The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up
"I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR!" This is what I'd find myself yelling, exasperated, every morning. In all the piles of clothes I owned, there was never anything good to wear. Then, when I did finally find something, it'd be wrinkled. Who has time to iron??
Mornings are a struggle for most of us, and disorganization just makes it worse.
No matter how much I'd organize my closet and drawers though, I always found my way back to that same mess and daily struggle.
Then, I read a book that changed everything.
While perusing the shelves of my local library, I spotted a book called "the Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing" by Marie Kondo.
Kondo promised a method to organize your house once in such a way that you'd never have to do it again. I was intrigued! I read the back of the book, and knew I had to check it out immediately.
I am not a self-help book person. I really only read true crime and horror novels like some kind of psychopath. I lead a very dark life. This book was a nice pleasant break from all that! I'm here to tell you one year later that it has seriously changed the way I live my life, and not just the way I organize my clothes - it's changed the way I organize my whole life.
Today though, let's just talk about the clothes. I'm sure a lot of you struggle with the same things used to.
This is what my closet looked like (on a good day) at the beginning of this journey:
And this was my closet after:
Here's What I Learned:
1. Pick one category at a time to tackle so you don' get overwhelmed.
An no, that doesn't mean one room at a time (which is how I used to organize.) Pick a category and collect everything you own that falls in that category, from anywhere in your house.
For example, I chose to start by tackling my clothes. Not just my winter clothes or my summer clothes, but ALL my clothes. I emptied every single drawer, bin, and shelf I could find that contained my clothes and laid them all out at once.
2. Respect your belongings.
You know that pile of mismatched socks you have? Or that jumble of old t-shirts you balled up and shoved in a drawer? Those clothes are disrespected. You probably don't value those clothes enough to properly care for them (which probably means you don't need all of them.)
Instead of shoving things in the drawer at the speed of light and walking away, take the time to learn the "KonMari" method of folding. (More on that later.) If you properly care for your clothes, they'll last longer. They will also be less wrinkled, which means less ironing, and who doesn't love that!
The key is to make sure you only own clothes you love and respect, and treat them that way.
3. A little nostalgia never hurt anyone, but gosh does it make for lots of clutter.
I have always had a bin full of t-shirts I couldn't bring myself to get rid of. There's the one from that time I was enrolled in classes at RISD, or from that one time I participated in a film competition. Or that random shirt I got for free somewhere!
Once in a while, I'd pull one of those shirts out and say "oh, would you look at that! Good memories," But, I'd never wear it. It's ratty, it has holes in the armpit, it doesn't fit...
...Here's the thing. If I get rid of that ratty shirt, do I lose the memories I associate with it?
I still remember that film contest like it was yesterday, despite the fact that I threw that gross shirt away. The t-shirt might have triggered the memories sometimes, but it wasn't the "keeper of the memories." I am! I don't need that dang shirt!
This is how I now look at every object in my house. Am I keeping this just for nostalgia's sake, or does it actually have a purpose and a real meaning in my life? Will I actually use it?
I'm not saying it's always easy - there are some objects I'm still hanging on to for dear life despite the fact I'm just storing them in a box in the attic. I've limited myself to one box of "nostalgia" though.
4. Only keep what you love.
Kondo wants you to pick up every single piece of clothing you own, really take a look at it, and think "does this bring me joy?" I rephrased that question for my clothing organization and instead asked myself "do I love to wear this? Does it make me feel good when I wear it?" If the answer was yes, I kept it! If the answer was no, I got rid of it. If the answer was "I'm not sure," I got rid of it too.
I was left with ONLY the clothing that makes me really happy, and that I love to wear. It really gave me a sense of my own personal style, more than I'd ever had before.
Everything else I either threw in the trash if it was ratty, or I donated it if it was still in good shape. I also (sadly) had a large number of clothes that still had the tags on them. These items I packaged up and shipped to ThredUp (an online consignment store.) Now I have some extra cash for when I need new clothes!
Also, when it comes to new clothes, I find I'm not buying any. I no longer feel that overwhelming "I HAVE NOTHING TO WEAR" feeling! I know what I love, and I already own it. If I need to replace something I will, but I'm not bringing in a constant flow of new clothes like I used to.
5. Learn the KonMari Method for folding
This one is a real game changer, folks. Not only does it help me keep my drawers organized and tidy, it makes packing a breeze and my clothes come out wrinkle-free on the other end.
Here is a snazzy little video to show you how to do it, because I couldn't even begin to explain it to you:
This is what my closet looks like now:
And my drawers:
Mornings are a breeze! Who knew that having less clothes would make me feel like I have more to wear. It's so much easier to find things, and they are never wrinkled.
Once I finished with my clothes, I went on to tackle the rest of my house one category at a time. I'm definitely not done yet, but I've already felt my stress level plummet. My house is so much more organized, and I spend a lot less time running around putting things away. I pretty much just vacuum up dog hair now, 24/7. I've yet to find a solution to that conundrum....
I hope you are as intrigued as I was by this wonderful lady and her organization method. I obviously highly recommend this book, which you can buy on Amazon for a steal: