The KonMari Method and Me: a mother of three tackles all her clothing

To read about my first encounter with the KonMari Method, see the first part of this series, here.

Day 1: KonMari my clothes

My ambition: sort through all the clothes in the house except my husband’s. Kondo recommends a special way of folding and I have doubts I could ever entice him to do that, so I’ll leave his stuff alone. That leaves, all my clothes from pre-pregnancy (which I thought I might wear ago) to maternity to the largest size, immediate postpartum clothing, plus the clothing of three children.

Kondo advises that all your clothes be store in one place after you have discarded. So that is my goal. No more storage boxes of clothes that I will forget about when whichever stage comes along. All my clothes in one place…where I can see them…in my closet. Oy vay.

Kondo recommends that most clothing be folded. We have limited drawer space because for so long I have believed in hanging everything. Yet she preaches that clothing takes significantly less space folded rather than hung. Because of her worldview, she speaks about certain items of clothing being “happier” than others. While I don’t attribute emotion to clothing, I can see when these items are better treated, so I get her meaning.

I ask my husband to bring every box of clothing from the attic and garage he can find into our bedroom for me to work. Kondo directs me to put all the clothes in one place, every scrap. You cannot accurately gauge how much you own until it’s in one place. Once I bring out all my clothes, I tell him to stop because my pile is high (remember, we’re spanning five sizes plus maternity because of the babies and my penchant for shopping).

I get to work. It’s a little emotional, in that, it’s a lot of emotion to being paying attention to. Does this give me joy? Again and again. I get discourage that I’m keeping so much. I’m working to finish just so I can take a nap on the bed.

I remember two more boxes under my bed. I take a look: in one box my extreme maternity/postpartum and the other box is the exciting size I reached before finding out I was pregnant again. I feel so discouraged. How can I go through more? Where will I put it all. It is one thing to sort this through stuff and make piles, but rearranging, folding, storing. It feels daunting. I doubt I will manage the goals I didn’t even realize I had. They were an unspoken vision, I guess.

I get the bed cleared and finish all but those two discovery boxes. I don’t feel excited. I try to show my husband all I accomplished thinking it will help it sink in. Obviously I accomplished something. I mean, there is a huge pile of clothes to be discarded on the ground and no more boxes that will return to the garage. It doesn’t work and I still feel kind of down. I definitely feel tired.

I can’t sleep. I’m thinking I’m not sure KonMari is for women in my stage. We just cannot realistically downsize that much. It does not make sense to continue to purchase maternity clothes, etc, when you think there is a fair chance you might have another child in the not too distant future.

I lay down for forty minutes. I can’t sleep so I decide to read more of her book. Maybe it’s not working for me because I didn’t read all of the book before beginning. I read some more, but she is talking more about storage now than discarding, as she says to do all your discarding first. I have to store my clothes because it will be two weeks before the next workday.

When I get up from resting, I feel a sense that I can tackle at least one box. There is plenty of room in closet for the pants at least. After folding and storing in the drawers, I’m only using about half the hanging space.

I finished that box. That wasn’t so bad. I’m sure I can find room for these last five shirts.

You know, I bet I can tackle that last box.

And using an open storage box I had on hand, I have a place for even those clothes on the shelf in my closet.

IMG_7656I did it.  IMG_7659   I grew up with my parents remodeling their barn to use it for storage. There were four wardrobes in the upstairs for clothes. There were boxes everywhere upstairs, downstairs. Now they have even more storage space. I grew up with a perspective of storing what you don’t use in case you need it later. It often pays off.

IMG_7661But I wasn’t happy having boxes and boxes, never knowing where things are. Finding something by accident and thinking how much I wished I had that a week ago.

IMG_7662So it feels really good that I reached my goal. I only got through my clothes, but all work days must come to an end and the dishes must be done.

IMG_7663I don’t have any clothes outside my closet, aside from large jackets in the coat closet and costumes in the nursery closet. It feels really good. It is not just a goal reached, but a certain peace of mind that it is all in place, I can see it all, nothing hiding, no questions about where things are. It’s order.

IMG_7651Maybe I’ll try to tackle kid clothing before the next workday. That one shouldn’t be quite so difficult, at least emotionally. Until next time…

The KonMari Method and Me: the experience of a mom of three attempting to simplify life

When I first read about Marie Kondo and the KonMari Method through a “suggested for you” article online, I was struck. As I way of coping with stress, I love organization. Clutter gives me anxiety. It’s visual noise and I hate to have it around. So I have loved reading the endless articles out there on organization, cutting clutter, downsizing possessions and the like. Spurred by some desire to be more Franciscan and a scrupulous fear of being materialistic, seeing all my possessions together in a U-haul or a POD made me sick to my stomach. I hated that I owned so much, yet could see no way around it.

I made some peace after reading the advice to discard what you have not used in a year. Rotating from pregnant to not pregnant, I made two years my measure and discarded several large bags of clothes when it was apparent I had too many possessions for our little one bedroom apartment in metropolitan Virginia.

We moved from Virginia to California, from a small apartment to a large home in the country and our possessions grew. Oy vay, sick to my stomach we had no where to put our things when we moved to a normal size home in town. So boxed and other items were stored at my parents. So much so that when we moved again, there are things of which we still do not know the whereabouts.

I’ve sought to cut clutter, so have everything neatly stored away in boxes, in cupboards, in the attic, in the garage. But it’s not enough. If I could get rid of more, I would. But how to do it? I use what I have. I just use a lot of things throughout the year.

In walks Marie Kondo. I read about her book. The next day I went out and bought her book. The key in discarding possessions, is not to ask have I used this in the last year, but rather to ask, does this bring me joy. Well!

I have clothes that I purchased in my last pregnancy and last postpartum period that I was a little sad to put away. They brought me such joy. I have antiques in my home or items I created that I delight in when I look at them. We’re not purely spiritual beings, things that affect our senses move us.

So perhaps you will end up with a lot less, but you will love to use what you have. When a thing’s time has passed and it no longer gives you joy, you take a moment of gratitude for it’s time or memory or use and let it go. How interesting!

I began to look eagerly around my home.

But wait, Kondo does not recommend working little by little. Rather she says you must do this in one fell swoop, so that the energy you gain from your success spurs you on to the next. Rather than taking a room by room approach, you work at categories. First clothes, then books, then papers, then miscellaneous items and lastly, sentimental items. The earlier categories are meant to have the least emotional attachment. She declares you will grow in the skill of discerning the joy of an item as you progress, so by the time you reach old photographs, you can tell more definitively what gives you joy, and keep or discard accordingly.

I spoke with my mother and scheduled some workdays, as we had in the summer. My husband can work on whatever projects he likes and I will tackle what I can each work day with my kids running amok for want of attention.

So let the games begin!