The Art of Declutter & Folding Standing – Up Tshirts

I was at dinner with friends last night. It was a mixed group of some older people like myself and a lovely group of 30 somethings.  As the conversation moved along, the name Marie Kondo came up. The younger set and one of my older friends exploded into shared ecstasy about the wonders of Marie Kondo. A tribe had formed right before my eyes and I wasn’t a member.  I decided to sit quietly, my ignorance unspoken and wait for the reveal of Marie Kondo. But my blank face and silence inevitably lead to

“Nora do you use her techniques at all? She’s so fantastic!”

Confession of my ignorance of the KonMari method followed and whipped up more enthusiasm to educate this poor lonely soul forever destined to crumpled t-shirts and cluttered wardrobes.

The disciples at the table poured out detail of this amazing change leader. I learned- that Marie Kondo is a petite 34 year old Japanese woman who helps people declutter when overwhelmed by stuff. (The KonMari method)  She was described variously as cute, innovative, smart, fabulous, funny and a declutter guru.  I also thought – smart business woman! There was talk of videos of folding clothes (gripping!) and the need to slowly run your hand over the fabric to really feel the cloth.  (This is when I thought – this is getting very odd)

It did sound weird but I had made a promise to myself to stay open and non- judgemental (very hard when it comes to folding clothes.)  My new found VIVA spirit fosters enquiry and learning not cynicism. With an open – mindedness about declutter and folding clothes my brain would stay agile and my attitudes pliable as I age.

With thanks Jaroslav Ceborski Unsplash


So I began to research. Kondo has, I found out later, written widely on “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” The local library said all copies were out and booked ahead. What was going on here?  I turned to YouTube for education and watched a number of videos by Marie Kondo with titles like

The Japanese art of present wrapping (FUROSHIKI) Very nice. I’ll use this- this gift wrap recycles fabric and looks good

How to declutter- the 5 categories – I guess a good strategy for people who are emotionally attached to their stuff. Start with no 1 and go down the list

  1. Cloth
  2. Books
  3. Documents
  4. Kimono meaning miscellaneous
  5. Sentimental items

How to organise your closet– This video began with the revelation that you need to place things where you can reach them in your closet. Further advice suggested that the tall people in your house have the upper areas of the closet. My resolve is starting to fail so I decided to move on.

How to fold long sleeved garments was the next video. (Apparently this is a particularly gruelling task requiring great skill (sorry, VIVA mindset where are you?)

Finally, I watched Folding Clothes. In this video Marie Kondo suggests that before we start folding say a t-shirt we must first feel the clothing. We communicate affection for the clothing through the palms of our hands. Folding clothes is about love and showing gratitude to our clothes for their continued support. Finally, when a piece of clothing is folded correctly it will stand up by itself.

Do you ever feel you are an alien on another planet?

Hard as I tried Marie Kondo was not my folding clothes guru. My t-shirts will never stand-up. Perhaps I’m doomed to climbing on a chair to reach the Himalayas of my closet for the rest of my life.

I have absolutely nothing to say about folding clothes but here’s Nora’s declutter guide

  1. If you haven’t used it in 2 years re-gift, recycle or donate
  2. Sell stuff on websites like Ebay and at a local market or garage sale once a year
  3. Have a “Swap Ya” evening with friends- all bring old good clothes that are swappable – wine and cheese may help oil the barter system
  4. Don’t buy a new item unless you have worn out or thrown out an equivalent item
  5. Have a mega clear out at least once a year – a room at a time
  6. Scan documents and keep electronic files rather than keeping paper docs.
  7. Look at photos of your kids or whoever is going to inherit your pile when you’re gone- be nice- don’t leave a ton of stuff for them to deal with. If there’s a story attached to an item of significance, write it on a piece of paper and attach it to the item.

Downsize, right size, minimalist style, zen- it feels good to have some degree of order in your world. Check out Marie Kondo. She’s fun!

Images with thanks Jaroslav Ceborski Unsplash and Wikipedia creative commons

29 January 2019 | Life-Style

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