The world seems to be in the grip of a new phase of decluttering. Marie Kondo’s mess-busting bestseller, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, sold five million copies worldwide, and now her new book, Spark Joy: An Illustrated Guide to the Japanese Art of Tidying (Vermilion, £12.99), is proving to be another big hit.
This 31-year-old from Tokyo has taken the world by storm with her method of detoxing the home, nicknamed "KonMari". In a nutshell, it focuses on chucking out everything that doesn’t ‘spark joy’ in your life.
‘Life truly begins only after you’ve put your house in order,’ she says. ‘That’s why I’ve devoted most of my life to the study of tidying... Only when you know how to choose those things that spark joy can you attain your ideal lifestyle.’
The book contains a section on folding clothes, with helpful diagrams, so you can store twice as many clothes as before. Folded into a rectangle, garments (excluding heavy coats and posh suits) stand upright in the drawer or wardrobe or are stacked.
Read our tips for making the most of your space
Simple storage solutions
Whether the KonMari method appeals or not, there are many things you can do to maximise wardrobe and drawer space. Here are our own tips on how to make the most of what you’ve got:
Use boxes, baskets and dividers wisely
Are there gaps in your wardrobe where you could fit more storage? Room for wicker storage baskets, say, between the top shelf and the ceiling? Use them to store collections of items: gloves, scarves, belts, woolly hats etc.
Metal shelf dividers, which turn a shelf into cubbyholes, are handy for storing things like handbags that need to stand upright to keep their shape.
Create more hanging space
Choose thin hangers for your wardrobe – the thick ones might look pretty but the padding takes up a lot of room.
Group together long clothes at one end and shorter ones at the other, freeing up floor space so there’s room for a shoe rack.
Put in an extra rail halfway up the wardrobe and hang short garments below: trousers and jeans, doubled over on hangers, and shirts, tops and jumpers.
Make your wardrobe lighter and brighter
Add lighting. If you can see what you’re doing in a wardrobe it will appear much more spacious. Battery-powered stick-on lighting would be ideal.
Attach a mirror to the inside of a wardrobe door – it’ll make the space inside seem bigger.
Paint the inside of your wardrobe with a hard-wearing satin or gloss paint in a light colour – it’ll make it easier to see what you have.
Read our tips for brightening up dark rooms
Use under-bed storage
Under-bed storage is ideal when space is tight. In autumn and spring, sort through your wardrobe and drawers. Throw out anything unworn for more than a year, clothes that are too small, scruffy or damaged. Wash or dry clean everything that’s left. Store your clean, out-of-season clothes in zipped plastic storage bags under the bed - vacuum packs are great when space is at a premium.
Buy a roll-out under-bed storage unit – perfect for storing out-of-season duvets, guest pillows and bedlinen.
Create storage space for the bits and pieces
Use containers in drawers to store stuff: pretty tins for bracelets, say, a basket for socks, another for tights, another for knickers.
Use wardrobes doors like ‘walls’ to hold over-door hooks, shoe pockets or plastic ‘dresses’ that hold jewellery. You can even glue a corkboard to the inside of the door to pin jewellery to.
Take care of your clothes
Take the time to fold clothes and linens before putting them away to maximise drawer and closet shelf space – see Marie Kondo’s tip above. By folding clothes into rectangles, you maximise the square footage of every drawer and every item is visible.
Don’t forget to add moth repellents to stop your favourite garments being chewed.
The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying is out now.