As you may know, I am in the throes of a “Year of Mindfulness.”  This commenced in August and since then I have taken several mindful steps.  I had an amazing unplugged week in nature, I used the Konmari method in my daughter’s room and in my sons’ room.  Then I got addicted to discarding and hit my kitchen.  (I even imposed my Konmari ways on poor Megan as she edited her closet.)  I started a new thrifting budget and came in under budget in August!  I challenged everyone to avoid fast fashion this Fall and recently shared more insight into why fast fashion should be a concern for anyone wearing clothes.  I finished doing my 5th round of Whole 30 last week!  I’ve started doing and leading a Bible study, concluded my summer by reading my 20th book and have read 3 more so far.  I am back into the swing of work and have tentative plans to start swimming with a friend in October.  I recorded a podcast and had the chance to talk all about my mindful plans!  Phew!  It seems like mindfulness endeavours are self-fulfilling which is good news for me and anyone else considering taking some mindful steps!

Year of Mindfulness

BUT what I’m here to share today is something you’ve all been waiting for: THE GREAT KONMARI OF THE SPIRITED THRIFTER’S CLOSET!  This is going to be epic so grab a coffee (or wine depending on the time of day), settle in and get ready to share an intimate look at my closet and my Konmari process.  Let’s start with an amble through my closet before I started…

I have a large walk-in closet with plenty of room which is good
I have a large walk-in closet with plenty of room which is good and bad.  Good because my closet can afford to hold my ample wardrobe, bad because it doesn’t force me to edit so I end up hanging onto things that don’t spark joy!  I shared a “closet expose” a while ago if you want a more in-depth look.
The back racks hold my tops and hiding on the shelf underneath them are my folded pants.
The back racks hold my tops and hiding on the shelf underneath are my folded pants.  In the corners and on the shelves are various things like artwork without a home, a whole bin of scrapbooking albums I will never use, old costumes, keepsake clothes and more.  (She said sheepishly.)
Dresses, hanging pants and clothes in the queue - waiting to be worn and blogged!
Dresses, hanging pants and in the corner, I use s-hooks for tanks and such that can have another wear before laundering.  (“Laundering” makes me sound British methinks.)
I have stacked my clothing for years. Only since reading "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" did I consider this might not be efficient, although that's plainly evident looking at this photo.
I have stacked my clothing for years. Only since reading “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” did I consider this might not be efficient, although it’s plainly evident looking at this photo.
More stacked tops with bags and baskets over head.
More stacked tops with bags and baskets over head.
I hang my skirts two-by-two on the bottom.
I hang my skirts two-by-two on the bottom.  Bins underneath holding MORE stuff.
A while ago, I decided to hang all my blazers together rather than by colour.
A while ago, I decided to hang all my blazers together rather than by colour.  After reading the book, I realized this arrangement hasn’t been serving me.  

So.  In Marie Kondo’s book, she recommends going through clothing in a specific order which I followed over the course of a couple of weeks: tops, bottoms, clothes hung (dresses, coats), socks/tights, undies, bags, accessories, clothes for events then shoes.  Let me warn you, there is a STORM before the calm.  It is inevitable.  I made sub-categories for tops and went through tank tops, then t-shirts, then long sleeve shirts then my hanging shirts by colour section.  I might have discarded more had I done everything at once and put it all in one mountainous pile, but it simply wasn’t realistic for the time and energy I had available.

I made sub-categories for tops and went through tank tops, then t-shirts, long sleeve shirts then my hanging shirts by colour section.
After: my shorts sleeve tees are in one box, tanks in the clear box and long sleeve tees in the other box.  I left a few sweaters stacked because I can see them all and they take up too much room otherwise.  I don’t have enough drawer space in my dresser for these tops, but I find the boxes easy to manage!  PLUS they limit how much I keep!  I will think twice about adding another tee if there’s no room for it.  The wicker box up top has my out-of-season scarves while my in-season scarves live right outside my front-hall closet.  I culled my scarves too!
So pleasing!
“So pleasing!” said the stripes addict.
It may not look like there's much gone, but trust me, there is! I like to categorize my clothing by colour and moved my blazers back to their colour section! Kondo recommends black on the left and progressing darker to lighter but I actually forgot about that! Maybe I'll make that change another time!
It may not look like there’s much gone, but trust me, there is! I like to categorize my clothing by colour and moved my blazers back to their colour section! Rainbow up top and neutrals on the bottom!  Kondo recommends putting black pieces on the left and progressing darker to lighter but I actually forgot about that! Maybe I’ll make that change another time!  I should note that I do not switch out my clothes seasonally, so everything you see is everything I have.
Next, I went through my skirts and put approximately half into the donation pile!
Next, I went through my skirts and put approximately half into the donation pile shown here!  I still *like* every last one of these skirts BUT I made a decision early in the process that if I hesitated about a piece, it went.  Otherwise, my thoughts would override my instincts and debunk the process.    
I even went through pieces waiting in my queue to be worn and blogged. I love these skirts but they're just a bit tight. Okay, they fit me like a sausage, so the only responsible thing to do is donate them and hope they find someone (skinnier) who finds them joyful.
I even went through pieces waiting in my queue to be worn and blogged. I love these two skirts but they’re just a bit tight. Okay, they fit me like a sausage, so the only responsible thing to do is donate them and hope they find someone (skinnier) who finds them joyful.  Lo and behold, even if you’re a thrifter, you may still buy pieces and never wear them!  The style, colour AND fit need to spark joy in order for something to stay in my closet.
Leggings, shorts and pants in shoe boxes to be put in my closet. You'll see later I ended up using baskets and placing them on the shelves BESIDE, not under, the hanging clothes.
Leggings, shorts and pants in shoe boxes to be put in my closet. You’ll see later I ended up using baskets and placing them on the shelves BESIDE, not under, the hanging clothes.  Again, I discarded any bottoms that I hesitated on, and started realizing something… you don’t have to remind yourself to wear the pieces that spark joy.  They naturally get a lot of wear!  Duh.  
Oh dresses! I so love you! It was HARD to cull my dresses and no surprise, most of them continue to spark joy for me.
Oh dresses! I so love you! It was HARD to cull my dresses and no surprise, most of them continue to spark joy for me.  I did put about ten in the donation pile including all but two maxi dresses because none of the others sparked joy.  The very next day, I inherited three gorgeous maxi dresses from Megan!  This was wonderful affirmation of the process – getting rid of what you don’t love makes room for what you do!
I tried a couple on and was able to quickly confirm the joy factor. This one stayed!
I tried a couple of dresses on and was able to quickly confirm the joy factor. This one stayed!
Despite keeping so many dresses, they fit without difficulty in my dress section! I organized them by sleeveless, short sleeves, long sleeves. My seasonal maxi dresses and fancy dresses are in garment bags on the right.
Despite keeping so many dresses, they NOW fit without difficulty in my dress section! I reorganized them by sleeveless, short sleeves, long sleeves. My seasonal maxi dresses and fancy dresses are in garment bags on the right.  I left some of my special dresses out, like my Isabel Marant dress, because they make me happy to see them every morning!  
Next up was socks and stockings. In this deplorable bin, I had THIRTY-SIX pairs of hosiery!!
Next up was socks and stockings. In this deplorable basket, I had THIRTY-SIX pairs of hosiery!!
Here they are, spread out in all their glory. Oh my word.
Here they are, spread out in all their glory.  Oh. my. word.
If you live in Canada like me and love skirts and dresses like me, you're gonna need tights. Kondo says in her book that if you do the process properly, you'll end up with enough space for what you need and so it was that I had just enough space in my newly-appointed tights bin to hold exactly what I decided to keep!
If you live in Canada like me and love skirts and dresses like me, you’re gonna need tights. Kondo says in her book that if you do the process properly, you’ll end up with enough space for what you have and so it was that I had just enough space in my newly-appointed tights bin to hold exactly what I decided to keep!  (I did my best to fold them Konmari style and then thought, forget it, this is a high enough bar for tights-folding.)
Why on God's green earth do I have so many socks?
Why on God’s green earth do I have so many socks? 
Ahhhhhh, so much better! I still have a few too many but rather than look at each one individually, I will weed them as I wear them. And no, I'm not folding these Konmari style either. I'm sure I would like it but this was good enough for now.
Ahhhhhh, so much better! I still have a few too many but rather than look at each one individually, I will weed them as I wear them. And no, I’m not folding these Konmari style either. I’m sure I would like it but this was good enough for now.
Same goes for undies - I'm not ready to fold them Konmari style, but I did weed them out and moved my bras into the drawer flanking my BIG panties that get their own section. I couldn't say they spark joy but they do a nice job of smoothing things out as one sometimes requires. Marie Kondo has the cutest video of her preparing an underwear drawer with her little bitty under-things. Just gonna say, if you're bras fit in an altoid tin, we are not in the same league.
Same goes for undies – I’m not ready to fold them Konmari style, but I did weed them out and moved my bras from a basket in my closet to the drawer to flank my BIG panties that get their own little section. I couldn’t say they spark joy but they do a nice job of smoothing things out as one sometimes requires.  Marie Kondo has the *cutest* video of her preparing an underwear drawer with her little bitty under-things. Just saying, if your bras fit in an Altoid tin, we are not in the same league.  Ima need something bigger.
Bags were another challenging area! Again, if I hesitated, they went. I store my bigger bags in this big basket and smaller ones are in my old Lulu bag and again, I had exactly enough room for what I decided to keep!
Bags were another challenging category!  Again, if I hesitated, they went. I store my bigger bags in this big basket and smaller ones are in my coral Lulu bag and again, I had exactly enough room for what I decided to keep!
There they are, easily accessible and ready to swap out any time!
There they are, easily accessible and ready to swap out any time!  Note: Kondo recommends we empty our purses every day.  I can see some utility in that to avoid accumulating wads of kleenexes, kids’ crap, etc. but I feel absolutely no need to do it daily.    
Next up: accessories! I have a lot but I've been collecting for my whole life and I wear accessories every dang day so NO JUDGMENT. Except my accessories had become slowly mixed up and messy...
Next up: accessories!  This is the BEFORE photo.  I have a lot but I’ve been collecting for my whole life and I wear accessories every dang day so NO JUDGMENT!  My accessories had become slowly mixed up and overflowing…  I went through every single one and discarded a ton!
Okay, maybe not a ton, but my bag of jewelry for donation weighed 4.2lbs!!!
Okay, maybe not a ton, but my bag of jewelry for donation weighed 4.2lbs!!!
I reorganized my earrings. I have seen other ways of storing earrings but this good ol' corkboard works for me. I like to be able to see what I have.
I reorganized my earrings. I have seen other ways of storing earrings but this good ol’ cork board works for me.  I like to be able to see what I have.  Since it’s inside my closet, I’m less concerned about how it displays and more concerned about how it functions.  That’s very OT of me.
Necklaces are all on the bottom organized by colour, bracelets on top and my little glass trays hold bangles, brooches and such!
Necklaces are NOW all on the bottom organized by colour, bracelets on top and my little trays and bowls hold bangles, brooches and such!  Each little container sparks joy!  My belts are also right here – wide belts on a big D-ring, my Flatter Me belts on another D-ring, and skinny belts on an old hanger thingy that I’ve had forever.  Almost all my belts are thrifted.  It’s still a lot but they all spark joy and each piece down to the smallest stud earring has a home so I can put it away easily at the end of the day.    
"Sexy" jammies drawer.
Next I tackled my “sexy” jammies drawer.  Remember, NO JUDGMENT.  These are my comfies and every time I go thrifting I check the pajama racks!  I used to have lingerie and all kinds of things stuffed in here but I culled and moved the lingerie I kept to a special basket since I, er, reach for them less frequently than these sexy beasts.  I also have baskets for my swim suits and camping clothes – Kondo calls these “clothes for specific events” and I suppose workout gear would go here if I had some or did that.
This is all my outerwear except my puffer coat and snow pants. I'm so relieved Kondo doesn't do a seasonal switch over - I always mean to but it doesn't always happen and I spend energy feeling bad about that instead of celebrating NOT wasting time on it. No more.
This is all my outerwear (mostly thrifted) except my puffer coat and snow pants. I’m so relieved Kondo doesn’t do a seasonal switch over – I always mean to but it doesn’t always happen and I spend energy feeling bad about that instead of celebrating NOT wasting time on it. No more.

I have a sad interlude at this point.  I neglected to take photos of my shoes!!  (I was doing Whole 30, un-tempered by chocolate or wine, what can I say.)  Instead please accept my testimony that I had a LARGE bag of shoe donations when all was said and done.  I said goodbye to my green pointy flats and every other pair showing signs of wear along with many that hurt my feet.  I kept irreplaceable pairs like my floral flats and my Robert Clergerie and my beloved Ferragamos, and as was the theme for my Konmari, I discarded any pairs that I hesitated over even if they were “good” shoes, like my El Naturalistas.  My shoe collection now fits comfortably in my closet and front hall closet and I even have room for a few more pairs so I better go thrifting ASAP.

I relocated my shoe tree to the closet now that there's room! I can access it just fine. One of my goals was to get all my clothing in the closet and all my non-clothing out of the closet. Success! There are my pants baskets, not squished or shoved under hanging pieces!
I relocated my shoe tree to the closet now that there’s room!  I can access it just fine in the corner and there’s even space to tuck our laundry hamper under a shelf instead of in the middle of the closet always in the way. One of my goals was to get all my clothing in the closet and all my non-clothing out of the closet. Success!  And there are my baskets o’ pants, not squished or shoved under hanging pieces!
Speaking of sexy beasts a few photos ago, I made my husband Konmari HIS side of the closet too! This is the before shot.
Speaking of sexy beasts a few photos ago, I made encouraged my husband to Konmari HIS side of the closet too! This is the before shot.
His sweater pile makes a sad face.
His sweater pile makes a sad face which you’ll see if you managed to stay awake while looking at them.  I think I need to take him thrifting for some new stylish sweaters.
The man has NO jeans! How can that be?! He said, all my jeans are too short and I didn't believe him and made him try them on. This is essentially a fashion-blogger scandal.
The man has NO jeans! How can that be?! He said, “all my jeans are too short” and I didn’t believe him and made him try them on. This is essentially a fashion-blogger scandal.  IN MY OWN HOUSE?!!  WHYYYYYYYYY?  Honey, you’re better than this.  We need to get you some hot-dad-bod jeans ASAP. 
Mr. Style was a Konmari warrior! He culled ratty t-shirts like a boss! He went through every piece of clothing just like I did and I for one am excited to see what comes into the closet now that he's made room for pieces to love.
Mr. Style was a Konmari warrior! He culled ratty t-shirts like a boss! He went through every piece of clothing just like I did, and I for one am excited to see what comes into the closet now that he’s made room for pieces to love.  And YES, he has significantly fewer clothes than I do BUT as I explained to our sons, that is the natural order of the world.  The woman has more clothes.  You’re welcome, future daughter-in-law.
Here are my husband's donations...
Here are my husband’s donations…
And here are my donations... most of them.
And here are my donations… most of them.  (She said sheepishly.)

When you do Konmari, expect to have A LOT of bags and boxes to donate!  You can donate in-store at any Value Village and they recently opened Donation Drop Spots in Edmonton area.

The Great Closet Konmari

Now, I’m going to share some insider information because this isn’t even on the Value Village website yet.  There are SEVEN Donation Drop Spots throughout Edmonton with donations at each one supporting different local non-profits, and here are the addresses:

The Donation Drop Spots are open and staffed from 10am to 6pm daily but just FYI you can’t get a discount sticker card for donations made here like you can get in store.

The Great Closet Konmari

Still, convenience is a huge factor in donating vs. throwing things out, and Value Village wants to make donating as convenient as possible.

Oh look, this one is conveniently located right by a liquor store. Handy.
Oh look, this one is conveniently located right by a liquor store. Handy.  This one is right near Millwoods Town Center Mall.

Just like in-store donations, VV pays these nonprofit partners whenever community members donate goods to Donation Drop Spots.

The Great Closet Konmari
These smaller donation bins are FULL and emptied every night and the larger sea-can bins are emptied three times a week – Edmontonians are great donators!

Value Village has become one of the largest recyclers of used goods in the world, keeping more than 650 million pounds of reusable items from landfills each year.  That’s pretty impressive and a good fit for anyone moving towards mindfulness and sustainability.  Don’t throw things out; donate instead and help make our world a better place!  AND, just because it doesn’t spark joy for you doesn’t mean it won’t spark joy for someone else.  Au contraire!  Marie Kondo says “set it free” and by donating, you’re doing just that!

Year of Mindfulness

If you’re like me, donating makes you want to shop!  We are wired to fill the void – and you certainly can, but be mindful that what you purchase sparks joy!  Luckily, Value Village has a HUGE selection – up to 10 000 new items placed on the floor daily, and somewhere in there, Mr. Style is sure to find long-enough pants and stylish sweaters.  Right?  Say yes.

Though I culled this section, I still have a "queue" of pieces waiting to be worn and blogged. It makes me happy.
Though I culled this section, I still have a “queue” of pieces waiting to be worn and blogged.  It makes me happy!  This is where my “new” thrifted pieces go to wait their turn.

I learned some valuable lessons in the Great Closet Konmari and I hope sharing this wisdom will be helpful to you too.

  • I had to let go of the low cost-per-wear standard that I previously held.  I kept things that didn’t spark joy, waiting for them to get to a dollar or less per wear (which is hard even for $5 items when you have, er, a substantial wardrobe).
  • Would it be too bold to ask teachers everywhere to stop with the Mother’s Day gifts of jewelry?  Pretty please?!  I have enough guilt to contend with without explaining why I’m donating a macaroni necklace, and my kids don’t really care as long as they’re expressing their love.  Consumable things are my new go-to for gifts, and I am encouraging others to do the same.
  • Along the same lines, it is very hard for someone else to re-gift something to that sparks joy for you.  It is an intensely personal feeling – even for 5-year-olds! – so think twice before passing something along without explicitly saying it’s okay for the other person to decline.
  • Discarding is hard, but the more you discard, the more “wear time” you give for the remaining pieces.  It’s less competition for the things you love to shine!  So just do it!
  • Konmari doesn’t aim to take away all the things you love just so you can have more room on your shelves.  Konmari and minimalism are NOT about having less, they’re about loving what you have, then letting what you have inform your future purchases – in other words, it’s all about learning mindful consumerism.
My closet may still appear full, but trust me, it's a whole lot lighter!
My closet may still appear full, but trust me, it’s a whole lot lighter!

I am doing the Konmari process throughout my household.  Now that I’m done my closet, I’m working on outdoor spaces and then will tackle books, papers and “komono” – all the miscellaneous crap that clutters up my home.  I’m still hoping to be done by Christmas!  I thought I would feel tired or burnt out from decluttering and purging but on the contrary, IT IS INSPIRING!  During the Konmari-ing of each category, you gain momentum to keep going.  I can hardly wait to get going on the next category!!

What do you think?  Any burning questions?  Inspired?  I hope so!

If you need me, I'll be right here in my happy place!
If you need me, I’ll be right here in my happy place!

13 Comments

  1. The Spirited Thrifter Reply

    Yep Janet, I totally forgot about potential handmedowns – gah – and just wanted to get them out of my house!U0001f616

  2. Janet Dews Reply

    The Spirited Thrifter I understand. I would want stuff out of my house too

  3. Janet Dews Reply

    Great job though. I have gained some inspiration from this, Just need to learn how to fold. Our library in SP doesn’t have the paper copy of the book.

  4. Christine Jackson Reply

    My granddaughter should use this method,what say you Deanna Kempster?

  5. The Spirited Thrifter Reply

    I recommend buying this particular book – it’s a good reference.

  6. Pingback: Edmonton blog roundup: Sept. 28, 2015 | Seen and Heard in Edmonton

  7. Beautifully said and I am loving the concept! I know I have clothing that sparked joy for me 5 years ago and I hold onto it because of that nostalgia, even though i’m no longer the same person with the same style. My closet is due for a big purge soon.

  8. Pingback: Konmari Round-up #1

  9. Thanks so much for this. Great article. Enjoyable and humorous read. I just started with my clothes today. I was trying to avoid buying bins and it was in my search for an alternative I found this post. I’ve read most of the e-book (from the public library) and I’m looking forward to letting go of lots more than material things in the end. I’ve also put a hold on her new book, ‘Spark Joy’. Thanks, again. Merry Christmas.

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