Clothes Gone and Organized!

Following up on my previous post about the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I tackled my clothes today.  Kondo suggests gathering all the clothes from anywhere in the house.  Then handle each item to see if it sparks joy.  If it doesn’t, then it goes.  In my case, I needed to actually try on most of the clothes to find out which ones were too big.

The result was a closet where the top row is almost empty.  It is strange to realize that the closet I thought was too small is now almost too big.

Full Closet

I ended up with a bottom row of often worn clothes.  The top has some seasonal clothes in the back and one lone T shirt that is just a tiny bit too small for me.  Well, I also ended up with 2 full trash bags.

I discarded clothes for 3 basic reasons.  A lot of clothes were just too big for me.  I’ve lost 55 pounds over the past couple of years.  I’ve thrown out a lot of stuff over that time, but there were some things that still remained.  I wear a lot of T-shirts and I’ve always liked them loose.  The other day my hairdresser noticed my weight loss from a month ago when she really wasn’t noticing it before.  She noticed it because I wore a T-shirt that actually fit rather than one that was voluminous.

So, I got rid of almost everything that was too big for me.  The one exception was a few T-shirts that were in good shape (no holes, not worn looking) that were comfortable to be sleep shirts.  They will only be worn for sleeping. Other clothes were just worn out (most of those were also too big).

And, some clothes sparked no joy. They fit, but I just just didn’t feel the joy.  The flannel shirt that I bought where the pocket isn’t deep enough for my phone and it fits, but just doesn’t feel right.  The T-shirt where the embroidery on the front is too heavy and seems to weigh down the shirt.

The only clothes that were really hard to discard were the Ao Dais that I had custom made for me in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Purple Ao Dai

An Ao Dai is a traditional Vietnamese outfit.  There are pants and then a long, form fitting top over the pants.  I always loved my Ao Dais because I could wear them to dressy occasions and didn’t have to wear a dress.  This one I loved because it is purple with  beautiful flowers painted on it.

I also loved this black one because it has a dragon on it.  I mean, a dragon!  Who wouldn’t love it?

Black Ao Dai

Not only did I love these, but they also have a sentimental pull on me.  In 2000, we and our then 5 year old son, spent a few weeks in Vietnam where we adopted 2 siblings.  While we were in Hanoi, I had the Ao Dais made for me.  So, it was hard to get rid of them.  But…. I weighed almost 175 pounds when these were made.  They swim on me now.  I took the pictures above, and away they went.

Kondo recommends that clothes in drawers be stored vertically not horizontally.  I was a little uncertain about this.  Having now folded them as she suggests, I am now sold on this idea.  Here is a drawer that now holds underwear, sleep shirts, shorts, swimsuits, and a winter hat:

Drawer Clothing

Before, I basically had underwear in the drawer and nothing else.

And, I had a drawer that had only my socks in it.  The socks always ended up separated, so I was constantly having to forage through the drawer to try to find the other half of the pair of socks that I wanted to wear.  The drawer was full.  I did discard a few pairs of socks (no joy there!), but I kept most of them.  This is the result:

Sock Drawer

The 4 socks laying by themselves in the back are those that I couldn’t find the other half of.  If I don’t find them by the time I get the rest of the house done, they will go.  What amazes is how much less room it takes to store socks this way.  I have a lot of empty room in a drawer that was full earlier today.

One thing this exercise did show me is how much I need to buy clothes.  As I’ve been losing weight I’ve resisted buying much because I didn’t want to have to replace clothes as I lost more weight.  And, there were some things I discarded that I bought when I weighed 25 pounds more than I weigh now.  I needed them then (having lost 30 pounds), but they are too big for me now.  Still, they were there when I needed them and now I don’t need them any more.

Still I recognize that my wardrobe has some real holes in it.


The only clothes I now own other than the above and the ones in the drawers are one T-shirt that is a tiny bit small, seasonal clothes (winter sweatshirts and jackets mostly) and my wedding dress.  I actually tried on the wedding dress since I weigh only a few pounds more now than I weighed when I got married.  I didn’t expect it to fit since my waist is bigger now than it was back then when I was this weight (higher body fat percentage, alas) and I had to wear control undergarments to get into the dress back then.  The good news was that it is closer to it fitting me than I thought it would be.

Anyway, as you can see, I don’t have a lot of clothes.  I have 3 tank tops.  Two are black and OK, while one is multi-colored.  I don’t actually get much joy from the multi-color one and should have discarded it according to the precepts of the book.  On the other hand, I bought it fairly recently to tide me over until I get to a smaller size.  I was desperate to find something at the time and this was OK.  In another 5 pounds or so, it will be too big so I kept it just to get through that time.

I have numerous black T-shirts (all with something on the front that I like) and a few T-shirts of other colors.  I wear T-shirts about 95% of the time. The ones I’ve kept fit me and are not as loose as what I’ve been wearing. I have exactly one short sleeved denim blouse that isn’t a T shirt.  I was conflicted a bit about it.  I love the front of it.  It has a bunch of embroidered cats on it.  But, it is short sleeved.  When I wear a T-shirt I also put a jacket or a long sleeved shirt over it.  I can’t do that with the denim shirt.  So, I’ve kept it and will see if I end up wearing it, now that I’m thinner (I’ve had the shirt for about 15 years, but only now can I wear it again).

I have only 5 pairs of pants – 2 pairs of knit pants that I wear mostly around the house, blue jeans (almost too big), black jeans, and black “nice” trousers.  That’s it.  Pants don’t last me as long size-wise, so I buy as few as I can get away as I’ve been going down the scale.

Finally, I have a few jackets and a Chambray shirt (I just bought it at the Gap last week), that I wear over T-shirts.  A couple of the jackets I don’t actually love, but they are like the multicolored tank — bought not too long away to tide me over.  In a few pounds, most of those will end up being replaced. I bought most of those a few months ago when I actually needed to go into my office and needed to wear something appropriate for the office, instead of jeans and a T-shirt.  My old office clothes were way too big for me and needed to be replaced. I usually work from home so I don’t need many office-type clothes any more.  When I used to work full-time in the office, suits were most of what I wore.

No, I own no skirts or dresses (except for the wedding dress).  I will soon own a dress since I am going to a family wedding in late May and will be getting a dress for that.  The area where my clothes are really deficient now are nicer casual clothes.  I plan to really work on this when I get into the 140s.

But, mission accomplished.  Kondo says to do books next.  I actually did books before I got this book.  I will look through the books again (to find any that don’t give me joy or that I really don’t think I will ever read) and then it is on to papers.


  1. D. J. says

    My first comment on your blog!

    Your post inspired me to tidy my sock drawer. OMG! I’ve got a lot of socks. No need to buy more for a long, long time. I will have to decide what to do with the un-paired socks. I have to admit to feeling some shame and anxiety seeing your tidy drawers and closet. I am having a really hard time discarding clothes that I consider too shabby to wear to work or out in public. I grew up wearing clothes until they were absolutely worn out. It is hard for me to get rid of anything that still might have some use. I have several large trash bags full of clothes that should be thrown out. They are currently stored in tubs in my basement. I am working on getting my head in the right place so I can let go of this excess baggage.

    • says

      Thanks for posting. Yes, I had that thought about my socks, too. I probably should have posted a before picture of the drawer and closet, but that would have been really embarrassing. Suffice it to say that the socks were jumbled together, not even paired together. The closet had clothes on the floor and scattered hither and yon. And, I had trouble getting rid of some clothes that I should have gotten rid of years ago. But, it all feels so much better now and so much easier to take care of it.
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