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Decluttering our entire home and getting rid of over 75% of our stuff was hands down the best decision I have ever made for improving not only my daily life but also the daily lives of my family.
How has it improved our lives? Here are just a few of the reasons, (I have plenty more)…
- I can now clean our entire house in under an hour
- I only do 4 washes a week
- When friends say that they are ‘popping over for a cuppa’ I no longer go into panic mode about the state of our house
- I know where everything is in our house
- I enjoy spending time at home
- We spend significantly more quality time together as a family doing the things we love
Why Declutter Your Clothes?
Before you begin any new process or journey it’s always important to ask yourself why? Why do you want to declutter? Why did you click on this blog post in the first place?
My why was that I was constantly feeling completely overwhelmed with our home and daily life. I felt like I was drowning in a sea of clutter. I never felt like I could get on top of anything and I seemed to spend my life ‘sorting out our house’. I didn’t feel we were spending any quality time together as a family as weekends were always taken up with maintaining our home. Put simply I wasn’t living the life I wanted to live.
You cannot gain clarity when you are surrounded by mess.
“When your room is clean and uncluttered you have no choice but to examine your inner state”- Marie Kondo
So what is your why? The answer will be different for everyone.
Before we begin please, remember that decluttering your life is a journey and not something that you can achieve overnight. It took me over two years to finally get our home in order but as I’ve already said it was one of the best things I could have ever done for me and my family.
Visualise your Ideal Wardrobe
Having a vision of what your ideal wardrobe would look like is a great motivator for getting started with sorting out your current wardrobe.
Ask yourself now what does my ideal wardrobe look like? I bet it’s not full to the brim with random items of clothing so much so that you’re no longer able to shut the door properly.
What colours would your clothes be?
What style would you opt for, minimal, boho, smart?
Spend some time thinking about this. It’s even better if you physically create a mood board, either online or on paper. Tip: Pinterest is great for this! Find images that you like either online or in magazines and get them all together. Get excited about this new wardrobe and new you.
The idea is to get a clear idea of how you want your wardrobe to look. This gives you something to aim for.
Begin The Decluttering Process
My decluttering story is something that I talk about often on this blog. The main reason I talk about it so much is because it’s one of the best things I have ever done to improve my life. I know that sounds a little over dramatic but seriously it really can be life-changing!
After years of attempting to declutter our home and trying out various different decluttering methods, there is only one that has worked for me, the KonMari method by Marie Kondo.
In this post, I’m going to talk you through how to declutter your clothes using the KonMari method.
I’d highly recommend getting the book if you haven’t already as Marie goes into much more detail about how it works than I can in this one blog post.
How To Successfully Declutter Your Clothes
Clothing is always a good area to start with on your decluttering journey as we are generally less attached to clothes that other items in our home.
Before you begin I’d just like to be clear you are only going to focus on your clothes, not other members of your household. If you have children you can work on theirs another time.
The Basic Principles of The KonMari Method
If you have attempted to declutter before then you may find the KonMari method quite different but that is what makes it so effective.
The main difference to the other methods is that you are going to declutter by category, not by location! By that I mean you are going to declutter a group of items that are the same for example, clothes or books or paperwork. As opposed to declutter by room like bathroom, bedroom or kitchen)
The second difference is that to begin the process you need to get everything in the category you have chosen out in front of you. By everything I mean everything! Every top, every jumper, every coat, every pair of knickers, everything item of clothing in your entire house
Get it all together in a big pile on your bed. Again make sure it’s everything. What about that raincoat in the cupboard, that needs to go into the pile too! Side note this is a great time to take a picture so you can look back later on what you have achieved.
Now I know that getting every single piece of clothing you own out in one pile sounds completely overwhelming, believe me, I’ve been there, but the shock factor in seeing the amount you actually own really helps with your decluttering journey.
At this point, you will probably be feeling a mixture of emotions including complete overwhelm & guilt for the amount you have and have spent. That’s perfectly normal and happens to everyone.
To help with the overwhelm you need to break down each category in subcategories
The Clothing Sub Categories
- Tops (shirts, jumpers, etc)
- Bottoms (trousers, skirts, etc)
- Clothes that should be hung (jackets, coats, suits, etc)
- Handbags, etc
- Extra items (scarves, belts, hats, etc)
- Clothes for specific events (swimwear, uniforms, ball gowns, etc)
Separate your clothes into the subcategories and now you are ready to begin.
How To Begin The Decluttering Process
Start with the first subcategory; Tops. Now pick out one top from the pile that you are certain you don’t want any more and put it into the donation bag. Often starting a process is the hardest part but once you start it gets so much easier. You have just broken the seal.
Now pick out one top that you know you definitely want to keep. Put that in the keep pile. Notice how you felt when you held each item and then if later on, you are struggling with making a decision on whether or not to keep something go back to those two feelings. Does the item bring you joy as Marie says in her book?
For the rest of the tops, you need to hold each item up individually and make a decision on that item.
“Does this bring me joy?”
Or in other words, do you actually wear the top? Do you like the top? Do you feel good when you wear the top?
If the answer is no then get rid of it.
If you hesitate and start saying things like ‘but I might wear it one day’ or ‘I plan to lose weight and then it will fit’ throw it away. In reality, you’ll probably never wear it one day and it will just remain to collect dust in your wardrobe.
One question that really helped me was…
“If I was shopping right now would I buy this item?”
If the answer is no, get rid of it!
“When we really delve into the reason for why we can’t let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past of a fear for the future!” Marie Kondo
This is about starting again with your wardrobe not hanging onto things that fitted a past life. Our aim with this decluttering challenge is that you end up only being surrounded by the things you truly love in your home.
“Opening up your closet should be like arriving at a really good party where everyone you see is someone you like” – Amy Fine Collins
Repeat the Process
You now need to repeat this process for every single item in every single subcategory. It will take time but once you get into the swing of it the process becomes a lot faster.
You may well find that every item you hold up needs to go in the no pile. That is not uncommon. We all hold onto things that we don’t really use or like that much. If you find that you have very little in your keep pile don’t panic.
There may need to be some tops that you have to hold onto for now until you can replace them with something you really love. Just remember that you do eventually want to get rid of them so when you can buy a new one remember to get rid of the one you didn’t really want to keep.
When I first completed the clothing category I freaked out a bit afterwards as I hardly had any clothes left! I blame that on years of focusing solely on the kids and forgetting about what my style was. If it stopped me from being naked and didn’t have baby puke on it it would do.
If you find yourself with hardly any clothes left you have two options…
1) If you are able to go shopping to replace the old items with new get rid of them straight away.
2) If not store SOME of the clothes that you would like to get rid of in a separate place. When you can replace each of those items with another that you really love and then get rid of the old one.
This goes against Marie Kondo’s philosophy as she wants you to get rid of everything you don’t love but I’m a realist and I know that most people cannot just go out and replace most of their wardrobe in one go.
That’s it! That is the method I used to declutter my wardrobe and it still remains uncluttered to this day. Obviously, I have to maintain it by keeping a check of what I’m buying and what I can get rid of. Clutter has a habit of creeping back in if not kept on top of but generally my wardrobe remains the same.
Now the next step is to actually remove the clothes from your home. Do you have a plan for that? If not this post may help you: 9 Things To Do With Unwanted Clothes
Don’t feel this is a task that you’d like to take on by yourself?
Join us for the 2019 declutter challenge where will be going through our homes and decluttering together using the KonMari method.
Last year was great fun and this year is set to be even better!
About Gina Caro
Gina is a content creator and award-winning blogger. Her aim is to help you live a more sustainable & simple life. Her blog covers zero waste, minimalism, wellbeing & thrift. She currently lives in Cornwall with her partner, two kids and Charles the dog.