Is your wardrobe bursting at the seams, but you can’t even find what you are looking for? Imagine opening a wardrobe to clothes you truly love & spark joy. Imagine spending time enjoying pursuits you are passionate about instead of dealing with clutter. This time at home could be the perfect opportunity to finally address your belongings & to make space for what matters most. We caught up with Natalie from A Bowl Of Limes, a Certified KonMari Consultant. Using the KonMari Method™️, Natalie helps organise & de-clutter your home. Here Natalie shares with us how we can have a wardrobe that sparks joy 🙂
The KonMari Method
The KonMari Method of tidying, founded by Marie Kondo, forces you to confront your things by individually handling every single item you own in a short space of time. The essence of the method is restructuring your personal relationship with your belongings & is rooted in gratitude & respect. Working through the specific categories in order, the focus is placed on the positive: by choosing what to keep rather than what to discard. By asking yourself if an item ‘sparks joy’ when you hold it, it helps you to understand what your values are & what you truly cherish.
- What is your ‘Why’? This is a really important first step before you start the process so you need to have you goal in mind. Try to get a clear vision of how you want your home to look & feel. What do you want to make space for in your life? What is your ideal lifestyle? Create a vision board to really focus on your reason for tidying. This is a powerful step in moving forwards.
- Commit yourself to tidying: Set aside time to dedicate to working through your things. You didn’t get cluttered overnight, so you won’t get un-cluttered overnight. You’ll need focus for decision making, & that can take time. If you need to be kept accountable, reach out to a family member or friend to help keep you on track.
- Always edit first: Don’t be tempted to rush to buy organisational storage just yet! It’s important to start with discarding first & only when you have completed this phase should you begin to organise. Once you have purged, you may be surprised at what actually needs to be stored.
Working your way through the categories in the right order allows you to start with the easiest first & finish with the hardest. You tidy by category, not location, or you’ll be tidying forever!
The KonMari Method starts with Clothing. This is the perfect place to begin as there are clear boundaries as to what belongs to you & items are worn close to your heart.
- The Power of the Pile
Having set time aside, let’s make a start. Take everything out of its current location & place it in a pile on your bed. Keep like with like, so all tops go together, all dresses go together etc. Remove items from your wardrobes, drawers & any other storage spaces throughout the home. Get every single item of clothing you own & gather it together in this one place. Don’t forget handbags, shoes & accessories. EVERYTHING!
This pile allows you to conceptualise what you actually own & creates an awareness of what you have. Most clients are usually surprised at the pile that lies before them, which motivates a change. You’ll easily be able to see duplicates & can judge items against one another more effectively as you work through your items.
Once you have created the pile, just take a moment to look at your empty wardrobe & drawers. By taking your things out of their current environment, it can change how you feel about this empty space. Remember that only items that bring you joy will be going back in. You may even change the way you store your items that you choose to keep as you view the space in a different way. Plus, it also provides the perfect opportunity to give everything a quick clean!
If you are feeling overwhelmed & apprehensive at this thought, or time is an issue, you don’t have to pile every single item at once, although this is the most effective way. Just start with one sub-category which will make it more manageable. If this is the case, just gather one clothing sub-category at a time, joy check & store before starting the next sub-category.
- Joy check your items
Does it ‘Spark Joy’? This well-known phrase has become part of pop culture. This is the main selection criteria for making decisions.
To focus in on joy, grab one thing off the pile that speaks to your heart. Just go with your gut here! Something that makes you smile & lights you up. Hold it in your hands & assess how it makes you feel. You’ll feel energised & bright. This will be a ‘spark joy’ item & is a yardstick against which to measure other clothing items.
Starting with tops, take each item in your hands & joy check it. You only want to keep what makes you feel good. An attachment to the past or a fear of the future are two main reasons why we hold onto items un-necessarily. Try to stay rooted in the present.
Ask yourself questions such as:
Do I feel good wearing this?
Does the item represent who I am now?
When did I last wear it?
Am I excited to wear it again?
Is there a duplicate I prefer?
Does it allow me to do a joyful activity? Eg. Padded cycling shorts may not be joyful to look at, but they allow you to do an activity which brings you joy!
If you decide an item sparks joy, then keep it with confidence & place to one side on the keep pile.
If you decide an item is no longer serving you, give yourself permission to let this item go. Thank the item for its service & let it go with gratitude. Thanking your item is a form of respect. Even if you choose to discard it, every item has taught you a lesson of some kind, so has served a purpose. You may feel like the village crazy lady to begin with but actually, I find my clients love it by the end of the process. Place this item in a bin-bag, labelled Donate or Sell respectively, knowing it will go on to clothe someone else & make them happy.
Remember there is no right or wrong number of items to keep or let go. It’s about surrounding yourself with joy. You will probably find yourself letting go of quite a lot through the KonMari journey, but it’s not the sole focus. Think less about what you remove & more about what you are able to add, such as freeing up time & energy.
Continue through the joy-checking process until you have dealt with all your Clothing items, sub-category at a time: Click here for a checklist.
Only try-on items at the very end, if you really need to.
Create a digital Wish List on your phone. As you tidy, if you identify a specific item for your wish list, add it on. You’ll create an intentional shopping list & prevent un-necessary impulse purchasing. You may find by the end of the session that you already owned the ‘black camisole top’ placed on this list.
- Time to Store
Only once you have completed the joy-checking phase entirely do you start to fold & then store your items.
File Folding: The signature KonMari fold means that you store most items in small parcels, standing them upright, utilising drawer space. Using your hands to flatten the items, you fold into thirds so the item can stand on its own. This maximises visibility, accessibility & storage space.
Hanging: Anything that can’t be folded, should be hung, such as dresses, suits & any light fabrics such as silk. Hang longer items on the left up to shorter items on the right.
Use boxes: Use items such as shoe boxes, as drawer dividers to keep folded items neat & tidy. They work on shelves as well as in drawers. These can also be used for sub-categorising underwear, & smaller boxes for jewellery.
Store like with like: Keep items of a similar nature together so you can immediately see what you have. Light colours at the front & dark colours at the back. Or try rainbow colour order if it takes your fancy!
By discarding items, adopting folding techniques & re-assessing storage space, you should have a wardrobe full of items you love, with clear visibility & easy access.
Place all your hanging items facing in the same direction, which should be towards you as you open the wardrobe door. The hangers in your wardrobe should also spark joy & support your clothes. Matching hangers make a big difference & I always recommend velvet hangers to clients.
- Letting go of un-wanted items
Get the items you choose to discard out of your house ASAP. By responsibly finding new homes for your unwanted items, you’ll be more conscious of your consumption. This can provide a re-set & help to change shopping habits.
Sell – Be mindful about the time it takes to sell items & how much they are actually worth. Set realistic time targets for sale & if you miss the target, commit to donate instead.
Donate – Give away your clothing items on local groups such as Freecycle, Freegle or Gumtree. Local Bucks charity, The Christian Eye Foundation is also accepting unwanted clothing donations for their charities in Ghana & Romania.
You can find Clothing & shoes re-cycling bins at most major supermarkets. Local Councils also do a kerbside & textile recycling initiative so check out your relevant Council website to order bags. Obviously please don’t make special trips & work within Covid safe restrictions.
- Change your Mindset
Tidying is a skill that can be learnt. It’s not something that comes naturally to everyone & it starts with a mindset shift. See yourself as a tidy person! Tell yourself a new story & use your mental strength to choose how you want your home to look & feel. Tidying is a form of self-care, which allows you to be intentional with how you spend your time & what you allow in your life. Our homes are our sanctuary & you deserve to live in an environment that makes you feel good.
Once your items have a specified home, all you need to do is return those items to their designated space. Remember ‘Progress not perfection’. Every item that you deal with is one less, so focus on moving forwards, choosing joy & be kind to yourself!
The KonMari philosophy is founded on intentionality & mindfully surrounding yourself with what speaks to your heart. Having been trained by Marie Kondo & her team, Natalie is passionate about helping clients use the KonMari Method to discover what truly brings them joy. Contact Natalie at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how she can help you to transform your home into a clutter free space & focus on what matters most.