Back Off, the Wardrobe Gets It (First)

If you're anything like me, you were so fired up about this decluttering thing you launched a full-on attack of your closet. After getting through the introduction to Marie, her successes, her approach, you were like, Yaaaaaasssss!!! Let's do this!

Which is how you found yourself one day sitting at the top of Clothes Mountain like a yogi, holding each piece of clothing in your hand and asking, Does this bring me joy? Only to find yourself getting even more transcendental and asking, "What is joy? Maybe NOTHING brings me joy."

Level 1: Clothes Mountain

Marie says everyone should start with clothes because, according to her, clothes are the least emotionally charged items. Let’s digress for just a second:

Clothes are pretty darn emotionally charged!

They do after all include shoes. An item many of us would save in a fire, right next to Fido, Fifi, and maybe an heirloom or two. Clothes express who we are. They make statements about us.

Let’s face it. Clothes carry a bit more weight than Marie gives credit.

There Is No One & Done Here

I will admit that I was a decluttering failure for awhile. Marie says you should complete her entire process in a matter of months. I was nowhere near being on track. Plus, after I decluttered my closet, I actually had nothing to wear. I had to go out and buy some clothes. Not sure what she'd say about that.

But, that's the thing. She's not here!

All of us are trying to dissect this book on our own. I think what’s missing in the whole Kondo-ing process is the fact that, if you’re doing this on your own, more than likely, you’re going to have to do it again. And again, and again.

Three Time's The Charm

When you start out, you’re a deer in headlights. An anxious mess. A quivering purple tube (I’ve been watching 3rd Rock From the Sun reruns).

Don’t let that intimidate you though. When I realized this for myself, that it’s like anything you’re learning to do, I felt a bit more relief. I wasn't a failure. I was learning something new.

And learning something new takes a few tries. Personally, I think three:

  1. 1st Try: You're tuning into joy, but it's fuzzy. You're also scared to throw out too much.

  2. 2nd Try: You're better at this joy thing, and you're getting better at getting rid of more.

  3. 3rd Try: Ninja status.

Just Start (Then Come Back)

You can't get better at something unless you actually do it. So jump in. Kondo your clothes. Kondo your books. Kondo some kimono. You'll start to feel that thing inside that tells you almost instantly, "Yes I need this!" or "Nah, I'm over it."

When you get there, you might think about revisiting clothes. Or not. You'll know. Either way, grab your Clothes Mountain by the buttons and start sifting through piece by piece.

How To Defeat Clothes Mountain

The Kondo-ing process, when doing it on your own, is like the onion cliche. You’re peeling away, honing your “joy radar” and getting used to the idea of actually owning things that do in fact bring you joy. Or, maybe you’re one of those people that can go whole onion, in which case you can jump down to the Whole Onion Process. For the rest of us, Level 1 goes something like this:

  1. Get all your clothes and put them in a giant pile.*

  2. Put clothes into piles according to Kondo’s categories.

  3. Get boxes or bags for the To-Go items.

  4. Pick up each item and decide if it sparks joy.

  5. Thank the Non-Joy-Sparking items for what they brought you and place them in a To-Go box.

  6. Wonder WTF does “spark joy” mean?**

  7. Wonder if you should keep that Hawaiian mumu or adult-sized Pacman t-shirt you just bought - it was totally on sale!

  8. Realize 15 minutes has passed and you're still deciding about the mumu. 

  9. Argue that you’re perfectly okay living amongst the Fabric Mountains of Mordor.

  10. Repeat steps 3-9 until finished.

  11. Schedule a recycle center run and take the discarded foothills of Clothes Mountain away.

The Whole Onion Process:

  1. See steps above, but skip steps 6-10.

*If you miss a piece of clothing during your initial Clothes Mountain pileup, Kondo advises it should automatically get the axe. Totally your call! No one's going to know.

Styled by Joy

The last step is to return your clothes to their rightful place.

Stay tuned for another post specifically about folding and how to hang your clothes. Until then, enjoy your newly found wardrobe.

Do you feel lighter? Brighter?

Love and light,


Photo credit: Products