photo credit: The Banks

Last month, I was part of a style and space conversation at The Left Bank Salon Series as part of a collaboration between Pakke and Pink Line Project . I dished with professional organizer Kacy Paide about where we intersected with Marie and how we diverge. It was interesting how a stylist views that space versus a professional organizer/decluttering guru.  

People think our business is about fashion and shopping and it is…kind of. When I think about all the closets and wardrobes we have worked on in the last 10 years (nearly 2,000), and I think less about the beautiful clothing in the closets and more about the living space gained and the time saved.

Enter Marie Kondo. I started talking about Marie when her book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, was published in the U.S. five years ago, I couldn’t walk into a client’s home and closet without talking about what did and did not “spark joy.” Much of her philosophy did resonate with me, and was in line with what I had been doing with clients for years. I’m not the stylist who shops endlessly with a client for years. My goal is to create a wardrobe and closet space that feels serene, peaceful, and easy.  

Here is where I stand on some of her most popular lessons, which I outlined in a recent Alexandria Stylebook post:

Climb the Mountain

If you have seen her Netflix show, then you have seen the mountains of clothing Marie has her clients pull out from their closet and pile on their bed. It’s always such a jarring visual and certainly a wake-up call to her clients. We practice a similar method. We pull out everything from a client’s closet to audit; we don’t audit in the closet. Your clothing feels so different when it is outside of that space and someone else is holding it up for you to look it. It somehow has less of a “hold” on you.

So, yes, pull it all out. All. Of. It.

File Folding Clothing

Everyone has been with the Marie Kondo file folding method. Marie believes clothing is “happier” folded. It also makes items like t-shirts, leggings, jeans, etc. easier to identify than if stacked.

I don’t believe in folding any clothing with the exception of sweaters. If you have space to hang it, hang it. Yes, hang your jeans. Hang your t-shirts. Hang even your leggings if you can. Even more radical, I love getting rid of bins, dressers, and other “clutter receptacles.” I believe in visibility of all your clothing at all times. This is the only way you can truly identify what you need and avoid the trap of overbuying, buying the wrong thing, or fixing a problem in your wardrobe without a clear idea what that problem is. I also believe in creating more living space. That means nixing large pieces of furniture or storage gadgets that actually contribute to clutter.

Sparking Joy

Your clothing should fit well, be versatile, function well in your life, and make you feel good when you put it on. But, I don’t believe in overthinking clothing. Sometimes the white t-shirt is just a white t-shirt. People talk about finding THE PERFECT WHITE T-SHIRT. Sometimes you need a white t-shirt and that one over there is good enough will do. If you can’t find the perfect one out there? Fine one that fits the best and tailor it to be perfect. Yes, even a t-shirt. My main goal with clients is to find them the best options out there so they can stop staring at their closets and get back to the work and joy of life.