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  • Writer's pictureSharon Bryce

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Updated: Aug 11, 2019

Do you ever feel a bit depressed as you open your clothes cupboard to dress each morning? Do you look at a vast array of items yet struggle to work out what to wear? Is it ever an effort to close overstuffed, disorganized drawers? Or do many of your clothes seem to permanently reside on the floor? Creating order out of chaos is one of the great psychological tasks of life. And it starts in the home. A tidy house evokes feelings of bliss. Would you like to expel shavasana-like sighs as you open organised drawers - everything in its place and easily visible? Would you like to see celestial beams erupt and hear a heavenly chorus each time you open your wardrobe? Feel euphoric on entering your own bedroom nirvana? Read on my friend. This blog is for you.

The answer to your cluttered bedroom dilemma might surprise you. You might actually need less stuff but have it better organised. You may need to "Marie Kondo" the hell out of the place. In case you’ve been living on a deserted island and haven’t heard of her let me introduce you. Marie Kondo is a Japanese organizing consultant that has taken the world by storm. She has set off a decluttering craze across the globe. While her services command a waiting list a mile long in Japan, the rest of us can thankfully make do with her book, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.”

Kondo advises tackling a category of things at a time rather than a room and starting with clothes as they are less emotionally charged than other belongings like books or photos. Start with a drawer. Take everything out. Hold each item and ask yourself the following question:

Does this spark joy?

If it doesn’t, thank it for its service (that is take a moment to feel grateful for it and mindful of how blessed you are to own things) and then get rid of it.

That’s all there is to it for Marie Kondo in terms of working out what stays and what goes. I ask myself 2 more questions:

(a) Have I used this item in the last year?

(b) Is this useful?

Place the clothes you want to keep to one side. Clothing items to be discarded go into one of four labelled cardboard boxes (from Bunnings):

1. To give away

2. To mend

3. To sell

4. To throw away

Some clothes go to friends and family. Some to second hand shops. Some can be sold online, at a garage sale or suitcase markets. Those to be thrown away (that is unusable) can be dropped off at the clothing store H&M which has a remarkable clothing recycling factory.

Once you have sorted the whole drawer its time for the fold. Do not underestimate the power of  THE FOLD! Here is a photo of an overcrowded drawer transformed by Marie Kondo’s folding method.

It creates a lot of space. Each shirt becomes a slim folded package that stands to attention to the depth of your drawer creating and unbelievable amount of room. This leaves all your clothes in 1 layer so that everything is immediately visible and retards messiness because you are not jostling piles of clothes each time you choose a piece of clothing. Trust a Japanese women with her cultural heritage of the ancient art of origami to come up with this!

Marie Kondo also loves a good shoe-box. It gives your drawer structure and helps you categorize your belongings. Organize your clothes by type: sleeveless, short and long-sleeved tops etc and then by colour - dark to light.

From your drawers you can move on to your cupboards. Again remove all the garments sort, discard and then hang - long items to short, dark to light, category by category. Coats, long dresses, short dresses, long pants, short pants, long skirts, short skirts, long-sleeved tops, short-sleeved tops and sleeveless. 

Stand back and take a moment to take in and enjoy the order. It will be easier now to identify your colour palette and any deficiencies or excesses in your wardrobe. If you are lucky enough to be just setting up a wardrobe, consider the wisdom of mix and match good quality basic neutrals to which you can add bursts of colour with cheap accessories. Black suits fair skinned people but softer charcoals and greys often look better against darker toned skin particularly in summer.  Consider clothes that can drip dry on a hanger and don’t need to be ironed.

You may be able to make a list if you are missing a basic wardrobe item making sure you consider your lifestyle, pastimes and needs. It is well worth taking this list around second hand shops and second hand clothing markets first before considering buying anything new. Get to know your local second hand shops. Some seem to specialize in clothing, others in furniture. I have found affluent areas and coastal second hand shops to be particularly good.

You now have less clothes to choose from and to care for. This reduces decision fatigue and time. As you reassess your life, making gradual changes to slow down you may like to learn to repair your own clothes. Consider YouTube for help or clothing repair cafes are springing up all over. There you can enjoy a cuppa, restore your clothes, have a chat and perhaps even make a friend.

The “Tool Library” underneath the The Queensland State Library in Brisbane has free sewing machines and a wealth of other gadgets from camping gear to mowers to 3D printers! Some you can loan out saving the environment, space and money. Check it out.

Do you ever spring clean or declutter your home? What tips have you learned? Please feel free to share in the comments below.

Happy decluttering guys. If you have a go at organizing your clothes I’d love to hear how it goes. Next week I write more about my adventures and lessons learned de-cluttering my kitchen.

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