Tips and Guides

The Magic of the KonMari Method: 4 Simple Storage Solutions that You Can Do at Home

Author and cleaning consultant Marie Kondo gives you ideas on how to organize your items without any customized or complicated storage solutions


Marie Kondo is a firm believer that things are alive with their own energy, saying that “When you are choosing what to keep, ask your heart; when you are choosing where to store something, ask your house.” Sounds a bit vague? Here are more concrete, doable tips: 

Main photos from: The 36th Avenue and Year of Serendipity.

Store items vertically

Kondo believes that you can store everything standing up, from books to shirts. The underlying reason for this is that it’s easier to see everything that way. When you pile things up, it’s an endless space—you’ll keep on piling things up and you won’t realize that you’ve accumulated so much stuff again. And, the items at the bottom will get tired, worn out, and won’t be used as often (think of all those tops at the bottom of the pile that you haven’t worn in ages.)

While this worked for my books and some of my bags, I still haven’t been able to apply it to most of my items. But I did “ask” my things on how they wanted to be stored, and it felt like they’re okay with being in a pile, for as long as it’s just a few pieces, so that the ones at the bottom won’t be crushed under its weight. I also “listened” to my storage space. I knew my closets wouldn’t be “fulfilling its purpose” if I folded my clothes vertically, so I filled up the space, as it wanted me to—with small piles of clothes. Bags were also stored in accordance to its kind, and I could find which bag I needed in a few seconds. 

Photo from Confessions of a Serial Do-It-Yourselfer.

Store all of the same things in one place

While this may seem like common sense, it’s surprising that most households don’t apply this rule. I myself was guilty of this, because it’s much easier to just dump everything in one drawer in one easy move. But, when each item has a designated space, all your things become easier and faster to find. I also feel that they have a sense of belongingness, of home, and Kondo affirms this, saying, “It is important for the items to have that same reassurance that there is a place for them to return to… possessions that have a place where they belong and to which they are returned each day for a rest are more vibrant.”

Kondo continues to say that there are only two ways to categorize belongings: By type and by person. “If you live with your family, first clearly define separate storage spaces for each family member.” My things used to be mixed in with my daughter’s due to lack of space, but since I went through the discarding process of the KonMari Method, she has her own closet, her own box of extra toiletries, and we have a drawer each on our shared dresser table.

Photo by Vincent Coscolluela.

Keep the storage space in one area

Rather than storing items where it’s easiest to get them (think about the pairs of shoes near the door of your house that are separated from your actual shoe cabinet, or a bunch of your kids’ toys found in the kitchen for entertainment room rather than in his or her room), Kondo suggests that you don’t scatter storage spaces that belong in one category. She says, “Just designate where to keep your things in accordance with the design of your home and your storage problems will be solved.”

Living in a condo with an open floor plan gave me the opportunity to be strict with what goes where, and stays there. But be warned—when living with other people (like a toddler who would rather play than pack away), putting things back in its proper place must be done on a daily basis and several times during the day.

Photo by Miguel Nacianceno.

Use what you already have when storing anything

Kondo’s not into fancy (not to mention expensive!) storage solutions. She would rather you use shoeboxes, the most common thing she uses for organizing, from spices to makeup. She says, “Any square box or container of the right size will do,” saying that the box of her iPhone is perfect to store her writing materials. 

Photo by Miguel Nacianceno.

I found that during the course of cleaning, Kondo was right—I didn’t need to run out and buy a specific box or storage product or divider for my things, because I magically had the perfect box lying around the house. I held on to a set of gift boxes my friend gave me as a gift a few years back, and stored my child’s medicines in them, and some items in my work desk.

Organizers that were meant for the garden are now used on my bedside table and my bathroom, while pretty boxes that I’ve had for years are now used to store my jewelry, and the lids serve as a corral for my makeup and accessories. If you don’t have shoeboxes or square containers, Kondo suggests that you “wait until you have completed the entire process and then take your time looking for storage items that you really like.” 

Photo courtesy of the author.

For more helpful storage tips and insights, watch for the next part of this story about storing items found in the different parts of the home.

More on

10 Simple Organizers

The Magic of the KonMari Method: What to Do with Items of Sentimental Value

The Magic of the KonMari Method: What to Keep and What to Give Away


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