This is the fifth post in my KonMari Method blog series. Be sure to read the introduction and about the first three decluttering categories, clothing, books, and papers, before moving on to today’s topic of komono!
Today, we’ll be discussing how to declutter and organize komono! This is the fourth decluttering category of the KonMari method. You might be wondering, “What in the world is komono?” Not to worry! I’ll be explaining what it is and how to deal with it in today’s post, so keep reading!
If you’ve been following along with this series, then I am sure you are now familiar with the correct order for decluttering items according to the KonMari Method:
- Komono (miscellaneous items)
- Sentimental items
Since we’ve already finished decluttering and organizing the first three categories, let’s move on to the fourth category known as komono.
Marie Kondo defines komono as “small articles; miscellaneous items; accessories; gadgets or small tools, parts or attachments.” So basically, she uses the term “komono” to refer to all of the other miscellaneous items in a household that do not fall under the first three decluttering categories. Things like kitchen utensils, electronic devices and their accessories, makeup collections, toiletries, linens, cleaning products, stationery, exercise equipment, knick-knacks, loose buttons, spare change, and pretty much anything else you can think of (except sentimental items!) all fall under the category of komono.
These are all items we accumulate over time “just because.” Sometimes we keep things in junk drawers for no particular reason, or we think they might be useful someday. But it’s really no fun to live in a house full of items kept “just because.” We shouldn’t even have spaces in our homes dedicated to storing junk! If you use the KonMari Method, you can determine which daily items are actually useful, necessary and joy-sparking and whittle down your clutter significantly.
Komono is a massive and vague category, so it’s important to break it down into subcategories. This helps to organize the process and to keep you from feeling overwhelmed. Since this category is so large, it will probably take several days or weeks to complete. Having small subcategories that you can tackle a little at a time will be vital to the successful decluttering of all of your komono.
How to Declutter Komono
Marie Kondo has thankfully recommended some subcategories for komono, which she has arranged in the most effective order according to her personal experience (although she admits that this order is not all that important, as long as you persevere).
These subcategories include:
- CDs and DVDs
- Skincare products
- Valuables (passports, credit cards, etc.)
- Electrical equipment, appliances, and related accesories
- Household equipment (stationery, sewing kits, etc.)
- Household supplies (medicines, cleaning supplies, toiletries, etc.)
- Kitchen goods/food supplies (utensils, appliances, containers, etc.)
- Other (spare change, figurines, etc.)
I find some of these subcategories to be a bit too broad, so feel free to break them down further to suit your home and lifestyle.
For instance, I have tons of stationery items, so that in itself would be its own subcategory, and I would even prefer to break it down further into sub-subcategories like notebooks, pens and pencils, stamps, stickers, washi tapes, etc.
If you are an avid baker, you may need a subcategory just for your baking supplies and tools. If you love board games and puzzles, you can make a subcategory just for those items. If you have lots of equipment related to a sport, set those things aside as their own subcategory. If you are a makeup enthusiast, you may need to tackle your lip products and your eye products separately. I think you get the idea. 😆 My main advice here is to just consider your own unique collections of items and subcategorize them appropriately.
Once you have determined your subcategories, it’s time to declutter!
As with all previous categories, it’s vital to gather all like items into one spot. Don’t declutter by location! If like me you keep toiletries in the bathroom and spare products in storage in a different room, decluttering by location will only double your work. Gather everything of one subcategory into the same place so you can see how much stuff you actually own.
I’m sure you know the drill by now. Hold up each item, one by one, and decide which items spark joy. Keep only those joy-sparking items and say goodbye (and “thank you”) to the rest.
While decluttering komono, you may come across lots of items that don’t exactly spark joy. Stuff like cleaning sprays or batteries are not exactly thrill-inducing. In these cases, try to be honest with yourself about how useful an item actually is. Does it contribute to your wellbeing? Does it help you maintain your preferred lifestyle? Do you actually actually use or need this item? Or are you holding onto it “just in case,” or worse, “just because?”
How to Organize Komono
In my opinion, organizing komono is perhaps the most fun part of the entire KonMari Method. It’s this part of the process that really transforms not only the way your home looks but also how it functions.
Marie Kondo has tons of advice when it comes to storing various items, but I’d like to focus on the following three points as they will probably be the most useful when dealing with komono.
- Store items vertically when possible. As you may remember from the clothing, books, or papers categories, this is Marie Kondo’s golden rule for storing basically anything. Storing items vertically makes them easy to see. When you stack things one on top of the other, you might forget about and neglect whatever is at the bottom of the pile, which makes it easy for clutter to accumulate again.
- Focus on the ease of putting items away rather than the ease of taking them out. For most people, being able to get an item out of storage easily is the main priority when organizing. But Marie argues that people should really be worried about how easy it is to put something away. If it’s difficult to get an item out, that effort will quickly be forgotten if it’s something we really want or need. But if it’s too much effort to put an item away, then the clutter returns and it’s a sign that our storage systems have failed. Always try to make it as easy as possible to put things away. Storing items vertically will also help with this.
- Utilize empty boxes. As you declutter your komono, you will likely end up with empty containers, shoeboxes, gift boxes, electronic device boxes, and the like. Marie recommends saving these up until you are ready to organize your belongings because they really come in handy. You can use these small boxes and their lids to organize clothes in dresser drawers, toiletries in the bathroom, food items in the pantry, utensils in kitchen drawers, stationery items in desks, and much more.
It’s really easy to get excited by the prospect of having a fully decluttered and organized home. I know I do! Then, while you’re in the middle of a decluttering sprint, you look around and wonder, “Will everything fit when I’m done? Where will this go?” and you start playing stuff-Tetris in your mind and get stressed out. There is no point in doing this mental exercise when you still have loads of decluttering ahead of you and you don’t even know how much stuff you will have by the end of this process.
When you fully complete the entire decluttering process, that’s when you can worry about where things will go. You’ll be surprised by how well everything fits into place once you’re done!
As I’m sure you understand with komono being such a large decluttering category, I have not yet finished decluttering all of my komono at the time of writing this post, but I have managed to work through several subcategories and I’m enjoying the process. So far, I’ve decluttered my CDs and DVDs, my skincare products, my makeup and nail polish collection, our linens, and I’ve started working on my stationery.
Stationery is one of my toughest categories. As someone who loves planners, bullet journals, scrapbooking and notetaking, I have amassed quite the collection of stationery products. My desk is covered with pens and pencils, markers, stickers, various sticky memo pads, notebooks, stamps, flashcards, and various tools like glue, rulers, erasers, etc. I’m hoping to get a printer soon (I can’t wait to start printing my own planners!) so it’s vital that I get my stationery under control so I can make room for this new addition.
So far, I’ve been able to downsize my pen and highlighter collection, and yesterday I finished decluttering my washi tape stash! This was tough for me, as I absolutely love washi tape.
I have a bamboo box with storage in the lid (pictured below) where I keep my washi organized. I try to keep my washi organized by color, and I like that I can store lots of washi within the box, but also keep some of my favorites close at hand on the lid.
Over time though, I have acquired too many and have had to store my additional washi tapes in a second box. I realized I had many washi tapes that I avoided using because I wasn’t totally in love with their designs. It made it harder to use my washi tapes because there were too many to choose from and my storage system was overflowing. I also often felt guilty that I wasn’t using a wider variety of tapes because I continually gravitated towards my favorites.
So I finally sat down and went through each individual tape, swatching them in a notebook and sorting them by color, and I picked out those which sparked the most joy. Every tape in the picture below are tapes that I will be letting go of, and the second box is no longer necessary. My bamboo box has returned to a manageable state!
I still have more stationery items to go through, but I’m beginning to see the fruits of my labor as my desk becomes less and less cluttered, and more and more organized.
There are a few more subcategories I have to take care of throughout the house, including electronics, kitchen tools, food items, and household supplies (like cleaning products and tools), so my work is not done yet. I’ll continue working on my komono throughout the week, and hopefully, my husband can help me with some of the heavy lifting over the weekend. The end is in sight!
If you’re having any trouble with decluttering your miscellaneous items, let me know in the comments! It’s a massive undertaking, but just remember to take it one subcategory at a time and I’m sure you’ll be able to get through it.
Next week, we’ll talk about the last decluttering category: sentimental items! With sentimental items, we’ll finally wrap up this whole KonMari journey. See you in the final installment of this series!
Thanks for reading!