Making Space – Will the Clothing Category Ever End??

Sorry about missing the Friday post last week. I often find the Friday posts the most difficult since I usually get my “blog fodder” on the weekends. When I don’t spend the weekend at home, I find I don’t have anything to post about on Friday. That probably shouldn’t stop me, but I’m throwing all my creative writing powers at the thesis so I’m going to let it slide for now. This past weekend was very full so I should have lots of post material for the foreseeable future!

I managed to squeeze in another KonMari session (from The Magic Art of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo) late on Sunday afternoon (you can find the first two sessions here and here). By the time I finished it was very dark outside so unfortunately the after photos aren’t very good. This week’s session is the penultimate Clothing sub-category: scarves, shawls, hats, mittens, gloves etc. Basically in Ottawa that means the things that cover every inch of your skin not covered by your coat so you can survive walking outside in the winter. It also includes summer hats and all the lace shawls I love knitting but don’t wear that often. Knitted lace and a backpack don’t really go together well. I knew this session was going to be difficult because I’ve never actually given away things I’ve knit unless they were planned gifts from the beginning. Plus I love knitting so I have quite a lot of it. This is probably why I procrastinated until the weekend was almost over.

Here is the pile once I had gathered everything up from the 5 (!!) places I had stored them:

2015-07-26 13.28.39With cat for scale.

That is an awfully large pile. I wish I had separated the before and after photos into winter vs summer piles because it’s hard to tell from this what is absolutely-necessary-so-you-don’t-freeze and what is just bits of pretty.

I did not get rid of as much this time as I have in previous sessions. I think there are two reasons for this: one, most of this was purchased or made fairly recently, compared to my other clothing that has been around for awhile. Two, I get a lot of joy out of the things I’ve made, whether or not I wear them frequently. I think I’m ok with that; the point of this isn’t to get rid of everything, especially not things that bring you joy. I probably shouldn’t have done this in the evening, though, as it left me tired and a little upset by the end. There is a substantial “maybe” pile that I will need to go through at a later date, when I have gained a little emotional distance.

The worst part was about halfway through I found more scarves that had been hanging on hooks in my closet! So the pile got even bigger:

2015-07-26 19.38.55

After all that, here is what I put in the donate pile:

2015-07-26 21.27.31


This is probably slightly less than a quarter of the initial pile. The hand-knitted things on the left are tricky. I’m going to donate the warm stuff through my Guild since it most of it has never been worn. I have no idea what I’m going to do with the two lace shawls. The blue one in particular took a lot of work and is lovely but it just isn’t my style or colour. I just can’t send something I put energy and time into, and take pride in, to somewhere like Value Village where it won’t be recognized for what it is. Any suggestions on what to do with it?

Then there is my “decide later” or “maybe” pile:

2015-07-26 21.32.46


It isn’t really that big of a pile now that I look at it, but it includes some very hard decisions. I may just put them away in a box for a couple of months and see how I feel then.

Finally, here is my “keep” pile:

2015-07-26 21.37.17No cat this time, Knightley gave up since I kept taking the nice soft things he was sleeping on.

I would say about half of that is warm things and the other have are “pretty” things. It’s hard to see in the dark, especially since most of the warmer things are darker colours. Part of this process is learning to be happy with what I have, and everything in that pile makes me happy (or is very, very warm). I did put it all away and it does fit better now. But then again, I have at least 5 different storage locations! Part of a drawer in my dresser now holds the lace shawls and a few shrugs. The very warm stuff is stored away in an underbed box until the winter, and the summer hats are in my front closet where I can grab them on my way out. The scarves are on hooks in my closet and the mittens and wristers are all in a shallow drawer in the white desk near my front door. The desk serves as a storage place for things I need to take with me when I leave or things I bring home with me and just want to drop and sort later. Now that I think about it I’ve actually eliminated a whole box that I was using to store some of these things, so I guess that is progress after all!

This was definitely a less satisfying session than the previous ones. The decisions were harder and it was more emotionally taxing. I’m definitely glad I didn’t start with this one! Still, I’m starting to notice that as soon as I pick up an item, I instinctively know whether to keep it or not. Often the hard part is just accepting that instinct, instead of convincing myself why I *should* keep something. The more I do this, the easier it is to recognize and go with that instinct. My hope is that once I’m through this whole (long) process, I’ll be able to feel that instinct in daily life and act on it, so that my possessions don’t build back up to this point again.

Oh, and in case you were thinking about trying this yourself and don’t want to spend this much time on it, Marie Kondo actually recommends doing it as quickly as possible, hopefully over a couple of days. I just know that I couldn’t handle that, and would just give up partway through and keep everything. I do much better with it spread out over months, even if it does seem neverending.



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5 Responses to Making Space – Will the Clothing Category Ever End??

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