KonMari in the Closet – My May Closet Purging Session

After I bought so many new items in April, my closet started to feel a bit too full.  So I elected to do something I didn’t think I would do… I decided to use the “KonMari Method” with my wardrobe.   In today’s post, I will share what I did, what I got rid of and why, and how I felt during the process.

konmari method

If you want to downsize your closet, give the KonMari Method a try!

Most of you are probably aware of the “KonMari Method” by now.  Even if you haven’t read my two posts on that topic (see here and here), you’ve probably seen other blog posts or magazine articles on the topic.  Marie Kondo’s book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” has been on the New York Times bestseller list for months and you’d almost have to be living under a rock not to have heard of it by now.

An Overview of the “KonMari Method”

There are many books out there on decluttering, downsizing, and minimalism, and I’ve read a lot of them, but there was something about Kondo’s book that struck a chord in me.  Perhaps I was just ready for the lesson, or maybe there really is something truly revolutionary about her method.   I think part of the beauty of it lies in its simplicity.   The essence of the “KonMari Method” lies in one simple question:

Does it spark joy?”

We are directed to handle each item one by one and pose that question to ourselves while holding it.   Those items that spark joy get to stay in our homes and everything else should be moved on.   Another key to Kondo’s process is to take everything out of its storage area and lay it out on the floor.   At first, that seemed like too much work to me and not really necessary.  But when I went to declutter my books, I decided to trust the process and do as Kondo directed.  And she was right… it was magic.   There was something about having everything on the floor that took some of the internal attachment to my possessions away.  I was better able to listen to my gut instinct and decide whether or not something sparked joy in my heart.

Kondo’s Process in the Closet

Since the KonMari Method worked so well with my books and compact discs, I knew it would also help me to downsize my closet in a more effortless and streamlined fashion than anything I had done before.  I was right… Rather than taking multiple hours or even a full day, it took me probably two and a half hours to go through my entire clothing and jewelry collections.  My husband “KonMari’ed” his wardrobe (I had to get him involved, too) in less than half that time and we were both amazed by the ease of his process.

We did deviate from Kondo’s process a bit in that we went through our clothes by category (e.g. all of the pants at one time, all of the shirts at one time, etc.) instead of laying everything out on the floor at once.  We also used the bed as our staging area, as there is something a bit unseemly about putting all of our clothes on the floor, however clean it might be.   So we took out each garment category, laid all of the pieces out on the bed, and then picked up each individual item and posed the “sparks joy” question.   Actually, my husband preferred to use the alternate question suggested by the Minimalists:

Does this add value to my life?”

Either question will work.  The important thing is to get in touch with what something means to you and to detach yourself from any guilt you may hold about how much something cost or how little it may have been used.  If you go with your first instinct in responding to either of the questions above, you’ll likely know the answer immediately.  If you start to hesitate and let your intellect come up with reasons why you should hold on to something, that’s when you’ll get into trouble and basically end up keeping everything.   It’s not easy to trust your intuition, but that is where the “magic” of Kondo’s process lies.

My Husband’s KonMari Process

Let’s start with my husband’s numbers… He started out with a smaller wardrobe than mine (you can see his original numbers here, but that was over two years ago and he has downsized quite a bit since that time), but he was still hanging on to a lot of clothes he wore back when he worked in corporate America.   I thought he was going to balk at letting go of things, but I was impressed by how effortlessly he threw things onto the donate pile.   Here’s what he let go of using the KonMari Method:

  • 2 short-sleeved dress shirts
  • 1 long-sleeved dress shirt
  • 7 collared shirts
  • 9 t-shirts
  • 4 long-sleeved casual shirts
  • 1 pull-over fleece
  • 1 jacket
  • 5 pairs of shorts
  • 2 pairs of slacks
  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 1 pajama bottom
  • TOTAL: 34 items

Pretty impressive, huh?   That was probably at least a quarter, if not a third, of his wardrobe!   I thought he was going to be more resistant since he wasn’t exactly chomping at the bit to do the KonMari Method in the first place.  But once he committed to the process, he really took it on and experienced fast and, dare I say magical, results!  Next it was my turn…

My KonMari Process – the Clothes

As I mentioned above, it didn’t take me nearly as long as I thought it would to go through all of my clothing.  In most instances, it was very easy for me to decide whether or not a particular garment sparked joy in my heart.   Fortunately, a lot of my clothes still do make me feel happy and I enjoy wearing them.   There were quite a few definite “no’s” to the sparks joy question, along with several “maybes” that necessitated trying on the garment in question in order to get a good read.   In those cases, once I got the item on my body, it was very easy to answer yes or no.   I got an immediate visceral sense of whether or not something made me happy or prompted guilt of feelings of obligation.

Here’s a list of the clothing items I got rid of using the KonMari Process (I will cover jewelry and scarves below):

  • 3 long-sleeved tops
  • 4 short-sleeved tops
  • 3 workout tops
  • 2 cardigans
  • 2 jackets
  • 2 coats
  • 2 pairs of jeans
  • 1 pair of pants
  • 2 skirts
  • 1 dress
  • 1 pair of pajama bottoms
  • TOTAL: 23 items

So, not as many items as my husband in the clothing department, but he doesn’t go through his closet as often as I do.  Plus, I also culled a lot of jewelry and quite a few scarves, as you’ll see later on in this post.   Here’s a bird’s eye view of the clothes I purged last weekend (the pajama bottoms and two of the workout tops are not pictured):

Purged Clothing - May 2015

I culled all of these items using the KonMari Method last weekend. 

Why I Purged the Items Above

Although I could probably answer the “why” question with just the simple phrase of “they didn’t spark joy,” I’d like to share a bit more detail, both for my benefit and because my reasons may resonate with some of you.

The Bottoms

Let’s start with the bottoms (and one dress), pictured below:

Pants, Skirts, and Dress Purged - May 2015

I purged this dress, two skirts, and three pairs of pants last weekend. 

  • Snakeskin print maxi-dress: This was a hard one, but I had to be honest with myself.  The dress didn’t fit me quite right on top, although it’s hard to tell from the photo in this post because of my pose. In addition, I found the back tie annoying and it didn’t look right tied in the front or on the side, as was suggested by several readers.  Luckily, I have five other maxi-dresses that do spark joy in me (that’s more than enough!).
  • Black and white print skirt: This was a favorite of mine for years, but I’m moving away from the A-line midi skirts that were my mainstay for years.   I tried this one on during my KonMari Process and felt it just didn’t “do it” for me anymore.
  • Charcoal knit pants: These pants are too baggy, plus I’m moving away from grey as one of my key neutrals.
  • Boot-cut jeans: I never felt slim in these jeans, even with my recent weight loss, plus the waistband is too thick and uncomfortable.  I have much better options and I was only keeping these jeans around as a sort of “security blanket.”
  • Trouser jeans: Too baggy and worn out.  I have kept some of my jeans for far too long because it’s so hard for me to find new ones. But I’m becoming more okay with just having a few good pairs that I love and wear often.   I was finally ready to let this pair and the ones above go.
  • Pinstripe skirt: Too loose, too flared, too formal.  Not right for my lifestyle or current sense of style.

The Tops

Now let’s look at the tops I released from my wardrobe this past weekend:

Purged Tops - May 2015

I removed these 8 tops from my closet last weekend (plus two additional workout tops). 

  • Black scoop-neck tee: I have another black tee that I like better and I was “splitting my wears” by having two very similar tees in my closet.
  • Black print tee: This one hurt because I only bought this top in January.  But I never felt great in it.  It was too long and loose at the bottom. Washing and drying it didn’t help with the fit, so out it went.
  • Green print long-sleeved tee:  There was a similar issue with this tee as the one above and they came from the same store.  I think it was a fabric issue, although they were both 100% cotton.  Neither tee hung quite right.  I liked them in the fitting room, but not so much in real life.  I should have moved around more when I tried them on or used reader Terra’s suggestion to wear all new items for 30 minutes at home before cutting off the tags (this is such a great tip – thanks, Terra!).
  • Grey workout tee: I loved the blue version of this tee, so I picked up a grey one as well.  But I felt the grey washed me out and made me look ill.  I definitely need to be more careful with buying “multiples.”  They can be good in limited doses, but we need to make sure we love the second version as much as the first.
  • Grey long-sleeved tee: Grey just isn’t sparking joy for me like it used to. I now have very little grey left in my closet after this last purge.  Like with white, I now prefer grey as part of a print rather than in solid pieces.  I still love my prints that include grey, but the solids are pretty much all gone now, with the exception of my grey embellished cardigan and grey coat (both of which I still love and wear – maybe grey toppers are still okay).
  • Teal sweater: The neckline was too wide, the sleeves a bit too short, and the sweater too fussy overall.  I loved the color and the patterned ribbing, but that wasn’t enough for me to keep it.
  • Turquoise print tee: Another 2015 purchase fail. I ordered this tee online and should have returned it.  There was an issue with the fabric such that the tee didn’t stay in place.  I didn’t want to keep it just because I loved the color.
  • Turquoise scoop-neck tee:   This tee had pilled quite a bit (and it wasn’t that old!) and one of the sleeves didn’t hang right (maybe from being worn out).

The Toppers

Finally, let’s take a closer look at the toppers that didn’t spark joy for me and are on their way out of my wardrobe:

Purged Toppers - May 2015

Colorful, yes, but these 6 toppers didn’t “spark joy” for me and are now gone. 

  • Cranberry cardigan: This cardigan was too long to pair with skirts and too short to wear with pants. I loved the color, but the fit wasn’t right, often an issue due to my height.
  • Black knit blazer with grey trim:  This blazer was slightly too small, plus I’m moving away from wearing knit blazers in my efforts to dress more casually and avoid the “church vibe.”
  • Black short coat: This was a consignment fail from early 2014 that I never wore!  I bought it because of the brand, but never loved the large lapels and wood buttons. I had contemplated switching the buttons out, but when I tried the jacket on the other day, it was clear to me that it didn’t spark joy.
  • Green cardigan: I had the same issue with this cardigan as the cranberry one (they were from the same store). As you can see in this post (third photo down), it didn’t work well with skirts and it was too short to wear with pants.
  • Green coat: This shade of green is too warm for my complexion and the wool of the coat was scratchy on my skin.  It’s a beautiful coat that I only wore once, so I’m going to see if I can sell it on eBay and possibly recoup some of my losses.
  • Orange anorak: I love the style and fit, but the color is too bright and warm and doesn’t mesh with the rest of my wardrobe. I’ve hemmed and hawed about this one for a while, but I was finally ready to let it go.

The KonMari Process – Scarves and Jewelry

In addition to going through all of my clothing using the KonMari Process, I also applied the “sparks joy” question to my scarves and jewelry pieces.  Here’s a list of what I let go of from those categories:

  • 7 scarves
  • 4 necklaces
  • 4 bracelets
  • 7 pairs of earrings
  • 3 single earring studs (for the second piercing in my left ear)
  • 4 rings
  • 1 watch
  • 2 pins
  • TOTAL: 32 accessories

I’m not going to spell out one by one why I have opted to pass all of these items on, as I don’t want this post to turn into a veritable book!  However, I will show photos and provide a brief overview of why I am letting these pieces go.    But before I do, I want to address what may seem to be an omission in this latest closet audit – my shoes.

I actually didn’t apply the KonMari Method to my shoes this time around, for two reasons.  One, I feel pretty good about my shoe situation at present. I have already downsized quite a bit and don’t feel that my shoe inventory is too out of line for my life.  Second, I feel that I need to wear any questionable shoes out and about in order to make accurate determinations about them.  And I do plan to wear all of my shoes within the next few months.   That’s all part of my “Love It, Wear It” Challenge (LIWI), most recently discussed here.  So stayed tuned about my shoes in the coming months…

Purged Scarves - May 2015

I removed these 7 scarves from my closet using the KonMari Method.

Purged Jewelry Pieces - May 2015

I was able to let go of a lot of jewelry pieces because they didn’t “spark joy.” 

The scarves were either too short, in colors I didn’t love, or too similar to another scarf that I liked more.   The burgundy one in the bottom row was a gift from my mom that was too itchy for me to wear (too bad because I liked the scarf otherwise).   Since I’m not wearing scarves as often as I used to, I only wanted to hold on to those scarves that I truly loved and would look forward to wearing (in my opinion, this should also be true for those who wear scarves daily).

In regards to the jewelry, here are my main reasons for letting the various pieces go:

  • Too big – this was true for two of the long necklaces, two of the bracelets, one of the rings, and one of the pins.
  • Too shiny – true for some of the earrings, one of the necklaces, and one of the bracelets.
  • Wrong color – true for two pairs of earrings.
  • No longer my style – applied to many of the pieces and a good reason for getting rid of things!

Some Final Thoughts

Well, there you have it… the results of my first ever “KonMari Method” with my closet.  I’m sure I will be revisiting this process again in the future and I will definitely share my results here if I do.  For those of you who would like to downsize your wardrobes, I highly recommend giving Marie Kondo’s process a try.  It would be helpful for you to read her book, of course, but you can also just dive in using the brief overview I gave in this post.

Be sure to remove the items from your closet, though, as it really makes a difference.  If you are similarly grossed out at the thought of putting everything on the floor, you can use your bed as a staging area like I did.   Or you can lay a sheet (or a few) out on the floor to place your items on.   Downsizing by wardrobe category worked well for my husband and me, so that’s another slight modification you can try.   If you’re going through your jewelry, be sure to remove the pieces from your jewelry box or other storage unit, too.   I promise you that it makes a difference and helps to facilitate the decision process.

If you’re at all curious about using the KonMari Method, I encourage you to just give it a try.  I believe you’ll be happy that you did. You may have dramatic results or a more modest outcome like mine.  Either way, I think you’ll feel proud of yourself for taking the plunge.  As for me, I now feel much more peace and calm when I open my closet.  I feel like everything that’s in there is ready for me to wear and feel happy putting it on.

Your Feedback?

Now it’s time for you to offer your input.  If you’ve used the KonMari Method for your closet or any other part of your home and would like to share your experience, I welcome your doing so.   I’m also open to any questions or comments you have for me.   Thank you and have a wonderful weekend!  I’ll be back next week with my closet inventory and more posts on wardrobe management, shopping, personal style, and more!   I also plan to share more of my photos in a future post, as I’ve been taking lots of them.  Stay tuned!

36 thoughts on “KonMari in the Closet – My May Closet Purging Session

  1. oh I love reading about other people’s Kon Mari experience – it’s fascinating and I was looking forward to this post so thank you Debbie. It’s so interesting to hear your reasons why something doesn’t spark joy, because on paper (and I guess the sale rack) thing look very nice and as if they’d fit in your wardrobe. I knew the orange anorak was a goner tho when you showed it last post. the colour is gorgeous but it didn’t seem to fit with your other things. and well done you for letting go of some much – doesn’t that sort of cancel April out?

    ps I agree about the floor thing- that seems odd to me when she’s so much into being respectful and thanking your items

    • I imagine the floor thing is a Japanese thing. They sit and sleep on the floor, traditionally, so it is not as “disrespectful” to them. I, being a stiff old westerner, will sit on the bed with my stuff, though.

    • I’m glad that seeing my reasons for letting go of things was helpful for you, Cathy. I don’t know if getting rid of so many things cancels April out, but I do feel somewhat better about it now. Yes, I’m at peace with letting go of the orange anorak – finally. Hopefully someone else will be able to enjoy it now…

      Kathryn, good point about the floor being a Japanese thing. That makes perfect sense! Yes, I preferred to use the bed for KonMari’ing my clothes, too.

    • Yeah, the Japanese custom is not to disrespect your home and floor by wearing shoes inside, and many of the people Kondo would be speaking to would have tatami mat floors where even slippers are forbidden to be worn. When I lived in Japan I had tatami mat floors and I had very little furniture (you ideally shouldn’t have any significant furniture on tatami floors). I slept on a futon placed directly on the floor, as was traditional. The futon is folded up and put away during the day so many Japanese people don’t have a bed unless they are getting ready to sleep.
      Many of Kondo’s idea that seem a little eccentric to western readers make perfect sense within the Japanese context and language. There seemed to be a lot of cultural things that got lost in translation. I actually blogged about that after I read the book because some things seemed so specifically Japanese that I couldn’t imagine most westerners following her methods too closely.

      • Thanks for weighing in as someone who has lived in Japan, Joanna. I would be interested in reading your blog post about Kondo’s book. If you see this and want to post the link, I’m sure others would like to read it, too. I did wonder when I read the book if some things were lost in translation…

  2. I started KonMari in January, working on two different places: my condo, and my boyfriend’s (I split my time about 40-60 between the two places). The amount of peace it has brought me is incalculable!

    These are the posts I’ve done on my KonMari experiences.


    I am nearly done with KonMari at this point – my goal is to be wrapped up in July, which would be six months, something she mentions in a book or an interview somewhere. I more or less went through the order in her book.

    Here is what I’ve done:
    Clothing, shoes, accessories, etc.
    CD’s & DVD’s

    I still have a big box of papers & crafting & office supplies (down from about 4), a big box of nostalgia items, and a big box of photos (this will be a second-run culling). Plus a bookshelf of music scores.

    I find now that, if I walk in the door at either place, and pause and think, ‘What is bothering me?’, I know exactly where to tidy & discard next. I did my deck two days ago, getting rid of three big empty pots full of potting soil. (The potting soil was carefully spread in the communal gardening area of the condo, the pots were neatly stacked with other communalgardening supplies for the neighbors to use. If there are no takers by July, I will wash them out and donate them to Goodwill).

    I had two criteria: “Does this spark joy?” and “Do I need this in order to accomplish the work I do?” I like the idea of the “Does this add value to my life?”, except that, for me, this question would be an ‘out’, allowing me to keep things (clothes is my BIG example) that I don’t absolutely love, just kinda like.

    For my part, the floor made perfect sense. The idea is to get it all out there, where you can visually eyeball it and really understand what you’ve got. I found that with books, when I ran out of floor and started stacking them on nearby chairs, I lost the visual reference – the books disappeared into the landscape of the chairs. Same with clothes on the bed. I wound up in both cases, having to make multiple sweeps through stuff, realizing “hey, you don’t have 5 unread books, you have 14”, or “what??! Another black skirt?! That makes eight, not five”, etc.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your KonMari experience, Mary Beth! I look forward to reading your posts. I love that you are finding it so easy to let go of things now. The paragraph about “What’s bothering me?” was quite inspiring. I still need to go through papers (I have tons), photos, and nostalgia. I also need to pare down digital clutter, but I can’t exactly lay that out on the floor, now can I? I was fine with the floor for the books and CDs, but not so much with the clothes. I also resisted taking EVERYTHING out at once, but it all still worked out. I expect I will do another pass later in the year, but I’m pleased with my progress thus far.

  3. Although I haven’t been hiding under a rock, I’m not all that familiar with the KonMari method but I’m intrigued. I’ve been retired now for one year and have been slowly purging but I don’t think I’m doing a great job – especially with my clothes. Although I’m not a big shopper, I do tend to hold on to things well past their usefulness (I still have my pencil skirts for work but I have no intention of re-entering the business world). I will look at your past posts and maybe pick up her book. Our whole house could use tidying up, especially now that we are free to travel and desire fewer anchors.

    • I highly recommend actually reading her book. It’s such a different way of looking at things, and not at all like any other decluttering book I’ve read, or even minimalist one. It really changed my perspective on a lot more than just my stuff. I’m 55, fwiw.

      • After reading Tara’s comment that Costco has the book for less than $10, I think I’ll head over there. I’m just a couple of years older than you are and, boy-oh-boy, do I understand about the changing perspectives.

    • No offense with the “hiding under a rock” comment, Janis. My attempt at humor 🙂 I recommend reading the book, too. Even though there are overviews all over the internet, including in my posts, there is a lot of value to reading the book and getting a wider perspective. I agree with Kathryn that it’s really a different way of looking at things. It made a big difference with me. If you do read it, I’d love for you to share your experience, perhaps when I do my next KonMari post. I’m not sure what I will tackle next, but I’m leaning towards photos.

  4. Well that’s quite a purge! Congratulation!
    It’s kind of funny you discarded the green coat because when I saw it in your LIWI update, I was surprised you had another colored coat like the other ones.
    When I look at the picture of your discarded pants and skirts, I don’t feel like any of the items belong to your wardrobe because they look too classic, and when I look at the toppers picture, they all feel too dressy.
    And maybe it’s just on the picture but many of your discarded jewelry look like the ones featured on the LIWI post, especially the necklaces.
    Anyway, what I wanted to say is that I’m sure you made the right decision in letting this items go and I’m really glad you feel lighter and happier when opening your closet!

    • Thanks for your encouragement, Cedrique. I am totally at peace with all of the items I let go of. You’re right that the clothes don’t fit in with my wardrobe any longer and were just “dead weight” in one way or another. As for the jewelry, a lot of it was similar to the items I’ve kept, but I just didn’t reach for them. I didn’t want to keep things around out of guilt any longer and it felt good to let them go. I definitely feel lighter and happier when I look at my clothes and jewelry these days. I still think I have too much, but I’ve made some good progress and I’m proud of that.

  5. Hi. I’ve been purging & simplifying for a while now & I love my capsule wardrobe. However my hubby despite losing a huge amount of weight (following a big op & adopting a healthy living regime) has consistently refused to purge his wardrobe. This evening I casually mentioned your post & he decided it was time. I enthused of having cycling, business & gym capsules. I also explained the concept of sunk costs which made a lot of sense to him as he’s in finance. We purged 30+ Items including suits & blazers. Thankyou for your assistance !

    • I’m so happy my post played a role in your husband’s downsizing his wardrobe, Sharon. A big congrats both on his weight loss and his closet purge! Yes, the sunk cost theory is a really good one and has had an impact on me, too. I’m sure both you and your husband feel better after getting rid of things he was no longer using.

  6. Love this post! Thank you for sharing! I plan to do this in the near future. I have been thinking about it for awhile now. I have not read her book, but from your post I think I can really make some strides in my closet!

    • I highly recommend it, Bella! I was nervous to tackle my wardrobe with KonMari, but it really felt like time this past weekend and I just dove in. I wish you the best of luck! Please let me know how it goes for you.

  7. Great job Debbie! I’m happy you didn’t purge that shadow striped top 🙂 my husband cannot purge for the life of him lol- he ‘uses’ and ‘needs’ everything!

    I used this method to make decisions on a group of items I had not worn in a long time or had identified as being ‘iffy’. 13 of the approx. 20 items were purged. I’m planning to redo this but apply it to my whole closet. I have some items I know I’m keeping because I ‘used’ to love them or as a security blanket to feel bettee about how small my closet has become. I’ve added a few pieces to my closet and total at 71 (clothing only) right now. I know I can edit further but there are missing links I’ll need as well so I think it will be close to a stable number. It’s not too bad for a true 4-season closet, i’m wearing most of it these days but one day hope to really wear all of it save special occasion wear!

    • I didn’t really think my husband was going to do it, Meli, and if he did, I thought he would rationalize keeping most everything. But I was pleasantly surprised that he let go of so much! I’m surprised that you are still finding more to get rid of, as your wardrobe is already pretty tight. Congrats on letting go of such a large proportion of your “iffy” items. Good for you! I always like reading about your progress and am so proud of you for how far you’ve come.

  8. I have embarked on the KonMari method and it is really life altering. For me, the idea of looking at things with the question “what sparks joy” and focusing on what to keep, not what to get rid of had been a whole new experience. I “konmari’d” my clothing and let go of 12 huge garden bags of clothes, shoes, and accessories. Next, I tackled my books and released lots of them and then I did my papers and have nearly nothing left of those. Fabulous! I have had to take a 3 week break because of a vacation, but now I am going to work on my kitchen, which will be a long process. I expect the whole house really will take the full 6 months that Marie suggests is average. I have one word of advice for people starting the method and that is stay focused on the idea of keeping only that which sparks joy. If you start feeling guilty about things or wondering where to put everything, you may lose your way and not be satisfied with the result.

    • You are right, Lori, that focusing on what to KEEP makes all the difference. Most de-cluttering methods come at it from the other direction. I’m so impressed with your progress, especially in regards to the papers. I have yet to tackle those, but I have A LOT! About the 6 month average, it seemed high when I read the book, but now it makes sense to me. I think it sounds about right for most households. I did a lot of de-cluttering before KonMari, so I didn’t need to tackle some categories, but it’s made a big difference for me with books, CDs, clothes, and jewelry thus far. Next up are photos and papers. Should be interesting…

  9. This is on my list of things to do for January 2016. But I may start this summer at our Montreal place once my stress levels diminish.

    • Good for you, Tara! Please share your progress when you tackle either location. I know I will be doing other KonMari posts, so perhaps you can share there. Best of luck to you!

  10. Great post, Debbie! It really seems like this method has enabled you to let go of some items that you knew weren’t right for you but that you were hanging on to anyway.

    There was a time a few years ago when it looked like we might move to Europe (I live in the US) imminently. We didn’t, but wow, that brief period sure was good for decluttering! I have since started asking myself: Would I take this with me (or pay to store it) if I were moving abroad? It’s not exactly the same as “sparks joy,” but it sure does clarify what’s really important to me vs. what I’m keeping around “just in case.”

    • You’re right, Sarah. This method basically gave me permission to let go of such items, as they just didn’t “spark joy.” I like your question, too, and see how it could be very useful. The question isn’t nearly as important as the result. You’re right that we need to clarify what’s really important rather than those “just in case” items (or worse, the things we’re keeping out of guilt). Even though your Europe move didn’t happen, you have seem to have still benefitted greatly from the prospect.

  11. Good process and good post Debbie. The results of your first ever “KonMari Method” with your closet is bringing you closer to your goal of having a cohesive wardrobe. You inspire me to stay the course.

    I’m one of those people who de-clutter at least twice a year, and then 3-6 months later we are always shocked at how fast the clutter has returned. I read the book because I’m always searching for a better way to de-clutter, but was skeptical of Marie Kondo’s assurance that if I used her method I would never revert to clutter again. Yay! Her method worked for me. Months have past and our home, garage and my home-office, have remained clutter free. The author is eccentric so you need to keep an open mind while reading. The sequence Kondo suggests sticking to is de-clutter clothes first, then books, papers and last, mementos and photos. Paperwork was a long difficult process because I had collected so much, way too much. I filled the recycle bin and I shredded for hours. Identifying my type was greatly important. There are 3 types: those who can’t get rid of things, those who can’t put things away, and those who are a combination of not being able to get rid of, and can’t put it away. I dislike putting things away, and my husband agreed to being type 3.

    Since my wardrobe was already edited down, and everything I owned “sparked joy” I thought it wasn’t necessary to do my closet again. Yet a few weeks after going through the whole house, and it felt so wonderful and it was staying tidy, so I ended up doing my closet again. I had to face the fact that I have a serious “scarcity mentality/fear of the future” which is why my wardrobe was once very big, and it was the reason even though my wardrobe is now on the small side, something still didn’t feel right. So I went through my closet again using the method. Although a favorite dress and two pair of pants and two sweaters sparked joy, something felt off the last time I wore them. I tried them on. The dress was a bit lower cut than I’m now comfortable wearing. Maybe it had stretched, whatever, it was no longer right for me. The pants were a bit too short. And two favorite good quality sweaters had become too tight. Like Meli, I’m guessing I overlooked letting these items go previously because they were favorites, and I was keeping them as a security blanket to feel better about how small my closet has become. Yet I’m still well dressed and have plenty to wear, even without them. Next I had to let some of my duplicate tops go. Duplicates work extremely well for me, but I had too many identical items.

    I also had to make a firm commitment to putting things away immediately after using them. And it is much easier now that I have fewer things to put away. When I walk in the door at the end of the day I no longer dump everything on the entryway bench, or on the table. Now I spend five minutes putting my jacket away, and anything else gets put away, and my sunglasses and keys go back into my purse. But I don’t empty my purse as Kondo recommends. That would never work for me. Yet I now de-clutter my purse daily.

    I second what Lori said about it being key for anyone starting the method to stay focused on the idea of keeping only that which sparks joy, and if you start feeling guilty or sentimental about things, or attempt to organize wondering where to put everything “before” completing the purge, you may lose your way and not be satisfied with the result. With fewer belongings, everything I own now has a designated spot, and I no longer struggle to put things away, and I no longer bring unnecessary clutter home, and our home stays tidy. Now, every item in my closet not only sparks joy, everything also fits me, and helps me look and feel my best.

    • Thank you so much for your detailed and helpful comment, Terra. You not only shared your inspiring experience, but you also highlighted some important points from the book. You’re right that Kondo is a bit eccentric and she has the habit of anthropomorphocizing objects, which sometimes sounds weird. But her method really works and I was encouraged to hear that you haven’t noticed any additional clutter build up. I was inspired to see that both you and Meli were able to downsize your already small wardrobes using the KonMari Method. As for the 3 types, I think I am the type who has trouble getting rid of things (but I’m getting better at it). I usually put things away, but I’m not so good at putting papers away… I have to tackle papers using KonMari and then maybe I will get better at it. Thank you for all of the wonderful points you made here and for all of the insightful comments you make on my posts!

  12. Hi Debbie,
    I just ordered the Marie Kondo book and hope to read it over the weekend. I’ve heard so many comments about it and now I’m very curious!

    I read your post and the comments last night. It made me start thinking about my own closet and whether the clothes in there “spark joy.” That’s a tough call for me. Are my black tropical wool Banana Republic trousers enough to spark joy? They fit well and are dependable and fuss-free. They certainly make getting dressed easier. But do they spark joy? Not exactly, even though I would miss them terribly if I didn’t have them. Perhaps I should think of the trousers as a “canvas” for a top that would spark joy.

    I think for me, handbags and jewelry spark more joy. However, I have bought only two handbags in the last three years. They have to be pretty special for me to spend money on them. I keep them in excellent condition and carry them for years. The jewelry brands I prefer are too expensive for my budget these days, so I happily wear the pieces I acquired (or were gifted) in the last 10 years or so, along with the jewelry I inherited from my mother.

    • In regard to basics, I asked myself does this item spark joy as part of an outfit. It made it easier to see how a basic white tee could spark joy. But I also love the fabric, cut and feel of my basic white tee. It really does spark joy when I think about it!

      I also second the comment that things stay organized. My closet has never stayed so orderly for two months in a row. I am also more sensitive when I put on an item. Does it still spark joy? I have culled a few more things as a result.

      For those just embarking on this method, you might experience a few days of “guilt” or feel like, “What have I done?!?” That passed for me within a few days. I thought I had let a favorite pink tee shirt go only to discover today that I misfiled it with my skirts. I was so happy to see it and to know that I hadn’t messed up and let something good go. So the system works. Haven’t missed a single thing.

    • I’m glad you ordered the book, Maddie, and I look forward to reading what you think of it. Anne did a good job of answering your question about basics (thanks, Anne!), but I wanted to add something. A post on “Already Pretty” tackled that issue (http://www.alreadypretty.com/2015/04/useful-bring-joy.html). In addition to the sparks joy question, Sally recommended that we also ask, “Is it useful?” Your black pants sound like they are definitely useful to you. And in line with what Anne wrote, they probably do spark joy as part of an outfit.

      Anne, I’m glad that things have stayed organized for you, too. I’m also glad that the initial guilt you felt at letting things go passed quickly (and that you found your pink tee shirt). How wonderful that you haven’t missed a single thing! I highly doubt that I will, either…

  13. I found your blog this weekend via Mette. I straight away felt you were putting my feelings in words. I’m in the process of finding my true style , control my spendings and move on to the next level of a meaningfull life. I’m so happy when I find like minded people on the web. You do a great job. I also did the Condo Marie Method purge back in April (Greek Orthodox Easter Holiday so me as a teacher had 15 days off work). You can check the results here. (I hope I’m not pushing.) http://fashionmeblog.blogspot.gr/2015/04/on-marie-condo-and-my-47-birthday.html
    I found the process liberating and managed to get rid of like 2/3 of all my possessions. Glad I did but also sad there were too many to get rid of. I’ve never bought the book, I just recearched and found all I needed ,it’s prettysimple anyway what she proposes but very powerful. Now I’m working on a project of wearing a black dress for 30 days and I will present the results when that ends.. I more or less feel more creative now that i have less and less frustrated, And what’s more, I don’t feel like impulse shopping. I have made a list of everything i own and strategically try to figure out the gaps. Then I will thoughtfully procceed to shop .The days of experimenting where more was the better are behind me. I can;t stand poor quality anymore. I trully enjoy your blog and I will keep coming back to your lovely community .

    • Welcome, Angie! I’m glad you like my blog and have found a group of like-minded people here. thanks for sharing your post about using the KonMari Method (no problem about posting the link here). Happy belated birthday (I will turn 49 soon) and congrats on your great progress! I agree that the process of letting go of unloved items is quite liberating. I look forward to reading about your black dress project. Please report on that here when you’re done and share the link, as I’m sure others will also want to read about it. I’m sure your creativity will be sparked immensely by doing that project.

  14. Oh my, Debbie, I *just* spent the past weekend Kon Mari-ing my entire house. My experience was exactly like yours! I’d read several articles on the method, and requested the book from the library. I opened it with much skepticism, but within the first few pages, I was hooked. I *love* organizing and I constantly “purge” my house, so I didn’t think there’d be much to get rid of. Her method is truly revolutionary. My garage is full of 17 Hefty trash bags waiting for the Salvation Army. I purged half of my books, probably 1/3 of our kitchenware and 1/3 of my clothes. It was so easy to get rid of those “on the fence” items that I kept holding onto. There’s something about holding each item and seeing them all at once that does it….I am happy to hear this method worked so well for you. It has only been a short time, but I notice my “shopping urge” is much lessened by having fewer things, and my mind feels clearer too. Thanks for sharing your experience!

    • Thanks so much for sharing your experience, Karin, and congratulations on your wonderful progress. Having 17 Hefty bags ready to go to the Salvation Army is an amazing achievement! but even better is the fact that your shopping urge has lessened considerably and that your mind feels clearer. Those things make it all so worthwhile.

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