how to survive the clothing purge (20 ways)

Mom, you’re a genius with the clothes.

Now they are in order and I can just find things and it’s not a mess.

Samuel, age 6


As a mom sometimes the things that make the hair stand up on the back of my neck aren’t the big things but are rather these words – seasonal clothing switch or clothing purge or sorting clothes.

Especially mine.

But, I’ve been working through the book the simple magic of tidying up and her first step is to go through your clothes. ALL OF THEM. Not just one closet, not just the clothes in your room – but all of the clothing in the whole house. So yes, that means the totes of stored clothes, the seasonal clothes on the top shelves and the clothes in the laundry room.

I started with mine. And I was absolutely astonished by the sheer VOLUME of the clothes that I dealt with everyday. Yes, dealt with them, even though they were hung up I realized that there was a great deal of emotional investment in those clothes or memories attached or just how much work it was to manage stuff where there was barely enough room.

So I followed the steps listed in the book and asked myself if that piece of clothing made me happy or brought joy. It felt weird, okay. But for some reason it was still awesome. I think because I started to realize the deeper level that the clothes in my closet had on me. You know how it is when you say I’m having a good hair day? It’s kind of like saying I’m having a good clothing day.

I realized we’re worth having things that make us happy.


Holding onto things often holds us back and doesn’t allow us to become the person we are moving towards. I realized I was really good at storing things but in storing them I was managing them. Managing the shirt I wore in San Diego. Remembering how I wore this there. Wishing those pants fit me better. Loving a sweatshirt but getting aggravated because the sleeves were too short.

Maybe you loved those pants or want that dress or whatever.


I got rid of over 1/2 my clothing. Probably more.

In fact, I look in my closet now and think what should I get rid of now. It’s kind of addicting this purging thing. Not surviving, but actually cleansing.


And I worked with my kids on it as well. It was shocking to me how quickly they understood the concept. My kindergartner, Samuel, would pick up a shirt and say nope this doesn’t make me happy and put it in the bag. It was easy to teach him to let go of stuff. And then, the cool thing was that when that was done him and his brother played in their room.

It was as if they could sense the order.

Now my ten and twelve year old already entered the world of not wanting let me down or emotional attachment (which I’m sure I taught them). Caleb (10) would say what if you bought it for me? I don’t want to hurt your feelings. And I was straightforward and honest with them and explained that in this house we are filling it with things that make us happy. And expectations, fears, not-wanting-to-let me down over material things didn’t need to take away.

And then he caught on. Quick.

I think the biggest thing I learned was to SORT BY CATEGORY not location. It’s a huge mindset shift. So remember that when you’re doing your clothing. Push through and do all the clothes. Don’t get distracted by something else. Then put away all the clothes. Then do your shoes. All of them. Then your jewelry. And so forth. I found myself thinking maybe I’ll do my books in my office space next because I wanted my bedroom all done but I pushed myself to go do the boys clothes next.

So there will be house chaos, but it will get done.



So with that here are 20 tips to surviving the clothing purge.

1. Expect that it will make a great mess.
2. Expect to feel overwhelmed with the great mess.
3. Do not plan on making meals – Dominoes will be your friend.
4. Do take ALL of your clothes out of everywhere (I forgot I had sweaters sealed under my bed)
5. Seriously ask yourself if it brings you joy.
6. Try on clothes to see if they fit.
7. If there is even a little bit of “uncomfortable” get rid of it.
8. Get rid of it even if there are tags on it.
9. Let go of guilt over having so much clothing.
10. Create order within the chaos – I hung all the hangers in the empty closet, had the bags ready to go, and moved through stuff with a system.
11. Get caffeine.
12. If you’re trying on stuff do your hair and put make up on. I know, it seems vain, but it helped me in my decisions especially if it was work stuff.
13. Put your clothes back in your closet in a different way.
14. Follow the folding methods in the book (at least to start) as it made me happy to even look in my drawers. (see my pics)
15. Kids can do this. My little ones easily grasped the concept of keep because of happy.
16. Get rid of anything with stains, rips or is worn. I clung onto a favorite blue shirt but it was so won and the color faded i knew it was time to let it go.
17. Take pictures. The progress part is awesome. Including you. (see my crazy hair pic as evidence)
18. Have a plan with what to do with all the bags of clothing.
19. Expect that this will spur you to do the next parts – I did shoes and jewelry as well.
20. Be grateful – for the stuff you had, ability to get rid of it and the new found space.



Here is your to-do list for week two. If you don’t have the life-changing magic of tidying up book you can get it here -> order the life-changing magic of tidying up

1. Go through your clothes.

2. I’m serious. Go through your clothes. That’s the only task. The whole house. All of it.

3. Keep track of how bags of clothing you get rid of. Me? It was 23

4. Tell me how going through the clothes and the emotion that you had prior to this merged. For instance – I had great fear about this whole thing and letting go. Well, truthfully, I’ve been dealing with lots of fear things but have also found much freedom. Way independent of just clothing. In some ways, letting go of stuff has allowed my brain to let go of stuff as well.

My quote and inspiration for you this week?


Good luck! And you will survive.

What was the biggest discovery you had this week?


#findingjoy #konmari

and if you’re just now seeing this and want to join here’s the link to the challenge that will add you to our email list. You will get the emails (and can get caught up) just in time for next week’s new challenge.


11 Responses to “how to survive the clothing purge (20 ways)”

  1. I’m in the trenches with you!

    Mind if I share a link to your list with next week’s recap?

  2. January 19, 2016

    Judy Shutters Reply

    want to get started….i have the book and not quite finished.

  3. January 19, 2016

    Stacia Luh Reply

    Did you kids try on the clothes as well?? What if they are sizes they aren’t in yet?

    • January 19, 2016

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      I didn’t have them try anything on. I just made a decision for them to make it easier.

  4. January 20, 2016

    Kate Reply

    I LOVED this book. The foldimg method changed our lives – I swear!!!! Something else that helped my girls let go of things (a tough thing for them) was “thanking” the item for its time and service in our lives. When I first read that in the book, I thought it was a little weird, but it seems to work. Now we use that little ritual when letting go of something that is worn out, outgrown, or just never clicked. Happy tidying!!

  5. January 21, 2016

    erica Reply

    Did it this morning!!! Feels great!! TWO FULL GARBAGE BAGS TO DONATE!!!!

  6. January 22, 2016

    Claudia Reply

    2 garbage bags to donate, 2 more for trash. I even put my Wedding dress online for sale. Couldn’t bring myself to do that before. YAY!!!

  7. February 16, 2016

    Bethanne Reply

    My fear is kuds things; clothes. Even toys. I have a fear of letting go because it represents they grew up and I have difficulty with the whole time thing. Passing of time. I’m very emotional. Now I have bags to give away, but I’m still holding on to a few items that I just can’t part with. Do make me happy. I think that someday I’ll get rid of them but not yet. I’m proud of myself for bagging up so much right now. Nowhere near through it all, it’s only three sizes. They are 13 and 11. Please don’t judge. This has always been hard for me. Now I just have tk give them away and im putting it off. I even have a woman who wants them. I need s push please.

  8. May 25, 2016

    Tyna Reply

    I want to do this so bad, but getting rid of stuff makes my hubby nutty! ‘We might need it someday, shouldn’t we sell it?, why do you want to get rid of stuff that’s perfectly good?’ The whole konmari thing makes no sense to him…

    • May 25, 2016

      Cw Reply

      Do it without him. My husband tried to save a tacky Christmas snowman from the goodwill pile last night. Also a rug that’s been in the storage room for 2 years and is ugly that he didn’t remember we owned. Just do it when. I one is watching, and they’ll never know it’s gone. If it is somehow miraculously missed later, just say “oh, that? It got broken/hopelessly stained, don’t you remember?”

      • May 27, 2016

        Rachel Marie Martin Reply

        Truth. I think that’s the hardest part is when the family is nostalgic and you know it needs to go.

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