Digging Out from Clutter

Why I Folded and Jumped on the Marie Kondo Bandwagon

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

“The act of folding is far more than making clothes compact for storage. It is an act of caring, an expression of love and appreciation for the way these clothes support your lifestyle. Therefore, when we fold, we should put our heart into it, thanking our clothes for protecting our bodies.” — Marie Kondo

I have a confession to make: I hate folding clothes. I hate it with a passion. I’d rather scrub the toilet than fold my clothes. I’ve been known to keep clean clothes in the basket for weeks, sorting through them looking for stuff to wear in the morning, then putting the rest back in the basket. Eventually I’ll haphazardly fold them into some semblance of — something — and shove them messily into a drawer. It’s one of those things that’s always annoyed me about myself.

Another thing you should know about me: I hate getting on a bandwagon. I never watch shows or read a book because they’re popular. I rarely go to movies. I don’t jump on the latest eating plan that’s so amazing for everyone on the internet.

And yet….I’ve gotten onto the Marie Kondo bandwagon.

I read the book a while back and I thought it was interesting, but never pursued it. Then a few weeks ago a bunch of people in my yoga teacher class were raving about Maria Kondo’s new show and how awesome it was. Normally I also hate reality shows, but I felt myself drawn to the show and watched the first episode. And then I was hooked.

I watched Marie help people learn a new way to fold their clothes and I thought, oh, that’s what she meant in the book. I hadn’t really understood until I saw it. And then I did it: I took all my clothes out of my drawers and closet and dumped them on my bed. They didn’t reach the ceiling like one of the ladies on the show, but I definitely had more clothes than I thought I did.

I had to wonder: why did I spend every morning staring dully into my drawers lamenting my lack of clothing?

Because I’m me, I didn’t exactly stick to Kondo’s method. She believes you should hold each piece of clothing and see if it sparks joy, and if it doesn’t, thank it and let it go. My twist was to hold each piece of clothing and ask myself: Is it ripped? Is it stained? Does it fit properly? Do I feel attractive in this? If I answered “no” to any of these, then I dumped it into the Goodwill bag or the trash, leaving me only with clothes I actually like, and that look good. So maybe I could say those are the clothes that spark joy.

It was good opportunity to get rid of those clothes that are ratty so I wear them around the house or to sleep in. A good opportunity to get rid of the wrinkled stuff I never iron anyway. And a good opportunity to get rid of things that are just too big or too small.

But what I liked the best was her method of folding clothes. I no longer have to paw through stacks of shirts to find what I want. Things are no longer lost in the back sections of the drawer. Things are no longer crammed in. Instead I open my drawers and see neatly organized rows of clothes. Not as neat as Marie Kondo does, of course, but much neater than before.

And the part I liked best? The actual folding. Seriously. It’s kind of meditative. I like the challenge of folding things into their little squares, reading to line up in the drawer. Today I was folding clothes from the basket and I (gasp) kind of enjoyed it. I know, no one’s more shocked than me.

I’m going to watch a few more episodes and then maybe I’ll have the strength to tackle the big things: like the “spare” room that’s full of miscellaneous things that don’t have a home, or the overflowing “junk” drawer in the kitchen. If anyone can help me deal with that, I think it may be Maria Kondo.

Rose Bak is a freelance writer, author and yoga teacher who lives in Portland, Oregon. Visit rosebakenterprises.com or follow @authorrosebak on social media.

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