tidying up clothing


This is the second installment in my series of posts about tidying up my home using the KonMari method from the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. You can read my introduction here.

The first category to tidy using this method is clothing. I was already in the process of editing down my and my family’s clothing when I received the notice that my reserve on this book was available for pick-up at the library. Perfect timing! Discarding clothing was mostly simple for me. I went shopping recently and realized that plenty of what I owned was (at least somewhat) out of style. Not that I only wear the latest trends, but I do want to maintain a wardrobe of classics and some updated trends that are flattering.

In the far reaches of my closet as well as stacked in a cabinet in my laundry room, I still had career clothes from my former life working in business-casual offices. Aside from one incredible pair of plaid wool pants, a vintage wool skirt, and a wool suit, it all went bye-bye.

I had trouble parting with two pieces of clothing: a leather trench coat that my father bought me on my 18th birthday. And a gorgeous seersucker sundress that I bought ages ago at the beach and wore once to a wedding. I have held on to the trench for years because of the memory of my father taking me to the store to purchase it. Leather outerwear is completely impractical in Portland due to all the rain, however the trench has hung dusty-shouldered in the back of a closet in all of my homes here. There was a business card in the pocket from a bridal dress store—which means the last time I wore it was in 2004 when I was wedding dress shopping. Ultimately  I was able to part with the trench. I have many other gifts from my father, he is endlessly generous to me, and I will always cherish the memory of buying the coat with him regardless of no longer owning it.

The seersucker sundress is still in my closet. My only fear is that it is now too young for me, but I do love the dress. If I could get away with wearing it, I would. I tried to consign it but it has a small stain. What I need is an honest friend to tell me if it is a ridiculous frock for a 35-year-old. Any volunteers?

I kept some sweaters that I will very likely consign in the fall. Stores will not take out-of-season clothing, so I need to wait and these are too nice to not at least try to consign.

I kept my wedding dress. But perhaps that should go in the last category to tidy: mementos. I did part with my prom dress and another formal dress from my formative years.

Others’ clothing

I actually have a bit more trouble getting rid of my children’s clothing. I keep all of #1’s outgrown items to use for #2. And both have more than we need, but being lazy about laundry “sparks joy” so I kept plenty for them. I kept about four articles of newborn pieces in their baby boxes. I love to get the newborn keepsakes out from time-to-time and hold them close and remember those first few early weeks with both of them as squishy little babies.

I tidied my husband’s drawers for him. We had already edited down quite a bit of his clothing recently so this was mostly re-folding and organizing a bit. I did discover that he was storing about ten t-shirts in his drawers that he was only keeping to use as rags for cleaning his bike. So we will be removing those from the precious drawer space and putting them in the garage with his bike.


I was skeptical of Kondo’s advice on folding. When I first read her rule that clothes be folded so that they can stand up vertically, I thought it was entirely too much work. I am now a believer. Instead of stacks, everything is in rows and every piece is visible. When I open a drawer, I can immediately see what I need and get to it without disturbing all the other garments. I had my intimates and socks haphazardly strewn about two top drawers. It was a mess. All my bras, panties, and socks now fit easily in one drawer with room to spare.

I discarded about 50 pairs of socks. I realized that I don’t even wear socks much anymore. When I do wear socks I want no-show cotton ones for my sneakers. Or wool ones under my boots, or to wear around the house. Everything else got tossed.

Jewelry, Bags, and Shoes

This was also surprisingly painless for me. The jewelry was the hardest, but I did keep many pieces that bring me joy and have memories attached to them.

Shoes were also pretty easy to part with. For example, I had a pair I loved in theory but they gave me blisters every time I wore them. Gone. A pair of green moccasins that made me feel like a giant leprechaun. Gone. A pair that was cute but always smelled weird. Gone. In the end, I am left with classic leather flats, one amazing pair of leather boots, a few pairs of kitten heels, and my beloved Saucony canvas sneakers. I kept my kids’ Pedipeds and a pair of Bogs and that is pretty much it.

Bags… I used to own so, so many bags. I’ve edited it down over the years and this was a good final sweep. Now I have my Herschel backpack that I use daily. It is perfect for life with kids because it holds plenty and keeps both my hands free. I have a floral cream canvas tote from a friend that I adore. A Dooney and Burke leather bag that gets better and better with age. And several small clutches that I carry in the evenings in the rare times I am without my children in tow.


Kondo’s rule is to discard anything that doesn’t spark joy. I made a few exceptions with clothing. My parka, for example, is just fine. It keeps me warm and dry, is in good shape, and it’s not in my budget to buy a new one, so it stays. That said, I made a mental note to shop for a new one next year if I want to put the money towards it. I also lovingly washed and hung it up and I have to say, taking care of it makes me like it much more.




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