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How To Clean Your Closet

By Ruchi Garg, 12/24/2015 - 21:34

How to clean your closet

Does your closet look like the one above? Well, you aren’t alone. When faced with the tornado swept mess that I call my closet, I often ask myself where did I get all of this stuff from. Years of accumulation, a saree bought for this occasion, a new blouse for that week’s dinner party, can easily lead to a seemingly untamable mess as seen in the photo above. Last month I sat down and decided that I would do something about it – here’s what I came up with.

Finding your inner zen

That’s Marie Kondo. She’s kind of a neat freak.

Marie’s love for housekeeping and cleanliness started in her early years, and since then she has managed to transform her art into a highly sought-after consulting business and an internationally best-selling book. Her consulting business is centered around a collection of techniques she has dubbed The KonMari Method, which when properly applied can change the look of your closet pretty dramatically.

KonMari Method: Guiding Principles

While I highly suggest that you pick up Marie’s book detailing her methods, I’ll try and distill some of the basics for you here. The KonMari method is comprised of three core principles:

1. Organize by category rather than room

This first one might be a bit of a surprise for most people as they are used to tackling the organizing task location by location. According to Marie, this is a fatal mistake, and you are likely to get better results by starting with a specific category. Marie advocates tackling your clothing first, and her suggestion for how to do it? Throw it all in a pile in the center of your room and sort through each item asking yourself…

2. Does it “spark joy”?

Pick up the item and run your fingers over it. Really get a feel for the object. Does it inspire you? Does it spark joy in your heart? These are the kind of questions that Marie wants you to grapple with. And if the answer is “no” or “sort-of”, toss them aside to be discarded. If it truly inspires you or brings you joy, you’ll know. It sounds brutal at first, and it takes a shift of perspective to really dive in and do it, but you’ll be better off in the long run. Which leads us to the third principle…

3. Make the assumption that everything is going and that you are choosing what to keep

Adopting this viewpoint is critical for getting the most out of your cleaning spree – consider it training for your mind, so that you are more willing to let go of the “maybes” and truly keep the stuff that bring you happiness. Most of the times too many items is what messes up the closet.

OK I’ve got a pile of items to be discarded. Now what?

Now that you have this pile of clothing, the next thing you need to decide is what you’re going to do with it. You have a few options here:

  1. Donate them – doing charitable things tends to warm our hearts in the way that a new Gucci handbag or shiny Omega watch never can. Give a little.
  2. Store it – if you really can’t let go of it, pack it away in cardboard boxes and put them in your storage room. This isn’t ideal, but if you absolutely can’t let go, this is probably the next best option. At least the clothes are out of sight and cannot create clutter. And if you don’t open these boxes in a year, you know you definitely don’t need them.
  3. Why not make a few bucks out of the cleaning while you’re at it? List some of your sarees at Once Again Club (www.onceagain.club). Consider Once Again as your virtual closet, where you can dump your existing sarees and find different ones at deep discounts.


Got a particularly messy closet? Post a picture in the comments and make others feel better. I know I did.