The KonMari Method — ‘Clothes’ (Round 2)

It’s been a year since I first started the KonMari Method. Has it been life-changing? Yes. Why am I doing it again? ‘Cause I want my life changed twice. Duh. 😛 (And for another reason I’ll mention a little later on.) So let’s start with a quick recap of the clothes category from last time and whether I kept up the good work in the interim, and then move on to how I fared the second time around.

More...

Saddle up, 'cause this'll take some time.

Completing the first category of the KonMari Method -- 'Clothes'. Before & after pics. And the ULTIMATE KonMari checklist.

The KonMari Method -- 'Clothes' -- ROUND ONE (2015)

How was it different first time 'round?

Well, the last time took me a bloody age, for a start. Granted, a chunk of that was taking pictures for the blog, but it was still a sizeable amount of hours. This time around it took significantly less time (fewer pictures and, of course, fewer clothes).

Click the pic to catch up on last year’s effort:

Completing category one of the KonMari Method -- 'clothes'. Rounds one AND two.

About 40% of my clothes hit the donation highway… but only after about 4 months. Y'see, I had grand plans to sell them at a car boot sale. Except, as soon as I decided that, the local one shut up shop. ‘Cause the luck of the Irish is a total myth when it comes to me, apparently. I kept waiting for it to pop back up but no such luck. Eventually I got fucked up waiting, packed up the car, dropped everything off at the local charity shop, and never looked back. It was my first big lesson in the KonMari Method — get that shit out of your house as soon as possible.

Did I keep it up in the interim?

Somewhat. I still fold some of my clothes, they still look neat and tidy, I usually hand-wash my bras instead of subjecting them to the machine and generally take better care of things, and everything has a home (even if it isn’t in ideal living quarters).

The KonMari Method has also pretty much eliminated my desire to shop. I haven't bought much at all in the past year and, if I did buy something and later realised it didn't actually spark joy, I was quick to get rid.

So for the most part I'd say yes, I kept it up.

Where did I fall down?

I eventually reverted to taking my clothes for granted and just throwing them in the laundry without a second look.

Also, despite the big cull, I still found myself turning to the same clothes over and over again. If all my jeans sparked joy, why was I wearing the same pairs over and over again? I realised pretty early on that I’d have to re-do this category.

Completing the first category of the KonMari Method -- 'Clothes'

So 10 months later, I tackled it again. Better late than never, right? 😉


The KonMari Method -- 'Clothes' -- ROUND TWO (2016)

Why do it again?

The book says that tidying should be a one-time event, but I don’t necessarily agree with that. I think there are plenty of situations in which you may find yourself re-evaluating things. And, if you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know that I’m now in one of those situations because…

We’re emigrating! Eek!

(Or, at least, we will be if our visas are approved.)

My husband, my daughter and I are about to shut up shop in Ireland, and drag our backsides and all our belongings across the Atlantic to the good ol’ US of A. So now the question isn’t so much “Does this spark joy?” as “Does this spark enough joy that I want to pack it, pay to ship it thousands of miles, unpack it, and find it a new home?”

I’m exhausted just thinking about it.

Challenges:

I was pretty excited to re-start the KonMari Method but one thing I wasn’t looking forward to was taking all my clothes out. Last time I wasn’t too bothered ‘cause, honestly, a lot of them were just in a heap on the floor. But this time they were pretty neat and tidy (and a lot were folded) so I wasn’t thrilled at the notion of undoing all my hard work and then having to re-do it. But anyway. That was the biggest challenge I faced second time around so I thought it was worth sharing.

The process (with pics):

Clothes:

I started with items of clothing, piling them all on the bed and then going through them one by one. It only took me about 5 or 10 minutes to gather them all together, and then about 2 and a half hours to go through everything, including trying a few things on. Then about 40 minutes to put everything back.

Completing the first category of the KonMari Method -- 'Clothes'. Before & after pics.

In the end, I got rid of about 20% of my clothing. I have to say, I was slightly disappointed because I thought that was a pretty low percentage, but I realised it just meant I must have done a good job first time around, and that I’ve been consistent in getting rid of stuff throughout the year. So a fifth is still a fair amount, I guess. And I freed up a whole drawer and about half a wardrobe.

Completing the first category of the KonMari Method -- 'Clothes'. Before & after pics.

Shoes:

2 days later I tackled shoes. It took me less than 5 minutes to pull them off the rack, and about 15 minutes to go through them. It would’ve taken less time but, I have to say, there were a few pairs I agonised over. So, this time around I allowed myself a “maybe” pile and it really made a big difference to how quickly I was able to get through stuff. I used it to separate things that required a little extra thought (or trying on) so that I didn't break momentum. Once everything else was finished, I went back to it and made final decisions.

Completing the first category of the KonMari Method -- 'Clothes'. Before & after pics.

I’m a creature of comfort so I generally don’t wear heels, but there are so many occasions where I feel they're needed (weddings, nice dinners, etc.) so I kept some for that reason. They spark joy in those situations, even if they don’t otherwise.​

I have one pair of heels in particular that, on their own, don’t necessarily spark joy, but they go with a dress that absolutely sparks joy. So the outfit as a whole is a winner, even if I wouldn’t really wear those shoes with anything else. I kept them.

In the end, I got rid of just over a quarter of my shoes so I ain't complaining.

Completing the first category of the KonMari Method -- 'Clothes'. Before & after pics.

Bags:

Bags only took me a minute or two to pull out because, again, they were all in the same place. And then it only took me about 10 minutes to go through them.

Completing the first category of the KonMari Method -- 'Clothes'. Before & after pics.

I’m not really a bag person — I much prefer to be able to carry things in my pockets — but with a kid, that’s no longer realistic. So bags, for me, are a necessary evil. Some of them do spark joy because I find them beautiful (like that green Orla Kiely gorgeousness in the middle below, and the YSL beside it), but I'm starting to migrate much more towards backpacks because hey, hands free. (That "superhero" backpack you see on the back left is what I use 99% of the time nowadays.)

Still, I got rid of a little over a quarter.

Storage is a big problem here though -- they're currently all just shoved on a desk in my room. Not ideal!​

Completing the first category of the KonMari Method -- 'Clothes'. Before & after pics.

Jewellery:

Jewellery was next and this was one of the biggest improvements for me last time. Originally, a lot of it was just in a big, knotted heap. It was a disaster. So after KM#1, everything looked lovely and neat in the storage box and I actually started wearing my jewellery a lot more. Win!

For KM#2, I went through each drawer (of which there were four) one by one.

Completing the first category of the KonMari Method -- 'Clothes'. Before & after pics.

It only took me about 10 minutes and, again this year, I saw a huge improvement. I got rid of almost half of my jewellery which, on the one hand, I was very surprised by and, on the other, not really that surprised at all.

Completing the first category of the KonMari Method -- 'Clothes'. Before & after pics.

Accessories, etc:

A few days later, I tackled the final sub-category which was accessories, so hats, scarves, gloves, belts, swimwear… That sorta thing. Again, it only took about 5 minutes to gather it all together and another 10 minutes or so to go through everything.

Completing the first category of the KonMari Method -- 'Clothes'. Before & after pics.

I got rid of about 25% of it (mostly scarves). My main problem with this category is storage. I don’t have a good storage solution for belts and scarves, etc. yet and, right now, I’m not really inclined to go buy something because we’re going to be moving. So, for now, I’ve put the scarves and gloves in a cupboard downstairs, and swimwear and belts in the empty drawer I had after doing items of clothing.

Completing the first category of the KonMari Method -- 'Clothes'. Before & after pics.

And that’s the entire clothing category completed!

And, actually, between then and now, I’ve dumped a few more items of clothing. Go me!

AAAAAAND...

Drumroll, please.

MY HUSBAND FILLED A FEW BLACK SACKS OF HIS OWN CLOTHES! FIRE THE CONFETTI CANNONS!

Baby steps up in here, peeps. Baby steps.

So what did I learn from Round Two?

By doing it the second time around, I’ve gotten back into the habit of appreciating my clothes a lot more. And I still got rid of about a third of my stuff just in this category so it just goes to show that there’s always room for improvement. I mean, I thought I did really well the first time around, and I was still storing everything neatly and everything had its home, so it’s not like I re-bounded or anything. But things change. Styles change. We go through different seasons of life. So, overall, I’m really pleased about the fact that I could do this all over again and still see benefits.

Also, it took a LOT less time. Huzzah! There were 2 reasons for that:

1.  Quite simply, I had fewer items than last time.

2.  I allowed myself a “maybe” pile. Last time I spent ages agonising over some things, and it slowed me down and broke my momentum. This time I only spent a second or two on most things. If I was unsure about something, I threw it straight into a “maybe” or a “try it on” pile and just kept going. It meant I didn’t break momentum, and I left the ones I was unsure about until the end when I was already on a roll or after I’d had a bit of a break to re-charge my energy levels. So that really helped speed up the process a lot.

One of the biggest mistakes I made last time was not getting the stuff out of the house as soon as possible. Thankfully, I’ve learned my lesson this time around and 99% of the stuff is already either sitting in the charity shop or the bin.

Below is the video I made on the process, which you can watch if you so wish. It's pretty much the same as what I've talked about above, but you'll also get to see a timelapse of me actually completing the category, and I answer some questions I've been getting about the clothing category, such as:

  • How do you know if something sparks joy (as opposed to just liking it)?
  • How can you stop procrastinating on the process and just get started? and
  • What should you do with clothes that don't fit right now but may fit in future?

And hey, before we go, let's just take one last look at those progress pics, shall we?

Clothes:

Completing the first category of the KonMari Method -- 'Clothes'. Before & after pics.
Completing the first category of the KonMari Method -- 'Clothes'. Before & after pics.
Completing the first category of the KonMari Method -- 'Clothes'. Before & after pics.

Shoes:

Completing the first category of the KonMari Method -- 'Clothes'. Before & after pics.
Completing the first category of the KonMari Method -- 'Clothes'. Before & after pics.
Completing the first category of the KonMari Method -- 'Clothes'. Before & after pics.

Bags:

Completing the first category of the KonMari Method -- 'Clothes'. Before & after pics.
Completing the first category of the KonMari Method -- 'Clothes'. Before & after pics.
Completing the first category of the KonMari Method -- 'Clothes'. Before & after pics.

Jewellery:

Completing the first category of the KonMari Method -- 'Clothes'. Before & after pics.
Completing the first category of the KonMari Method -- 'Clothes'. Before & after pics.
Completing the first category of the KonMari Method -- 'Clothes'. Before & after pics.

Accessories, etc.:

Completing the first category of the KonMari Method -- 'Clothes'. Before & after pics.
Completing the first category of the KonMari Method -- 'Clothes'. Before & after pics.

Didn't take a photo of what was going. Just imagine some scarves and belts here. 😉

Magic.

All well worth the effort, I think you'll agree.

Later this week, I'll have a "closet tour" over on YouTube so head on over there and click the red 'subscribe' button if you want to catch that: HowToGYST YouTube channel.​

And hey, don't forget to pick up your free checklist on your way out. 😉

Completing the first category of the KonMari Method -- 'Clothes'. Before & after pics. And the ULTIMATE KonMari checklist
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21 Comments

  1. Great article Laura, I didn’t know about this method and although I am not a big fan of decluttering, I think the philosophy here is more about appreciating and organizing your clothes in a more mindful way. thanks for sharing!

    • Absolutely! The focus is more on keeping what you love and surrounding yourself with things that make you happy than it is on “just decluttering”. KonMari Adventures is a great Facebook group to join if you’re interested in learning more from others. Or the book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” is where the Method is explained. Most bookstores (and even some grocery stores) will have it, as will your local library (though there may be a waiting list ’cause it’s very popular). Thanks for commenting, Jenn. 😀

      P.S. Great site! Have ‘liked’ your Facebook page. =)

  2. This was really interesting for me. I bought the book a few months ago and did my clothes but I could see myself falling in the same traps too. Congrats on your move to the US!

  3. Thank you! I need this!

  4. Hi Laura,
    Great read. Bought the book a few weeks ago based on an article I read. Has sparked us to find what sparks joy in everything we own. Hard to find time to do it with small kids and to sort through all the stuff they have but already feel better having decluttered as much as we have. Best part is it has stopped us from buying crap and only things that ‘spark joy’. Good luck with the move

    • Thanks, Aoife. =) It can definitely be difficult with kids, but still worth it. Clearing out some of my daughter’s toys was one of the best things I’ve ever done. Helped me reclaim a lot of space… and sanity! And yes, it definitely dampens the desire to shop. I haven’t bought much at all since I started the Method. Now all I need is for my husband to fully get on board. 😉

  5. I find it interesting, what you say about the joy of shopping. I enjoy shopping a lot, but I find myself second-guessing a lot more than before. Things like: Do I really want this? Is it my colour? – or – which happens really often – Do I want to have this use up space in my suitcase?
    If you travel a lot – like I do – then this becomes the most burning question.
    Also….travelling has a way of making you realize whether a piece really should have a place in your suitcase and/or wardrobe. So I’m constantly finding individual pieces that have to go. So…YAY!!!

    And congratulations on getting through the KM again 🙂

    • It definitely makes you question your potential purchases a lot more. I think “Do I want to have this use up space?” is a great question. Maybe for someone else it’s not a suitcase, but a closet or drawer. Maybe it’s headspace. Knowing that you’d possibly have to eliminate something else to fit in the new thing soon focuses the mind on what’s truly important!

  6. Hi, just discovering this, your channel and the konmari method and I’m currently sat in front of a mountain of clothes in my living room about embarking on this huge life changing tidy up! My question is, I saw you have done a video on what to do about clothes you don’t fit at the moment but (hopefully!) will in the future however I can’t seem to access it, would you mind giving me some tips… Many thanks, I’ve found your videos and really helpful and down to earth! Thanks again, Gabi x

    • Apparently spelling and grammar are not my strong point today!

    • Of course. The idea is to get the stuff out of your closet and put it in a box or other storage space. Then give yourself a realistic deadline for when you expect to have lost the weight (3-8lbs a month is generally considered healthy weight loss, I think). If it gets to that date and you still haven’t, you dump/donate the clothes. Hope that helps!

  7. I actually just moved back to the US after having lived in Ireland for a brief time. We rented a house there and only could pack what went on the plane. ( with 6 kids in tow mind you!) Living there we found how freeing it was to have so little stuff. We realized we went thru 2.5 seasons and only wore a limited amount of clothing and such. There were actually things untouched in our luggage! That was when I decided I absolutely needed to try the Konmari method. I’m just got thru books and am onto the next mountain. So far 18 large boxes and 2 full 64 gallon rubbish bins and lots of burn piles ( I’m too lazy to shred and some things like worn out clothes I felt deserved better than the bin) and it feels great. I’m actually going back to things a week or 2 later thinking I just don’t need this. Now I’m really working on toys- I found you looking for Konmari with kids. Because oh the toys….. Moving for sure was a great process to see what really was needed in life.

    PS- I started reading your blog and instantly thought you’re writing sounded Irish 😉 You’re making me Irish homesick. Good luck here in the states.

    • Haven’t been able to obtain a visa thus far, so still not certain we’re moving. But should hear about our most recent application in the next week. Well done on your KonMari progress. Sounds like you’re powering through it! What part of Ireland did you live in?

  8. omergosh! i long so much to move to Ireland and here you are wanting to leave it! Wish we could just trade houses …

  9. I’m preparing to start my KonMari journey with the help of motivation and inspiration from your great posts and videos.

    Do you have some tips to help overcome one of my obstacles, my nagging inner environmentalist who cringes anytime I think of tossing something in the bin/rubbish/garbage/trash (pick your favorite word for a receptacle that ultimate transports unwanted matter to a landfill)? Surely I’m not the only one of my kind, right? 🙂

    While I’m building a lot of excitement to KM the hell out of my place, I just know I’m going to come up against this inner nagging voice. It’s thwarted so many of my previous less serious declutter attempts.

    To start with the biggest example… clothing. Fire up the inner voice question generator… Would I be able to sell this? Would I make enough for it to be worth the time spent? I don’t know, that takes time to try it and find out.

    Let’s say I resign myself to forget about trying to sell, and settle on a local charity. That opens a new bag of questions… Is this good enough for them to resell/reuse? How worn is too worn? Would I be a terrible person if I didn’t freshly wash this mountain in a bajillion loads of laundry first?

    And then we get too… Ok, this pile is definitely too worn (holes, rips, etc.)… I’ve heard of textile recycling; who does that? How do I find them? Would I have to drive a bajillion miles to try to recycle this pile of discarded clothing? Is that worth the environment damage (pollution, fuel consumption, etc.) I’d be doing by making that trip I’d otherwise not make?

    That’s just for clothes. You can imagine the inner dialog being similar for electronics (hazardous materials disposer/recycler?), dishes, tools (automotive, electronical, etc.), basically anything that may have life left in it for someone else for whom it may spark joy.

    This is both an abstract request for tips about a nagging inner environmentalist who views the bin as the last resort, as well as specific tips for specific categories (especially for clothing), if you have any.

    • Been there, Matt! The first thing I’ll say is that it gets much easier as you go on. I didn’t bother trying to sell anything because I just felt it was too much time and hassle. Donating it all made me feel better about the experience (apart from, as you say, things that were too worn).

      For donation items, simply ask yourself if you would buy it in the condition it’s in. If yes, donate. If no, dump or recycle. Also, I’m not sure if they have them where you are but here in Ireland we have clothes banks (like bottle banks) where you can dump all your unwanted clothes, regardless of condition. Wearable things are sent to third world countries to clothe people there, and others are recycled to make new garments.

      What I’d say is to spend a few minutes doing a bit of research to find out where you can donate your items locally, and if there are any charities that come and collect stuff (thus saving you a trip). Once you pick a location (eg. charity shop or textile recycling), that’s the decision made. =) Having a quick plan of action written out beforehand can really help quiet that nagging voice.

      As for clothes, the ‘maybe’ pile really helped me out a LOT here. It can be very easy to get bogged down in things, so I kept the momentum going by setting aside things to try on or things I wasn’t sure about. That meant I could get 90% of the clothes done reasonably quickly, and then leave the longer tasks until the end.

      To recap: have a plan of action already in place, and set aside anything that’s taking longer than a few seconds to decide upon. Momentum is important!

      Hope that helps!

  10. I’ve been struggling on KonMari, though I very much want to be successful with it.

    I appreciate your suggestions that the process can be done more than once, and to not spend too much time trying to sell stuff. In the last week, Ive been thinking about donating books to libraries, toiletries to refugee programs, doing clothing exchanges with my friends and neighbors, sending shoes to africa, and house maintenance stuff to habitat for humanity. It’s too many places.

    I love to de-clutter and organize and i do it all the time, but i feel like i have too many hobbies for my small house. I spend way more time in the dumpster-diving/de-cluttering hobby than anything else. I don’t finish projects.

    I also feel like I should use it up, wear it out, make it due, or do without… (i’m not very good at that last one). I grew up in a hoarder house (my dad) and though I was the most organized person in the house… apparently I have some hoarder tendencies as an adult.

    Part of me almost wishes I was moving to another country, because I would just sell all of it in a yard sale. I’m not very attached to any of it, but as Marie Konda mentioned in her book, some people are attached because of “fear of the future”. That’s totally me.

    But with no plans to move, it doesn’t make sense to sell it, because in a year or so my kiddos will be old enough to be crafty. I’d hate to feel like I need to buy it all again!

    But perhaps my biggest problem is I suspect i have a mild case of clinical anxiety, so deciding is something ‘sparks joy’ is difficult. Everything sparks anxiety.

    • It can be a very overwhelming process, particularly when you’ve spent a lifetime accumulating “stuff”. So don’t worry, most people feel this way at first. I would say to start with the things you know for sure you no longer want. Box them up and bring them to ONE charity shop (or get them to collect, if that’s an option).

      As for craft stuff, box that up too but put it out of the way with a deadline on it. If your kids don’t show any interest before that date, donate it to their/a local school.

      The important thing is to take your time and go easy on yourself. Start small until you feel more comfortable. And keep the reason WHY you’re doing it forefront in your mind. Keep repeating the benefits, and how your life will change. Get help with it if you can.

      Good luck!

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