Wednesday, June 29, 2016

KonMari - Clothing AKA the reason I'm not naked

Marie Kondo starts with clothing because, I guess, we are more quick to purge clothing. We have to do this over the course of life when clothing gets ruined or looks old. She obviously doesn't know people like I do, because I've seen closets that are packed full of every item the person has bought in the past 20 years (or more). I am not this bad ONLY BECAUSE I have fluctuated weight up and down so often that much of my wardrobe consisted of cheap Old Navy or (insert plus size store) which never wears more than a year. I don't have many lasting staples. No real investments at my size.

The saving grace is that the process Kondo gives--get all the clothes, put them all together on the floor and touch each piece as you sort into joyful items, donate items, and trash items--forces a mental revelation. YOU HAVE TOO MUCH STUFF. I had over 30 tee shirts! I had 15 pairs of jeans! I had over a dozen day dresses and 10 fancy ones! I had 24 pairs of underwear, many I hated wearing but did to avoid laundry (putting away, because my mom is the washerwoman in our basement apartment). WTF? When it is all in your face, it feels so wrong. These images are after I purged 3 weeks ago.
My closet, 3 weeks after my purge
My guest room bed, full of clean laundry and cat

I didn't take starter photos, those here are from last night's work. I did not think I was blogging about my mess, so what you see here is my backslide! I am horrified, but not surprised that I backslid. I did not follow her advice about folding, her advice about doing the whole purge all at once, or, if I am totally honest, her advice about the pre-work. All I knew was that it was a mess and causing me stress and I wanted it gone.

The day I began, I had so much clothing on my bed: culled from the attic, guest room, coat closet, dresser, and my own closet. First-world problems, right? I felt sick because I have been known to say "I have nothing to wear" on the regular. So I'd go shopping to buy a new outfit (over and over and over) without really thinking about what that habit does to my closet, wallet, and life. In an earlier post I told you I purged 3 contractor garbage bags, in addition to coats, and trash. This revisit was to actually apply the KonMari process more fully.

So again, I tossed everything onto the bed. I removed the bags, hats, winter outerwear, swimsuits, and all the other CRAP that was on the floor and shelves. I had so much shit on the floor that did not belong. This time it only took me 2 hours to go through the clothing. My drawers still looked great.

Empty, you cannot see it extends about 2 feet into the left and right... 
I managed to get all my undies and bras into 2 drawers. This was a small win because they used to take up 4. I used to have one single drawer with those fancy plastic honeycomb dividers. I'd had them for over 15 years. They suck. My socks and undies should fit 2-4 in each hole, but I usually just dumped crumpled wads of clean undies into them. Very adult of me. My closet French doors used to bulge though I have so much room.

The after is much better because I folded all my tee shirts. I removed everything that I shoved back into the closet the first time. the upper shelf, where bags and hats lived, is empty for now. When I first did this, I did not actually purge any hats or bags. I just shoved them back in and shut the doors. That was anti-productive. This time I made sure all my laundry was clean and every stitch was accounted for on the pile.

Tee Shirt storage has room
I never really paid attention to the amount of shirts I have. If you are like me, you get free shirts, concert shirts, souvenir shirts, volunteer project shirts, among others. Many just stay around moving from "what-I-can-be-seen-in" to "what-I-would-be-mortified-to-be-seen-in-but-are-too-comfy-to-lose" shirts.

Kondo would want us to lose the shitty shirts. She arrives in her clients homes to work their process and purge in a blazer or sweater-set. She can move, but looks good. She does this not because she wants to look professional, at least not wholly so; she does this because she wants to show respect to her client's process and things. She loses me a bit when she talks about thanking her items before discarding them, after using them, and while putting them away. She thanks the client's home and inanimate objects for their purpose and the joy they bring. Her gratitude to items borders on crazy, but noble.

I am not thanking each ratty tee-shirt as I fold them, though I see the difference caring how they are folded and stored makes. In the weeks since I have changed my sock-and-undies folding, I am much happier when I grab them to wear. She thanks them for the hard work they do as she stores them. I think that is obsessive. They keep their shape better and fit better, but I am silent, maybe meditative, as I put laundry away. I am trying to avoid it being a chore I speed through because the organization feels so good. The sacrifice of time is actually moot because I can now find everything and see everything, saving me time and indecision later.

my new bra drawer
My other drawers are equally nice and neat. I have tossed my "quiters" and kept only the stuff I love. Why did I keep underwear that bunched, pinched, fell-down, or made me feel like a lumpy beast? Keeping only what brought me joy has made a difference in how I feel after I dress. I've this little desire to wear nice, matching, comfortable underwear sets under basic tees and shorts--this secret only I know. This is not yet where I am at, but I now know where I want to be. When I purchase in the future, I have a visualization and know what I can toss.  As a woman who has spanned 10 sizes (or more) "it fits" was the only factor I ever considered. Now, I will be more choosy. Other than this, I don't love the athletic gear in my size and no one makes affordable and pretty gear for me, and this is a problem. Who really loves their sports-bras and yoga pants? Girls that can buy really nice ones in their size. I have a goal to get down into that, for now I will save the best of the mono-chromatic black or grey the plus-size are relegated to.

After the purge and organization
The after doesn't really "rise to the right" as Kondo suggests, nor is it organized by fabric and color. When you're a 16, it is not logical to organize like this. My clothing doesn't packet like Kondo's usual client: the average Japanese woman. I need tanks, flimsy tops, and work clothes together, and pants (not folded like she suggests) hanging on the bottom. When your pants are longer and wider, folding them the KonMari method is impractical. I have the hanging space, so I use it. My shorts also do not fold the KonMari way - hello, Baby Got Back. So I folded them as I could and used a shelf. I will look for a box to store them in so they stay neat.
Tomorrow I want to finish the clothing section with bags, winter outerwear, hats, belts, and swimwear. I have to do jewelry, but that will take me much much longer. I am finding them everywhere as I go through my bedroom and purses.

What do you think about the process? Do you backslide after good attempts to purge?

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