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21st March 2017

The KonMarie

As summer approaches, our winter wardrobes take a step back, so Kitty Mitchell Turner provides a step-by-step guide to clear up your closet with KonMarie

As summer approaches, it’s high time we start considering the contents of our wardrobe — what do we fit into, what do we want to fit into and what summer clothes we can bring up from home.

Clearing out your wardrobe for the summer months is often a rather depressing ordeal. It can invoke feelings of guilt regarding expensive items you never wear but also a deflated (or maybe motivated) attitude upon discovering some summer clothes are a bit more snug than they should be. So this year, why not try something new: the KonMarie method.

You may or may not have heard of Marie Kondo’s bestselling book The Life Changing Art of Tidying Up. Considering it has sold over one million copies and is a New York Times number one bestseller, I thought this was common knowledge… But apparently not, my housemates informed me between laughing at my excitement over a book about tidying. However there is a reason Marie Kondo’s book is a best seller. It has helped thousands of people create and maintain an orderly home through one big tidy up. Therefore inspired by KonMarie, I have designed a step-by-step guide to de-cluttering your wardrobe, including some additional insight from yours truly.

Step One: Gather absolutely every item of clothing you own (I appreciate this may not necessarily be possible if you only have some of your clothes at university). This includes shoes, coats, anything piled up on the back of your chair and in your laundry basket. For this to work you need to have EVERYTHING in one big pile in the middle of your room, on your bed or in the lounge if there isn’t enough space.

Step Two: Turn your mountain into molehills. Split your clothes into the following categories: Tops, bottoms, jackets and coats, dresses, socks/underwear, bags, accessories, swimwear, event-specific clothing (such as work uniform or gym kit) and shoes.

Step Three: Go through each pile in order, starting with tops. Pick up each item in term and ask yourself ‘does this spark joy?’ Marie’s method does not focus on the negatives, such as asking questions like ‘what should I throw away?’ Instead, she encourages you to reflect on each item. The important thing is not to get caught up with sentimental value or to think ‘I can’t get rid of this, it was so expensive’. If it was an item you wore and loved for a long time but you don’t feel the same way anymore, thank it for its use then toss it out. The objective is to end this grand clean with a wardrobe full of clothes that fill you with joy. It’s hard at first but you really have to be ruthless; if you have any doubt about whether or not you should keep an item, get rid of it. If it truly sparked joy you wouldn’t have to think twice. I like to embrace my mum’s own tidying motto here: ‘When in doubt, throw it out!’

Step Four: Repeat this activity with every single item in each one of your categories. As it takes a while to get into the swing of things, it may be necessary to repeat the process to ensure you’re only keeping the items that truly spark joy.

Step Five: Now it is time to go through your ‘get rid of’ pile. Again you want to break this huge pile down into smaller piles: bin, donate, sell, gift. If anything is broken, ruined, stained or just doesn’t look as though it is worth donating, bin it. Then immediately throw the bin bag in the main bin to stop you from making more clutter. Next, look at what would benefit from being given to charity or maybe even sold on Depop or Ebay. Bag or box this pile up (it will probably be your biggest) and take it to the charity shop ASAP, much like the bin bags. Finally, think about any items that friends/family have taken a shine to. If you have a dress your sister always wanted or maybe a jumper your flatmate pined after, why not give it to them as a random act of kindness. It will make their day as well as yours!

Step Six: Now it’s time to return all the items you have decided to keep back to their rightful place. Marie advises that you fold as much as you can and hang anything that needs it. This isn’t always possible, so work with whatever your accommodation or landlord provides. First, let’s fold. When it comes to folding, all items should be folded so they can stand horizontally (this is very hard to explain, so please refer to the book or YouTube videos on how to do this properly.)

Step Seven: When it comes to hanging, Marie instructs you should hang your clothes so that they ‘rise to the right’. This means starting with your longest and heaviest items on the left hand side and getting up to your crop tops or smaller t-shirts on the right hand side. Apparently organising your clothes in this way makes you feel lighter (although I’m not entirely sold on this, truth be told). She also advises you order by colour where possible, which I was much more enthusiastic about as it leaves your wardrobe looking like a work of art.

So there we have it! It may take you a while to get into the swing of it, and you certainly need to dedicate half a day to the method, but I promise that you will feel happy, productive, organised and refreshed after doing so. I certainly did!

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