Making Sure Your Clothes Spark Joy

Step 1 of the KonMari Method - pile all of your clothes together and start going through them one by one to see what sparks joy. Everything that doesn't spark joy goes with gratitude.

Marie Kondo suggests starting with clothes because they're often the least emotionally charged items in your house, and because you wear clothes every day, it's easy to tell which clothes you love and wear and which ones sit in your drawers for years on end.

It can be scary to think of emptying every drawer, hanger, closet, bin, and cabinet - even the stuff stored away in your attic or basement. There are a lot of things stashed in those storage spaces!

If you're feeling daunted, here are 4 ways to make the clothing process easier (and more fun!) to kick off your tidying festival.

1) Set the right atmosphere

Put on some fun, upbeat music as you're gathering your clothes. Pour a big glass of your favorite beverage to keep on-hand. Let any other people in your home (or on your phone) know that you're going to be occupied for the next few hours while you sort. Clean the area you're staging, and put things away to avoid any distraction.

If you have someone who won't push you in a certain direction or judge your choices, invite someone to keep you company and be your moral support while you go through your items.

A KonMari Consultant is an excellent option to hold your hand if you want someone who knows exactly how to help you honor this process and won't bring their own opinions and preferences to the table (or the bed, or the floor, or wherever you put your giant pile of clothes).

This might be the first time you've seen all of your clothes in one place, and it's going to be a lot more than you think. Even a one-bedroom apartment can hold a surprising number of items when you start adding outer wear, winter accessories, shoes, etc.

This is the perfect time to express gratitude to your clothes and to forgive yourself if you haven't been wearing many of the things you own.

2) Separate your clothes into smaller categories

It's absolutely possible to pick up each piece of clothing you own and decide in that moment whether you love the item or not.

It can be easier to make decisions though, especially in the beginning of the process, if you're looking at similar items together. Particularly if you're not in the habit of storing all of your clothes in one place, smaller groupings makes the process clear and avoids confusion.

You'll be able to tell early on if you have duplicates, and it can make letting go much easier if you know this particular black shirt fits you perfectly (and is incredibly comfortable) while those similar black shirts don't quite work or fit as well.

In the frenzy of gathering all of your items, save yourself time and energy by sorting your clothes by type as you're bringing them all to one central location. Tops, pants, and underwear are an easy place to start, but you can make it as specific as you'd like - pajamas, athletic wear, work clothes, casual clothes, etc.

There's no perfect or "right" way to do this. Trust that the way you sort and categorize your clothes is the right way for you.

3) Be aware when you're having an internal argument

You know which clothes you truly love because you wear them all the time. If you find yourself arguing in your head as you're trying to decide, ask yourself these questions:

  • How do I feel when I wear this item? Am I confident and comfortable or do I frequently wish something about it were different?

  • Is this voice my opinion or someone else's - my parent, my significant other, my friend, my boss, the media, that book I read about how to pick clothes for my body type?

  • Do I feel like I have to keep this because I paid "a lot" for it, it was a gift, or I bought it for something specific?

  • Do I really love this or am I keeping it because it's convenient?

  • Am I afraid to let go because I don't trust that I'll find what I really want?

If you don't love and look forward to wearing the item, let it go, even if you don't have something to replace it right away. Give yourself the gift of only wearing things that light you up, not things that make you feel like you're settling, that it's "good enough," or that you "have to."

New clothes come into your life all the time. Trust that you'll find the perfect item sooner or later.

And, you'll still have something to wear now. Really.

4) Make a "maybe" pile if you're having trouble

If you're on the fence about something and you really don't know whether it sparks joy or if you want to keep it "because," put it into a "maybe" pile to come back to at the end.

You can revisit these items when you finish the small grouping, or you can make a general "maybe" pile for any clothes you're not sure about and come back to all of them at the very end of the category. By the time you come back to these limbo pieces, you'll have a better idea of what you want to keep, and the energy of your joyful clothes will be easier to feel.

This is a great way to ease into letting go when you're not quite ready to take that leap.

For many people, this type of decision-making where you only keep the best of the best can be a new and scary concept. You might try to use up everything out of principle, or you simply don't want to feel like you "wasted" anything.

The idea is to forgive and move on so that you remember the experience and pick only joyful items in future. You eliminate future waste by honoring yourself and your home now, not where you once were.

Each item you bring in after you let go of these items will be infused with your newfound knowledge of what truly sparks joy.

Trust yourself and the process. Joyful clothes really do feel better.