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:
- CDs, DVDs
- Skin care products
- Valuables (passports, credit cards, etc)
- Electrical equipment and appliances (digital cameras, electric cords, anything that seems vaguely electric)
- Household equipment (stationary and writing materials, sewing kits, etc)
- Household supplies (expendables like medicine, detergents, tissues, etc)
- Kitchen goods/food supplies (spatulas, pots, blenders, etc)
- Others (spare change, figurines, etc)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.