We previously discussed the 4 items in your wardrobe you absolutely should get rid of ASAP, but since it's the start of a new year, we thought we'd go a little more in depth on how to purge your messy wardrobe for a fresh start!
I spent the latter half of 2015 attempting to purge from my life years and years of accumulated stuff, in preparation for the big move to my new home. And discovered, in the process, some amazing decluttering methods, including one championed by Marie Kondo, author of the book 'The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organising.
Her radical method focuses on what to keep instead of deciding what to get rid of. Anything that doesn't "spark joy" is to be thanked and trashed. Even her book, she says, should be quickly discarded when it is no longer needed. I read that two of her clients, after assessing what sparks joy in their lives, actually decluttered themselves of their husbands!!!
I must admit that not everything she advocates worked for me. None of that “light a candle and say a little prayer” earth mother stuff resonated with me. Still, I ended up ‘Kondo-ing” more than 25 boxes of stuff from my space using a combination of her techniques with mine.
It's easier to declutter by subject than by room. Start with what is easiest to part with, like your clothes, and work your way through categories, ending with items that have a more personal connection ( like photographs ). Although Marie tells us to “hold [each item] firmly in both hands as if communicating with it”, I skipped gaily past those chapters and simply adopted the advice to only keep things that sparked sufficient joy [or are truly necessary]. And that made the creation of the “Keep” and “Trash” piles a lot easier.
Schedule a timetable for clearing and packing, and stick to it. I've tried (unsuccessfully, in the past) to cull, but found myself distracted by old DVDs i'd dug out...which resulted in an afternoon of lazying on the couch, beer in hand, revisiting old movies. Needless to say, the clutter remained for the next few weeks.
Set yourself a realistic goal - one weekend to clear all unnecessary items - and don't be distracted. Procrastination is one of the greatest enemies of the decluttering process.
When you're clearing, resist the temptation to go through old paraphernalia. Nostalgia and sentimentality will only hold you back, and you'll end up stuffing everything back in the box and putting it back on the shelf. Put your blinders on and focus on the task at hand. I picked up a great tip from Marie, who advised against showing the other members of your family the trash to be discarded, as they'll probably rummage through it and 'rescue' items.
Kondo says you should always accord your belongings the respect they deserve, and to consider their feelings. Are your tees really happy, squashed in an overflowing pile in the corner of your cupboard. Do your socks really deserve to be stressed up, tightly balled?
I laughed hysterically when I read this chapter but, surprisingly, it really works! I looked at the mess in my cupboard and suddenly, the piles of clothes looked sad and miserable. I couldn’t wait to cull and introduce happiness into my wardrobe once again!
Kondo says that you should fold your items rather than stick them in a pile ( which stresses the things at the bottom ). When stored in drawers, with everything neatly rolled, everything can be seen at a glance ( and they'll be much happier, according to her ). She even devised a special, vertical method of folding and rolling.
I adopted this for some of my items e.g tees and socks, but i still prefer my shirts and trousers hung and arranged according to type. But, after getting rid of the pieces that ‘did not spark joy’, i found myself with more hanger space. And a tidier cupboard.
Once you've cleared away the unwanted items from your home, you can really have fun with the things left inside. Make sure there's breathing space in between the pieces so you no longer have to struggle to pull items out or slot stuff in. Kondo also advises you to hang your clothes so that the bottom rises in ascending order. I did that with my bottoms, starting with shorts at one end and proceeding through berms, cropped pants and ending off with jeans and trousers Visually, it looks cleaner.
When I moved into my new place, I was determined not to let the clutter pile up again. So I made a conscious effort to limit the amount of storage space in the house. Just because I have a spare wall doesn't mean I have to put a cupboard there. Once the wardrobe is full, I either stop buying (easier said than done!) or I clear something out to make space for the new.
Once you've managed to declutter, get into the habit of putting your things away instead of letting it pile up on a chair or the bed. And clean up after yourself. When done regularly, in little doses, it will make cleaning up less daunting. And that way, you will be able to keep your room and closet clutter-free for much longer.
Clearing your clutter is an art, but it’s not rocket science. You just need to be methodical and clear-headed about the process. There are many theories floating about cyberspace advocating various methods. Decide what works for you, and add in your own. And remember to have fun in the process. Put on your favourite playlist, dress in your most comfortable outfit and hit the mess.