Monday, June 07, 2021

KonMari Method Part 5 : Komono Sewing/Crafting/DIY

This entry is for all the makers working in garment sewing, crafting, and home DIY projects. How do WE declutter?

This particular category was not given significant focus by Ms. Kondo. Supposedly it is a part of the Komono/Miscellaneous group. I didn't even realize that fact until I had my latest stack of plastic bins in front of me. These five small bins were just my crafting supplies, but I realized I also had my heavy-duty DIY tools, plus loads of garment fabric and sewing patterns. Luckily, I had done the first pass on those last two categories pre-KonMari, and I did not revisit those now. Note: When I decluttered that time, my only criteria was 'could use the fabric in the future?' I am now aware I will need to go through them again with "Do they spark joy?" in mind.

One of the difficulties with this category and the KonMari method is the whole concept of "sparking joy." When you work with craft and sewing supplies, you want some surplus materials or a "stash." These items will come in handy at some point but do they necessarily spark joy?


I had multiple cardboard boxes and plastic containers that held all of this stuff. I needed to organize, consolidate, and label everything that I had. I ended up with four specific containers:

  1. Paint Prep: A small portable tub with my pre-painting gear such as nitrile gloves, assorted paintbrushes, foam brushes, sanding blocks, latex caulk, spackle, Frog tape, some blue painter's tape, a paint can opener, plastic drop cloths, and a concentrated degreaser and cleaner for prepping all surfaces before painting.

  2. Primary Paint: A plastic tub holds the plastic paint trays the I line with aluminum foil, my handy paint pail (if you use latex paint, you can let it dry out and later lift the entire pail shaped paint thing out, it's so freaky cool!), extra foam rollers (in two sizes), paint edging tool, plastic cups, and painter tripods to support drying objects, small portions of leftover paint, Kilz 2 primer, and my must-have supply of Minwax Polycrylic in Satin. 

  3. Electric Tools: Another container holds my products which just happen to be Black + Decker products; a BullsEye auto-leveling laser level with stud sensor (BDL190S), 7.2-volt cordless screwdriver (PD600), and a 1.2 Amp corded Mouse detail sander (BDEMS600). Because there was room leftover, it also holds the tile leftover from the kitchen makeover (Yup, I know, potential future clutter!)

  4. Manual Tools: These live in a plastic toolbox with multiple-sized screwdrivers, wire cutters, two box cutters, two types of old school levels, a complete set of sanding files, two sets of pliers, and .


IKEA Misi table (No longer available)

I have an old IKEA Misi table with four convenient drawers that I use to store my most used notions.

  1. This drawer holds all of my old Coats & Clark's threads. I now have a separate container for the Gutermann thread that I use now.

  2. Sewing and machine needles, sewing scissors, my rotary cutter, walking foot, seam pickers, and my marking chalk all live in this drawer.

  3. This one holds my sewing labels, pinking shears, fabric swatches, 

  4. My Babyloc sewing machine manual, tracing paper, tracing wheel, tape measure, my bobbin thread box, and the-all important not-for-fabric scissors live in the last drawer.

In addition, my sewing cabinet (a former Spiegel Catalog armoire) holds even more. Inside, it has several similar-sized plastic totes, each with a different purpose.

  • Notions: One container holds all my interfacings, Pellon Easy Pattern paper, seam bindings, elastics, ribbons, velcro fasteners. To simplify things, they are all in individual clear plastic zip bags, so I can easily see what I have.

  • Knit Scraps: This one holds all the good knit remnants, fold-over elastics, and salvaged findings that could be made into underwear, tank tops, or turban headbands.

  • Office: A little bit different, this tote holds tape, rubberbands, envelopes, pens, plastic sheet protectors for my PDF patterns, and archival envelopes I use to protect my vintage patterns.

  • Soft toys: Leftover fleece, juvenile print fabrics, and felt that I can use to make things for my grandniece and two grandnephews.

  • Crafts: See below.
  • Paints: See below.


For me, craft supplies meant: older unopened acrylic paint tubes, newer acrylic paint for small projects, assorted paint brushes, sandpaper, pipe cleaners, hot glue gun, a staple gun with staples, rulers, several different types of tape, oil pastels, chalks, drawing pencils, stencils, unused origami paper, watercolor paper, sheets of vellum, metal knitting needles, and even a set of circular bamboo knitting needles.

I also had a small jewelry supply stash of jewelry findings, leather and suede cords, beading wire, some leftover elements from older jewelry pieces, plus packages of metal and wooden beads.

I took my time going through these, thinking of the likelihood that I would ever use each one or if it would be more useful to someone else, i.e., could it spark joy in someone else? If so, they were moved to another tub destined for the ScrapRVA reuse organization in Richmond.

An in-progress donation tote


I love the idea of oil pastels (I bought them for a college course in 2010), but I never used them after that, so it was time for them to go. Once I started thinking about it, more things made their way into the ScrapRVA donation box. So, could I see myself needing and then using it in the foreseeable future? That was the main question I asked myself. The effortless donations were any items that I had in multiples, or I had no idea that I even owned it. I ended up with a healthy group of things; many were never used.


At one point, I found myself trying to justify keeping items that could still bring me joy. You know, you can always use paint, pencils, hot glue... I had to revisit the contents of a few containers several times to remove things that I knew would continue to sit around unused. Because that was the same attitude that filled those boxes in the first place. Perhaps I was having a more difficult time because I took longer with the KonMari process than I was meant to. Ideally, you do it in one continuous session, not over several months as I did.

For now, the box of donations, my box of 100+ sewing patterns, and any other goods for ScrapRVA are living in my car's trunk until I drive to Richmond to hand them over. That's good enough for me.


Unknown said...

Good for you! The SCRAP center is a great place to donate; we have one in San Francisco that is really used by artists and schoolteachers all over the region. And it is possible to leave the there with less than I bring...��

M-C said...

Why this goal of doing it all in one session? MK mostly addresses herself to kids living in one room at their parents, so one session could work to whip up momentum and see immediate results. But if you truly want to change your ways in the long term, taking months or even years over several passes is perfectly reasonable. Desirable even, as you can think more about the process, what is a good equilibrium for you, how to achieve it etc

The Lady said...

I have always understood the phrase "spark joy" not for the object itself, but for the usage of said object. Like I am not really head over heals about my screwdrivers, but I am really happy I can adjust my kid's bike as he grows etc.