So you’ve probably binged Marie Kondo‘s amazing Netflix special, and if you haven’t that’s step one. The special undoubtedly led you to order her seminal book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and now you feel primed to declutter your own space! Except… you’re still a bit confused about what that “komono” category actually is. You’re not alone! Many Western followers of the KonMari method are tripped up by this seemingly innocuous category on the Marie Kondo checklist.
Part of the issue comes down to translation from the original Japanese into English. Komono is often translated into “miscellaneous”. But that’s not totally accurate. The second issue is with cultural differences, which, when coupled with tricky translations, results in a confusing mess.
You might be thinking: couldn’t everything technically be komono? That’s not going very helpful when you’re trying to organize your space! Let’s break it down so you can get the most out Marie Kondo’s incredible KonMari method!
What is Komono?
Komono literally means “small things/items” or “accessories”. But that sort of translation can often make it seem like this category encompasses any and all knick knacks and clutter. Based on what we know of decluttering goddess Marie Kondo, it seems unlikely this is a translation she would condone. This is also why the category of komono is the penultimate category participants are asked to tidy up when following the KonMari method.
It might be helpful to think of komono in terms of “kitchen komono” or “tech komono”. This makes the category less daunting and gives a better idea of why it is tackled at the end of the tidying up process rather than the start.
Creating Komono Subcategories
In order to take on the largest KonMari category, you’ll need to separate everything into smaller subcategories. Bathroom komono, bedroom komono, kitchen komono – these are all great places to start. However, you might soon realize that even creating these subcategories isn’t enough to get a handle on your space. Don’t panic! Instead, categories your subcategories. And no, we aren’t crazy!
For example, take your komono subcategory of “bathroom komono” and break it up a bit. Clearly the shampoo and the plunger have nothing in common except their location in the bathroom. So, create two new bathroom komono subcategories where each small item fits. We recommend “soaps and cleansers” and “bathroom cleaning supplies” for these examples in particular. You could also use “haircare products” or “shower supplies”. Whatever works best for your situation.
Komono: Location versus Categories
The above example highlights how some komono items might straddle various rooms or spaces in your home depending on how you categorize them. That’s okay! In fact, that’s sort of the point of the KonMari approach to tidying up. Rather than decluttering room by room, Marie Kondo advises going by categories – regardless of where they stretch in your home. I mean, the first thing Marie Kondo asks the family in her new Netflix hit to do is pile all of their clothes onto one bed! The bewildered couple hunts down every last sock in their home until a mountain of apparel consumes their bed.
The result? The family is completely taken aback by the sheer volume of stuff they already have scattered around their home. The woman is particularly appalled by how much clothing she has – which she didn’t even realize until it was all piled in one place. The lesson? By tidying up by categories rather than locations or rooms, you can truly (and finally) see what you really have in your home.
The same rule applies to the Komono category. Which is to say you’ll need to take every “soap or cleanser” from around your home and pile them in one place. Trust us, you’ll be amazed at what you discover. What’s more, you’ll be truly taken aback by how much you already have!
Komono Next Steps
Once you’ve gathered all your smaller items for each category into one place, you can begin the golden rule of the KonMari method. Picking up each item and asking yourself if it sparks joy! Yep, even with this miscellaneous komono category, the same life-changing question still applies. And guess what – odds are the 5 half-empty shampoo bottles littering your shower don’t spark joy. Toss ’em!
We’ve written elsewhere on the decluttering potential of seasonal items in your home. In tiny apartments you can easily amp up the festivities by swapping routine items out for seasonally designed counterparts without taking up more space. What’s more, storing seasonal items during the off season is a great way to free up space and save money. But there’s another way that seasonal items can be the key to finally tidying up your space. Seasonal komono!
What is seasonal komono?
Seasonal komono describes all those smaller items you bring out for holidays or other seasonal events but which you don’t actually need hanging around the rest of the year. By keeping some small items in storage until a certain time of the year, you not only maintain their impact but also their quality. There’s obvious seasonal komono like ornaments, Halloween decorations, mittens, or festive figurines of course. But there are also less obvious seasonal komono you might not think of!
For example, bright and colorful placemats are fun and playful for outdoor dinners during warm summer nights, but what about when you’re cozied up slurping soup in February? Those summery accents don’t spark joy so much as spark envy! Well, you can think of these sort of items as seasonal komono! Simply gather them up and store them until you need them again.