I KonMaried My Closet . . . and I Love It
What I Learned from Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up”
I hate clutter, I feel like I can’t think clearly when my space is cluttered and crowded. For years I have lived in the cycle of spending a weekend sorting through my belongings, organizing, throwing out, storing, and tidying, then over the next few months, accumulating more stuff, shoving things into cupboards, stacking them on shelves until one day I look around and feel overwhelmed when I realize it’s all a mess again – time to spend another weekend tidying up! It is a never-ending and very dissatisfying cycle.
Last summer (during the overwhelming point in the cycle) I googled how to tidy and ended up ordering a book by professional organizer named Marie Kondo. Though I hadn’t heard of her at the time, Marie Kondo has since become a superstar with the launch of the Netflix show “Tidying Up.” I’ve read both “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and “The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up” and if you’re looking for an easy way to get introduced to her method, the second one, which details her process in comic-book form, is a great place to start.
Whenever I see Marie Kondo and her methods in the media, I wonder if its popularity is simply a passing fad. I hope it isn’t though, because let me tell you, The KonMari method works!
Does it Spark Joy?
The basis for her method is one small word – joy. Her technique really comes down to asking yourself one simple question: “Does this item bring me joy?” If the answer is no, discard it. This is where the life-changing part comes in, Kondo teaches that we should only be surrounded by the things we love and need, we should be inspired by the things we own. Imagine only keeping something because it brings you joy, it sounds so logical, so reasonable. This is where her promise that if you follow her method you’ll never have to tidy again comes in. If you ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?” every time you consider keeping something, you will never find yourself surrounded by an oppressive pile of junk again.
One of the most specific instructions Marie Kondo gives is that we sort by category, not by space. She recommends starting with the easiest category first and completing it before moving on to the next one. The first category to start with is clothing.
If we start with clothing, one of the most important aspects is her specific folding technique. Other than stiff things like jackets, or some ‘flowing’ dresses, the KonMari method says to fold everything (yes, even your socks and underwear) and to fold them in a way that each piece can stand upright. Instead of a pile of folded shirts that constantly falls over and makes the shirts at the bottom inaccessible, folding them this way and storing them in a drawer or a box keeps everything organized. This way you can fit more into your closet, but you are also more engaged with each piece of clothing.
The trick is to begin by folding each piece into a rectangle. Then fold that rectangle multiple times so that it’s stiff and can stand on its own. Look at this example of how to fold a long-sleeved shirt:
I’ll be honest, when I first read this, it seemed like a lot of work, not just to do initially, but also to maintain over time. However, as I mentioned at the beginning, I was completely overwhelmed with trying keep everything tidy, so I thought I might as well give it a try! Now, after implementing the KonMari method, my clothes are never unorganized and they don’t get ‘lost’ at the bottom of a pile. I don’t have drawers so bought boxes to put my folded clothes in. The reality is that once everything has a spot, I have to put it away properly, there’s nowhere else to leave it! It may take me an extra 30 seconds every night to put my clothes away, but I haven’t had to reorganize even once my closet since doing it initially months ago.
Though at first, this technique might seem restricting, I’ve found it to be quite freeing. Since the determining factor is whether something brings me joy I don’t need to worry about whether I ‘should’ keep it, I can take full control of what’s in my closet. If you can relate to feeling overwhelmed by tackling the clutter then I hope you’ll try this method out. Just start with one small part. You’ll be amazed at what a difference it makes.
Just remember to ask yourself, “Does this piece of clothing spark joy?” If not, discard it. If it does, then using the KonMari folding technique to better organize your clothes so you can enjoy them properly and wear them until they have fulfilled their purpose.