MY ALTERNATIVE TO THE MARIE KONDO METHOD

The simple solutions for when your wardrobe needs more than a new folding technique. #declutter #tips

REARRANGING THE DECK CHAIRS

I think Marie Kondo's Konmari method of decluttering is a great idea, but sadly for a lot of people the emphasis seems to have shifted from owning less clutter to tidying your clutter more neatly. I've talked to a few people who are busy folding their socks and underwear and clothes into neat little origami shapes..... but they aren't throwing anything out.

Instead, they create a little bit of space by squeezing everything neatly into their drawers and in the process, think they've solved their issues with owning too much stuff. Isn't this a little like re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic? Because sooner or later those little folded items are going to morph back into their old positions and you're back where you started - only with more stuff that you bought when you thought you had more space.

It's not about organizing, arranging, or containing your clutter, it's about getting rid of it. #declutterquotes

RETIREMENT AND REDUCING

Now that I have extra time on my hands in retirement, I've been using it to look at what I can do to live more simply and to streamline some of the little areas that are bothering me. My first port of call to start the process is looking at my wardrobe and drawers and all the clothes that I don't wear any more because I'm not working, or because they're dated but I've been holding onto them. My wardrobe isn't stuffed to overflowing, I don't constantly buy clothes to participate in Outfit Of The Day on Instagram, I don't even have that much that I don't wear regularly, but there is still room for improvement.

PROJECT 333

The question has been "where to start?" and finding an approach that will actually be simple and make a difference. As I cruised around the interwebs I saw there's a whole movement called Project 333 where you choose 33 items of clothing and that's all you wear for 3 months. Here are the guidelines:

  • When: Every three months
  • What: 33 items including clothing, accessories, jewelry, outerwear and shoes.
  • What not: these items are not counted as part of the 33 items – wedding ring or another sentimental piece of jewelry that you never take off, underwear, sleep wear, in-home lounge wear, and workout clothing.
  • How: Choose your 33 items, box up the remainder of your fashion statement, seal it with tape and put it out of sight.

This appealed to me but wasn't exactly what I was looking for - I like having more to choose from than just 33 items. What it did do though was inspire me to really look at my clothes and I began to sort them into three piles: (1) keep, (2) donate and (3) box up and see if I need them and if not....donate them next year.

MY ALTERNATIVE TO MARIE KONDO FOLDING

Once I'd packed up the clothes to donate (2) and boxed up the the "not sure" pile (3), I hung up what I wanted to keep (1) and then decided to fold up my shirts and cardigans in a way that looked tidy but still accessible. This is where my alternative to Marie Kondo folding came into play - I used the Sheldon Cooper folding method from The Big Bang Theory (I loved that show!) - less complex and equally effective.



My husband (who's a bit of a neat freak) loves Sheldon and his folding apparatus and I've always just smiled patronizingly at him and done my usual folding style. But, this time I got out the magic folding board and started on the tops I wear in public (I didn't bother with the around-the-house stuff) and boy was I impressed with the result! 


SORRY MARIE

So, there was no Marie Kondo-ing for me, instead there was a little bit of Project 333, a little bit of Sheldon Cooper, and a little bit of simplifying and sorting. Step 1 in the journey to a simpler and slower life is now ticked off. I feel lighter already and I've also committed myself to not buying any new clothes just because they're on sale or because they appear in my email inbox. Instead I'll be making the most out of what I have and only when they're looking a bit tatty or forlorn will I think about replacing them. I'll be contributing to reducing the landfill problem too - so win/win!

That's the plan for now - next is the pantry and maybe the linen cupboard. Both are pretty good, but there's nothing like sorting, shelf wiping, tossing out what's out of date, and freshening things up. Stay tuned!

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Are you a minimalist at heart like me? Or are you a person whose wardrobe is bulging at the seams? Does Project 333 appeal to you or is it a bit extreme? I must say I prefer it to trying to come up with a new outfit every day for IG!

RELATED POSTS



The simple solutions for when your wardrobe needs more than a new folding technique. #declutter #tips
The simple solutions for when your wardrobe needs more than a new folding technique. #declutter #tips

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50 comments

  1. I don't have a lot of clothes and tend to wear the same things over and over. I also go through my wardrobe a couple of times a year. As for Marie Kondo? I just can't. I did attempt to watch an episode, but none of it gelled with me. Books are my biggest spend & storage challenge. I'm due to take another pile down to the mobile library. Have a great week.

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    1. I've never understood the idea of trying to organize people who are compulsively messy and who hoard stuff. They seem to have a gene that resents being tidy - so going in and throwing out their stuff and folding up the rest of it just gives a temporary respite and before long they're back to where they started. I like doing small culls and donating regularly (love that you're donating those books) to keep things under control.

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  2. Hi, Leanne - This post made much sense to me. I enjoyed (speed)-reading, then (speed)-watching about the Marie Kondo Method. My take is, like so many "systems" out there, the Kondo Method of decluttering is a great starting point for each of us to experiment with.. For me, decluttering is now an on-going process, step-by-(baby)-step, without any heroic big chunks of time where I totally frustrate myself.

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    1. I think that's the secret to most things Donna - small steps and consistency (a bit like losing weight!) If you over-extend yourself you just end up resenting the whole process and giving up. I've reached a point where a mountain of unworn clothes or unused "stuff" does my head in and I also don't want to leave a mess behind for my kids to deal with.

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  3. Have been retired now for 5 years but still haven’t summonsed the courage for a ruthless cull of my wardrobes ( plural, I know). I have tried the 33 method, well make it 50 in my case, but still hang onto everything else, just in case. Of course, I have had to buy new casual gear ( can’t paint or dig potatoes in office suits or evening wear) but I have cut back on purchases and have found that by wearing the same items again and again, they wear out whereas when I go to a larger selection everything depreciates gradually and gets added to needlessly. As in Leanne’s comment above ‘stuff does my head in’ but I spend too much time procrastinating about the process and then find it easier to make a token gesture at decluttering before moving on to another project. Still your blog post inspired me, so maybe I’m not acompletely hopeless case.

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    1. Hi Caree - thanks so much for your comment and I do hope I inspired you to jump in and have another bit of a de-clutter session. I find that I look around and think everything is okay but when I dig a bit deeper I notice the stuff I've been stashing away "neatly" in the back of cupboards etc. Every so often I take a deep breath and dive in to places I don't normally go and forage out the stuff that's been stored for a while and donate it. It's an ongoing process and clothing is always tricky because we need different outfits and I don't like wearing the same thing all the time - so I'll never manage the 33 thing, but even if it's 100 that's better than 500!

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  4. I did put a whole bunch of things in another closet (last year when we moved into our new home) and now I need to take the plunge and get rid of them! I haven't looked at them in a year.

    What I liked about the Marie Kondo approach was thinking about only keeping things that make me feel good (bring me joy). So as I put on something to wear and then took it right off, because it just didn't look good....it went into a donate pile instead of back into the closet or drawer.

    I'm still slowly getting rid of my work clothes also....I keep thinking I can mix a piece into a more casual look, but then never do! Again, I just need to "bite the bullet" and get rid of stuff.

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    1. Pat I'm finding the same thing. A few of my work tops can be adapted to more casual use, but there's stuff that I'll definitely be getting rid of in another year or so if I close the door completely on going back to an office environment. I now have half a clothing rail in another closet that holds clothes that will disappear to the charity shop once I fully embrace this lovely retired life. Old work gear definitely doesn't spark any joy for me!!

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    2. Hi! Revisiting with #MLSTL and wondering how you're doing finding a new "look". My life was work, so I had a closet full of work clothes and a handful of comfort clothes for the weekends. I'm still trying to figure out my new non-work look! Usually I'm in shorts and a T-shirt (it's summer here) but that feels a bit frumpy! I'm even thinking of trying one of those clothing stylists (Stitch-Fix is one here in the US) for a couple of months to get some new more stylish everyday non-work outfits!

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    3. It's tricky Pat - I tend to wear capri pants in Summer with a nice tee shirt or blouse and jeans with the same sorts of tops + a cardigan in Winter. I confess to wearing "leisure pants" - translated - pj bottoms! a lot around the house or yoga pants/stretch 3/4 pants in Summer for comfort. I'm trying to work some of my work tops into the mix but my work trousers and skirts are on hangers in the wardrobe for now.
      I'm really trying not to buy new clothes - so there's a lot of mix and matching going on!

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  5. I just made a big purge of several areas of the house when I cleaned out some closets and we participated in a flea market. My husband did good with selling his tools but I still have stuff left so I'm thinking about having a yard sale too. My clothes are going to get purged as well because I lost some weight and things no longer fit but I'm pretty sure I have enough that I won't need to buy anything else for a while. Great post.

    Janet’s Smiles

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    1. Hi Janet - I've purged quite a bit and I'm really not interested in buying much more in the way of clothes. Occasionally I spot something that's pretty and will make a fresh addition to my wardrobe, but unless it really grabs me, I walk on by. I also find that the clothing store emails are a temptation (Free Shipping! 50% off! etc etc) so I try to avoid signing up for anything to avoid buying for the sake of a "bargain". BTW - congrats on the weight loss - I'm working on mine and my pants are definitely getting looser!

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  6. Hi Leanne, I am all about learning more tips on how to deal with my “stuff.” Ongoing for me:) You make a very good point, Leanne, on the tidying (or moving from room to room:) our clutter. Your initial paragraph is priceless on the smile factor. I also loved the Big Bang Theory. For the most part, I am (still) on the 15 minute team (every day I spend 15 minutes organizing/purging.) In the bigger picture, I am on the “work in progress team” as I am with a lot in my life:)

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    1. I think the 15 minute team sounds like a great idea Erica - short, sweet and not too taxing! I've noticed that doing little chores here and there like clearing a pantry shelf, wiping it over and then restacking and culling - is so much easier than tackling the whole thing in one go. Sometimes I inspire myself and do a bit more, but basically it's all so tedious that I try not to spend too much time on that sort of stuff. I do love a clean and clutter-free house, so I try to keep on top of things as much as possible to make my head and heart happy.

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  7. I recently watched Marie and followed alot of her suggestions. It was helpful for me especially looking at an item and deciding if I love it. If not it goes. I like her folding method but I'm open to trying anything that works. I'm not naturally organized so I need all the help I can get. thanks for the ideas

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    1. Hi Judee - I think Marie was a great sparker and initiator for those who didn't know where to start. Her clean lines and sparseness have a real appeal, but I find that a lot of people pick one part and forget the whole picture. I know friends who just did the folding (but not the discarding) or others who started, got overwhelmed and gave up before making much of a dent in their clutter.
      Personally, I'm a fan of not buying more and more stuff - and getting rid of things that are stored at the back of cupboards for "one day" and then never see the light again.

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  8. I really loved this Leanne! After I finished work I culled my wardrobe of jackets, shoes and office things and gave them away. I have a whole new look these days, comfortable, easy, relaxed but still a bit stylish and I don’t need quite as many clothes. I do like to buy new things from time to time but I make sure they fit in with my new lifestyle. I often do a cull of my wardrobe and feel better once it’s done. I also went through the linen closet and pantry when I finished work and it must be about time for another look. I’m also going through paperwork no longer required. I enjoyed Sheldon’s folding method 😂 I admit to never having looked at Marie Kondo! Sounds like you are taking to this change in circumstances quite well Leanne.

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    1. Hi Deb - I'm thinking that there will be a 2nd purge in the next 12 months of all my work pants, skirts etc that can't be re-purposed into nice-casual wear. I actually wore one of my work tops with jeans the other day and it looked good - so there might be a 2nd life for some of my blouses etc.
      I also cleared a few laundry cupboards the other day - making use of the extra time I have! And I think I'm settling into my change in circumstances more week by week. It's been a process to work through but I think retirement is now looking very attractive!

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  9. Aww, love this! My only problem with MK's folding method is it does NOT work for my slippery shirts! So now I rill them instead, and stand the rolls on end, contained within baskets/subdivided sections in my drawers. Have done this for my girls, too, and labeled theirs - all the "play shirts" are together, all the "phys.ed." shirts are together, all the dressier shirts are together, all the graphic Tshirts and "shirts with words" are together - that way they don't come downstairs with a dressy shirt on when they're headed out to dig dirt piles LOL!

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    1. There's definitely a lot of good in MK's methods Flossie - it's just that a lot of people don't do the "spark joy" part where you cull first and then fold what remains. They tend to fold everything and then add more - poor MK must roll her eyes at times!

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  10. I'm on the chucking it out stage - I'm putting kids toys and books on the fence in a effort to find them new homes...my clothes are making it to the red bin, as alas I'm just getting too old for some of the cute, short, sleeveless dresses...boo hoo! #MLSTL

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    1. I'm the same Lydia - there are certain items of clothes that just aren't right for me and even if I 'could' wear them, it doesn't mean I 'should' wear them! It's actually a nice feeling when I discard a pile and if I buy less than I discard, then I'm on the right path to minimalism.

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  11. Hi Leanne - I agree with you that re-arranging doesn't address the root cause. Stop the unnecessary incoming materials and we'll have less to maintain or declutter. De-cluttering is an ongoing process for me. I have my own plan and goals for my stuff and know I'll get there. I do a little bit at a time and year round. I'm not into buying new things either, unless they're to replace something that no longer function. I didn't know about Sheldon but my clothes when folded look like the finished product of the Sheldon folding method. #MLSTL

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    1. Hi Natalie - I'm working on wearing out as much as I can, tossing out or donating what has been sitting around for too long, and doing it in bite sized pieces so I don't get overwhelmed. I still buy things, but I'm working on buying less than I cull - that way things will continue to improve rather than going downhill further.

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  12. No Marie Kondo for me. Instead, I follow my tried and true method when it comes to clothes. Since I have to pack away seasonal stuff because we don't have enough room, each season I'm ruthless with the clothes that are being put away. If I didn't wear it during the past 6 months and it's not a sentimental piece, then it's time to donate it. Sure, sometimes I wonder why I ever got rid of something, but in the end, it's just clothing and getting rid of it freed up some time and space in my life.

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    1. You sound a lot like me Jennifer - I pack things away and give them 6mths or so's grace (in case I realize I miss something) but 9/10 times I end up donating it because it's superfluous. I've only had a couple of small regrets and I guess that's an excuse to buy a fresh replacement! I still have a few dresses that I keep for potential wedding guest wearings, but weddings are becoming very infrequent these days, so I might be discarding them next!

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  13. My closet is busting at the seams. lol I bought the Marie Kondo book years ago but have yet to read it. I am trying to get rid of some things and now have three bags that need dropped off somewhere. I actually cleaned out some of my kitchen cabinets and got rid of a bunch of miss matched coffee cups.

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    1. My Mum says the same thing about her wardrobe Victoria - she has so much stuffed in there that she can't find most of it and wears the same things over and over. I've suggested she tackle one small section at a time, pack up a box/bag full and donate it, then tackle another small section each week. The trouble with owning so much is that it's daunting making decisions about what to discard, and a lot of it is still fairly new and we're reluctant to let it go. That's why I'm trying to buy less these days - then there's less to decide about and more things get worn more frequently.
      Good on you for tackling the pantry - coffee cups seem to breed in our house and my husband says we need them for guests - I doubt we'd have 20 people wanting coffee at the same time anytime in the future - but he has other ideas!

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  14. I agree Leanne, I can't do Marie! Loved your post and your new system! But I don't like clutter and relatives from the UK visited recently their comment was "But where's all your STUFF?" I think moving around the world has ensured that we have a clearout every couple of years! But I do have a lot of clothes, and I love my clothes. That's my downfall! Pinned.

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    1. I think we should all have to move house every 5 years to make us declutter Jo (although my MIL moved house twice in 2yrs recently and managed to pack everything down to the last pill bottle each time!!) Older people have a need to surround themselves with "stuff" so I'm doing my best not to fall into that trap.
      I imagine your wardrobe would be fairly extensive - but at least a lot of it is gifted so you don't have to feel guilty about wasting too much money on the accumulation :)

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  15. I haven’t heard of Project 333 until now Leanne. I’ve become a minimalist over recent years so it does appeal to me. When I think about I probably wear a small amount of the clothes in the wardrobe so maybe I’m doing it already. #MLSTL Will share

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    1. I certainly have a limited number of outfits for each season Jennifer, but I had quite a lot of "maybe I'll wear that" items that I've now assigned to the box. If I haven't needed them in 6-12 months then they're going to the Salvos and I'll feel lighter not having them. I've also bought a couple of new things lately, but if I toss out a dozen things and buy one new thing then I'm definitely minimizing.

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  16. Living full-time in an RV for ten years has meant the following: If one thing comes in, one thing has to go out. Sometimes two have to go out. LOL! And being a neatnick, I've always folded everything. LOL!

    #MLSTL

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    1. Maybe we need to put all the cluttered hoarders into RVs for a few years Donna! My thing is that I don't like clothes jammed together in drawers or on hangers because new things keep getting bought and added. My approach now is to donate as much as I can and then buy a new item occasionally for freshness and there'll be room for it in the cupboard.

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  17. Hi BBB, late to the party I'm sorry but you certainly brought a smile to my face with some of your comments like: folding their socks and underwear and clothes into neat little origami shapes. Could you also send Sheldon or your hubby over to my place with their folding expertise? I did a lot of decluttering of everything when we recently moved and think I actually went too far in the wardrobe department. I don't think I have 33 things I could wear now LOL:) I agree wholeheartedly that we can get caught up with just shuffling things around rather than letting go and moving forward in life. Thanks for sharing and being my co-host at #MLSTL and sharing on SM :)

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    1. Hi Sue - maybe after all the culling you can go out guilt free and buy a few new things. That's my approach these days, donate and de-clutter and then if I see something I love I can add it into what remains without it becoming something else stuffed into an over-full closet. I definitely think moving makes for an excellent excuse to get rid of stuff and it's that much less you have to pack and then unpack at the other end!

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  18. There's been no Konmari'ing here but I do like her saying of 'what sparks joy'. OMG I love that shirt folding device demonstrated by Sheldon! lol I have done some decluttering - mainly my drawers in the bedroom and I am very proud of my linen cupboards that I went through and have looking fabulous now. I need to tackle my WIR next - it's a mess! I agree that it feels good - it declutters my mind as well as my house which is always a good thing! :-)

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    1. I find the same thing Min - a clear and clean house gives me a clearer head. I love looking around and seeing order and a scattering of things I love - rather than piles of old stuff that have never been dealt with. I can't understand people who have kitchen benches and dining room tables that are swamped with stuff - how do they function?! Give me a clear counter top any day - and a tidy pantry and linen closet are the icing on the cake!

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  19. I love your system, Leanne, and the thought process/methods you used to get there! Project 333 is similar to a capsule wardrobe method I used last year, and it really does make things simpler and easier, and who doesn't want that? Like you, I'll never be creating my IG outfit of the day! Shared on SM. #MLSTL

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    1. I could never understand the IG outfit of the day Candi - it would take soooo many clothes to achieve and I don't own enough - and won't buy for the sake of a photo opportunity! I find that having clothes in similar shades or that match with a base colour (beige/black etc) helps keep things manageable too.

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  20. Project 333 is too drastic for me but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things I should be doing. I have been retired for three years now and still haven’t completely depleted my work wardrobe. I’ve also gained weight and many of my favorites don’t look good on me right now. But I can’t get rid of them!!! I have to save them for when I lose the weight. Ha!! I’m also a crafter which requires supplies and a place to put them. That’s a constant battle. I don’t like clutter so I at least try to keep things out of sight. 🤫

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    1. Hi Linda - I often regretted that I wasn't crafty, but the payoff is that I don't need a cupboard full of craft supplies, fabric, buttons, cards etc. I also think that about people who like to cook on a grand scale - there are a lot of appliances that take up a lot of space if you're a serious cook. I'll stick with a couple of pots and pans and a microwave!
      I'm also figuring out what to keep and what to discard in my wardrobe now I'm not working - there are favourites that really should go but I hang onto them for the same reason you do. I think they might fall victim to my next purge though.

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  21. Hi Leanne! As I think you know I'm a big fan of what I call "Rightsizing." And while I see much benefit in Marie Kondo's methods, she isn't the first and won't be the last. So no, I don't follow her much at all because I happen to think rightsizing is a plan that can work for everyone in their own unique style. I do believe that reducing our "stuff" and minimizing what we own and definitely what we buy is a good thing. But just like how you explained you and your husband have different ways to approach the topic, I think we all do. That's why rightsizing is a great solution because it encourages you to find your own way and then slowly perfect that as time goes by. And while some people might like a "Project 333" to get them started, I'm not a fan of that kind of stuff diet. Still, it's good to encourage people to start the path to a more simple and sustainable lifestyle! ~Kathy

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    1. Hi Kathy - you're right about it not being a one size fits all concept. I think a lot of people who have a hoarder tendency latch onto new ideas (like Marie Kondo etc) in the hope that it will be the answer to their problems. The trouble is that they pick and choose which bits to follow and the end result fails. I think you have to want to have a clear house and clear mind for any of the minimalist/de-cluttering to work. There are people who love to be surrounded by possessions and they'll never downsize because they can't keep all their stuff in a smaller place (maybe that's why storage units are so popular??)

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  22. Hi Leanne,
    Marie Kondo Method and Project 333 were interesting to know and read about. Thanks, Leanne.
    I am a minimalist by nature. So, there isn't so much of clutter to manage.
    I periodically try to get rid of stuff that aren't of any use or of any sentimental value.

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    1. I'm the same Pradeep - I enjoy learning about different ways to approach minimalism and I'm very glad it's become so popular because less people wonder why my house isn't covered in clutter. A periodic culling of any unwanted items always makes me feel clearer at the end of it too.

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  23. I'm still working outside of the home, so I have my work wardrobe, my casual outside of the house clothes, my workout wear, and my lounging around the house clothes. I don't think I could get it down to 33 items. However, at the beginning of every season, I go through my clothes and eliminate at least a few items that I no longer wear or that are worn out. During the year, if I buy a new item of clothing I have a self-imposed rule that I must get rid of something else. It makes me think twice about purchases and also keeps me from getting more stuff when I'm trying to downsize (declutter). #MLSTL

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    1. I think that's probably the most sensible approach Christie - if we buy without culling then the wardrobe just becomes a clogged up mess, but trying to narrow it down to 33 items just seemed a bit extreme to me too. I love having some variety and tossing in an old favourite every now and then - that being said, I'm also getting a lot of satisfaction out of reducing the pile of clothes piece by piece!

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  24. A good post, which was of great interest. I did Marie Kondo my drawers of clothing: undies, socks, etc and that was back in January when the show aired I think. I have kept it going. Colour me surprised!! What I "know" I have an excess of but I am keeping is day to day clothing. When I was recovering from my surgeries and had lost a lot of weight in the time before, and after, I needed (truly) a lot of clothing as nothing fit. This I then took to the next level of both acquisition and spending. It has stopped. But it took a while. Denyse #mlstl

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  25. Hi Denyse, I often wonder how women doing OOTD manage to have something different to wear for 365 days of the year (I tend to wear a lot of the same casual stuff every week). Changing clothing size is a real hassle though - I've lost a few kilos lately and may need to update my pants/jeans etc but am using belts for now and hopefully I can leave worrying about it til next Winter!

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