Published on May 19, 2021

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Home organization can sometimes feel like a never-ending problem to tackle. No matter how diligently we try to declutter, things always seem to pile up or inevitably get misplaced, which, in itself, explains the Marie Kondo phenomenon. As we’ve all learned from the pro Japanese organizer’s Netflix show, an organized and decluttered home does more than simply look good—it helps people lead happier lives.

But the path to lasting home organization isn’t an easy one. First, finding the right system takes time, and decluttering can be an even longer process. As things pile up, organizational systems need to be constantly updated. Kondo’s KonMari method is popular, in part, because it is adamant about one thing: Decluttering needs to happen in specific stages before any organizational system can be put in place.

So before you run to the Container Store and purchase everything in sight, read up on the method and start decluttering. While you get rid of things, you can also reward yourself by investing in the right accessories that will make your home a happier and more organized place. Ahead, we rounded up three items you might need for each of Marie Kondo’s organizational categories. And fear not, they’re all editor approved, so you know they’ll look as good as the rest of your home.

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Photo by Aaron Bengochea

Step 1: Clothes

Kondo starts every decluttering session by tackling closets. The underlying philosophy is that clothing is the easiest item category to begin with and can serve as motivation for the next step. More specifically, she has a method for hanging items that wrinkle easily, folding things to stand vertically in a drawer, and organizing accessories so that everything is in sight. Outside of practical (and matching) felt hangers, here are a few accessories to help you get started.

Kondo recommends separating drawers into sections dedicated to T-shirts, sweaters, underwear, and more, so these Tetris-style boxes are ideal to divide and conquer.

A pretty jewelry box like this one will help keep all your small accessories in place, but Kondo also recommends hanging necklaces individually so they don’t tangle. For this, try a jewelry stand or wall hooks.

Speaking of wall hooks, this coatrack can be helpful for hanging everything from necklaces and scarves to bags and coats, and can work just as well in an entryway or bedroom.

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Courtesy of Jesse Bennett Studio

Step 2: Books

Another relatively easy item category to tackle is your collection of books and magazines, which also can include textbooks from your college days, cookbooks, and even phone books (if you still have them). After having discarded the ones you no longer need—ahem, phone books—organize the rest with these handy accessories.

A magazine rack is a stylish way to display your favorite mags and reminds you that there is only a finite amount of space to keep them so you never go overboard. Once the rack is full, it’s time to discard a few issues.

For the few prized books that deserve a spot on your bookcase, consider flanking them with beautiful bookends and giving them some importance to make them stand out.

Whether with large trays on your coffee table or with an actual tray table, artfully place coffee-table books in a dedicated area to make them appear more organized and intentional as opposed to randomly arranged.

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Photo by Laure Joliet for Barbara Bestor Architecture

Step 3: Papers

One of the first steps for going through your paperwork is doing your best to digitize everything so it doesn’t take up too much physical space in your home. This goes for receipts, warranties, business cards, bills, and any other papers that must be kept in your records. For the rest that cannot be digitized, try a few of these organizational tools.

A letter stand will ensure that your unopened mail doesn’t get scattered across your entryway console or kitchen counter. Keep it all in one spot and open it in due time once a week.

Similarly, keep a letter tray to file everything that hasn’t yet been archived or digitized. This can include bills to be paid or contracts that need to be signed. Store them until you get around to reading them to keep your desk tidy.

Lastly, some files you simply have to keep in their original format: birth certificates, documents requiring original signatures, etc. For those a stylish accordion filer will do. Just make sure you only store essential papers there so you don’t end up needing an entire filing cabinet in a few years.

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Kips Bay Palm Beach Show House 2019, Jessica Schuster Design

Step 4: Komono

Komono is where the organizational process gets the most overwhelming, but the good news is that, at that stage, you’re almost done with your decluttering. As Kondo describes it, komono is any miscellaneous item, from office supplies, tech accessories, and tools to household gadgets, furniture, and decorative pieces. It also includes everything in the kitchen and bathroom, i.e., pots and pans and shower caps.

Keep items like pens and scissors in this desk organizer from World Market. This can also be repurposed in the bathroom for things such as cotton swabs and makeup. 

Everything looks better and more organized when arranged in a tray, so disperse these pretty Marimekko ones all around your home (the company offers a ton of patterns). They can hold anything from TV remotes and soaps to glasses and keys.

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Courtesy of Airbnb

Step 5: Mementos

Last but not least, mementos may seem like an easy category to tackle, but souvenirs can be emotional to sift through, so Kondo reserves them for the end of the process. Think about going through old photos, cards, letters, school papers, concert tickets, etc. Once you’ve decided what to keep and what to toss, these organizational accessories might help.

Although most images are stored digitally these days, we all have a small pile of pictures we don’t want to discard. Consider keeping them in an actual photo album, organized and away from the elements.

Keep any other souvenirs you don’t want to let go of organized in storage boxes like these from Open Spaces. Stash letters and postcards in one, concert tickets in another, and anything else you want to hold onto.

If you have standout items, like trophies or sculptures you want to display, consider arranging them on a platform tray on your bookshelf to give them the authority they deserve, or even corral a small collection of pieces together.

Read up on our other organizing tips:
This Perfectly Organized Craft Room Is So Pleasing to Look At
A KonMari Consultant Cured My Junk Drawer—Here’s What I Learned
What Really Happens After Marie Kondo Teaches You to Tidy Up?