space. I call this the Goldfish Phenomenon: If you put a goldfish in a huge tank, it’ll grow large, but if you keep that same goldfish in a tiny bowl, it’ll stay small. My possessions are the goldfish.
Pairing down my possessions doesn’t happen automatically, I have to sit down and decide what I’m going to give up. Maintaining my possessions in a smaller space requires mindfulness, attention to detail, and a willingness to declutter.
I’ve decluttered many times in the past, most recently before my move to Halifax. In the past, I’ve always used my personal method of decluttering: going room by room. But this weekend I tried a new method: The KonMari Method.
I’d purchased The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up as a Christmas gift to myself and loved the fresh take on decluttering. This weekend it was finally time to put the method to work.
The KonMari Method does not use the typical room-to-room method that I have been using in my decluttering efforts over the years. Instead, Marie Kondo recommends you go category-by-category. The first category is clothing.
Decluttering My Wardrobe using The KonMari Method
The first thing I did was gather every item of clothing I owned. I emptied my half of the closet, my small dresser, and my hall closet. I grabbed everything that could remotely be considered clothing including shoes, coats, scarves, hats (including my bicycle helmet) and all of my bags.
I threw everything onto my bed and snapped a few pictures. The horror:
Sorting by Category
That is a lot of clothing. Just looking at that pile was a little overwhelming, so I proceeded to sort all of the clothing into the following categories:
- Clothing for Specific Purposes
Now that I had little piles of clothing around me everywhere, I’d lift each one up onto the bed and sort through them. Some of the larger categories got sorted into subcategories (shirts were sorted into pajamas, at home only, nicer tops, cardigans, sweaters, workout tops, blazers) and started eliminating items.
Here are the criteria I used to get rid of my clothing:
- In poor repair
- Doesn’t serve a purpose anymore
- I haven’t worn it for awhile for whatever reason
- I have duplicates
I went through each category carefully. I picked up clothing and held it in my hands. I tried items on and looked at myself in the mirror and thought about how this article of clothing made me feel.
I had a lot of clothing from when I was a super skinny university student. These clothes no longer fit, and trying those items on and then subsequently letting them go was emotionally tough, but also freeing. I’m not that person anymore, and that is ok.
I Decluttered 35% of my Wardrobe
Overall I had 117 items of clothing, and by the time I was done decluttering I had eliminated 35% of those items, bringing me down to 76 articles of clothing. That total doesn’t include socks and underwear.
Here’s how it breaks down:
- Tops: 55 (!), down to 37
- Bottoms: 27, down to 18
- Dresses: 7, down to 5
- Gloves: 7, down to 4
- Scarves: 10, down to 5
- Coats: 5, down to 4
- Bags: 6, down to 3
All of the clothing that I got rid of will be going to Goodwill if I deemed their condition sufficient, but a lot of it will also be going in the garbage or repurposed into rags for cleaning.
A Minimalist Wardrobe is an Organized Wardrobe
When I started putting everything away into my tiny dresser and closet, I initially did not use the folding method that Marie Kondo suggests. But later that evening I tried it, and I must say it works so much better than regular style folding! I’ve been using this method to pack bags for travel for years, and I’m absolutely keeping my drawers this way from now on.
I was happy to see that everything fits comfortably. Now I don’t run out of coat hangers, and I don’t have bulging drawers.
I also enjoy having fewer options. Instead of five sweaters to choose from, I now have three, and they all serve a different purpose, so I don’t have to make any choice at all. I now have one option for most situations, which takes away the analysis paralysis that often accompanies my morning wardrobe selection.
Simpler is better!
Now that I’ve got my clothing out of the way, it’ll be time to move on to other parts of my home. Next, I’ll declutter my books.
Have you used The KonMari Method before? How much did you declutter? I want to know!