One of my big goals for the first quarter of this year was to purge my wardrobe using the Marie Kondo method. If you haven’t yet read The Life Changing Method of Tidying Up, the basic principle is that you gather all items of a certain category in one place. Then you hold each item in your hands and ask yourself, “Does this bring me joy?” If it doesn’t, then out it goes.
I knew that this was going to be a daunting task, and so I scheduled it for a day of my spring break when I had absolutely nothing else planned. I took every piece of clothing, shoes and accessories (not jewelry) out of our closet, dresser and the guest room closet and dresser and dumped them into a pile on the bed and floor.
I ruthlessly picked up each piece and asked myself first, “Does this bring my joy?” If I didn’t feel a strong pull either way, I then asked myself, “How did this make me feel the last time I put it on?” Then I tried to picture myself wearing it. If the feeling was at all negative, I decided whether the object was worth trying to sell or whether it should be donated or thrown away.
Four hours later, I had put everything back into my closet and dresser drawers, folding and organizing according to the KonMari techniques described in the book. For reference sake, our closet is 6’6″ long, and our dresser is the big IKEA Hemnes, of which I use half. Before the purge, all of my wardrobe real estate was stuffed. Afterwards, I was left with one completely empty closet shelf 3′ wide and a nearly empty big drawer in the dresser. The closet rods have plenty of wiggle room. I got rid of a lot of stuff, some of which I’d been holding onto for over a decade, and it felt really good.
Most of the items that remain are ones I truly love. I did keep a few things out of necessity that I plan to replace. The process helped me to identify what types of clothes I really like to wear and also what gaps need to be filled. I have a strong desire to be much more intentional about my purchases. I don’t shop a lot, but when I do, I tend to make decisions under pressure or motivated by sale prices. This process helped me to realize that several of my favorite pieces were ones that I’d purchased full price (gasp!) at Anthropologie.
I also made a concentrated effort to alter items I loved that didn’t fit quite right. I found a great tailor and have been bringing him two pieces at a time, beginning with jeans, and having the waists nipped in and the hems slimmed and shortened. Each alteration is around $20, which adds up, but it’s been so worth it. I don’t know why I’ve resisted alterations for so long.
Now that my closet is looking pretty bare and spring is upon us, I have been doing some virtual shopping and planning for which pieces I want to add. For the time being, I plan to stick to neutrals so I can capitalize on mixing and matching. My focus is on pieces that are work appropriate but can also be dressed down for the weekend.
Have you read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up? If so, have you started on the process? What was your closet purging experience like?