This weekend, I emptied all my clothes out of my closet and drawers. By no means am I a fashionista, but I did have 116 hangers on just 44 inches of closet rod space and a dresser full of folded stuff.
Everything included (tops, shoes, costumes, underthings), I was stunned to find I owned 320 items.
Despite that volume, the experience of sorting things with the KonMari method wasn't as overwhelming as I'd expected. Taking things out of the closet and off hangers let me evaluate what items really "sparked joy" for me and which didn't (and I was pretty surprised in some cases).
Here's what I learned from the process.
Giving Yourself Permission to Pitch
When I got all my things out of the closet and thanked them collectively for their service to my body, I gave myself permission to get rid of anything for any reason—brought up a bad memory, didn't fit, looked worn, I'd owned it too long, just didn't like it that much, anything.
That last reason required the "permission" step the most because I grew up using things until they were beyond repair and consider myself a "use it up, wear it out" kind of adult.
It was like I'd been waiting for someone to say that was okay to get rid of things I didn't actually like—I instantly grabbed pieces I didn't really like that much to pitch them.
Practical But Unliked Items
I had a lot of tops I was keeping because I knew they fit fine, but I didn't get excited about wearing them.
A lot of these came from my mom years ago, and I didn't look terrible in them but I also didn't look great. It was time to purge luke-warm outfits.
Knowing My Palate
You know that feeling you get when you catch yourself eyeing something in a store that you realize you basically already own? I've decided to lean into that.
For example, I know I like jewel tones and that reds emphasize my skin's red undertones—so I pruned my wardrobe of red pieces I knew didn't flatter me. Picking a consistent color palate also makes it much easier to mix and match.
Some of my clothes I knew I'd been avoiding for fear that they would fit too tight—and now I decided that they don't get to stay if they don't fit comfortably now.
Having pieces like that in my wardrobe, I realized, just makes me feel exasperated when I go to pick out an outfit. Besides, if/when I lose a few inches, I'll get the pleasure of buying something lovely and new.
Trying Things On
For the most part, things I tried on ended up being pitched because they didn't fit comfortably.
I'd definitely recommend trying on tights/hose for this reason—besides a comfortable waist fit, tights are hard to properly evaluate when not stretched. Putting them on lets you spot holes, snags, pilliness, or just plain this-color-looks-weird-with-my-skin in a pair you might otherwise have kept.
Liked But Worn Out
Some pieces I'd just loved past their prime, but I didn't necessarily know it because I pick out clothes in a pretty dark closet.
I evaluated each piece in the harsh light of day and actively looked for holes, snags, and pilling. Pieces that I loved I made a mental note to replace, but I wasn't going to hold on to them until I had a replacement—or they would never leave.
I had plenty of T-shirts to remind me of projects or groups I was a part of and too many gift scarves—it was time to accept that a T-shirt from my friend shouldn't be my key reminder of her.
I thanked these things for the thoughtfulness of the gift, and let go of what I wasn't regularly wearing.
The Remaining Wardrobe
So what was left? I made a pie chart because why not?
In total, I got rid of total of 111 pieces and just 52 hangers remained, including:
- 9 dresses
- 3 suit jackets
- 4 pencil skirts
- 3 coats and 2 hoodies
- 13 tops and 7 cardigans/shrugs
- 2 pairs of trousers
- 1 renaissance faire costume
In addition to my hanger items, I had plenty in my drawers; here's what made it through the purge:
- 24 pairs of underwear (90% of which is brand new)
- 7 pairs of jeans and 1 pair of shorts
- 2 swimsuits (1 bikini, 1 single piece)
- 2 belts
- 9 tank tops and 5 pairs of leggings (used for layering, yoga, and PJs)
- 2 pairs of hiking pants, 1 pair of horseback riding pants, 1 pair of long underwear
- 2 pairs of sweatpants and 2 pairs of PJ pants
- 3 pairs of bike shorts to make wearing dresses and having thighs work
- 13 T-shirts
- 4 pairs tights, 32 pairs socks
- 22 pairs of shoes (includes slippers, work/hiking shoes)
Altogether, I kept a total of 212 items or roughly 2/3 of what I started with (that doesn't account for the pieces I'd been gradually picking out of my wardrobe over time, which might get me closer to half).
Now I can actually move hangers on the rod and I'm not stuffing things into drawers. Can't wait to see what it feels like to get dressed for the next few weeks!