How to Use the KonMari Method with Small Steps

As soon as I saw “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” I knew I needed to figure out how to use the KonMari Method with small steps that wouldn’t overwhelm me.

But as a self-professed slob who gets easily overwhelmed by big tasks, I put it off for weeks.

I’ve had hoarding tendencies as long as I can remember. But lately I’ve had this energy to declutter and redecorate pumping through my veins. I’m slowly feeling choked to death by my belongings.

Aaaand watching “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” a Netflix phenomenon in which a cleaning and organizing consultant who wrote a best-selling book helps people get their houses in order.

If you’re wondering if it’s any good, I had to stop after a few episodes because it was making me acutely aware of all the stuff I had around me that doesn’t seem to have a place to go—not as bad as “Hoarders,” but pretty close.

If you’re not familiar with the show or Marie Kondo, peep the trailer to get an idea.

It’s actually super relaxing

Overcoming Avoidance

I knew I needed to start this journey, but I was living in fear over it. I’m easily overwhelmed by cleaning, which is why I do all of it in small steps I can work in every day.

I don’t look at my clothing as something to cover myself. My body is a canvas and I express myself with fashion. My closet isn’t as much a wardrobe as it is a curated collection.

Just the idea of the mountain of clothing on my bed was enough to make me want to throw myself onto the couch and pretend I didn’t have a problem.

Yet every day I woke up and saw the overstuffed closet or talked to my boyfriend about the logistics of his moving in this May, I felt increasingly more claustrophobic. I had to do something.

What would I tell a client to do? The same answer I give everyone: small steps.

If it’s the difference between starting a project or ignoring a problem, then I don’t need to tackle this problem the exact way that Marie Kondo recommends people do. I already know I had a problem on my hands. I just needed the gumption to start fixing it.

The Small Step Version of the KonMari Method

Drawer by drawer. Then section by section.

Yep, that’s it. I realized if I was truly going to dive into my closet, I needed to create some small wins before I felt confident enough to confront it.

So, I started with my pajama drawer. That probably doesn’t sound like enough. Let me explain my mother’s favorite tradition for her kids: Every smallish holiday (Halloween, Dia de los Reyes, Valentine’s, and Easter) she sends a care package of candy and pajamas. She’s been doing this since I was 18.

That’s a lot of pajamas.

I took all of my PJs and piled them on the bed and started KonMari-ing from there. I held the pajamas I knew sparked joy to determine if the others did as well.

When the pajamas were over, I started on my T-shirts. Then I went through my chill-out leggings. Then I assessed my workout clothes, socks, camisoles, bras, and underwear.

Only when all of that had been dealt with did I feel confident to finally dig into my closet.

Other Tips for a KonMari Clothes Purge

First, I found it really helpful to watch the video on what “sparking joy” feels like.

Every cell in your body should lift up with joy

Second, because I’ve worked so hard to curate my closet and wear almost everything in it, the idea of giving it all away made me emotional.

So, I posted on social media to ask my friends if any of them were interested in checking out my rejects that were still good to wear—for the price of shipping only.

The only rule? You gotta send me selfies when you wear it!

Surprisingly, I had a small pod of people who were happy to check out my hand-me-downs! And when no one claimed certain pieces, it gave me reassurance I needed that it was time for me to let that piece go.

I’m excited to see my clothing live second lives with people across the country I love. And most importantly, I was able to part with four trash bags of clothing, plus one duffel bag stuffed with clothes.

Never felt so good!

What tips and tricks worked for you during your KonMari journey?

Jessie Da Silva

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