How I Purged My Wardrobe the Mari Kondo Way

This is part of Simplifying Your Wardrobe Series / Part 1 here.

It was around our house move in the spring of 2017 when the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up caught my eye in the best-seller section of a bookstore. A book about tidying up? With life-changing magic effect too? Why not? Sure, we all need help in the tidying up department, don’t we?

I got myself the book and finished it in four late-night readings. These words stuck with me as we came close to moving house:

“The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person we were in the past.”

Armed with this book and great resolve for a new lifestyle and for the person I wanted to become, I took a week’s leave when we moved house and I decluttered big time in what I call the Great Mari Kondo Tidying Up of 2017 (of my life, really.)

Mari Kondo’s overall approach in decluttering made so much sense—-only keep what sparks joy; discard the rest.

How I purged my wardrobe for the first time (2017)

Utterly and completely convinced I was done dealing with wardrobe clutter and owning too much, I heeded Mari Kondo’s advice in her book about decluttering your clothing and did exactly the following:

1. Gathered everything in one place

On our second day in our house, I gathered all my clothes, shoes, bags, and accessories in our then unfurnished bedroom where the closet was. My son was in his grandparents’ loving arms two floors down.

This step was important. You will only see the gravity of how much you own when you put all of them in one place. I already had the shock of a lifetime when I packed all of these in the boxes. The moment of seeing them again in one place was like having a second wave of that shock.

2. Sorted by category

This was the easiest part. With my favorite songs blurting out my phone, I sorted everything by these categories: clothes, shoes, bags, and accessories. As I had a huge amount of clothing, I further sorted them by sub-categories: dresses, shirts, tops, bottoms, coats/jackets, and loungewear.

Some categories were easier for me to deal with like bags and jewelry because I didn’t have many of them. I had numerous scarves and hats though (not in picture). (The husband’s shoes are at the top of this picture. Yes, that’s all the shoes he had back then. I married a natural minimalist.)

3. Identified which sparked joy

This was the hardest and the most time-consuming and energy-depleting part. The painful and yet necessary task of holding each piece and trying to find joy was not easy especially for someone as notoriously indecisive as me. I felt the need to try on some clothes for me to be able to decide, which took the whole process way much longer.

(Tip: Go find a friend you can do this process with. It will be fun. If you want to do this process alone, it’s okay too. Have a warm cup of tea or coffee at arm’s length, music in the background.)

These are the parts, however, that Mari Kondo didn’t delve much on but I found that purging my wardrobe helped me deal with these two things once and for all:

4. Came to terms with my current season in life, with my current size

I wish I could tell you it was all that—-keep what sparks joy, discard the rest. Decluttering my clothing was hard for me for many reasons.

I was up two sizes from my normal size (from 6 to 10) around the waist. I was adamant to let go of my pre-pregnancy clothes because like most new moms, I was hoping I could shrink back to my pre-pregnancy body.

The truth is, purging my clothing was coming to terms with the new season of my life which required shifting, fashion and lifestyle-wise. Life was never the same. I was never the same. Look at my inside-out ensemble here, the real and raw motherhood.

Hard as it was, I let go of all the extra small-size pieces, the someday-I-wish-I-can-wear pieces. I crammed all of them in a box and marked it for giving away.

5. Came to terms with wasted money on fast fashion

Pre-motherhood, my style of fashion was all colorful, complicated, and dainty. I was also the type of person who would shop for all reasons and seasons. I was hooked in fast-fashion, affordable, and trendy clothes in the high-street shops.

It was precisely for that reason that my clothing accumulated. It didn’t look like I was spending much but if you looked at the cost in terms of money, time spent shopping, time spent maintaining/storing these clothes, and not even looking my very best self, I knew I paid too much.

I had spent way too much on fast-fashion therapy, a truth I had to forgive myself for and moved on. Me wearing pink on red and fast-fashion from head to toe (2015). Cringy-worthy, alright?

6. Started a vision for my personal style

In the season of early motherhood, I wasn’t sure what my fashion style was anymore but I was deeply considering something simple and minimal, and well, less colorful and complicated.

I started pinning away and crafting my dream wardrobe on Pinterest as a welcome break from my decluttering day. A year after (2018), I was actually looking more like that girl I pinned away. 🙂

At the end of my decluttering day ala Mari Kondo, this was how our shared closet looked like.

Now for the fun part…

How my side looked like in 2017 and how it looks like now:

Winter/occasional collection, then and now: (Note – I don’t keep any clothes in the attic saved for my maternity wear. My winter coats/jackets are in Rolando’s side of the closet hung all year round. My loungewear is in one drawer, all of it).

And the closet view, then and now:

It took a while for me to gather my thoughts and write this post. I’m hoping you’ll find bits and pieces to help you purge, declutter and simplify your wardrobe. It’s been life-changing for me in both magical and practical ways.

I read before that if you want to change your life, change your wardrobe. In my case, I’ll paraphrase it as:

“If you want to change your life, simplify your wardrobe.”

Simplifying Your Wardrobe is a series I will write regularly from now on covering everything I can write about that will hopefully, be helpful to anyone wishing to simplify.

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