If you’ve read my blog recently, you know I’ve been busy, KonMari-ing my house. KonMari is a method of decluttering and organizing developed by Japanese cleaning expert, Marie Kondo. Her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, has sold over 2 million copies and is quickly becoming one of the most popular books on Amazon. Her premise is so simple, you’ll wonder why no one’s thought of it before: keep only the things that bring you joy and get rid of everything else. You and your home will be happier!
I am a naturally organized person. When I taught elementary school, I had over 100 plastic tubs of books, organized by category and author. I labeled everything in my classroom, right down to containers that said “Sharpies” and “Post-it Notes.” I’m also pretty good about cleaning out my closets at home, getting rid of stuff, and organizing my things neatly, or, at least I thought I was before reading Marie’s book. I could never understand why, despite my decluttering efforts, the closets always reverted back to their messy selves. Now I know – instead of keeping only what sparked joy in me, I tried to decide what I didn’t want, a negative precept. I also kept a lot of things “just because” out of sentimentality or the notion that I might use/wear/need it again someday. KonMari has freed me to let go of things that are taking up valuable physical, mental, and emotional space.
In addition to keeping only the things that bring you joy, Marie suggests sorting things by category, not location. This is a significant difference from other organizing systems. Most people have books in different rooms of their houses – if you sort by room, you never get a sense of how many books you really have, and you end up keeping more than you need. She also recommends discarding everything before you organize what you’re keeping; I completely get that now, as you will see shortly.
(If you want to read my introduction to KonMari, click here. There are links to my other posts at the bottom.)
Today I’m sharing my makeup, skin care, and bath product purge. This falls under the category of komono, which is what the Japanese call miscellany. The first three categories are clothes, books, and papers (the last is mementos.) Komono, the fourth category, covers a range of stuff you might have, from CDs and DVDs to stationery and sewing kits. Once you get to komono, your categories may vary. I don’t have a lot of electronic equipment, so that will be an easy one to sort through, but Other? Oh, my word, I’ve got a lot of Other!
Marie is a stickler for following the order she lays out, but she says that it’s okay to go out of order with komono, especially if you live alone. The important thing is to tackle one category at a time and get rid of everything – everything – that does not bring you joy.
This is the order for komono. I started off with a check mark because I don’t have CDs and DVDs anymore! I stream or download movies from Netflix and Amazon, and I listen to music on iTunes and Pandora. Done! I did makeup, skin care, and bath products together (she assigns the later to household supplies) because all three of those are in my master bathroom, so it made sense to do them all at once.
My master bathroom has an awkward layout. The picture on the left is what you see stand at my front door and look down the hall. There is no door to the area with the sink. When it was built in 1978, it had swinging saloon doors. Classy. (A previous owner took them down, thank goodness.) To the right of the entrance is a door to the shower, toilet, and a narrow closet, which is behind the door. To get to the closet, you have to open the door, step into the space, close the door, then open the closet door. Pain. In. The. Butt. I got this shelf at The Container Store so I would have some space to put things I use every day, like my skin care and hair care products. I keep my makeup on the counter and a lot of random stuff in the cabinets underneath. This is what this space looked like last week:
It’s impossible to get a picture of the closet from top to bottom. I was sitting on the toilet about three feet away from it, so the best I could do was take pictures of the bottom, middle, and top sections. These drawers are full of things I don’t need but have kept because I had a space for them. You can click on this and other pictures for a closer view.
I started, like always, by taking everything out of the bathroom.
Then I put everything into my sitting room. Wow! I knew I had a lot of stuff, but holy moly! All this came out of that cramped little space!
Coco and Muffin were not amused.
Next, I sorted everything on the floor into three categories: makeup, skin care, and bath products (soap, bath salts, lotion, shampoo, etc.) I saved the clear plastic drawers from the closet for later. The bags in front of the couch hold trash and things I discarded, like the foot spa and Neti Pot I’ve never used. See that stack of boxes and bags by the etagere? It’s a large tub filled with products I ordered but haven’t opened because I didn’t have anywhere to put them. Oy!
I sorted my makeup into smaller categories so I could tell how many of each product I have. Most women have this many lipsticks and brushes, right?
I didn’t get rid of much makeup. I kept the products I use daily in the makeup holder on the counter and put the rest in containers on a sliding shelf in the cabinet below. I also keep a second set of makeup with my travel bags so I can just pop it in my suitcase the night before I leave. You can get the makeup organizer here.
I pared down my skin and hair care products. I’ve tried – and liked – many different skin care lines over the years, but I’m now using EVER, a new skin care line from the people who created Stella & Dot. It’s amazing – free from harmful ingredients, it’s lightweight, absorbs into your skin quickly, and moisturizes incredibly well. The specially formulated LSR10™ reduces the top ten visible signs of aging. Derived from magnolia extract, the products have a subtle magnolia scent. I’m super weird about scented face and bath products – I like things to have a clean, fresh scent, if anything. (Disclosure: I like EVER so much, I signed up to be a specialist. If you click the link and make a purchase, I earn commission.)
This streamlined space, filled only with things I love, makes me so happy!
Boy, I love my little makeup holder with the pretty lipsticks.
I was constantly searching for hair clips and pony tail holders. Now they have a special place in the cabinet. I think I will be able to keep the medicine cabinet tidy now.
I didn’t take any pictures while I was purging the drawers in the closet. Once I did the bathroom, it was easy for me to decide what to keep. I purged pretty much everything in the makeup, skin care, and travel sizes drawers. I don’t ever use the travel size shampoo, conditioner, lotion, or skin care and makeup samples, so I’m donating those to a women’s shelter. I admit I have a lot of new, unopened skin care products – I love a good anti-aging cream! – but since I’ve settled on EVER, I discarded products from the other lines.
It’s hard to get rid of things you bought that are in perfectly good condition, some never used, like clothes with the tags still on or unopened jars of miracle eye cream, but Marie strongly advises you do so. It’s not good to keep things “just because,” especially if you feel guilty that you paid money for something and would be “wasting” it. Marie explains it well: by holding onto something you don’t use, you are depriving yourself of the joy you will feel when surrounded by things you love. That pricey moisturizer I bought when I went to a spa on vacation may be a wonderful product, but, trapped in a plastic drawer inside a cramped closet, it loses its magic. Far better to release it and give it to someone who will benefit from it. I threw away any half-used products and products that have expired, and I’m giving the brand-new cleansers, lotions, serums, and creams to friends.
Look how empty the makeup, skin care, and travel drawers are! I also eliminated the expandable shelves I had in the middle section. Everything looks so tidy!
When my sister and her family were here at Easter, everyone came to my condo to dye Easter eggs. My brother-in-law asked me if I had a nail clipper, and I said, “Um…yeeessss…I’m sure I can find it in one of these drawers…” but I couldn’t, so I guess my niece or nephew had to live with a hangnail. Guess what I found during my KonMari purge?
Doing this made me realize how out of order everything was – I can never seem to find a nail file, but I have a whole drawer full of them! I don’t need to buy toothbrushes or razors anytime soon. Who knew?
Clockwise from top left: first aid; razors, shaving cream, and hair products; toothpaste, floss, toothbrushes, and nail care items; cotton balls and Q-tips; makeup sponges (I actually don’t use these – maybe they should go, too;) products for hands and feet; travel sizes (just one drawer now;) and travel bags with hair, makeup, and skin care products.
You can get the clear shirt and accessories drawers here.
I have a lot of stuff to donate. I anticipated getting rid of about half of what was in my bathroom, and I probably came close. There are a lot of unopened, unused products in this pile. From now on, I’m buying only what I need to replenish the products I already use. (Okay, okay, I’ll probably buy a few new lipsticks, too.) I think I’ve whittled makeup, skin care, and bath products down to a manageable stash. I love having empty drawers and cabinets, and I don’t want to re-clutter them!
I got the Simple Solutions cabinet drawers (still in their boxes) a couple of months ago, thinking I would reorganize my bathroom. This is the exact reason why Marie says to discard everything before you organize! Not only do I not need the drawers anymore, but they also don’t fit in my cabinets! I put one together, thinking I’d coral things underneath the sink in it, and it’s too wide. Of course I don’t have the receipts anymore.
Having a designated place for everything is something I’ve wanted for a long time. As I work through the rest of my komono, I’m sure I’ll find more nail clippers, nail files, lotions, and lipsticks. I know where they go now. I will think thrice about buying something new. Do I really need it? Will I really use it? Does it really bring me joy? Now that I’m surrounded by the things I love, I don’t want anything to take away that feeling of contentment.
So what’s next? I’ve already KonMaried my accessories, and I don’t have many valuables (passports, credit cards, or other things that should be kept in a safe.) I don’t have a lot of electrical equipment either. I could breeze right past those categories and start purging household equipment, but I’m toying with the idea of slipping some of my other komono in here.
I have a two car garage lined with industrial shelving and cabinets. I have seasonal decorations; photo albums; sentimental items; mementos belonging to my mom, grandmother, and sister; linens; cleaning supplies; and so much more. I’m thinking about pausing the interior KonMari project and sorting through a few things in the garage, starting with my seasonal decor and wrapping supplies. I’m ready to let go of some of the things I’m not using, and getting rid of boxes will free up valuable storage space.
I hope my before and after pictures and descriptions are helpful. Have you started to declutter and organize in your house? Do you have questions about the KonMari Method? Confused about something I did or wondering how you can fit this whole KonMari thing into your life? Leave me a comment, and I’ll help you if I can!
Click here to read other post in this series.