Do you dream of a wardrobe only filled with clothes you love to wear? Then, wardrobe decluttering a la Marie Kondo might be the right thing for you. Not only is it an essential step on our way to a well-curated wardrobe, but Marie Kondo’s approach also provides an invaluable learning opportunity. One that allows us to reassess and fine-tune the relationship with our clothes.
However, Marie Kondo’s method doesn’t have only pros. There’re some cons you have to be aware of. When I decluttered my wardrobe, I had to deal with them too. But I found a few workarounds I’m happy to share.
But, first …
What Is the KonMari Method?
If you’re not familiar with Marie Kondo’s approach, you may want to read this blog post first:
The article provides a complete overview of the KonMari Method. Briefly, you’ll need to follow specific rules, sort your belongings into categories, and tackle these in the right order. Marie Kondo recommends starting with clothes as the first category.
I’ve also created a KonMari guide in a printable PDF format. It sums up all you need to know and provides a checklist for each category to track your decluttering progress.
Printable KonMari Decluttering Checklist
Declutter once and for all and create a home, wardrobe, and life that sparks the most joy.
How to Apply the KonMari Method?
The essence of Marie Kondo’s method is to focus on what to keep rather than what to get rid of. Take every single piece of clothing, every pair of shoes, and all your accessories into account. Ask yourself if the item you hold in your hands sparks joy. Repeat this little ceremony with every item you own. Discard what doesn’t make you happy and then store the remaining, joy-giving clothes so you can access them easily.
Pros of the KonMari Method for Wardrobe Decluttering
- It’s a proven method to declutter your wardrobe thoroughly.
- You’ll get an overview of all your belongings.
- The result can be a wardrobe solely filled with clothes you love.
- You can learn how to store your clothes properly.
- Most likely, you’ll keep clutter away for good.
It’s a Proven Method to Declutter Your Wardrobe Thoroughly
With her books The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy, and certainly with her popular show on Netflix, Marie Kondo has started an amazing tidying hype. Not only her clients but also thousands of people worldwide have put her method to the test. I think the incredible number of success stories speak for themselves.
You’ll Get an Overview of All Your Belongings
Marie Kondo recommends getting your hands on every single item you own. You have to gather all of your clothes, from everywhere in your home. Don’t forget the coat in your hallway or the seasonal clothing that’s stashed under your bed. Also, make sure that there isn’t much in the laundry that day. Marie Kondo’s approach to decluttering your clothes gives you a unique chance to gain a complete overview.I’d say most of us would be surprised by how many clothes have accumulated over the years. Click To Tweet
The Result Can Be a Wardrobe Solely Filled With Clothes You Love
The KonMari Method is quite strict. The rule is to discard everything that doesn’t spark joy. Marie Kondo specifies ‘spark joy’ further in the same-named book. Briefly, an item can either spark joy because you love it or because you acknowledge how well it serves you. For instance, a garment that keeps you warm in winter or a good pair of walkable shoes. The main advantage of the method is that it helps you find out what’s important to you. And, when you apply what you learn to future purchases, chances are that you only buy what you really love to wear.
If you want to make sure you keep and discard the right things, declutter once you’ve gone through the first stages of a proper wardrobe planning process. Here are some helpful links:
- Wardrobe Planning: Recap + Free Printable Worksheets
- Wardrobe Inventory: Questions Beyond “Does It Spark Joy?”
- Wardrobe Planning: Why It’s Worth Doing It and How to Get Started
You Can Learn How to Store Your Clothes Properly
Once you’ve finished discarding, you’ll have to find a place for everything you want to keep. Make sure that all of your clothes can be accessed easily. If possible, don’t store anything, e.g., seasonal clothes, out of sight. Marie Kondo’s tips (from her book Spark Joy) for folding and vertically storing clothes are unique and make wardrobe organization easy.
I’ve collected some folding and storage tips on Pinterest, but you can also find plenty of tutorials on YouTube.
Most Likely, You’ll Keep Clutter Away for Good
If you deliberately follow the KonMari Method, it’s unlikely that you’ll encounter a rebound. Marie Kondo defines ‘rebound’ or ‘relapse’ as returning to a cluttered wardrobe. However, temporary clutter that only exists because you haven’t returned items to their space after using them is not a rebound. I decluttered my entire home (including my wardrobe, of course) some years ago, and it’s still clutter-free. As a result, daily tidying and weekly cleaning have become much faster.
Cons of the KonMari Method for Wardrobe Decluttering
- Piling up all your clothes can be overwhelming.
- Clothes are the first category. However, applying the method needs practice.
- You might feel the urge to replace items too quickly.
- You’ll probably create a lot of waste.
Piling Up All Your Clothes Can Be Overwhelming
To be honest, I couldn’t get myself to throw all of my clothes on one big pile and handle everything in one go. No way. That’s why I divided my clothes further into subcategories, as Marie Kondo recommends:
- Tops (shirts, sweaters, etc.)
- Bottoms (trousers, skirts, etc.)
- Clothes that should be hung (jackets, coats, suits, etc.)
- Handbags, purses, etc.
- Extra items (scarves, belts, hats, and other accessories)
- Clothes for specific occasions (swimsuits, sportswear, etc.)
I tackled each subcategory separately, on different days. Going by subcategories is a good option if you have many clothes and/or only very few hours available for each decluttering session. And if a subcategory is still too much to handle, just divide it further.
Applying the KonMari Method Needs Practice
At the beginning of my own decluttering experience, I had a hard time deciding what to keep and what to let go of. Old, limiting beliefs can make it difficult to distinguish between what sparks joy and what doesn’t. It took me quite a while to get this right. But here’s the problem. If you follow the KonMari Method precisely, you have to finish one category before moving on to the next.
And this is how I solved the problem. I followed the instructions and decluttered all of my clothes. However, I decided not to trash everything right away. I put the non-joy-giving clothes into temporary storage containers. Later, once I was more confident in choosing what to keep, I went through the content of these containers again. In the end, I retrieved only a couple of items from their temporary storage and let the rest gratefully go. Maybe, my workaround wasn’t really necessary. However, I felt less under pressure and less worried about making the wrong decisions.
You Might Feel the Urge to Replace Items Too Quickly
In her books, Marie Kondo vividly describes the reaction of her female clients. She says many of them immediately go and get new clothes because their old wardrobe doesn’t spark joy anymore. Apparently, they even take off what they wear at that moment to change into different clothes. Really, I can relate, and it’s fun to read. However, is replacing everything in a rush the best option? Shouldn’t your decluttering session positively influence your buying habits too?
Personally, I kept a few items, such as underwear, a warm coat, a pair of sneakers. I didn’t particularly like those things but knew I’d need them for practical reasons. I decided not to rush out for a replacement. Instead, I saved up money so I could afford the best quality. And I waited with my purchases until I was able to find the perfect pieces.
You’ll Probably Create a Lot of Waste
Decluttering a la Marie Kondo can result in a tremendous amount of unwanted clothes. I definitely felt guilty, looking at my own pile and thinking of all the money and wasted resources. Keeping these items, though, had never been an option. It’s incredibly important that we learn from our decluttering experience. Otherwise, we’ll be stuck in a vicious circle of buying things and throwing them out again.
Moreover, never trash your unwanted clothes right away. They still have value. If not for you, maybe for someone else. Always try to find a new home for these items. Gift, sell, or donate them, if possible. And in case the clothes are worn out, hand them over to a recycling company. Don’t feel obliged to keep what doesn’t make you happy, but please discard your unwanted clothes consciously.
My workarounds already reflect some wardrobe decluttering ‘lessons learned‘. Find more in this post:
More Tips and Inspirations
If you want to get decluttering off your mental to-do list once and for all, don’t miss my post on how to live a decluttered life. This comprehensive guide explains 5 reasons why it’s worth it to declutter and shows 5 different ways to do so (KonMari plus 4 other decluttering methods). The article also dives deeper into decluttering specific areas like your personal belongings, home, and workplace. And I added tips on how to deal with mental clutter and which new habits can help maintain a decluttered life over the long run.
In this post, I talk about another category, papers – including tips that go beyond the KonMari Method:
I’ve also summarized my most important decluttering lessons learned:
- Home Decluttering a la Marie Kondo: Lessons Learned
- Wardrobe Decluttering a la Marie Kondo: Lessons Learned
In case your digital life also needs some attention, these posts can help:
- How to Declutter and Enrich Your Social Media Life
- How to Declutter Your Inbox and Reduce Email Stress
- Declutter and Better Organize Digital Files in 5 Steps
If you like the ‘less, but luxe’ idea, follow me on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for more tips and inspirations. And don’t forget to join my email list to receive weekly updates plus content that’s exclusively available to my readers.
What are your experiences decluttering your wardrobe with the KonMari Method? Did you find it difficult to discard the clothes you haven’t worn? Have your buying habits changed? How does it feel to have a wardrobe full of clothes you love? Share your answers below.