KonMari Method – My Tidying Journey #12 – Folding
If you’ve read the book and are joining the fray, then you understand that folding is a big part of the KonMari method clothing cleansing/storing experience. Of course, the book I’m referring to is Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. And, if you’ve been following along with me on my KonMari journey, then you know that I’ve dealt with the folding issue in some of my previous blog posts.
My first introduction to the KonMari folding method was to watch videos on YouTube. The folding seemed easy enough but I wasn’t sure that it would a) save enough space to be worthwhile and b) keep the clothing from wrinkling.
I can understand the whole bonding with your clothing idea and by touching each piece every time you fold it, you can identify areas that might need repair, or even that the piece of clothing has outlived its usefulness although it still brings you joy. But, I’m still not totally sold on the concept.
Just so you know, I’ve always liked to fold certain clothing items. If it goes in a drawer, it’s folded. I’ve also worked many years in retail and I love the look of perfectly folded displays. However, the KonMari Method suggests a different way of folding clothing which required a tweak to my previous habits.
Mastering the technique is pretty simple. Once you fold a few pieces, you develop a rhythm that sustains you through the pile. It kind of reminds me of when I used to spend an evening ironing. It’s almost like active meditation.
However, I’m the kind of person who likes to hang the majority of my wardrobe. To me, out of sight is out of mind. That may explain why my folded shirt drawers – although they look marvelous! – are in such great condition almost two years after their initial KonMari fold. Since the tops are no longer hanging, I forget I have them and often choose something else while I’m in the closet. On the upside, I was able to fit a large quantity of tops into two drawers which opened up hanging space for new purchases!
I’m not convinced that folding works for everything except dresses, coats and jackets or flowy tops. I feel a lot depends on fabric and frequency of use, and some items are too difficult or small to fold. I suspect that many people who have cleansed their wardrobes with the KonMari method will have relatively minimal wardrobes left so everything will get used regularly. That’s not me!
I opted to fold some items because, as I stated in one of my first posts on this journey, I wanted to more efficiently use the space I had, both in my closet and in my drawers. I have a lot of stuff to fit into a small space, so folding seems to make sense. Once I’ve had a chance to completely redo my closet, I’ll have a better idea of how it all works for me. My closet is supposed to be big enough for two and even after this initial cleaning, I’m having trouble fitting just me in it.
When you watch the videos of KonMari folding, everything looks wonderful when it’s initially folded and the drawer is full. To me, the issue is just how quickly it can get ugly once you start pulling items out. You have to regularly adjust what’s left to keep some semblance of organization.
I’ve seen on blogs several people who have absorbed the KonMari Method of folding, and use it not only at home but to pack their suitcases and set up their hotel rooms. I suspect, now that I’m utilizing this method, I’ll continue to do so for years to come, but I will also hang as much as I can.
I feel your relationship with your clothing is very personal but also something we all struggle with, particularly when it comes to organizing everything. We forget what we have which is why utilizing closet/clothing/style apps help. However, they do take time to maintain and I must admit, I’ve fallen away from using mine. I just have higher priorities at the moment, but I think they’re amazing aids and I wish I had mine updated.
Now, before I digress further, here are a few pointers regarding my KonMari folding experience.
- Watch videos. There are several on YouTube, not only by Kondo, but by several people who follow the KonMari Method. I highly recommend watching the videos before you begin your folding phase.
- Use plastic. I know Kondo suggests using leftover shoe boxes and lids for small item storage, but I much prefer plastic. Cardboard is susceptible to dust, bugs and dampness. Even in a drawer, cardboard gets dusty and dirty and is just too difficult to clean. Plastic can be washed and dried at will, and if you buy the clear plastic, you can actually see what’s in there. My vote is for plastic.
- Cut the tags. Kondo suggests cutting all tags so your clothes will feel wanted and part of your life. I’m paraphrasing here. Anyway, I struggled with this at first. Sometimes you like to know which tops are new, particularly when it comes to camis, tamis and tanks. There are times when you absolutely want to wear a new one, and once you cut the tags, that easily identifiable designation is gone. However, if you’re going to fold, you quickly discover that the tags get in the way. Even when I was sorting, the tags kept tangling. So, I caved, dug out the scissors and cut the tags.
- Look at the big picture. Once you’ve cleaned through all your clothes, they need to be organized in a manner that works for you. It might mean emptying everything – again! – so you can decide how best to locate your clothing. Coats in the coat closet. Pajamas in the night stand. Scarves on a hanger. Figure out how you’ll best utilize everything you own, then organize it that way. Not everything has to be folded.
- Fold smoothly. Be sure to smooth each item out before you fold it, otherwise the creases will likely remain. Some items are easier to do than others, and some, like pajamas, you might not care as much if there is a wrinkle or two.
- Fix what you see. The good thing about folding is that you do see every inch of an item you’re folding. Tears, snags, falling hemlines, and so on, become ever more obvious. Also, you can see when a piece of clothing needs to be tossed due to wear. I sadly donated a few shirts when I got up close and personal with them.
- Do what’s best for you. Remember, in the end, the KonMari Method is simply the suggestion of one organizer who wrote a book. Fold or not fold. Your clothing is up to you.
I’d love to hear your comments on how you’re adapting to KonMari folding and organizing your clothing. Leave your comments below!
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