I recently wrapped up a hectic decorating challenge where I completely transformed our master bedroom in five short weeks. I’ve already talked a lot about how much prettier the room looks, but I haven’t had much of a chance to rave about how much more organized it is. Back during the first week of the challenge, I spent a weekend purging and organizing clothing. It is important to me that our bedroom not only look beautiful, but also organized and functional.
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If you missed last week’s post, I recently read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Although I was skeptical, the book is filled with some very helpful advice for organizing your home. I shared the four big lessons I learned from the book last week, one of which was to organize by category and not by room. There is a very specific order in which you are to tackle the categories, and the first one is clothing. After finishing the book, I was fired up to organize our clothes like never before.
For many months, I would get dressed for work in the morning and stare at our packed closet. Most people would probably say it looked organized, but I was fed up with it. There were many items that I would pass over every day, thinking to myself that one of these weekends I needed to purge a bunch of clothing. I had way too many things that didn’t fit quite right or needed mending, but I couldn’t bear to part with them so I left them in the closet where they would stare back at me every morning. I knew I needed to do a big purge, but I just kept pushing it off.
Oh, and did I mention my dresser was overflowing as well? Everything was haphazardly piled in the drawers. My underwear/sock drawer was a complete mess, and there were way too many crumpled up T-shirts taking up space.
In addition to my dresser, I had two tubs of old T-shirts under our bed, a tub of seasonal clothing stashed in another closet, sweatshirts hung in our entry closet and a few drawers of old T-shirts stashed away in our basement. I’m embarrassed to admit I’d completely forgotten about all the shirts in the basement! We moved in over a year and a half ago, and I haven’t touched them since shortly after we moved into the house. Those shirts were totally out of sight, out of my mind and I clearly didn’t have a need for them.
Reading about the KonMari Method was just the motivation I needed to organized my clothing. So I set out to organize the heck out of my closet and dresser.
Organizing Clothing The KonMari Way
1 | Round up every article of clothing.
Eager to put the KonMari Method into practice, I gathered every single article of my clothing from around the house and heaped them on our bed. I figured if they were on the bed, I would be motivated to finish the task that day so I could actually go to sleep. It was astonishing to see everything piled up in one place. How does one person possibly accumulate so many clothes? I was anxious to get rid of the excess.
2 | Sort items one by one.
Anxious to get rid of some of that huge pile, I began sorting through each article of clothing. Kondo is very specific about holding an item in your hands and deciding if it sparks a feeling of joy. While I didn’t go as far as to thank my clothes for a job well done as as suggests you do as you discard things, I did thoughtfully consider how each item made me feel.
Many were very easy to throw into the discard or donate bags. They were items that had never fit quite right, odd colors of things I’d bought on sale, shirts with snags in them, etc. I had no problem letting go of them.
But there were others that I struggled with. They were things I hardly ever wore, but were in really good condition. How can you justify discarding something that’s in perfectly good shape? But I ultimately realized that they didn’t spark any kind of joy in me, which is why I never wore those things. Clearly, they needed to go. Those were the things that I put into a bag to take to the consignment store, things that were in awesome shape but I just didn’t love. As the book instructs, I decided they had served their purpose and they could move onto another life in the closet of someone else.
A tidbit from the book that was really helpful to me was the section titled “downgrading to ‘loungewear’ is taboo.” I have drawers and drawers of old college T-shirts and ripped jeans. I keep them around to wear around the house when no one’s around or when I’m working on a messy project. But Kondo warns against this, and I do understand her logic. She says that you should always love your clothing, even the clothes you wear around the house when you are alone.
I clearly had an excessive number of T-shirts, and it was easy to part with many of them. In fact, I only ended up keeping a few nice college shirts that I will actually wear in public. I tossed all of those old shirts from events and clubs. They just didn’t have a purpose in my life anymore. I allowed myself to save two old shirts and two bottoms to save as painting clothes since I’m a terribly messy painter ;).
3 | Fold clothing into rectangles.
Kondo suggests folding nearly everything and storing it all in drawers, because folded clothing takes up far less space than hanging clothes do. I chose to hang up all of my work tops and bottoms and neatly folded the rest in my dresser drawers.
A key principle of the KonMari Method is the way in which you fold your clothing. She recommends folding them into a simple rectangle so they can stand up in your drawer, allowing you to see everything at one time. This is also supposed to help your clothes “breathe” and prevent them from wrinkling like they do if they are buried at the bottom of a pile of clothing. Here’s a great YouTube video that shows how to fold your clothing into rectangles that can be stacked on end like books.
It felt so amazing to see all of my clothing folded neatly into drawers! And this way of folding did take up less space, which made extra room in a couple of my drawers. I love being able to see everything, rather than things being buried under each other. It looks so neat and tidy!
The one aspect of the folding method that I was skeptical about was folding socks, underwear and tights into rectangles. But I decided to give it a try, and I will admit that everything looks much neater this way.
I used a couple old shoe boxes as dividers in my drawer, and folded each item into a rectangle before standing it on end. This is a vast improvement from the mess I had going on in this drawer before. I didn’t even fold these things before, I just shoved them in the drawer and dug through the mess every day. Now I open my underwear drawer with a smile. It sounds strange, but an organized line of socks and underwear makes it much easier to see your options.
4 | Hang up everything else.
After I had folded the bulk of my clothing, it was time to hang up the rest. The KonMari Method suggests organizing clothing in your closet from the “heaviest” items (long length, heavy material, dark in color) on the left to the “lighter” items (short length, light material, light in color) on the right.
I followed this advice fairly closely. I first hung dresses on the far left end of the rod since they are the longest. They are also things I don’t wear as frequently, which is why I keep them in the back of the closet.
Since I’m an organizing nerd, I’ve always color-coded my closet. But to more closely follow Kondo’s technique, I decided to group long sleeve tops together and then group the rest of my tops next. Both sections of tops are color coded from darkest on the left to lightest on the right.
Kondo also includes shoes, bags and accessories in the clothing category. I organized my shoes in our closet and threw out quite a few worn out sneakers and heels that hurt too much to ever realistically wear.
If I truly wanted to follow the method, I should have folded all of my scarves into a drawer. But I love my hanging scarf organizer on the inside of my closet door, so they stayed put.
I’ll admit I didn’t tackle bags and jewelry, so those will have to wait for another day.
This took the better part of a weekend to complete, but it was so worth it! I ended up with two garbage bags to throw, two to donate and one to consign. It’s incredible to think I had that much excess stuff cluttering my closet and dresser!
Now I have a fabulously organized closet and dresser. It makes it so much easier to get ready in the mornings. Everything is neat and tidy and there’s actually some breathing room now. Organizing clothing is well worth the effort!
I am so happy with the result of this organizing project! I finally have a wardrobe of clothing that I love, rather than a mess of clothes I sort of like. Keeping only the items that spark joy makes it much simpler to choose an outfit for the day because I like everything in my closet. If you haven’t read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, it’s definitely worth a read.
Have you tried the KonMari Method yet? How did you do organizing clothing?
Miss the first post in this series? Check out my four big takeaways here.
This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. See my disclosure for more information.
I read both of Marie Kondo’s books and used her method loosely for decluttering. But I did not organize my clothes the way she suggests. Your post makes me rethink that, especially for the clothes in my drawers.
I was skeptical about the clothes organization, Nikki, but it was well worth following her system! It saves room in my drawers, I can easily see everything, and nothing gets wrinkled. Give it a try!
Seriously loved this book! I felt like I could apply so many of the principles to other areas of my life as well.
I liked your comment about keeping two painting tops and bottoms..I may have to do the same because I always end up with paint on me somewhere!
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