Minimalist in DC

The Quest for Less "Stuff" & More Time

Discard Clothing KonMari Style

Last week, I wrote a review on Marie Kondo’s new book: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I wasn’t kidding when I said I couldn’t wait to try her KonMari Method, in which you first discard all items that don’t “spark joy”, then organize completely. She recommends starting with your clothes, then within that category to evaluate them in this order: tops, then bottoms, things that should hang (like jackets, suits, and dresses), socks/underware, bags, accessories, clothes for specific events, then shoes.

On Sunday morning, I woke up early and pulled every piece of clothing I owned out of my drawers, closets, coat closet, laundry, and other miscellaneous places where clothes inexplicably live. I laid them all out in the living room.

Before KonMari

The “Before KonMari” Pile

I was a bit nervous to get started. What if I threw out something useful and then regretted it next week? What if I accidentally kept something I hated? What if I just couldn’t tell? I finally decided to trust the process and see how it went.

Clothing KonMari Instructions

Kondo recommends the following when discarding:

  1. Start when you’re fresh (early morning is best in her opinion).
  2. Pull ALL of your clothing items out of every place they are kept.
  3. Pick up each item individually and ask yourself if it sparks joy. If it does, you generally know right away. If you have to think about it, it’s likely it doesn’t spark joy.
  4. Thank the items you’re discarding for their service, fold them, and put them in a trash bag.

Wait, what? That’s right. Remember how I mentioned Kondo’s affinity for treating household objects like humans in my book review? Thank your items for their service and send them on their way.

Maybe I’m just drinking the KonMari kool-aid at this point, but that isn’t as crazy as it sounds. Those who are grateful, tend to be happier people. I actually found that thanking my clothes for their service made it easier to part with a few of the items for which I was on the fence. However, I have to admit that after a while, I completely forgot to keep thanking things until hours after I was already done. Hopefully my socks aren’t offended.

Getting Started

I started with a few things that I knew would spark joy to get the ball rolling. My favorite shirt was folded and put in the “keep” pile first. After about 10 items, I could figure out whether something sparked joy rather quickly.


There were a few items that I wasn’t sure about.

Maybe Pile

The “Maybe” Pile

I tried these items on and found it was easier to decide whether they sparked joy when I saw them in the mirror. Over half of them were easily discarded.


The whole process took about 2-3 hours, but in the end, I had a LOT fewer clothes. I wasn’t surprised by what was left. These were the things I wear all the time; the things I really love.



I filled an entire garbage bag with everything else.


Lessons Learned

My best advice is to do this somewhere you can be alone. Once my kids woke up, they started asking to help and broke my concentration. Kondo also recommends not letting your family see what you’re discarding because it can be stressful to see you trash a gift or other item they liked.

Also, don’t be afraid to throw away things you think you need. I ended up with a list of four items to replace:

  1. Suit
  2. Rain jacket
  3. Two bras
  4. Running shorts with pockets

I don’t need these items right away, but I will eventually. I practically hated the old versions and now, a week later, I’m really glad they’re out of my life. This serves as a forcing function to replace things I should have replaced long ago. Kondo says if you are using the item right now, hold onto it until you find something you love to replace it.


I enjoyed the process and I REALLY enjoyed the outcome. In fact, this was the most effective way of whittling down my clothing that I’ve tried all year.

Post-KonMari Closet

This side of my closet was filled when I started my minimalist project in September.

Next up: Books!


  1. Amber,

    Another blog I read was just talking about Kondo:

    I definitely need to go through all my clothes! 🙂

    • amberrking

      June 12, 2015 at 8:55 pm

      Hi Kat!

      Thanks for that link! Kondo’s explanation of folding was really confusing in her book. The pictures on that site are super-useful! I’m not sure I completely buy into the idea that most things should be folded yet, but I’m at least willing to try it.


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