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The Magic of the KonMari Method: Cleaning Out the Closet

Decision-making skills are put to the test with the KonMari method’s first hands-on exercise. Are you ready?

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Most women (including myself) complain that they don’t have anything to wear, even if their closets are stuffed with perfectly usable clothes. I was curious to find out if the KonMari Method held the answer. Author Marie Kondo states that starting off with going through your clothes will hone your decision-making skills, to get you ready to decide over the harder stuff.

How do you set the stage for the first challenge? 

Main photos from: Avenue.

Start early in the morning

As Kondo states, “Early morning air keeps the mind clear and your power of discernment sharp.” Mornings are usually devoted to my two-year old, so I started around 9 a.m. during a holiday, after fulfilling my mommy duties. 

Create a quiet space

I attempted to make such a space by closing the door, but my toddler burst in every two minutes, so that was an impossibility.

Kondo also suggests that if you can’t stand the silence and must have music, it must be nature or ambiant music with no lyrics. I was falling asleep with my soothing nature sounds, so I switched to an upbeat playlist on Spotify. 

Photo from Avenue.

Put everything on the floor

It’s a more drastic scenario of emptying out your closets—being surrounded by the tremendous amount of stuff I had was horrifying. I was in awe wondering how everything fit in a place that I claimed had no closet. My reaction was exactly what Kondo wanted to achieve—it’s for each person to see how much stuff they have. 

Make sure to search your entire house for clothes, shoes, and the like, and gather them all in the same area. Kondo suggests to separate pieces into these subcategories:

  • tops
  • bottoms
  • clothes that should be hung
  • socks

 *Actual photo of my closet.

  • underwear
  • bags
  • accessories
  • clothes for specific events
  • shoes 

Kondo states that you have to handle each piece and ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?” At first, it felt silly and like such a waste of time—but I kept at it. If the answer was Yes, I would neatly fold it or set it aside, all grouped together. If it was a No, I would put it in either of three piles for discarding: for donation, selling, or throwing out.

 *Actual photo of my closet.

I encountered the following road blocks: 

1. I didn’t want to give away my “thin self” clothes

Each piece definitely didn’t spark joy, but it symbolized the hope of me getting my pre-baby body back. I decided to take the leap of faith, follow Kondo, and ditch them. The moment I dropped those pieces into the discard pile, I felt light and relieved that I didn’t need to pressure myself anymore.  

2. I couldn't upgrade my pambahay clothes anymore

My most expensive clothes are from high street brands that cost around P1,000 per top. When they get worn out, I usually turn them into pambahay. Kondo is against this, saying that “downgrading to loungewear is taboo.” She points out that even if you’re at home, you should feel and look your best, because it shows you respect your home. 

3. I had to give away some pieces given to me by family

My mom and tita love buying clothes for me and my sisters, especially when it’s on sale. They hardly get my style though, so I end up either using them as pambahay, or it just hangs in my closet for years. I don’t like rejecting them, thinking that you don’t say no to gifts.

Kondo suggests that when you hit a sentimental snag such as this one, you separate the item from the giver. Letting go of the piece doesn’t make your relationship with the giver any less meaningful, and the piece will be able to fulfill its purpose and be treasured more if it’s given away for someone else to use it. 

 *Actual photo of my closet.

As each piece passed through my hands, I felt the process go by faster. I was making decisions in seconds. I felt a different, positive energy from the pieces that give you joy, and almost a dead air for the pieces that don’t. There’s almost a feeling of  lightness to the pieces that I chose to keep. 

Photo by Ocs Alvarez/ACME Visual Productions.

After lugging out the stuff for donation (six big shopping bags of clothes, bags and shoes) and for selling (three large plastic bins filled to the brim), the air in the room felt lighter and more manageable. I was even happier when it was finally time to organize everything back in their place!

(*Ed's note: This story is the third in a ten-part series of articles on the KonMari Method.)

Up next on the series: How to Fold and Store Your Clothes

Photo by Ocs Alvarez/ACME Visual Productions.

More on Realliving.com.ph

The Magic of the KonMari Method

The Magic of the KonMari Method: What to Keep and What to Give Away

5 Things You Need to Know About the KonMari Method

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