How to Declutter Clothes using The KonMari Method™. A step by step guide to simplifying your wardrobe

I think we’ve all been guilty at some point of staring at a wardrobe full of clothes and still declaring ‘I’ve nothing to wear!’

So why is it, despite being faced with so many options it’s still difficult to get dressed every day? The thing is, a crowded and cluttered wardrobe makes decision-making difficult because it’s stuffed full of clothes that aren’t right for your lifestyle, don’t fit, don’t make you feel good, are old or in bad condition. Just as you were about to start your day, you feel beaten already.

A decluttered wardrobe can change this. A simple, edited selection of clothes will make getting dressed easier.  When your wardrobe and drawers only contain clothes that are perfect for who you are now: the life you lead, your body shape and weight, your tastes and your image, it can be real joy.  Everything becomes a practical and positive choice.  Organise your wardrobe and you’ll know what you have, where it is and will be able to reach for it almost with your eyes closed.  Imagine getting dressed now.  What a difference!

Are you ready to declutter your clothes and create an organised wardrobe? Follow the steps below.

Sort your wardrobe in 7 easy steps

Follow these practical steps to declutter clothes and make getting dressed a positive start to the day.

Step One:  Stop and think

In the KonMari Method, the first step is commitment.  So before you even touch even a pair of knickers, commit yourself to declutter clothes in their entirety.  You can do it!

Now, think about how you want to experience getting dressed.  Imagine the morning before work, getting ready with a busy household, or prepping an outfit for a party. Where will you store your clothes?  Where will you dress? How many clothes do you want or can you own?  How many choices do you want?  Think about how life is right now and have a realistic plan. Having this vision for the clothing category will help you make the right choices when there are hard decisions to make.

If you want to find out more about setting a more general vision for your home and lifestyle, visit this page

Step Two: Prepare for the task

You’re going to do your entire clothing category, so you have to be ready.  This means do your laundry ahead of time and have everything clean and ready to inspect.  You don’t need to go to the effort of ironing and putting it away, but clean would be good.

Set a few hours aside to get the task done.  I’d recommend on average at least 4-6 hours, but you might even need more if the volume of clothes you own is high. 

Put distractions away.  If you can, turn your phone off.  Ask someone to look after the children.  Have a snack and drink ready, so that you don’t have anything else to do and can focus all your energy on sorting your wardrobe once and for all.

Make your bed, so that you have a good space to sort.  A clean, flat surface will make the task much easier.

Get bags ready for donations, bin / textile recycling and for items that you want to sell.  Allocate an area for items you want to keep and potentially a separate spot for maybe or ‘try on’.  You can also create a bag for items that need fixing or altering in some way, if you think that this is something you’ll do.

Have a pen and paper ready to make any notes of things you need to do as you go along.  There will be a time when you think ‘aha, I need to…’ and you need to limit distractions or leaving the room. 

Finally, prep your reward for when you finish.  Put the wine in the fridge, you’ll have earned it!

Step Three: Gather ALL your clothes

Take a deep breath because you now need to gather ALL your clothing.  All of it. You need to find everything from everywhere in your house.  If this is the first time you have tried to declutter clothes, the ‘power of the pile’ may hit you hard.  Prepare yourself for the shock of how much you own and how you’re going to feel faced with all the clothes you have.  Only by gathering everything in this way can you really appreciate the volume of clothes you own.  The shock factor is going to help you make the harder decisions, so embrace it in all its messy glory.

Ideally, as you gather sort into categories (see Step Four below).

If emptying the entire contents of your wardrobe and drawers feels far too much for you, try gathering categories of clothing together instead (see Step Four below).  It’s important to do this, so you can see the volume of each of the categories and compare like with like.

Gather all your clothes

Step Four: Sort your clothes into categories

Sort your clothes into these categories, so that you can see the amount you have of each.

  • Underwear
  • Socks & tights
  • Sleepwear
  • Loungewear
  • Dresses
  • Skirts
  • Blouses / Shirts
  • T-shirts (can split into short and long-sleeved if you like)
  • Jumpers
  • Cardigans
  • Coats / Jackets
  • Trousers / Jeans
  • Shorts
  • Uniforms / Suits
  • Activewear / Swimwear / Holiday items
  • Shoes / Boots / Trainers
  • Hats / Scarves / Gloves /Sunglasses
  • Belts / Braces
  • Handbags / Purses / Wallets
  • Jewellery (subcategorised if you have lots)

Step Five: Decide what Sparks Joy

The thing that sets the KonMari Method™ apart from everything else is its focus on joy.  Remember you thought about what kind of experience you wanted when you get dressed each day.  Well, now it’s time to pick the items that support that.  

Pick a category pile.  Any pile – off you go! Handle each item, hold it close to you.  Decide if you like it: if it Sparks Joy. If it does, keep it.  Trust your instincts and allow yourself to let go of clothes that you don’t love, even if they were expensive, new or a gift.  If something needs repairing, be realistic about whether you will find the time to fix it.

If you need a little help, use these questions to help you.

Is it right for right now?  Not who you were 10 years ago or who you want to be in another life. The truth is, clothes that aren’t quite right for the person who lives and breathes in our bodies today make us feel a bit rubbish about ourselves and stop us living in the present.

Does it fit comfortably?  And I don’t mean just size, but think about the cut, the fabric, those annoying straps that keep falling down, or the v neck that feels a bit too low.  Remove these irritations from your life by choosing well.

Do you feel like yourself in it?  Imagine you bump into THAT person, the one you want to feel confident with.  Do you feel good? It’s okay if you’re happy in tracksuit bottoms and a baggy t-shirt, this isn’t about looking dolled up to the nines every second of every day. But think, are you okay with this image.  Do you feel like YOU?

Are you excited to wear it? Remember, you’re going to be faced with this item every time you’re choosing something to wear. It has to be a ‘yes’, else it’s going to turn into clutter very soon.

Does it match enough other items for you to get good use out of it?  This is a practical question because every item needs several coordinating items to actually get value out of it.  If you have nothing to wear it with, you’ll either need to let go of the item or invest in something to make it work.  If there’s a gap in your wardrobe, make a note of it using that pen and paper I mentioned earlier.

Re-evaluate your keep pile

This is only necessary if you still feel you have too much, or have realised you have kept far too many plain black short-sleeved t-shirts, for example.  All your keep items are still in piles, so if you want to push yourself to really own a lot less, have a little look back through and pick your absolute favourites. 

Step Six: Organise your clothes

Congratulations, you have now edited your clothes and are on the way to a simplified wardrobe.

To organise your wardrobe, hang your clothes in categories.  In the KonMari world we like to hang longer, heavier and darker to the left and shorter and lighter in colour and fabric to the right.  So coats and jackets will be on the left and short sleeve tops to the right.  Think ‘light to right’ and you’ll be fine.  If you want to, within the categories organise by colour too, it will be aesthetically pleasing, if this is the kind of thing you enjoy and want to maintain. 

Step Seven: Remove your discards  

It is vital to remove any items you have chosen not to keep from your home as soon as possible.  Don’t be tempted to go back through them, just thank them for the good times, the lessons they have taught you and wish them well.

Donate quickly, there’s no need to look at the pile for weeks or drive around in the car with the bags of clothes in the boot for eternity.  Move them on, like an unwanted guest.

Set yourself a deadline for selling and if items don’t sell by then, donate instead. Give items that you borrowed back to friends and enjoy your new space and organised wardrobe.

Congratulations, you’re done!

Maintaining your organised wardrobe

Now you have put in all the hard work, protect this space by maintaining your systems.

You know by decluttering your clothes what sparks joy. When you’re shopping ask yourself if this item ticks all the boxes – colour, cut, shape, style, fabric, image and so on.  Try it on and only keep those items that are comfortable and you feel great in.  Think about the gaps you have in your wardrobe and purchase only those things you will genuinely need.  Don’t rush!  Enjoy your wardrobe and sustaining it with intentional shopping.

Work with me

If you’d like to find out more about how I can support you declutter and organise your clothes get in touch. I’d love to hear from you.

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