Learn how to declutter any category of items with the Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method and tidy up all of the komono (aka miscellaneous items) in the whole house!
We have been on a roll with the KonMari Method recently! (If you’re unfamiliar with all things KonMari, you can get a quick rundown of Marie Kondo’s method here.)
And today we’re onto what Marie calls “komono” or miscellaneous items.
Admittedly, when I first went through the KonMari process, komono was the area where I got derailed.
The first three categories are so specific and fairly easy to wrap my head around. And then we get to komono and it feels like, “Okay, just tidy up everything else really quickly, then you can move on to sentimental items and be done.”
But while komono is a cute little word, it really encompasses a ton of things. And without a super clear path to get through it, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and just give up.
At this point though, we’re so far through the process that we don’t want to call it quits and have all of our hard work be for naught, right?!
So in this post, I hope to share some tools that have helped me get through the daunting komono category and come through to the other side with a much more thoroughly decluttered and tidied house!
Keeping Track of Komono with a Tidying Checklist
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
Whenever I feel overwhelmed with any task, the first thing I almost always do is create a list to organize my process, and the KonMari process is no exception.
I created a detailed checklist that includes all of Marie’s categories (clothes, books, paper, komono, and sentimental items), but I think it is especially helpful for komono, because I really tried to include all of the areas that komono encompasses. (And there’s even space where you can add any categories that you have in your home that I may have overlooked!)
Click the button below to get your own tidying checklist!
So the first thing I do when tackling komono is to print the checklist, add any areas that may be unique to my home, and then start at the top of the komono section and simply work my way down through the different categories, completing the same process with each one.
The Order for Tiding Komono with the KonMari Method
On page 106 of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie lays out a specific order for tidying komono:
- CDs & DVDs
- Skin care products
- Electrical equipment and appliances
- Household equipment
- Household supplies
- Kitchen goods/food supplies
She says she recommends this order because it is easier to take care of more clearly defined categories first, before moving on to more general categories that aren’t as cut and dry.
With the tidying checklist, I tried to stick to Marie’s prescribed order while also making each section more detailed and defined so that it would be less overwhelming and easier to stay on track.
How to Declutter Any Category of Komono
The good news is that while there are several “mini categories” underneath the komono umbrella, we can use the same simple process to tidy up each one.
Step 1- Gather every item from that category and put it all in one place.
One of the essential “rules” of the KonMari Method is to gather up all of the items from a particular category and look at them as a group before deciding what to keep and what to discard.
This sets the KonMari Method apart from other organizing strategies that recommend decluttering by room, because it forces us to evaluate all of the items of one category together at the same time, no matter where they were stored around the house.
Seeing every item from the category at once makes it easier to see the bigger picture and make smart decisions.
When I have all of my craft supplies together, for example, I can see what I have doubles of, what’s unusable and not worth keeping anymore, and what I really love and what I’m keeping around “just because.”
Step 2- Keep what sparks joy. Discard the rest.
Marie’s criteria for deciding what to keep and what to discard is simple: Does it “spark joy”? If it does, you keep it. If not, it is discarded.
I admit, as a highly practical person, the measuring stick of “sparking joy” didn’t really feel concrete enough to me, and when I first started KonMari- ing my home, I wasn’t quite sure if I was getting it.
What really helped me was Marie’s advice on page 17 of Spark Joy where she says, “The best way to identify what does or doesn’t bring you joy is to compare.”
By looking at three different shirts together, for example, I can more clearly determine which one(s) I love and which ones I was just keeping around because I had them. I can then keep the ones that fall into that “love” category and discard the rest.
What about items that I need but that don’t necessarily spark joy?
As a little caveat, I have tweaked my thinking a bit when I go through the KonMari process myself. Rather than using “sparking joy” as my one and only measuring tool when considering how to declutter my items, I tend to use the measurement of, “Is this something I love and/or use often?”
There are definitely things in my house that I wouldn’t say necessarily bring me joy in and of themselves (The washer and dryer come to mind… 🙂 ), but I still need them so our family can have clean clothes to wear, so clearly, they are going to stay!
(And, to be fair, in the scenario I just described, I think Marie would say that having clean clothes to wear sparks joy, and the washer and dryer are the means to that end, even if I don’t love doing laundry!)
But what if I have trouble letting go of my items?
Well, the good news is, Marie gives us permission to keep any items that we truly love, that truly spark joy, so there’s no need to fret about getting rid of those things.
But sometimes there are things that we know we don’t love, but we still feel guilty getting rid of them. Maybe someone gave them to us as a gift or maybe they’re still in great condition. Maybe they’re pretty but just not quite our style or maybe we really loved them at one point but now they’re worn out and of no use.
For these types of items, Marie reminds her students that we can be grateful for the purpose the item served in our lives for a time (even if that purpose was just to teach us what doesn’t spark joy!), and then we can feel free to donate the item so that it can be used by someone who will really cherish it.
Those two small mindset shifts–
- the idea that I can still be grateful (in my case, to God) for something but then move on from it
- and the thought that someone else will be able to use my discarded item better than I could
–have been really helpful for me as I have gone through the KonMari process.
If you could use more tips and ideas for letting go, I have an entire post called How to Declutter When You Have Trouble Letting Go of Things.
Step 3- Store the “keep” items by category.
Once I have my category of komono items whittled down to only the items I love and use often, it’s time to give them a “home.”
The nice thing about dealing with items by category rather than by room is that it makes it really easy to then store the category of items together.
Marie typically recommends storing as many things as possible vertically, and she will often use boxes or smaller containers to help divide up a space into neat categories.
I use a small basket to store my spare fabric and sewing notions, for example, and I file fold the fabric, standing it vertically, and then divide the smaller accessories by type and store them in small mason jars.
This makes it easy to locate my sewing supplies and carry them to where I need to use them. It also gives me some boundaries. I know I only have this much space to store the items, so if I’m considering adding to my collection, I will need to make sure I have the space to accommodate something new.
When deciding on how to store items, Marie emphasizes that all of the storage spots are temporary until we’ve gone through the entire KonMari process. This is mostly because as we tackle different categories, we may find that we have to move around items that we already put into place, and that’s okay!
By the end of the entire process though, each item left in our house should have its own home and be organized neatly by category.
Ideas for How to Store Items in Different Categories
I have written several posts about how to declutter and store various categories of items in different spaces in the home, so I will share a few examples below and link to the corresponding post if you’d like more details.
I hope this gives more clarity and direction on how to declutter the komono category! Marie gives some additional specific tips for storing items in various komono sub-categories in Spark Joy, so it is a fantastic resource if you are looking for ideas!
And be sure to pin the image below so you can reference this post as you tidy up your own komono!
Which KonMari category (or categories) are the toughest for you? Let me know in the comments below!
Have a great day!
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.