Kondo-ing the Condo

Updated: June 14, 2016 – 10:42 am

I finally read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” by Marie Kondo. My friends had been insisting it’s right up my alley for over a year.

“Her method is to get rid of anything that doesn’t bring you joy,” I explained to a friend.

“Isn’t that more like your method?”

I was glad he said it so I didn’t have to.

“Turns out she thought of it first.”

Before: storing off-season clothes separately. Marie Kondo says not to do this.

I set aside a whole day to try her method. “Why are you rushing me?” my husband asked that morning as I handed him his keys and jacket.

“I just don’t want you to miss your bus,” I said in what I hoped sounded like an innocent tone, fiddling with my French press.

8:44 a.m.– Go-Time

I review my notes from Kondo’s book. I haul out all of my clothes for examination. In none of my other downsize operations have I ever removed anything from my closets. It always went straight from the hanger to the giveaway bag.


Coffee is ready. Time to get to work.
I guess I have more clothes than I thought.

9:19 a.m. – Shirts & Tops

Kondo says on average a person has 160 above-the-belt articles of clothing; I have 55. I’m no downsizing amateur, making this a low-scale operation. I find three tops for a friend who asked me to be on the lookout. Marie Kondo says before you start, ask others if there’s anything specific they want and offer them only that. Don’t make your junk their junk.

Do these T-shirts bring me joy?
One bag ready to go!


9:46 a.m. – Bottoms

It feels wrong putting tights and jeans and workout pants into the same category, but Kondo directs us to group all kinds of bottoms together. I don’t have a lot. I get rid of only two.

I’m about to throw these in the donation pile when I realize that layering these under my jeans in winter brings me joyous warmth.

9:54 a.m. – Hanging Clothes

This is the first time I’ve included coats in a downsizing project. Coats, a blazer, a Stitch Fix blouse, and 25 dresses. 25? No wonder I don’t have many pants. Two more, and I could pretend I’m Katherine Heigl.

I say goodbye to jackets, thanking each item for what they’ve taught me or given me, per her guidelines. Thank you, neon green spring jacket, for keeping me warm at the North Shore and for teaching me that I need a jacket that covers my belt line, no matter how colorful they are.

In the coming brisk weeks, I will question this choice. I decide to keep my blazer, which brings joy but rarely gets worn, repurposing it as my new spring jacket. My new wardrobe has two jackets.

Tops to keep and accessories to sort.

10:18 a.m. – Exhaustion

I am starting to feel discouraged and hot. I drink some water and remove my socks. I put a MeatLoaf album on – a throwback to high school that always lifts my spirits.

In case you too are feeling overwhelmed or exhausted by my downsizing, we’ll stop here for now. Just so you know, the real me didn’t stop: I kept on for another several hours and two pots of coffee.

Enjoy your rest, and check back next week for the next episode of Adventures in Downsizing.

(For more detailed photos, please see http://www.goodworkgreatlife.com/2016/06/06/kondo-ing-the-condo/)

Carissa Jean Tobin is a Minneapolis-based teacher, writer, and coach. Her hobbies include creating humorous surveys for friends, lounging at the Wilde Roast Café, and scanning old papers in an effort to minimize. Visit her website http://www.goodworkgreatlife.com for tips on great living.