I am an organizing freak. When I was around fourteen I had a bookshelf full of books that I not only alphabetized by author, but created a card catalog of on an old mac so that I could check books out to my sisters and cousin. As I said...organizing FREAK.
So it's possible that this book appeals to me more than it does to the average person. But if you're ever frustrated with the amount of things you have and how messy your house gets sometimes, read the book. Trust me on this.
Update on the steps:
ClothingI keep my clothing pretty pared down so that everything I own easily fits in my closet and a couple of dresser drawers. I was still able to get rid of about half. I've replaced some of those items with better versions and I'm WAY happier with my clothes now. I found items that mix more easily, and I've embraced my style, which is closer to business casual than I thought. I now only own one pair of jeans, but they're really good jeans, and I expect them to last another year or so. I didn't count the items to begin with, but I now have less than 100 items of clothing (including loungewear, bras, underwear, shoes, belts - everything).
That number does not include jewelry, which I went through separately. I had a very clear idea of how much jewelry I wanted to have. I wanted it to fit on this set of hooks without having too many items on any one hook, with small items in the bowl on the dresser, and a few special items in the heart box. I'm really happy with the way it turned out.
BooksI had around 200 books to begin with and now I have around 100. I really love books, and I like having my favorite books, and so I've actually been buying some of my favorites so that I can have them on my shelves. I typically buy books before I read them, but I usually get them secondhand, and as soon as I'm done I decide whether to keep or donate the book.
What stuck out to me as I went through my books was that I was getting rid of most of the books that I was proud of. I have an English degree, a large portion of which was literature analysis. That means I have a Shakespeare shelf, and a modern lit shelf, and a poetry shelf. I like the person that those shelves portray. That's who I thought I was. Maybe that IS who I was when I took those classes and read those books, but it's no longer an accurate picture. So I let them go because I don't love them. What I was left with was disappointing. I don't like the picture it creates when you look at my bookshelf, and it's not really accurate either. I realized I haven't read many books since college so my "bookshelf persona" is basically nonexistent. I decided to fix that. I'm reading again, a large spectrum of books, to find the ones that I love to fill up my shelves again.
PaperI went through all of my paper a year ago. I had about three boxes full, and I spent a week sorting through it, scanning important papers, and creating a single 3 ring binder of our must-keep documents. I store them in plastic sleeves in the binder, which is not separated into categories at all. Since there isn't much in there it's pretty easy to flip through. I also have a shoebox-sized box from Ikea that I use for any receipts, bills, etc that I need to keep for a little while. I go through this once a year when I do our taxes and toss anything we no longer need (which is basically everything more than a year old). I set up all of our bills on autopay and e-statements to limit the paper coming in, and we put junk mail into the recycling immediately.
I pretty much skipped this category since it was already done, but I looked through things and finetuned a bit. I also recycled all magazines that we had since we never ever read magazines so there is no point in having them around. When I receive cards now they go on display for a while (or forever) until I feel like recycling them. Some of them end up in frames or my scrapbook or a special box.
Komono (miscellaneous)The fourth category is komono, which includes everything else, except for sentimental items. I haven't finished this category yet, but I have gone through our kitchen items, bathroom, cleaning, gift wrap (I got rid of all gift wrap except a few rolls of wrapping paper), craft supplies, and dvds.
I moved all of the spices I wanted to keep into matching jars and made chalkboard labels for them. This makes me so happy every time I see it that I have no problem keeping the cabinet cleaned out and easy to use. I included the date of purchase on the labels so that I can get rid of them when they get old.
We got rid of couches that didn't work in our new house, a keyboard I never use, an easel, and so many other large things I can't even remember. I sold a mixer that we got as a wedding gift (eight years in December!) and have not used once. We had so many things like that that I'm embarrassed to say we took with us through six moves! Never again. If we move again, I am getting rid of half of our belongings. It's just not worth it to haul most things with you.
I still have a few subcategories to go through - gardening, pet stuff, tools and other home improvement, candles, artwork, and misc decor. Then I am done!
Mementos (sentimental)I haven't started the mementos category yet since I'm still working on komono. Every time I come across something sentimental I stick it in the spare room upstairs. I've got quite the pile up there waiting for me, but I know from experience that this is my favorite category to sort so I'm pretty excited to get to it soon.
A few other notes:
Like many husbands, Greg has zero interest in this process. He thinks I'm crazy and am trying to get rid of all of our things, which is only partially true. Marie Kondo says to only sort your own items, and to not interfere with those belonging to other people. But, I'm the one who manages all of our things. So when I'm sorting and find something of his or something that's shared, I just ask Greg his opinion, and then I don't argue (or at least I don't argue much) with what he says. There are things that we've kept that I would prefer to get rid of, and definitely some things that he's let me get rid of that he would have preferred to keep. If something is a sentimental item to him, I try to find a nice place for it. Do I hope he'll get the KonMari bug and trash the many boxes of outdated computer equipment and cords in the basement? You bet. But I'm not going to push it.
When it comes to getting rid of items that are worth money, I don't try to sell anything that's worth less than $20, unless it's large and it's worth it to give it away if someone will come get it. Most items I sold we got at least $40 for. There's a tipping point where the money you could receive is not worth as much as just having the junk out of your house. I'm sure we could have had a yard sale and maybe done fairly well, but it's just not worth it to us. I just haul it all to Goodwill and think about how happy it will make someone to find that awesome purse/jacket/painting for 50 cents.
I'm better at making shopping decisions now. It's far easier for me to decide if I really love something or not, and easier to walk away if I don't. This is where the method saves you money, and frustration, and heartache down the road.
It's also easier to keep things organized. Once you have everything the way you like it, you enjoy putting things back where they go. I still procrastinate, but it definitely happens earlier than it would have otherwise.
Go read the book (it's like $8 on Amazon so just buy it already) and then come back and tell me what you think!