Komono Breakdown, Part 3: Going Off-Book

I’d like to start today’s post off with a new approach. Because komono is such a huge category, it’s naturally a monstrous wave of disorder. It’s easy to miss things. Especially if you have a lot of stuff. So, let’s have a real talk about how to get through.

Feel like this monkey?  Photo by  Jared Rice

Feel like this monkey? Photo by Jared Rice

Taming the Wilds

Marie Kondo’s approach is very orderly and tidy. But when you’re in the midst of this Stuff Explosion, finding everything that fits within a category is exhausting and frustrating.

At a certain point, you’re going to have to tackle your stuff from a very granular, room-by-room approach.

Throw Out the Book (Temporarily)

You’re the one muddling through all your stuff, searching for all your “expendables,” then “household equipment” and so on. For me, komono is already huge, and the sub-categories still too vague. I hit a wall when I got into the weeds of "household equipment."

What do I own that qualifies as that?

What's more, I don't really care. I just want to get through this!

So, Here’s What I Wound Up Doing:

  1. Pick a room.

  2. Pick a corner of that room.

  3. Start with the first thing you see. Maybe you’re in the kitchen, and the first thing you touch is a glass.

  4. Figure out your own category that suits that thing. Like glassware.

  5. Start compiling ALL other things that fit that category. Go into your other rooms and scout for things fit your category.

  6. Declutter that category. Discard what you no longer want.

  7. Put back what you do want.

  8. Repeat, starting where you were in step 2, and working your way around the room until you need to go into a new room.

Few tips:

  • Keep the category simple and direct, like glasses or glassware.

  • Have your disposal bags or bins handy: trash, donate, recycle, etc.

  • Have a “compile bin” handy. Something to put all your stuff for a category into.

  • Make sure you look at everything when you're on Step 3. That means Every Thing. Art work on the walls. Furniture. Items in drawers, including the dreaded junk drawer. Those are all things

  • If you’re in a situation where you have years and years of boxes and storage bins in a garage, basement, or an off-site storage unit that is basically like a second home, my advice is to treat it as such. That will have to be KonMari’d all on its own.

Why Go Off-Book?

Photo by Leio McLaren

Photo by Leio McLaren

If following Marie Kondo's method and categories is working perfectly for you, then by all means, carry on.

I felt a lot more confident once I went off-book however. It also made me more in tune with my things. Because I was doing it my way. It was organic and creative. I was literally looking at every single thing in my home.

Once you start working your way through one room like I did, I found that while that initial room took a lot of time, when I reached subsequent rooms, I had less and less to tidy because I'd already done a lot of the items throughout the house, just by scouring that one room with a fine tooth comb. 

The Next 3 Categories

If you have Marie Kondo’s Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up then you can see that the three categories after yesterday’s post are;

  1. Household equipment

  2. Household supplies

  3. Kitchen goods and food supplies

#1 and #2 are rather vague. I don’t know what kind of things you have in your home, which is why I decided to give you a different approach in the hopes you’ll persevere through komono. #3 is more self-explanatory. It’s also most likely restricted to your kitchen, which is helpful.

Chunk It!

If you do nothing else, keep like with like. Whether it’s in your refrigerator, keeping fruits together, or your closet, keeping sweaters together, or the bathroom keeping first-aid items together.

It’s something simple that helps you:

  1. See what you have, and

  2. Remember where things are

You don’t even have to remember where something specific is, just the general vicinity. Where did I put those vitamins? Must be near my other medicines. Where’s that button I remember having? It must be with my craft stuff.

That’s the hope anyway.

Tidy on! xoxo

Cover photo by Camila Damasio

Danielle KlenakComment