Decluttering Books and Papers: The KonMari Method


If you are just now tuning in, you’ll want to go back and read my initial thoughts on the KonMari Method and Decluttering My Closet

And now that you’re caught up, I’ll share a brief background (for those who didn’t go back and read 🙂 ). I’m decluttering my house over the course of the next 6 months or so, using this fun book: The Life-Changin Magic of Tidying Up.

The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

And let me just say that even though I don’t follow everything she says to a T, I am loving the concepts and how it’s keeping me motivated to continue decluttering. Typically I’ll declutter for a day or two and then forget and keep on going. But I’m really taking it seriously this time. It probably doesn’t hurt that I’ve got you to hold me accountable, too! 🙂

This month we’re talking about decluttering books and papers. Whoopee! 😉

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This is SO helpful!! How to declutter books and papers with the KonMari Method |

(I know you’ve been waiting with baited breath. Ha!)

Decluttering Books

So, I started by working on getting rid of my books. I thought it would be such an easy task, because I had already gotten my book collection down to a small, albeit messy, bookcase.

The messy bookshelf ...

BUT, I forgot about the under-the-bed storage box with books in it. …

And the stash in my closet.

I also had a stash in my night stand and the armoire in my bedroom.

Sorting Books via the KonMari Method |

I LOVE this about the Konmarie method – the gathering all of the like things from around your house. It really helps you see how much you have of everything.

10 Ways to Customize Your Home on a Budget Guide Button

My goal was to fit ALL of my books in the small bookshelf

I just went through all of my books and as I touched them, I asked myself, does this spark joy? Do I love this book? Some were for sure hall of famers. Books I’ve read once or more, that helped define who I am:

These Are My People
For the Love
Wild at Heart/Captivating

Some are business books that I use regularly, some are books that I’m currently reading or are relevant to my time in life. I got rid of a TON of marriage books – all of which I bought (and read some) before I got married and none of which I’ve read since I got married. Haha!

I also realized I have a ton of parenting books, but have read none of them. I need to read them, or at least listen to them on Audible. I mostly listen to books these days, but I like to have hard copies of my favorites and I will highlight my favorite parts. Ha! There’s maybe 10 of those.

I got rid of most fiction, because I was keeping it around to read at the beach someday. Let’s be honest – I won’t be propped up with a book at the beach for another 10 years, and by then I’ll probably still just listen to books or there will be new favorites for me to read. Pass those on to some childless gal or empty nester. Bless.

Decluttering Books with the KonMari Method |

I threw away a ton of study guides from all of the Bible studies I’ve ever done. If I had thought about it, then I probably would’t have kept them all like I have been doing for the past 20 years. But I ripped the bandaid off and threw them away.

Books to throw away! KonMari Method Decluttering |

There’s some garbage bag out there with all of my deepest, rawest thoughts written on a myriad of Bible study journals. But let’s face it. In all of the years that those books have taken up space in my home, I have gone back to look at my old study guides all of zero times.

Now, don’t freak out on me completely! I did not throw away any journals. I used to journal like crazy and they are all stored in a trunk with my special keepsakes. I will go through that trunk when I go through mementos at the end of this decluttering exercise. But I will, in fact, hold on to all of my journals. They are precious to me.

Tidy Bookshelf after using the KonMari Method of decluttering. These are all the books in my home except for cookbooks and my kids' books. |

And here’s the bookshelf after decluttering. This is every book in my house* except for a few cookbooks in the kitchen and a handful of books I use in my everyday decor. I am going to limit myself to this one book shelf (for now) and see how it goes.

*This does not include my kids’ books at all. I’m not touching their stuff or spaces until I’m finished with decluttering mine.

Decluttering Paper

Confession time: I’m not finished with this step yet. It’s a doozy.

Second confession: I shove all kinds of papers in random boxes and they’ve been hanging out in my office/guest bedroom for almost a year.

Boxes of papers needing to be decluttered using the KonMari Method. |

I’m blaming the lack of organization on the baby’s first year, because it’s the honest truth. As I’m going through these boxes, there are all kinds of things from this past year. I just didn’t have time to deal with anything.

So, I’ve slowly been compiling all of the boxes and gathering papers stuck in every corner of our home and going through them.

In Marie Kondo’s book, she says the “rule of thumb  — discard everything” regarding papers.

I love that, because I tend to hoard everything, because – what if I need it??

Recently, I created a command center near my kitchen. (I haven’t revealed it yet, but here are some amazing ones I rounded up for inspiration.) I have two file folders in that command center for papers: papers to file and papers that need a follow up!

How to sort papers the easy way! |

If I have some extra time, then I grab a folder and tackle it. The key here will be dealing with them before the folders overflow. I probably need to schedule a time weekly to deal with them. We’ll see. But I can say that it’s helped tremendously to keep me from sticking papers any-old-where and then shoving them in boxes! I had to create a system to break the old, bad habit.

Obviously there are papers that you have to keep that don’t bring joy. These are things you stick in the “papers to file” folder. But there should be very few of these. Things like tax documents and housing documents.

My messy office from baby's first year |

But her advice? Put them all in one folder to be saved. Don’t waste your time sorting out the papers you need to keep. It’ll be rare that you need to go back and access them, and when you do, you can just thumb through the folder. This will take less time than trying to keep track and file things in very detailed categories.

My messy office – but it’s getting organized!!

During my paper clean up, I found all kinds of randomness: unopened letters/mail, checks that needed to be deposited (!), lots of trash, picture frames and pictures, expired coupons, receipts for work and catalogs.

It’s a good thing I took the time out to go through papers now, because I’m finding receipts that I need for my taxes all throughout these boxes. (That’s how crazy baby’s first year was – soooo unorganized!) Hopefully if I ever have another baby, this system will save me from having the same disorganized year.

I also have revised my system for keeping appliance manuals and warranties/receipts. I used to keep everything! And I have these huge binders with clear plastic sleeves and tons of manuals.

Kondo suggests that you get rid of them all. Well almost, maybe keep the manuals for your computer and camera. Her suggestion made me realize that I truly never look at these manuals.

I think in the past 5 years, I’ve needed the manual for my vacuum cleaner, baby monitor and lawn mower. Everything else I’ve never needed. Honestly we could have probably looked up what we needed online. Most companies have owner’s manuals available online.

IKEA Fjalla Magazine File

So, here’s my new system. I am going to hang on to some of the larger ticket items’ manuals. But, I’m going to store them in magazine holders instead of these big bulky binders.

I don’t have an after picture of my papers, or the space they used to occupy, because they were everywhere and I’m not quite done yet. But someday soon I hope to show a picture of my organized office and command center! Both will be evidence that my paper hoarding issues are under control.

Next Month’s Topic

Next month I’ll be tackling “komono” — miscellaneous items. For me, this is like everything in my house, right?! It seems very overwhelming. But, I’ve found some guidance on page 106 of the book. She breaks it down into smaller categories, but I know I have even more categories than that. So, I’m going to start with my office, which is the room most in need of decluttering. Here are the things I’ll be sorting this coming month:

  • notepads/notebooks
  • binders
  • folders
  • calendars
  • envelopes
  • labels
  • pens/pencils/markers
  • hole punches
  • shredders
  • printer papers
  • staplers
  • paper clips/rubber bands
  • tacks/magnets
  • erasers/whiteout
  • stickers
  • tape/glues
  • scissors
  • craft supplies (oh my!!)
  • wrapping paper
  • bubble wrap
  • cardboard boxes
  • credit cards
  • reward cards
  • spare change
  • video games
  • board games
  • cds/dvds
  • spare cords
  • phone accessories
  • remote controls
  • cameras/video cameras
  • computers
  • home decor
  • photo props (blogging business specific)

Whew! That’s going to take some time, but I’m excited to tackle them and be clutter free in my office. I can say that as I throw away and give away more stuff, I feel lighter. Getting rid of things I’ve held on to for years, and yet I don’t even miss them (or know what they are)!

It’s not too late!

Do you feel overwhelmed by the sheer amount of STUFF in your home? Then join me on this journey! It’s more fun with accountability and friends.

Go buy the book. And get your closet, books and papers in order. If you want to get a jump start on your office list, too, then you get extra credit. Marie says that it takes about 6 months to tackle your whole home, so it’s not going to be accomplished in a few short weeks. We’re in this for the long haul, but at the end I know I’ll be grateful I decluttered my whole house!

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  1. I *just* came across this book! I’ve been wanting to clean up the clutter in our house that’s accumulated since our baby girl was born (8 months ago) and I thought this would be a good starting point! I’ll grab a copy of the book and continue following along with your progress!

  2. I did the Konmari method a year ago (and recently blogged about what it’s like a year later!) and still love reading how other people approach the method! Paper and books were definitely the hardest part for me, no question. I felt so attached to every little scrap of paper, but it felt so good to let things go.

  3. I have completed reading the book but have yet to begin my journey. Thank you for taking me on your journey . My office is also the scariest place for me to begin.

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