How to Organize a Komono Drawer
We all have them: forgotten spaces, dark cupboard corners and…kitchen junk drawers. These are the places where items sit idle because they haven’t found a true home. In Japan, these objects are called komono, or miscellaneous items, and it’s common to struggle with keeping them organized.
That’s why Marie Kondo recommends designating a day to organize your komono in one go, give your objects final destinations and take back control. That includes organizing the household junk drawer. (Note: If you have more than one junk drawer in the house, such as one in the kitchen and one in the home office, you’ll want to organize them all at once. Remember, tidy by category — not location.)
Focus on the Category of Komono
While Marie prefers to call miscellaneous items “komono” rather than “junk” — all of our items should be of value and feel valued! — the KonMari Method™ can help you organize your so-called “junk drawer” once and for all. Komono drawers and shelves are some of the most difficult areas of the home to organize, so you’ll want to tackle the category of komono after honing your tidying skills with the clothing, books and paper categories. Concentrating on the joy, value and spirit of your miscellaneous possessions allows you to finish this tricky category with ease.
This process isn’t simply about organizing a single junk drawer. It can reunite mismatched socks, lost rolls of washi tape, leftover coins or scattered booklets of stamps, so tackling all your komono at once — rather than location by location — is key. That means emptying out every junk drawer in the house, so you can see them all at once. Putting all of your komono items in one place before starting the tidying process will reveal what (and how much) you have.
“If you come across komono items that don’t particularly spark joy yet are necessary, try praising them to the hilt. Think of how they make your life easier, about their wonderful appearance and marvelous features, then tell them how great they are. As you do this, you will begin to feel grateful for how they help you and to see how they support your life.”
Commit to Tidying in One Go
Give the komono category the honor of your full attention, as it deserves thorough investigation and rehabilitation. You are not just cleaning out one of your drawers — you are exploring an entire ecosystem within the komono universe. This requires commitment to a somewhat tedious task, but remember that if you tidy the KonMari way, you’ll only have to do this once!
If you’re struggling to find the motivation to face your junk drawer, try Marie’s advice: “If you come across komono items that don’t particularly spark joy yet are necessary, try praising them to the hilt. Think of how they make your life easier, about their wonderful appearance and marvelous features, then tell them how great they are. As you do this, you will begin to feel grateful for how they help you and to see how they support your life.”
Take Everything Out
Taking everything out of junk drawers and other komono hot spots and laying it out provides a fresh view of all the contents. You may find something that was once missing or something you forgot you owned. It is an opportunity for re-acquainting yourself with the objects that live with you and recognizing those that spark joy and those that don’t.
Tidy Tip: Once those junk drawers or storage spaces are completely empty, take a moment to tend to them. Clean well with a soft cloth, replace drawer liners or add air fresheners if you’d like.
Let Go with Gratitude
It’s tough to let go of items when you’re thinking “these might come in handy one day.” However, if they don’t spark joy, there is no reason to keep them. Keep 10 rubber bands in your collection of handy fasteners and clips, and let go of the other 100! Dirty, broken or old items that no longer have value in your daily rituals can be thanked for their service and discarded.
Tidy Tip: When tidying komono items or junk drawers, remembering that functionality is also a type of joy is key. A simple design that puts you at ease, a high degree of functionality that makes life simpler, a sense of rightness or the recognition that a possession is useful in our daily lives also indicates joy.
Think about the purpose of the drawer or storage space and its location within your traffic patterns. If you are always looking for batteries and can’t remember where they are, relocation might be the answer: some items may be better off elsewhere in your house.
Komono is hard to contain when not carefully thought through. Organize the contents of a komono drawer by category. When you open it to reach for your scissors or letter opener, have those sharp items live together. Matches and lighters can live together as fire-starters. Grocery list paper and your favorite pencil should be neighbors.
Small items that live in these kinds of komono drawers tend to jostle around every time the drawer is open and closed. Junk drawer organizers and small compartments within help keep like-with-like and protect the drawer from becoming jumbled again.
“For loose/small change: Make ‘into my wallet’ your motto.”
Don't Stop Until You Finish
Even if you grow weary, don’t lose momentum! Conquer komono in one go, so you don’t leave it half-finished. Once everything is reviewed, either bid farewell or retain and re-home. Close the drawers, take a breath and then open them again. Congratulate yourself on your hard work and take pleasure in the space you have given new life and meaning.
When you use this drawer or storage space in the future, continue to show it the same respect you did today. Return items to their spots; don’t carelessly stash new miscellaneous acquisitions. It is no longer your “junk” drawer. It is your esteemed komono storage space, full of useful, beloved objects in their happy home!