Zen and the Art of an Organised Underwear Drawer
Your bedroom should be your oasis of calm, but it is often a magnet for clutter. Embrace some drawer and wardrobe organisation and start to streamline your mornings and turn your bedroom into a more restful space.
I don't actually consider myself to a particularly neat or organised person, but my house looks fairly neat and organised. This isn't because of an innate ability, it is simply because organised spaces make me feel better and operate better.
If you would like to start decluttering and organising your home a bit better, the bedroom is a good place to start. It is meant to be an oasis of relaxation, but often becomes a magnet for clutter. When visitors come we can just shut the door on it and we are not looking at it all day ourselves, so the bedroom often slips down the priority list in terms of tidying and decorating. However, as we spend so much time there and it is a place for essential recharge, it should have a bit more priority in the home-love scale.
Clothes are the usually the biggest source of bedroom clutter. Most of us have far more clothing than we need or use and we usually don't have great emotional attachment to most of it, so it's a great place to start building your "minimising" muscle.
So perhaps you can consider decluttering your wardrobe and organising your clothing drawers as a great “Minimalism 101”. Being easily able to see everything makes clothing selections easier and stops items from being overlooked. Having a system that ensures there is a place for everything eliminates decision making, which means it’s also easier to put things away.
I broadly subscribe to the “KonMari Method” of tidying, and started by decluttering and then folding my clothes using Marie Kondo’s technique some years ago after reading her book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying”. I found the book and the method a little quirky, with a few interesting cultural differences peeking through, but despite some of the oddities (and with a little adaptation to my personal needs) I have found the theory very successful. Her method has come under fresh scrutiny recently and garnered many new followers after the release of her Netflix series, but although I enjoyed the show as a fan, it really didn’t explain the true details of tidying as comprehensively as the book. I strongly suggest reading the book which covers many details of how to organise all your belongings if the subject interests you, but I’ll outline the basics of organising clothing here:
Before you start, get a clear vision in your head of how you want the space to look. Why do you want to clear it up and clean it out? How will it make you feel? A clear picture of the outcome will help you work through the process much easier.
Stage one: Get all of your clothing together and stick it in a big pile in the middle of your bed/bedroom. And I mean all of it, from everywhere in the house. It is meant to look like a giant mess. It works by shocking you into realising how much you have (and how much you probably don’t need/use). It also forces you to handle and consider each piece individually. It also forces you to get through the sorting process, as otherwise you will have a giant pile of clothes in the middle of your room and you likely won’t be able to get into bed.
Stage 1A: freak out a little at the mess, but realise things always get worse before they get better
Stage two: Go through every single piece individually. Pick up each one and touch it. Marie asks us to consider whether the item “sparks joy”. Pieces you really love should give you a little “jolt” of good feeling. It may sound a little strange, but if you are open to tune in to your feelings, you will find it fairly easy to tell whether or not you really like an object when you hold it in your hands. You definitely have a good feeling towards the clothes that fit well, look good, serve their purpose effectively or you just have love for.
Don’t think too hard or too long about it, rely on the wise power of your gut reaction. Make a Keep, Discard and Donate pile and get throwing. Being someone who isn’t always the best at making decisions, I also keep a Maybe pile, but do everything mentally possible not to add to it. It can come under greater scrutiny with a second pass.
We often have a lot in our wardrobe that doesn’t bring us joy in one way or another. Consider these categories:
Clothes that are worn out, faded, have lost their shape and/or require mending that will never happen.
Items that are so out of style you wouldn’t wear them.
Clothing from past “seasons” of your life that are gone.
Clothes that don’t fit, just don’t look “right” on or are inexplicably uncomfortable.
Clothes that bring back bad memories or feelings.
This includes clothes that you don’t wear and make you feel guilty - including impulse purchases or unnecessary expense.
Clothes that you simply Don’t Wear. They are basically fine, but they are always overlooked when you choose your outfit.
Now the first thing I’ll say is that I have no solutions in regards to actual selection of clothing (eg you must have 2 pairs of jeans, 1 pair of black pants etc). I have no worthwhile contribution to the subject of fashion. As with all minimising, YOU pick what works for YOU. Really, the secret to having a less cluttered space is not just rearranging it, it’s mostly having a lot less in it.
Stage 2A: Have a number of intense arguments with yourself, mostly justifying why you should probably keep something "just in case". Try and err on the "get rid of it" side.
Stage Three: Put back all the stuff you want to keep. Give everything a specific home. This makes it easier to find and put away. At this point you can consider how to organise your space better and this includes Marie Kondo’s now famous folding method which I find saves space and mess.
What you decide to hang or fold depends on your available space. Anything can be folded, but as I have a fairly large amount of hanging space in a walk-in wardrobe, I find clothes that are larger, bulky, structured or anything that wrinkles easily are best hung (jeans, trousers, jackets, long dresses, dress shirts).
Put everything in logical groups - every item must have an individual spot, not just a “zone”.
T-shirts, singlets and other clothing that is likely to stretch or misshape due to hanging is best stored in drawers, as is underwear, socks and hosiery.
When folding your clothes KonMari-style, the aim is to create a neat little rectangular package, that can stand upright on its own in the drawer, rather than a traditional stack. This way, on opening the drawer, you can see all the items at once.
With a bit of practice, this is quite easy to do. I can do it standing at the washing line and put it straight into the basket, so it is very little extra effort.
Stage 3A: Wonder if folding all your clothes into tiny matching rectangles is getting a weirdly compulsive. Wonder at the magical result and realise it's worth it.
Now with your wardrobe and drawers looking wonderfully spacious, organised and full of things you actually like wearing, hopefully choosing an outfit and returning the washing will be a more relaxed experience. Looking in my neatly folded drawers gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling - maybe its just the fact that it gives the illusion that I have control over something in my life, but I’m going to enjoy that little Zen moment nonetheless.
If you’re excited about applying the same method to other stuff, check out the book: The Life Changing Method of Tidying
And the illustrated sequel/companion: Spark Joy
Here is the Netflix series Tidying with Marie Kondo
If you want to know more about folding the KonMari way, YouTube has many, many, many videos, just Google it. Over at Goop they’ve distilled a nice little set of GIFS that illustrate how to fold most items. https://goop.com/style/decorating-design/the-illustrated-guide-to-the-kondo-mari-method/