An approach to KonMari, Part 1 (of 2)

For a little over a year I’ve been toying with the idea of making an organization/productivity blog, where I could share theories and tips I learn and find, along with my opinions on it – plus some doodles every now and then…

…well, here it is!! ✨

And I’m gonna kick this off with what led me to finally put this blog together: a couple weeks ago, I decided to go KonMari on my desk.

160612konmari_01 This kinda spoils the ending, but anyway…

KonMari is a tidying method created by Marie “KonMari” Kondo, a Japanese organizing consultant and author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying, a book where she explains her methods for keeping a clean and uncluttered home. One of the key elements of this method is discarding* everything that doesn’t “spark joy” – if it doesn’t make you happy (or isn’t completely necessary to keep), let it go.

(*to me, “discarding” sounds like “throwing everything to the trash”, but you end up discarding a lot of stuff that’s on very good conditions (even stuff that has never been used!), so most of the stuff I ‘discard’ is stuff I’ll either sell or donate) 

The KonMari method also suggests cleaning by categories: Clothes, Books, Papers, Komono (miscellaneous), and Mementos/Memorabilia. I could have cleaned my whole room, but I really need to clean my desk so I’m starting with books.

The basic steps for each category are:

  1. Remove ALL items from this category and put them together
  2. Take them one by one, and decide what to keep and what to discard
  3. Place back the stuff you decided to keep

So, eager to get started, I took every single book from my desk and put them in a pile:


Once I built this nice little book fort, I proceeded to hold every book in my hands and make them go through the KonMari test: does this spark joy? if it does, it stays – if it doesn’t, it goes to the discard pile.

Going through such a strong method for discarding was way harder than I expected. I have already discarded books in the past, so the books I had on my desk were either books I like or books I really like. The only thing that has changed since the last time I discarded books is that now I have a Kindle, so I can keep only the books I really, really like and get the others on the Kindle in case I want to read them again.

After a couple of hours, my giant book pile turned into this:

160612konmari_books2You’re discarding “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”?? WHAT????

I cheated the KonMari system a bit by adding a new category – a small “to-read” pile, which is books I still haven’t read but couldn’t discard without at least giving them a try. I’m gonna try to place all of those together so I know what to read next. Everything else went either to the keep pile, or the discard pile.

I didn’t take pictures of every bookshelf once I put my books from the keep pile on my shelves, but here’s a bit of it:

160612konmari_books3Everything in my life is comics, no regrets

Going through this took most of my day, and that was only the “books” category!! Going through every single item, one by one, to choose what to keep and what to discard takes A LOT OF TIME, but I think it’s worth it! this way you’re fully conscious of what you’re deciding to keep or let go, so you don’t end up with unnecessary clutter.

I put aside my discard pile (which I’ll either sell on Facebook or donate to a local library), and moved on to the next category….papers. In my case this meant loose paper, folders, binders, notebooks and sketchbooks, all of which were scattered all over my desk. After finding all of them, I ended up with this:

160612konmari_notebooks1I’m in hell and it’s too late to go back

I had to make sub-categories if I wanted to get through this mess, so I started with sketchbooks, hoping that they would be the easiest to sort. They’re probably not. It turns out I had way more sketchbooks than I thought I had, so I had to sort them into sub-categories AGAIN:

160612konmari_notebooks2“When did I get so many notebooks??”

The “currently using” and “completed” categories are the easiest ones to sort – keep everything. I’m keeping the sketchbooks I’m currently using for obvious reasons, and the completed ones because I like to keep an archive of all my sketchbooks!

As for the rest, I had to go through the keep/discard process for each notebook individually. I always tend to keep every notebook I can get, because “I might need it later and that way I’ll never run out of paper to draw in!!” but to be honest, there are notebooks I’ve kept for YEARS and still haven’t used – there’s always a better one, a more compact one, one with better paper, etc. So I discarded a good amount of new or almost-new notebooks/sketchbooks that I knew I wasn’t going to use. I think I kept about half of those, more or less.

I still have to go through the rest of the “papers” and “miscellaneous” categories, plus putting everything back in place and dealing with my “discard” pile, but I’ll leave that for the next part! :^)