When your dresser drawers are exploding, and your closet is already crammed, it’s time for a change.
I live in a one-bedroom apartment that’s a pretty decent size, but I just had clutter everywhere. Papers here, shoes there and broken hangers buckling from the weight of my clothes.
I asked a good friend of mine to loan me “The Life-Changing Method of Tidying up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing” by Marie Kondo. To say it’s changed my world would be an understatement.
The idea of this book is that you only keep items that spark joy when you touch them. Everything else goes. Instead of going room by room, you take everything out all at once where you can see it and choose what you want to keep by category:
- Clothing and accessories
- Important papers
- Specific hobbies
- Sentimental (photos, trinkets, childhood toys)
- Miscellaneous (also known as komono: linens, makeup, toiletries, CDs, extension cords)
As with anything, getting started is the hardest part. The decluttering process can be tough because you have to get real with yourself; by nature we tend to be pack rats. This is why touching each item and really asking yourself if it gives you any joy or provides a real purpose is essential. If you feel nothing when you touch it or come across something you forgot you even owned, clearly you don’t need it.
This also means getting rid of anything that’s been sitting in your closet for months, or even years, with the tags still on. Those shoes you haven’t worn in years — toss ‘em. Same goes for the dress you bought on clearance that’s too small, but you plan on wearing when you lose those pesky 10 pounds.
Once the purging begins, and you find your flow, it starts getting easier. It'll start to feel freeing to part with all extra stuff that adds no purpose to your life. The key is not to second-guess yourself. Once you put an item in the discard pile, let it go and don’t look back.
In the end, I filled between four and five large garbage bags. I let my friends take what they wanted first, and I donated the rest. Not only did I have so much extra space, but I also gave back to my community. I felt like I could breathe again and my clothes will last much longer because I’m not cramming them into a tiny space.
Once you’ve decluttered, the real fun can begin with the KonMari Folding Method.
It turns out haphazardly folding your clothes and stacking them on top of each other is not only a horrible misuse of your drawer space. It also means you only ever use the items on the very top and the items beneath are often neglected.
The KonMari Method recommends folding them into a rectangular shape so they can stand up vertically, allowing you to see everything in your drawer all at once.
KonMari was a huge game changer for me, especially when it came to my T-shirts and long sleeves. I now fold most of my shirts and put them in drawers. It’s much neater, and it gave me back so much closet space.
I recommend only hanging items that want to be hung, like flowy dresses, tunics and chiffon, or other silky tops. Sweaters should also go in the closet because they’re much bulkier than shirts. However, if you do have the extra drawer space and decide to fold these, the process is the same.
It takes a little practice and watching instructional videos help, but soon you’ll be a folding pro in no time!