Queen of Konmari Challenge Stage 4: Komono (Miscellany)

Right, so sorting through komono, or miscellaneous items, this is the biggest and most time-consuming stage of the Queen of Konmari challenge, because it basically encompasses everything in the house, except for sentimental items.

konmari-marie-kondo-decluttering-miscellany-komono

Sorting through various categories of komono

I have to say that this stage, although it was challenging, was made MUCH easier because of the moral support I had from the Konmari Facebook group that I formed with my friends (more on this in Five Tips to Getting Started). Additionally, I was gaining momentum after going through the first three stages of the Konmari process, so deciding what was worth keeping was much easier.

Looking back at my contributions to the Facebook group during this part of the process, it’s interesting to see my thought processes as I worked my way through the house!

Thoughts upon clearing the home office and living room –

  • Day 1: Can I win the prize for Most Impressive Media Mountain? I have not even included the [CDs] from in the car.
  • Day 2: I just organised the CDs into boxes. Labelled by genre and arranged roughly alphabetically. I used IKEA KASATTE boxes and shoeboxes.
  • Day 4: Yesterday, I picked out a really nice hardcover notebook (that I’d actually already started using for recipes), and copied/pasted recipes in it from other notebooks/loose paper bits. Used washi tape to label the spine. School logo notebooks/jotter books/blank diaries, I kept to use for the kids for their doodling/as scratch paper. New notebooks still in wrapper, kept for later. Blank sketchbooks also kept for kids drawings. Generic notebooks that were given to me free with company logos and slogans or notebooks with designs that I don’t like, I’m going to give away. I have so many half used school logo notebooks, I don’t need these blank books as scratch paper. Also, two small blank ‘acid free’ books are inside my ‘to do’ box. Going to fill them with kids photos and give them to the grandparents/godparents as gifts.
  • Day 5: Hitting a wall. It’s because I haven’t really found a logical place to keep the things I’m going to keep yet because those places are full of junk waiting to be sorted through. I put all my husband’s papers in one big box. But yeah, there are CDs and DVDs waiting his approval before I can get rid of them so my spare room space which I’m using to konmari is getting very crowded. Maybe I’ll pile them in the study this evening, get him to look at them.
  • Day 7: I just realised that craft supplies falls under this category! *crying* I don’t want to look into the craft cupboard! Banning myself from accepting more craft supplies as handmedowns or gifts! Thoughts for ‘extra’ coloured pencils/broken and stubby crayons/markers, crappy pencil sharpeners and colourful but inadequate erasers – separating these into plastic takeaway containers. Going to put them in the box of party supplies to bring out during parties for general entertainment. Check them when gathering up party supplies and bin the rubbish ones.

Thoughts upon clearing the kitchen – 

  • Day 1: Going to start this by giving away unused appliances. Why do I have 20+ wineglasses?! WE DON’T EVEN KNOW HOW TO DRINK WINE IN THIS HOUSE because we are such plebs. Going to give away wineglasses and just keep the ones we were given as wedding gifts for whenever we feel fancy. Also, I found my glass jug so I’m happy now. I’m going to get it out so we can use it when guests come over.
  • Day 2: Feeling very tempted to go back and do kids clothes instead of dealing with the tupperware cupboard. Definitely questioning my life choices right now. For some reason I have seen fit to collect rectangular takeaway lids but not the actual containers.
    I am trying to find space to put all the stuff that goes on the countertop. I think I can put the bottles of oil and seasoning into ikea bins and put them in a low cupboard. I think. The problem I’m having is finding a good space to put my cookbooks.
    Decided to put cookbooks in the space next to the oven. Tried to free cycle/donate the random bento boxes and takeaway containers that I amassed, to no avail, going to leave them next to the recycle bin downstairs to see if anyone claims it.
  • Day 3: I’m going to go through the utensils today!!!! I WILL DO THIS!! Why do I have 15 wooden spoons?!
  • Day 4: I think I’m done with this! I did manage to clear the countertops so only my microwave, toaster one and thermomix are out, as well as the soap dispensers. I don’t have many kitchen gadgets or that many utensils so this was not painful for me. I didn’t do the ‘lay everything on the floor ‘ thing for kitchen. I had to just go cupboard by cupboard.
  • Day 5: I just realised that ‘reusable shopping bags’ is under this category. In which case, I am SO not done with this.   Dividing paper and plastic bags up into two categories: 1) Suitable as gift bags 2)Suitable as misc bags.
  • Day 6: Sorted through the reusable bags and coolers – kept my jute bag collection – going to give away all the NTUC ones. Also, sorted through the dishcloths – decided to get rid of the non-pretty ones. Thinking that I may upcycle my muslin cloths into dishcloths. And getting rid of the rice bins since I’ve actually started using old CNY cookie tubs for that.

Thoughts upon clearing the pantry: 

  • Day 1: Threw out expired meds. Threw out the spice rack which I never used and all the expired spices.
  • Day 2: Spent an hour reorganising the pantry. I have more space in there now that I have emptied the two shelves of bags! Realised afterwards that I still actually have another pantry shelf behind the fridge that I have mostly ignored because that is where [the Barn Owl] keeps the Sugar For The Coffee.
  • Day 3: Why do I have an UNOPENED tube of ‘Desitin’ that expired in 2013?! I don’t even use it so I don’t remember buying it. It’s still in it’s sealed box!

Thoughts upon clearing the household supplies:

  • Day 1: After going through all my stuff, I have realised that I have 8 empty spray bottles and 2 empty pump bottles and about 5 half empty bottles of various types of bathroom and all purpose cleaner. Going to hang onto the empty spray bottles for now until I make sure I don’t need them for diluting things. For some reason I thought it was a great idea to stuff things between the pipes under the sink. Bleagh!
konmari-decor-declutter-find-organise

From Top Left: Put up pretty pictures and postcards on the inside of our wardrobe. The media mountain, organised into boxes. Found Great Grandmother’s shoes. The Barn Owl’s full collection of socks.

Thoughts upon clearing the tools:

  • Day 1: Argh I just realised that cables is in this category. OH NO. Avoidance – going to go through [Thumper’s] clothes instead.
  • Day 5: Okay it turns out that it’s pretty easy to throw away cables when they are from old Nokia phones that you don’t even own anymore.
  • Day 20: Once I chucked out the ones that were gross and melty, there weren’t that many left. So I’ve bundled the ones we don’t use daily inside a clear daiso box and added it to the Man Drawer.
  • Day 25: Had a bit of a narrow scare today! Thought I threw away the [Barn Owl’s] beard clipper charger. Turns out I left it near the area where he usually leaves it instead of with all the rest of the chargers and wires near his bedside, which is where he looked for it first. This is why placing small items by category instead of ‘by flow’ works better.
  • Day 30: Found my husband’s tool bag, which is basically a disintegrating Border’s plastic bag. Threw away all the dried up superglues and anything that looked like it was mouldering and repackaged the whole lot into a clean shoebox fitted with a plastic stationery divider that I found. At least he won’t impale himself on a screwdriver the next time he looks for another Allen key. I didn’t dare to throw away any of the multiple screwdrivers or wrenches, though. They are all in pretty good repair and seem to be of different sizes.

Thoughts upon clearing the bathroom:

  • Day 1: Threw away some mouldering soaps and a random collection of empty toothpaste tubes that the kids stashed under the sink. And all the empty pump bottles that the kids have been playing with. Realised that we have 3 half empty bottles of 1L Dove Soap?! I’ve decided to throw the current empty ones out since they will soon be replaced anyway. [The kids] don’t need 20 pump bottles.
  • Day 3: I probably should tackle my washcloths. I don’t know why I have 3 drawers of them!
  • Day 7: I didn’t realise linens were part of this. I guess I’ll sort through the bed linens too. I’m going to get rid of my pre-marriage bed linens. They never get used anyway and are looking sad.

Thoughts upon clearing furniture and decor:

  • Day 1: Hm. Procrastinating by going through the kids clothes again.
  • Day 2: I found some pictures and put them up and that helped
  • Day 14: Wish me luck as I start going through the storeroom. Found boxes of stuff belonging to my parents that I was only supposed to store temporarily!! The boxes are so old that the plastic tape appears to be disintegrating! Will have to unpack the boxes and cart back to my parents house slowly. Look what I just found. My great-grandmothers shoes. Her feet are so tiny!
  • Day 15: I just unearthed a brand new vacuum cleaner, still unopened in the box (given to us by a friend who was leaving town and never used it), and [the Barn Owl] has been complaining that we need to buy one. I’d forgotten that we even had one. Gonna use it! I broke a glass in the kitchen the other day and the clean up was PAINFUL.

P.S. Why am I doing this? Here’s why.

P.P.S. Check out the rest of the Queen of Konmari series here.

If you haven’t read the books already, you can get them here:

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organising

Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up

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Queen of Konmari Challenge Stage 3: Papers

Okay, I admit that I was really dreading this stage of the Konmari process, for the following reasons:

  1. I would have to open up and empty out all the cupboards and drawers in the study room.
  2. It just seemed like sorting through years of papers would just be interminable.

In actual fact, it was not as bad as I expected, although I did get very familiar feeling of self-loathing after the first hour of gathering all the papers in one place. This feeling very quickly dissipated once I shut the spare room door on the whole mountain of mess.

In all, it only took me a total of six tidying sessions (each an hour long) to finish this part of the Konmari challenge and it was all relatively painless.

I found clearing the papers very manageable for the following reasons:

  1. 30% of the papers I’d accumulated consisted of junk mail, warranties for items I no longer own, letters contained outdated information, magazines and research journals = all junk = could be recycled straightaway without any sort of emotional turmoil
  2. 50% of the papers consisted of sentimental items or craft/decorative items = different Konmari category and could be saved in cardboard boxes for later. Hooray for procrastination!

In actual fact, I only really needed to properly sort through about 20% of the mountain of papers that I accumulated!

Yay!

Following Konmari’s instructions to the letter (pun intended), I did make an effort to open up every single envelope, and unfold each slip of paper one by one, instead of just throwing things away as a stack.

I’m so glad that I did this because I found:

  1. My husband’s Kindle which he thought he lost at work years ago – it was tucked between the pages of an old medical journal which was sandwiched between some old revision notes.
  2. $60 in cash monies! Yay! Who doesn’t love finding money?! These were crumpled up notes and stuffed into random envelopes, and completely wrapped up in receipts.
  3. A Lip Smacker lip balm, still in pristine condition within it’s original packaging. Somehow it found itself inside an accordion file with a bunch of old household bills. I opened it up and it smelled so good. I am now using it every day so that I can smell exactly like a strawberry banana.

Of the 10% of papers that I had left, I kept the following:

  1. Personal documents for each family member (mostly certificates) – filed into separate pocket folders with one for each family member
  2. Family documents like bank account details, mortgage and leases, medical and insurance information and other legal documents – filed into one large pocket folder
  3. Deeds, warranties and manuals pertaining to our house and household appliances – filed into a single ring binder
  4. Bills and bank statements: only 2 years worth – filed into a single ring binder
  5. The Barn Owls Work Stuff – put into a cardboard box for him to sort through at his convenience
  6. Papers that need immediate attention – filed in clear plastic folder and kept on my desk
Konmari-papers

Reduced several boxes of papers down to half a shelf of files.

As you can see from the picture above, all of the household papers are now neatly and clearly organised into files which only take up half of my shelf. Everything else was shredded and sent to the recycling bin – yes sir, yes sir, ten bags full!

P.S. Why am I doing this? Here’s why.

P.P.S. Check out the rest of the Queen of Konmari series here.

If you haven’t read the books already, you can get them here:

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organising

Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up

The Queen of Konmari: 5 Tips to Getting Started

Okay, I’ve been starting to tidy up and organise the house according to the Konmari method for a few weeks now, and I am happy to report that things are progressing.

It is not easy, but I am sticking to it.  I think the reason that I am sticking to it is because I managed to figure out a way to do it without getting too overwhelmed. Additionally, I found that there was a great deal of inertia when it came to actually getting started to Konmari and I needed some help with that.

So here’s what I did after I finished reading the books:

Five Tips to Getting Started with the Konmari Method

  1. Get moral support: Konmari’s books were initially written to get her potential clients inspired and start tidying before she can actually fit in a personal appointment with them. I think it helps to have somebody going alongside you, cheering you on (especially if you, like myself, are not naturally a tidy person). I formed a small Facebook group with a few of my friends who were planning to start or who were unsuccessfully trying to Konmari on their own. Being a part of this group is really helping me because we celebrate our small successes together and encourage each other if things appear to be insurmountable.
  2. Set aside a time where you have the most energy and can work undisturbed: Whilst reading the the books, I noticed that Konmari’s clients would put aside 5 hours for every session with her – sending the rest of the family out of the house. I don’t have a whole 5 hour block in a day to devote to tidying, so I took a leaf from my Happy Family Plan and set aside one hour in the morning during weekdays when Thumper is sleeping and the older two kids are in school.
  3. Keep to your schedule: It’s tempting to want to skip around Konmari’s method and try to do a little bit here and there whenever you have snatches of time. However, my friends who did that ended up feeling like they were spending every waking moment tidying and decluttering with no end in sight, and they burn out. I think the tortoise approach, where you just plug steadily away through the various stages of decluttering, works best for Konmari. I set aside time for myself to declutter each day and I would stop after that time had passed (even if I wasn’t finished) or after my task of that day is accomplished, whichever came first.  Then, I would reward myself with a break with a good book.
  4. red-dwarf-lister-arthur-dent-hitchhiker

    Lister vs Dent (okay, they are both kinda sloppy looking.)

    Dress nicely: Okay, this is one taken straight out of the book, and when I first read it, I thought it was utter rubbish too, but there’s a reason behind this.
    At some point in your tidying, your house is going to look real messy and you may start to question your life choices…then you take a glimpse of yourself in the mirror…and if you are still in your unwashed pyjamas, you are going to feel like a total slob. And not in a cool ironic way, like Arthur Dent saving the earth in his bathrobe with his trusty towel by his side, but more like Dave Lister, slobbing his slobby way around the universe.

  5. Designate a Konmari corner that will remain undisturbed during the rest of the day: This is key, especially if you have kids around because you don’t want them coming in and picking through the mounds of stuff or moving anything around that you haven’t finished sorting through. Pick an area of the house that gets low traffic or can be shut off from the house. I am fortunate to have a spare room in my house, so I did all of my sorting and reorganising in that room, so that at the end of the hour, I could shut the door on all of it and not have to see it until the next day.

P.S. If you haven’t read the books already, you can get them here:

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organising

Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up