KonMari: Clothes

I’ve giving The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up a go. For a quick backstory, read The Life-Changing Magic of Why Do I Own All of This Stuff Again?


Marie Kondo is a proponent of tidying once, in one fell swoop, and getting on with your life.

I am a proponent of defining words and phrases. “Once” can span an hour or a year. “In one fell swoop” could mean a very long swoop.

If you aren’t familiar with The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, or the KonMari Method of tidying, it focuses on gathering all of your stuff and, rather than choosing what to get rid of, focusing on what sparks joy and should stay in your home.

The first category of stuff to sort through is clothes. This can be broken into subcategories, starting with shirts.

Day One

Just as the book instructs, I pulled all the shirts from my closet and my dresser. I did not, as the book instructs, thank each piece of clothing for the purpose it served in my possession. On the first day, seventeen shirts made it into the pile going to the donation bin. Farewell, Lloyd Dobler t-shirt. See you later, old company picnic tee (I thought I’d kicked you out already).

Kondo suggests folding almost everything, and folding it all vertically so that you can see everything you own, rather than stacking them on top of one another, which usually results in the bottom of the stack being neglected.

I cannot fold every shirt I own, but I managed to fold and store twenty-two of them in one drawer that first day. I put a bunch more back in the closet (still waiting on those hangers from QVC) and another stack (not folded KonMari way) in the drawer under my bed to get to later.

Day One Lesson: I started the day with entirely too many shirts. I ended the day with less, but still entirely too many.

Day Two

The next day, I mentioned to my mother that I had taken some shirts to the donation bin that morning. Suddenly, a large trashbag is full of frayed jeans, stained shirts, mismatched socks, and a couple of pairs of my dad’s shoes, as well as another six or seven of my old tops that I had offered to Mom the last time I cleaned out my closet. And so, it’s back to the donation bin. Perhaps Marie Kondo was right when she said tidying is contagious.

Later that afternoon, I found myself at DSW looking to replace my two-year old sneakers which are starting to tear. I found nothing that I loved (or that “sparked joy,” I suppose), though I wondered whether there really is a difference between walking and running shoes.

Day Two Lesson: Shopping before you’ve even made it to “shoes” on the tidying list is probably not in the true spirit of tidying.

Day Three

Ordered new sneakers online, despite yesterday’s lesson. But they are truly a replacement for the torn ones, so I don’t feel (too) bad about it. I’m still wondering about the walking vs. running shoes thing, though, especially because these were categorized under “walking” on the site but are clearly running shoes.

That task done, it was back to shirts. I opened the suitcase that lives in my closet and discovered more clothes.

A photo posted by Daria Zeoli (@dariazeoli) on

More for the discard pile, but there were those flannel shirts and my favorite sweater that I could’ve used this winter.

That afternoon, my hangers arrived. I quickly realized that forty is not enough for my wardrobe, tidying or not.

Although I wasn’t done with tops yet, I dumped all of my bags and purses onto my bed. Then I dumped their contents. Three fortune cookies, two tubes of vegan lip balm, and a spare iPhone charger, among other komono.

I repurposed an old, broken vacuum space saver bag to toss three pairs of pants/jeans, two homemade scarves that were coming undone, a sweater, three more shirts, and two purses. I also put some travel bags into the suitcase and stored them all in the closet. No more forgotten clothes in that space!

Day Three Lesson: As Axl Rose sang, “Hey, woman, take it slow.” Tidying is a process. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves by skipping all the way to accessories!

Day Four

Four days into KonMari, I got up early and vowed to make progress – or more progress than I’d been making. (I also, apparently, completely forgot about the day three lesson, so I’m batting pretty low.) Into the donation bag went nine more shirts, two tank tops, four pairs of jeans, and eleven sleep/loungewear pieces. I gave two pairs of too-big sweatpants to Mom and we headed out to find another donation bin on the way to the supermarket. Bins are missing in two-thirds of the parking lots we checked, but we finally found one and bid farewell to more stuff.

Later that day, I dumped the storage ottoman that I’ve been using for socks and underwear. Who has this many pairs of white socks?? I also found two unopened packs of underwear. Why am I holding on to the ones with the stretched out waistbands again?

I began folding the rest of my clothes in some semblance of KonMari’s method of standing your clothes up vertically. Counting day one’s results, my shirts take two drawers (and it’s tight). My jeans take another two drawers. My socks and underwear barely fit in the top drawer, with some help from two repurposed shoe boxes. My hats have been relocated to the ottoman – except for this cowboy hat I bought five years ago and have yet to wear.

My tank tops are shoved into the bottom sections of a hanging shoe rack in my closet. Workout sweats go in the drawer under my tv, and sleepwear in one of the drawers under my bed. This drawer will later prove useful for the unopened underwear and some shorts and capris I forgot that I had sent to the laundry room the prior day for some wrinkle-time in the dryer.

I lost steam some time in the afternoon, lit my Gratitude candle, and wished I could move on to books already.

Day Four Lesson: I don’t need that many lounge/sleep clothes, and I should remember this the next time I set foot in Target.

A photo posted by Daria Zeoli (@dariazeoli) on

Day Five

I have to be honest. I’m breaking the rules. I tidied up the last drawer in my dresser, which holds makeup, hair stuff, deodorants and some accessories, as well as the drawer in my nightstand. I threw out a lot of cardboard and plastic, and repurposed iPhone and iPad boxes to store my wares. I found that I have four pairs of sunglasses. I moved my vitamins from one drawer to another.

My closet is not completely tidied but I’ve worn things and hung them back in the closet or folded them back in the drawers. I’ve tried to put things back in their space when I’m done using them. I’m doing this once, but I’m doing it in my way.

Day Five Lesson: I could get this all done a lot quicker if I didn’t have to go back to work on Day Six…

If you’ve tidied, or decluttered, or if you’re just a lot neater and better organized than I am, I’d love to hear from you! Share your tips!

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