Fall Closet Transition – It’s Time!
& Organizing the KonMari Way
If you haven’t already, it’s about time to transition our closets to fall. The fall closet transition is a little challenging for those of us who live in areas where the weather is temperate. Much of my wardrobe can stay in the closet through all the seasons as our Northern California Bay Area seasons aren’t as defined as some parts of the world. That being said, with Halloween two weeks away and Thanksgiving five weeks out, it’s definitely time to swap sandals for boots and tank tops for sweaters.
I’m fortunate to have a second closet that I can move my out-of-season clothes into. But if you don’t have that option, storing spring and summer pieces in a plastic tub in the garage or under a bed is another option. Before we store away spring and summer, I recommend taking care of clothing and shoe maintenance. Do any of your spring/summer clothes need mending? Do your sandals and summer shoes need some sprucing? Putting things away so they are ready to wear when you are ready for them again means your transition from winter to spring will be easy and hassle-free.
I’m going to come clean here – I never do that. And every season when I unveil clothes and shoes that have been hibernating for a while, I’m slightly annoyed with myself. Now I have to polish shoes and sew on buttons, etc. So annoying.
This year my fall closet transition is a little convoluted because we have a tropical vacation ahead in two weeks. I can’t put away summer yet, but I’m already pulling out fall. Everything is a bit of a mess. I’m feeling a little bit in limbo. I want to move summer out and fall in. I’m ready to reorganize. But I’m in a holding pattern.
Transitioning our closets for a new season can give us a feeling of newness. We pull out clothes we haven’t seen for a while, maybe things we have forgotten about. Things that felt tired a year ago now feel fresh. And it gives us a reason to organize – keep the clothes that we feel good wearing and say goodbye to the things that don’t.
The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Planning for a fall closet transition is a good time to revisit the KonMari method of organizing.
If you haven’t yet discovered The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo, I’m happy to introduce you. If you’re already a fan, you know how helpful this method of organizing can be. (Did you see her Netflix series – I was obsessed!)
When I first heard of this decluttering/organizing method, I was intrigued. I’m always interested in learning about the “perfect” method of organizing. After many internet searches trying to find out why this book was creating such a buzz, I decided that I’d need to buy the book to really learn what it was all about.
The “KariMon Method” (a mash up of the name of Marie Kondo, Japanese organizing consultant and author) promotes the following:
- Decluttering is done by category rather than location, in other words, instead of decluttering one room at a time (kitchen, bedroom, bathroom), you declutter categories of belongings (e.g., clothing, housewares, books, papers, etc.).
- With the KonMari Method, you must gather together everything in the category you are decluttering – every single thing from every area of your home (so if the category is clothing, you gather all your clothing from every closet, the laundry room, things hanging on the back of a door) and pile it all in one room.
- Then you pick up and hold each item individually and ask yourself if that item “sparks joy.” If it does, it’s a keeper; if it doesn’t, pass it on or throw it out.
Marie (pronounced Mar-ee-ay) Kondo recommends that you begin with the clothing category as it is the easiest category to go through and make decisions about discarding items (not a lot of sentimental value in clothing). That worked for me since I was mostly interested in culling my clothing assortment anyway. And it’s a great place to start when we are transitioning our closets to a new season.
I guess, technically, I’m not a successful student of the KonMari Method as I usually focus my clothing decluttering efforts on my one primary closet rather than gathering all my clothes from every area of the house.
In spite of that, the method has worked for me in ways that other organizing and decluttering methods haven’t.
Does It Spark Joy?
My biggest takeaway: Keep only those items that SPARK JOY!
Marie Kondo advocates focusing on “what we want to keep, not what we want to get rid of.” She says the “best way to choose what to keep and what to throw away is to take each item in one’s hand and ask: ‘Does this spark joy?’ If it does, keep it. If not, dispose of it.”
It’s a new way of thinking about your clothing and other belongings, and it may sound a little strange, I know. But try it! I have discovered that when I hold an item, look at it and actually ask myself if it “sparks joy,” I do actually have a physical and/or emotional response, and it’s pretty easy to decide what to keep and what to let go.
And after reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up a few years ago, I really followed the “does it spark joy” criteria and got rid of things that didn’t. I continue to use that as my criteria when it’s time to reduce what’s in my closet.
Putting the Spark Joy Test to the Test!
My most successful experience organizing my closet with the KonMari method was when my good friend Sarah and I did it together. It’s much easier to do this with a friend, especially one who will be brutally honest with you. I recommend recruiting someone who you can trust to be honest with you to help. It was pretty amazing to see the “discard” pile of clothes that resulted! And, once again, much easier to figure out what to keep and what to say goodbye to when I took each piece out one at a time and asked myself, “Does this spark joy?”
For the most part, the clothes that ended up in “doesn’t spark joy” pile were things I hadn’t worn in a while but that I’d been hanging on to because: it was expensive, I loved wearing it (5 years ago!), it was still in good condition, etc. Sound familiar? Some things were really easy to discard – things that I could immediately tell no longer sparked joy. However, there were others that were a bit more difficult, maybe because I had a sentimental memory about wearing something or because an item had brought me a lot of joy at one time. But when I finished the first round of easily determined “spark joy or doesn’t spark joy,” I went back to those items that had been a little difficult the first go around, and since I was more practiced at determining if something sparked joy or not, I found it easier to let go of those second round items if it was appropriate.
After that session, I had a lot more room in my closet for my clothes to breathe (important according to Marie Kondo)! And I didn’t have to keep looking at things I hadn’t worn in a long time and in reality wouldn’t wear ever again. After the “purge,” I was able to really see what few pieces I might want to fill in with what I already have – things that do spark joy when I wear them.
Following a session like this, you’ll likely have empty hangers waiting for something new to hang on them. In preparation for that, make a list of what’s missing in your wardrobe for the new season, so you don’t end up filling the hangers with things you don’t really need. This year, I’m keeping my eyes open for a white or off white jacket, something I’ve been wanting for years but haven’t yet found. I’m starting a note in my phone listing the wardrobe pieces that will fill gaps.
Organizing Can Be Life Changing
Back to the book. I recommend reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It’s a different way to approach decluttering and organizing. And it’s a quick and fun read.
You can focus on your clothing like I did, or you can really embrace the whole program and work on a plan to declutter and organize your whole house. Marie Kondo recommends that this is something to be done over a period of time (e.g., six months) – it’s not a quick fix plan. But the book walks you through decluttering every category of items that you likely have in your home, including housewares, miscellaneous, books, and papers, so that it doesn’t feel overwhelming.
There are other helpful things you will learn in The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, including Kondo’s game-changing folding technique and “vertical storage” (it’s a simple way to create more storage area for clothing in your drawers). After reading the book, I was inspired to refold some of the contents of my drawers with her vertical folding/storing method. Now it’s the only way I fold clothing that is stored in drawers. It make so much sense – everything is visible, so you can see what’s there, and when you pull out something to wear, you don’t have to pick up a whole pile of traditionally folded clothes to get to it.
There are some new ways of thinking about your belongings and some KonMari ideas that might seem funny or strange (e.g, thanking an item for its service to you and saying goodbye to each individual item that you are discarding).
Overall, the most helpful idea for me was definitely the “does it spark joy” question. Truly, it makes the “to keep or let go” decision much clearer – at least it did for me.
In the end, I decided to use the suggestions that were helpful to me and made sense and leave behind the ones that didn’t. However, I do think if I took on the complete KonMari decluttering method, it would be life changing.
Hmmm . . . maybe I need to rethink this!
Let me know if you try decluttering the KonMari way!
Seeing Is Believing
I’ve included below a couple of short videos in which a blogger (I have no connection to her) and Marie Kondo demonstrate the folding technique and vertical storage method.