I KonMaried My Wardrobe (FP Style)
This post contains affiliate links. Also, it contains terrible photography, for which I apologize. My bedroom is in the basement and it’s kind of a dark hole.
Well, everyone else was reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I am by no means a committed minimalist, but I do like to keep my possessions trimmed down and tidy, so I got on the hold list for the book to see if I could get any fresh ideas.
First, let’s acknowledge that it’s kind of a weird book. The author, Marie Kondo, advises thanking your possessions for their service to you, especially when you are discarding something. I don’t find it necessary to consult the feelings of inanimate objects. And while nicely stored clothes make me happy, I do not believe that the clothes have an opinion one way or another. Still, I’m getting some use from the book.
Marie Kondo’s sole criterion for deciding whether to keep or discard an item is, “Does it spark joy?” and she advises that you begin paring down by starting with your clothes in a specific order: first tops, then bottoms, and so on.
I thought I had a pretty small wardrobe and I’ve gone through it regularly, but I was surprised when I started counting to find that I owned 62 tops, from camisoles to cardigans. (According to Kondo, the average person she works with has 160, so I guess I do have a small wardrobe.)
Frankly, I think it’s unreasonable to expect all your clothes to “spark joy.” I often wear to work a pink and white striped button-down that I bought when I was breastfeeding Big Brother. It does not now and never has sparked actual joy, but it is comfortable, reasonably professional, and performs all the important functions of clothing, so I kept it. I can’t alternate between pajamas and the red dress Mr. FP bought me in Italy, the only two items of clothing that I find particularly joy-inducing.
I also dislike discarding clothing because Americans waste massive quantities of clothing. A lot of our discarded clothing winds up getting shipped overseas. If I don’t wear it, it’s possible no one else will, either, so to keep things out of the landfill, I like to err on the side of using them up.
So I set a lower bar: I would keep any clothes that did not cause me actual emotional or physical discomfort and that serve a purpose. Turns out, I owned nineteen shirts that I actively disliked or had no conceivable use for. 19! And that’s just shirts.
I filled up one garbage bag and about half of a Trader Joe’s bag with discarded clothes, but for me, the bigger impact was the vertical folding. Essentially, you fold your clothes up so tightly that they stand up on their own (no really–this actually happens!), then you place them in the drawer on their edge. While the folding takes longer, it lets you fit a lot more things into the drawer AND at the same time actually see it all. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been looking for something and not been able to find it when it was in a pile the whole time.
I made the change several days ago and love it so far. I do spend more time folding, but it’s kind of satisfying, and anyway I find I get that time back not having to hunt for things in piles. Plus I like how nice it looks. She advises using shoeboxes as drawer dividers, but so far I’ve been making do without. My underwear drawer is too shallow for a shoebox, but I do use a commemorative paperweight to keep my sports bras from falling over.
Now that I’ve I tossed out everything in the closet I hated and then folded much of what remained (now that I had all that dresser space–yes, you can fold skirts), I will be able to fix my awful closet space. See, I have these two awkwardly placed bars:
There was not enough space either on the bottom or the top to hang dresses or long shirts and everything just kind of dragged. Now, I can hang everything on one bar, lower the other one to make a convenient shelf for things like my sewing basket, and still not have dragging clothes. Just as soon as I get around to it…
Have you read The Life-Changing Magic? How do you store your clothes? Do you thank your possessions for their service to you?