Arranging clothes - Tidying by category works like magic

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing - Marie Kondo 2014

Arranging clothes
Tidying by category works like magic

The secret to energizing your closet

It feels great to open up your closet and see the clothes you love arranged neatly on hangers. But my clients’ closets are often such a mess that it takes courage just to open them and, once open, it’s impossible to find anything in them.

There are two possible causes. The first is that the closet is simply too full. One of my clients had jammed so many clothes inside that it took her three full minutes to extract a single outfit. The hangers were so closely packed that when, after much grunting and pulling, she finally managed to extract an outfit, the clothes on either side popped out with it like bread from a toaster. I could see why she had not used that closet for several years. This is an extreme example, but it is true that most people store far more than necessary in their closets. This is one reason I recommend folding whatever clothes you can. Of course, there are some types of clothing that are better stored on hangers. These include coats, suits, jackets, skirts, and dresses. My standard is this: hang any clothes that look like they would be happier hung up, such as those made with soft materials that flutter in the breeze or highly tailored cuts, which protest at being folded. These we should hang willingly.

The other cause of a messy closet is lack of knowledge. Many people simply don’t know how to organize clothes on hangers. The most basic rule is to hang clothes in the same category side by side, dividing your closet into a jacket section, a suit section, and so on. Clothes, like people, can relax more freely when in the company of others who are very similar in type, and therefore organizing them by category helps them feel more comfortable and secure. You can literally transform your closet just by applying this principle.

Of course, many people insist that even when they organize their clothes by category, it isn’t long before their closets are messy again. So let me introduce a secret for maintaining the neatness of closets that you work hard to organize. Arrange your clothes so that they rise to the right. Take a moment to draw an arrow rising toward the right and then another descending to the right. You can do this on paper or just trace them in the air. Did you notice that when you draw an arrow rising to the right it makes you feel lighter? Lines that slope up to the right make people feel comfortable. By using this principle when you organize your closet, you can make the contents look far more exciting.

To do so, hang heavy items on the left side of the closet and light items on the right. Heavy items include those with length, those made from heavier material, and those that are dark in color. As you move toward the right side of the closet, the length of the clothing grows shorter, the material thinner, and the color lighter. By category, coats would be on the far left, followed by dresses, jackets, pants, skirts, and blouses. This is the basic order, but depending on the trends in your wardrobe, what classifies as “heavy” in each category will differ. Use your intuition to create a balance that makes it appear as if the clothes are sloping up to the right. In addition, organize the clothes within each category from heavy to light. When you stand in front of a closet that has been reorganized so that the clothes rise to the right, you will feel your heart beat faster and the cells in your body buzz with energy. This energy will also be transmitted to your clothes. Even when you close the closet door, your room will feel fresher. Once you have experienced this, you’ll never lose the habit of organizing by category.

Some may question whether paying attention to such details can possibly cause such a change, but why waste your time doubting if incorporating this exciting magic into all your storage spaces could keep your room tidy? It will only take you ten minutes to rearrange your closet by category, so trust me and give it a try. But don’t forget that you first need to reduce your wardrobe to only those clothes that you really love.