Minimalist in DC

The Quest for Less "Stuff" & More Time

Discarding Komono: Marie Kondo’s Miscellaneous Category

I’ve found the KonMari Method of organization, invented and popularized by Marie Kondo in her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, to be an easily-followed breath of fresh air in the organizing world. For one, she emphasizes that you must first discard the things that don’t “spark joy” (which helps you on the road to rational minimalism). Secondly, she describes a method of organization that doesn’t require you to buy a bunch of fancy storage units from the Container Store. I’ve been having (yes, I’ll admit it) fun going through each category and experiencing the real difference it’s making in our house. I’ve done clothes, books, and papers (part I and part 2) so far. Now it’s time for the “Miscellaneous” category which Kondo calls komono. It’s really a dozen mini-categories wrapped into one.

I am halfway through discarding komono.

Marie Kondo’s Miscellaneous Categories

They’re called “komono”, or random things you keep for no apparent reason. Here’s what Kondo specifically calls out:

  1. CDs, DVDs
  2. Skin care products
  3. Make-up
  4. Accessories
  5. Valuables (passports, credit cards, etc)
  6. Electrical equipment and appliances (digital cameras, electric cords, anything that seems vaguely electric)
  7. Household equipment (stationary and writing materials, sewing kits, etc)
  8. Household supplies (expendables like medicine, detergents, tissues, etc)
  9. Kitchen goods/food supplies (spatulas, pots, blenders, etc)
  10. Others (spare change, figurines, etc)

What Else?

As you can imagine, everyone’s komono categories are different. In addition to Marie Kondo’s official categories you’ve also got to be savvy and figure out what you haven’t discarded yet that’s not sentimental. Do you have a hobby that wasn’t covered? Or a sport? What about your furniture, does it spark joy? At the end of this list, in my opinion, you’ll still need to walk around the house and uncover a bunch of categories that haven’t been touched. Throughout this book, I get the feeling that Americans just have WAY more excess stuff than the Japanese, which is why I suspect that we’ll have WAY more komono categories.

What I’ve Done

Kondo doesn’t go into a lot of details on komono. So far, I’ve gone through numbers 1-6 and here’s what I did.

CDs, DVDs (“Joint De-owning”)

I sat down with my husband right after we did books and went through DVDs together, because DVDs seemed like a logical next step and many of our movies are shared. He looked at them first and if they didn’t spark joy for him, then I got to decide whether it stayed or went. This “joint de-owning” technique actually worked quite well and Nathan ended up continuing to de-own a large set of his own books after that. I was thrilled.

My CDs were a bit different. I’d already gotten rid of all of their packaging. Now, I just looked through them and got rid of the ones that truly didn’t spark joy. I also made a mental note to upgrade my music player so I could completely get rid of my CDs in the future.

Discarding CDs

Skin Care Products & Make-up

I did skin care products and make-up together with medicines because I felt they were basically all one category and I didn’t think I had very many left. Boy, was I wrong.

Products & Medicine

Products & Medicine

I not only kept the things that “sparked joy”, but also kept the items we were actively using and discarded items that had expired. I wrote the year on all of the sunscreen that I know we bought this year and threw away the rest. I have no idea how we accumulated so many half-used sunscreen bottles.

Accessories

What is this category? Didn’t we already de-own accessories when we worked through the clothing? I have no idea what Kondo meant by accessories in this context and so I just skipped this category.

Valuables

Passports, credit cards, and other things that are important fall into this category. I basically went through all of these during the paper purge because many of these are kept with my valuable paperwork.

All I had to do was go through my wallet and make sure I didn’t have any old cards. I suppose if you have an excessive amount of credit cards, you should cut some of them up at this point. I only have three: my VISA, my back-up VISA that I keep around mostly because it’s my oldest account, and my Target card. Purge the expired cards and sell the gift cards you know you’ll never use.

Electrical Equipment & Appliances

This category took longer than expected. First throw away broken appliances and appliances that don’t spark joy. Then, throw away any leftover boxes your appliances came in. Finally, go through your cords. If you don’t know what a cord belongs to, throw it out. It’s easier to go buy a cord you really need than to search for it in a heap of useless cords. Label the cords you use.

How Long Does This Take?

All of this took me an afternoon. I’m halfway through the list. My house is in much better shape. Now, if only I could get my kids to embrace KonMari too because the largest pile of uncharted “stuff” left is quickly becoming toys.

7 Comments

  1. What did you do with the actual CDs? Trash? E-waste? I have a folio of CDs that I ripped long, long ago. The original packaging is still in my mom’s house. I have half a mind to take the folio with me the next time I go to WI and take the whole lot to Half-Price Books, but I have no idea when that might be and it also doesn’t feel quite right since I’m keeping all the ripped MP3s…

    • amberrking

      July 23, 2015 at 8:45 am

      Hi Yvonne!

      I was wondering the same thing, so I did a little research. Here are some ideas:

      – Put your whole collection on eBay and start the bidding at $5. This rather large collection went for $43 so you’d get a little money: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Music-CD-Lot-/151234689079?pt=US_Wholesale_Music_CDs&hash=item23364a3837

      – You can also send them to Murfie (https://www.murfie.com – located in Madison, WI!) who will rip your CDs for free and hold onto them for you. While you won’t get money for it, it doesn’t cost you AND others may eventually buy your albums.

      – Garage sales, craigslist, etc are all ideas, but may be more trouble than they’re worth

      – If all else fails, you can recycle them by sending them to the CD Recycling Center of America: http://www.cdrecyclingcenter.com

      If you do happen to have any with cases, try Decluttr (http://www.decluttr.com), they’ll buy any used CD, DVD, or game, but it has to have all of the original artwork.

      I’ll let you know if I find anything else!

      Amber

      • Another option is to contact local libraries or school libraries to see if they would like a donation of CDs and DVDs. When settling my brother’s estate, a local college library was thrilled to receive his CDs as they wanted to expand their music collection, but their budget for collection purchases had been cut.

  2. I am doing the method and it takes me longer and I got stuck on this category… and doing for the second time… DVDs. are difficult. I am an artist and photographer and CDS. DVDs and Harddrives are where I store work such as photographs, which are sentimental. If you are working with a live work space, how do you go about this?

    Thankful for comments.

    • amberrking

      October 23, 2015 at 3:14 pm

      Hi Florence,

      Sorting through work documents makes it more difficult because there are certain things that you CAN’T get rid of. I would ask myself: 1) Do I legally need to keep this? (e.g. Have I promised my customers that they can get copies for x number of years) If so, keep it. 2) If I don’t have to keep this legally, is this my best (top 10) work? If so, keep it. If not, consider either just getting rid of entire files/DVDs, or sifting through your files and giving yourself a limit — for instance, I’ll keep the best five photos from this event.

      Be honest with yourself about how often you use the work. If you really do refer to it, view it, or it simply brings you joy, think about ways to consolidate it onto something smaller (e.g. going from 100 different CDs to one, nice hard drive).

      Amber

  3. Wow! I can’t believe you did Komono in a day! Someday our stuff will be that lean. I’ve discarded 70 kitchen bags of Komono over the past two months and a piano as well as other furniture. We’re going from living a sprawling suburban lifestyle to an apartment in NYC so I’m super motivated. I can’t wait to but that click point she describesin the book! 😊

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

*

© 2017 Minimalist in DC

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑