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How to organise your wardrobe the KonMari way


If getting dressed in the morning is a struggle thanks to an overflowing wardrobe, then the KonMari method of organising is for you.

Marie Kondo is a well-known Japanese home organisation expert who has revolutionised the homes of the cluttered all around the world.

She advises her clients to first declutter by holding each possession in their hands and asking themselves ‘does this spark joy?’.

Marie Kondo’s inspired ideas about cleaning have changed the way millions clean their homes. Picture: Getty

If the answer is no, Marie says it’s best to thank the item for its service and thoughtfully donate it or pass it onto someone who it will bring joy to.

You won’t wear what you can’t see. Picture: Getty

Next, Marie recommends sorting your items into categories like tops, pants, outerwear and shoes. You collect all relevant items in the category and look at the collection as a whole before deciding what stays – focusing on the items you want to keep and discarding the rest.

Once your wardrobe has been reduced to items that spark joy, the next step is to organise for ultimate visibility and accessibility. Here are Marie’s top tips for doing so.

KonMari Folding Method

The KonMari folding method allows you to see every item in a drawer at once by folding your clothes to stand upright, then grouping them by type and graduating shade. See the instructions below and watch our video to master the art.

  1. Place item upright on a flat surface
  2. Divide item into three
  3. Fold one side in and tuck in sleeve
  4. Repeat on other side
  5. Fold body in half
  6. Now fold into thirds
  7. Stand vertically for storage

The breakdown above should see you well on your way towards achieving a clutter-free existence, but, because every clothing item is different, we’ve also put together some more specific instructions below.

Folding socks 

  1. Spread sock out on a flat surface
  2. Fold the toe towards the tip, leaving about an inch of space at the top
  3. Fold the newly created ‘end’ towards the centre
  4. Fold the tip back in on itself, so that the sock stands upright

Folding underwear

  1. Lay underwear on a flat surface
  2. Fold the crotch to the waistband
  3. Fold in the sides, one at a time
  4. Fold crotch again, so that item stands upright

Folding tees

  1. Lay tee on a flat surface
  2. Fold in the right side, making sure to keep sleeve flat
  3. Half fold back the sleeve
  4. Repeat steps two and three for the left side. This will leave you with a rectangle
  5. Fold the neckline towards the hem, leaving about an inch of space at hem
  6. Fold halfway in same direction
  7. Repeat step six, so that tee stands upright

Folding sweaters

  1. Lay sweater flat, with sleeves spread out
  2. Fold the right side across, so that sleeve comes across opposite sleeve
  3. Fold the sleeve back towards torso and then down towards the hem
  4. Repeat steps two and three on the left side
  5. Fold neckline down towards hem, in increments, until the sweater stands upright

Folding jeans

  1. Lay jeans on flat surface
  2. Fold left leg over right
  3. Create a rectangle by folding in the crotch
  4. Fold the bottom towards the waist, leaving roughly an inch of space at the top
  5. Fold halfway in same direction
  6. Repeat step five, so that jeans stand upright

Most of us only wear about 20% of the clothes in our wardrobe, so by donating the other 80%, what you’re left with is only the clothes you absolutely love to wear. Picture: Erinna Giblin

Only hang some items

Don’t hang all your clothes; before reaching for a hanger, ask yourself if the item would be happier hung up rather than folded. Generally, this limits your clothes rail to structured coats, business shirts and silky blouses/dresses.

Moving from left to right, use length, heaviness and colour to divide your clothes. This method will see your heaviest, darkest and longest items found on the far right of your wardrobe.

Vertical storage is the key

Marie warns against piling your possessions, as clothes stacked on top of each other reduces visibility and stops you from being able to see everything you own.

Have everything out on display

Only store out-of-season items away if they are definitely not going to be worn for the next six months. This may include heavy winter coats and scarves in the summer, and light summery dresses in the winter. The rest of your clothing pieces should remain on display year-round for trans-seasonal dressing.

Forget clever storage solutions

Basic drawers or shoeboxes will suffice, as, when you only hold onto items that you need, you find that you don’t need much storage space.

More than organisation

There is also a spiritual side to Marie’s process; beyond asking if the item sparks joy, she also recommends considering the item’s feelings. For example, Marie recommends thanking your clothes for their service (i.e. thank your jacket for keeping you warm today), and really look after your clothes so that they will love you back for the appreciation.

When it comes to decluttering, if you are having trouble parting with a piece of clothing because you spent a lot of money on it (yet it’s not quite the right fit), then you can part with the item by thanking it for its service. Even though it was never worn, it taught you not to buy clothes that don’t fit perfectly, therefore, it has still given you a lot of value for your pennies.

There is also a spiritual side to Kondo’s process of decluttering. Picture: Getty

Once you have achieved decluttering utopia, Marie promises that you will never have to declutter again, as you will stick to the practice of choosing wisely and only buying items that truly spark joy. In reference to her clients’ achievements, she summarises:

“Whereas in the past, no matter how many clothes they had, they were never satisfied and always wanted something new to wear. Once they selected and kept only those things that they really loved, they felt they had everything they needed.”

This article was originally published as How to organise your wardrobe the KonMari way by and is written by Chelsea Jarred.

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