Everyone has their own preference when it comes to how they’d like to store clothes. Some people love to hang everything. Others such as this client, only fold them. According to the KonMari method, folding clothes into neat little rectangles offers many benefits:
- It saves you space when the clothes are folded then stored vertically in the drawer.
- You can easily see the clothes you are looking for, and take them out without messing up the rest of the pile.
- Clothes don’t get wrinkled when you smooth them out first with your hands (and infuse them with positive energy as you touch the fabric). Storing them vertically instead of stacking doesn’t put any weight on the clothes, which prevents more wrinkling.
- You can easily spot stains, missing button, or holes when you spread out your clothes before folding them.
- Your drawers will look so neat and visually pleasing when you are finished (especially when you sort them by colors from dark to light, or by color in the order of the rainbow), your drawers will spark joy every time you open them.
For my client, the trouble is not being able to see or access the clothes in the back of the closet. Her morning routine was frustrating because she’s not able to find what she wants to wear without making a mess of the closet.
BEFORE: Clothes Closet (No Hangers)
We started out by taking everything out of her closet, separating them by sub-categories for t-shirts, tank tops, long sleeves, pants etc. Then she picked up each piece to see if it sparked joy for her. One thing I started to notice was that she had multiples of the same top, sometimes in different colors, but most of them are exactly the same. The reason was that when she finds something she likes, she doesn’t want to not have it when she wants it, or not be able to buy the exact same design again. So even though she knows what sparks joy for her, she didn’t have enough storage space to comfortably hold the number of clothes she had.
Early in our session, I sensed my client was getting increasingly anxious. This is a normal reaction when we confront things that maybe subconsciously triggering our fears and guilt. As mentioned above, having multiples of the same item gave my client a sense of security. For many people, these negative feelings are what stops them from decluttering and getting organized. And often, the biggest value in having an organizing consultant is to support and guide you through these obstacles and get the job done. The practice of repeatedly checking each item for joy allows us to learn to take control of these feelings. When someone thoroughly tidies up their home, surrounding themselves with only the things that spark joy, the magical transformation will start to have a positive effect in all areas of their lives.
After taking a few breaks in between the joy-checking and folding lessons, we placed the clothes in separate boxes by categories. I generally like to use any existing boxes in my clients’ homes, then make suggestions for what type of containers to purchase if the client chooses to. In the phase one photo, we used filing boxes she had at home. In phase two, she purchased boxes that sparked joy for her and transferred the clothes. For the socks and underwear drawer, the boxes we found around the apartment fit so well, she decided to keep them as is.
AFTER: Clothes Closet (No Hangers) Phase One
AFTER: Clothes Closet (No Hangers) Phase Two
I also suggested that she only keep 3 of the exact same items in rotation, and store the “backups” in a separate box. By doing so, those pieces in her everyday collection will get worn out, giving her a chance to replenish them with the backup ones, and plenty of time to look for replacements when those wear out. This solution allows her to keep the duplicates that spark joy for her, while not over packing her closet. Most importantly, this stockpiling habit manifested from her insecurities and fear has been brought to light. With the new closet organization, she’ll able to start each day feeling more positive. And without the anxiety and stress she used to experience daily, she may start to feel more confident in herself in other areas of her life.
Because of her busy lifestyle, I also showed her how to easily take the washed and folded clothes from the laundromat and make them work with the KonMari folding method without completely re-folding them. I reminded her that when she gets too busy with work, it’s best to just leave the laundry in the stack instead of quickly shoving them away in the closet. It is better to set aside the time to put them away neatly.
My client emailed me the next day expressing how easy it was for her to get ready in the morning. She even had fun showing her husband while standing in front of the closet acting like “hmmm…what should I wear today?” What a big change from her previous morning experience! I also checked in with her a week later about putting away the clean laundry, and she said she is able to put her clothes away and maintain the closet without much extra time or effort.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this Before & After. If you need a quick lesson in folding the KonMari way, here’s a video.