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The Magic of the KonMari Method: How to Fold and Store Your Clothes

Cleaning consultant and author Marie Kondo says that all you need is to listen to each piece on how it wants to be handled

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Once you've sorted your clothes, what would be the next big step? Are you ready to organize and put these back in their place? Most of us depend on handy storage bins, containers, and baskets to keep clutter at bay—but do we really need to spend a lot on storage solutions?

After reading the New York Times Best Seller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, you would also realize that there's no need for fancy storage solutions or more storage space, for that matter. The author shares the following storage tips:

Main photos from Dear Lillie and Brit + Co.

Store clothes standing up rather than laid flat

This is meant to be done with all your clothes, except for those meant to be hung. She doesn’t like it when clothes are stacked up because it strains the pieces below it, hurting its “feelings.”

I spent a good five minutes folding the same shirt, trying to hit the “sweet spot” that Kondo was talking about, but the piece just wouldn’t stand up. Folding my tops that way would have wasted storage space in one of my closets, since my folded shirts would be five inches tall against a space that was a foot high. I opted to fold a few pieces together, and grouped the pieces by texture, and then by color.

Find out how each piece wants to be treated and stored

  • When vertical folding didn't work out for my tops, I experimented with different ways of folding a top until it felt and looked right. Consider these ideas:
  • When a piece felt out of place in a pile, create a new pile. Think of it this way: your items liked to be grouped with the same sort or to put it lightly, in their own barkada.
  • Fold and do not ball up your socks or stockings to give it the respect it deserves
  • Group bags according to style
  • Group your accessories according to metal and usage

Your goal: See everything you need, know where everything is, and find what you need in less than 10 seconds.

After working on these tips, my clothes fit in two closets—one closet for dresses, tops, and bottoms, one closet for cover-ups, undergarments, and accessories. It all felt comfortable and right. 

*Actual photo of my closet.

Make your clothes rise to the right

For clothes that are “meant to be” hung, like it was dresses and cover-ups for me, Kondo suggests starting with hanging dark colored pieces made of heavy fabrics from the left, til you end up with light-colored pieces made of light fabrics to the right.

Always consider what works for you. If this doesn't feel right, you can start with white on the left and ending with black and multicolored pieces at the right.

Store bags inside other bags

Keep like bags inside other bags, but only a maximum of two bags inside one bag. Leave the handles out to be seen so you'll know what's inside at a glance. This will help you save on space too!

If this tip doesn't work for your bags, consider grouping them together by style—either in a pile or lined up vertically.

Photo from Confessions of a Serial Do-It-Yourselfer.

Keep in mind that you have all the storage you need

Kondo explains that you don't need extra storage space, what you need is to keep pieces that spark joy.

Before I started the KonMari method, I had three standard-sized closets with side cabinets and drawers for each closet, a chest of drawers, a bag closet, a shoe closet, and a dresser table. When I was done, I was able to get rid of a chest of drawers, and I was able to store everything, with so much room to spare (three empty compartments!).

Photo from Brit + Co.

As with any other project or endeavor, roadblocks are inevitable. As I was going through my stuff, my mom thumbed through my discard piles and said that some of them were still usable.  My dad offered to throw out my trash pile, but I didn't want him to "save" some pieces.

If you are faced with this hurdle, remember: Don't let your family see what you're doing. Most parents, Kondo says, get stressed when they see their kids throw out what they think are still usable pieces, and might feel offended to see stuff they gave their kids in the discard pile. 

Photo from Dear Lillie.

Kondo’s not against hand me downs, but only if it’s something that your family will really use, not something you’re forcing on them just because you don’t want to part with the pieces. I gave my mom five bags that I’ve seen her use ever since I gave them to her. 

If you are cleaning your space this weekend, consider these reminders:

  • You can also apply the KonMari method on your child's clothes. Picture how he or she acted with each piece he or she wore. If your child looks happy and if it still fits, keep it.
  • Practice the clean by example rule. Rather than tidying up for your family, just tidy up your own space and they’ll unconsciously tidy up their own spaces, too. 

After the whole process was over, I’m confident in saying that the KonMari method works so far. There were some tips I wasn’t able to apply, but the general, underlying rules of keeping only those that sparked joy, and listening to each piece, was still there. I felt a sense of peace with letting go of the things that no longer made me happy, so that I could make room for what was important and loved. 

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

*Actual photo of my closet.

More on Realliving.com.ph

The Magic of the KonMari Method

The Magic of the KonMari Method: Cleaning Out the Closet

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

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