Decorate, KonMari Tidying, Organize

Tidying Up the KonMari Way: Christmas Decorations

Tidying Up the KonMari Way Christmas Decorations

I’ve been slowly working through komono, the miscellaneous category in Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method from her book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and OrganizingThis category is time-consuming because I have a lot of miscellaneous items, especially home decor and seasonal decorations. Fortunately, I didn’t have to start from scratch on my Christmas decorations. I’ve sorted through them several times since I moved into my condo seven years ago, and everything is stored neatly and labeled correctly, so it’s easy for me to decorate. I still had to give Christmas the KM treatment – I knew there were things that didn’t bring me joy, and I wanted to reach what Marie Kondo calls the “click point,” the feeling you get when you’ve kept exactly the right amount of stuff.

This a picture of the left side of my garage, crammed with Christmas decorations. Most of them are mine, but some were my mom’s. The top three shelves on the far right hold all of my ornaments. I went through them a couple of years ago and got rid of any that didn’t bring me joy. (I literally applied that principle to my ornaments – I must have had a kindred spiritual connection to Marie even then!) I didn’t have to go through those boxes because I knew I would keep everything in them.

Garage L Before WM

This is the right side of my garage. The shelves on the far left hold my grandmother’s, mother’s, sister’s, and my mementos. And that’s not even all of them. I understand why Marie saves sentimental things for last! It would have taken me forever to go through them, and I probably would have quit half-way. The two shelves on the right hold other seasonal decorations. My goal was to get rid of enough Christmas decorations that I could move all the seasonal decorations to the other side of the garage.

Garage R Before WM

I started with wrapping paper, bags, and ribbon because I knew they would be the easiest to go through. This is a combination of my mom’s and my wrapping supplies. The thing is, I hardly ever wrap anything anymore! I use bags and stuff them with tissue paper. I picked up each roll, bag, and spool of ribbon, asking “Does this spark joy?” Now everything fits into two boxes.


Wrapping Paper Before WM


Wrapping Paper During WM


Wrapping Paper After WM

This is a good example of keeping things that bring me joy, even if they aren’t practical. Sometimes you just want to have something around. I’m happy with my little Christmas wrapping stash!


Wrapping Paper Discard WM

Next, I brought in all the other boxes I wanted to go through. These held miscellaneous items like linens, paper goods, serving pieces, and stockings.


Misc Before WM

I cross-stitched the green wreath on the fingertip towel – joy-sparker! The red, white, and green mixing bowls that I grabbed off the shelves on a Target run? Not so much. A good example of not keeping something, even if you bought it but never used it.


Misc During WM

This little beaded tree was always in my grandmother’s powder room. I love it, and it reminds me of Oma, but it’s seen better days, so I let it go.

Beaded Tree WM

These were hard for me: my grandmother’s, mom’s, and my childhood stockings. I’ve no use for my mom’s and grandmother’s, and mine’s falling apart. I loved having the same design as my grandmother. I took this picture and wrapped the stockings in a bag, because I’m not ready to give them away yet.

Stockings WM


Misc After WM

Close Up Misc WM

Close Up Linens WM

The Kleenex came in handy a couple of times. Christmas was a wonderful time for my family. We had lots of traditions: the tree-trimming party I organized ever year; going to church on Christmas Eve and Mexican food for dinner (we’re Texans!); creamed chipped beef for breakfast on Christmas morning (I thought it was a delicacy because we only ate it once a year;) making fudge, red and green chocolate chip meringues, and kangaroo cookies to give to our friends and neighbors; opening Mommy and Daddy presents Christmas Eve and waiting for everyone to get up before we flung open the doors to the living room to see what Santa brought. So many memories came rushing in. I don’t have my own family with whom to share those traditions, and sometimes that hurts my heart.

My sister and I incorporate some of our  traditions into her family’s celebration in Seattle. We eat Mexican food on Christmas Eve with my brother-in-law’s family – if Mimi (my mom) can’t be there for Christmas, then by golly, her grandchildren will eat chips and queso! – but we’ve axed the creamed chipped beef on Christmas morning. Before she died, my mom recorded herself reading Hallmark’s ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas; Anna Jane and Luke snuggle up on the couch to hear her read it, just like Susan and I did so long ago.

We’re creating some new traditions, too, like visiting the reindeer and camel at Swanson’s Nursery with friends and going back to their house for Christmas Eve lunch. My brother-in-law’s family has Swedish heritage, and his mom collects tomte. My sister’s house is dotted with little elves in red hats at Christmas. Instead of making creamed chipped beef, Susan picks up pastries from a local bakery (the kids don’t know what they’re missing!)


I appreciate the fusion of family traditions and hope my niece and nephew will look back on their childhood Christmases as fondly as I do mine.


Misc Discard WM

See the gold and white tray? Never used. The star card holder from Pottery Barn? Used once, and it drove me crazy that the cards fell off every time I closed the only door on which I could hang it. Both gone!

This is what my garage looks like after the Christmas purge. I accomplished my goal! I want and will use everything on these shelves. Is it Thanksgiving yet? I can’t wait to decorate! The rest of the seasonal decorations are next. I will whittle them down enough to fit on that empty shelf!

Christmas Shelves After WM

Click here to read more posts in this series.

Kelly Gartner Style KonMari

6 thoughts on “Tidying Up the KonMari Way: Christmas Decorations

  1. I’m so curious … have you completed all of the steps of the KonMari system? Have you kept everything tidy since? Has your life magically changed for the better?
    I found your blog this morning and have read through all the post concerning the KonMari method and I must say, your home looked (looks?) absolutely calm, orderly and beautiful!

    I’m just beginning my journey. Clothes were easy for me but I’m on to my books and that is very difficult for me to let go. I think of all the money I’ve spent on them and wonder if I should have a yard sale to get rid of them and at least get something for them. I’ll keep those that bring me joy and box up the others and see.

    I hope you see this and can tell me how you’re doing now.

    1. Hi, Karen! Thanks for reading all the KonMari posts! I love sharing my journey with my readers.

      You asked some great questions. I have completed almost all the steps. I still have some sentimental items to go through, but they’re all contained in boxes in my garage, so they’re out of the way. I’ve kept most of my spaces neat and tidy. I should do a true confessions post with pictures of what my house looks like right now (without tidying the spaces – YIKES!)

      I purged enough to get to the click point in most categories, and I haven’t bought too much, so most spaces look like the after pictures in my blog posts. My closet/dresser, bathroom closet, decorative items closet (haven’t written a post about it yet,) hall closet, and Christmas/seasonal decorations look about 85% the same. My Stella & Dot jewelry closet and my office closet are disasters right now. I completely changed my eating habits in August (I actually cook now,) and my kitchen has got a little messy because I have added some things. After I put away the Christmas decorations (true confession – they’re still up!) and finish the sentimental category, I’m going to go back and do another round of komono.

      I’m a book lover, so I understand what you’re going through. You’re on the right path – keep those that bring you joy! My advice is don’t box the rest up to go through later. Yes, you spent money on them. They were valuable to you at one point – you read and loved them or you bought them because you really wanted to read them. That’s in the past. If you have the time and energy for a yard sale, then have one! You can also take them to Half Price Books if you have one in your area. You will get some money for them, but I’m not sure if it will be worth your time, especially for the yard sale.

      I donated all my books to a local organization, and I consoled myself with the idea that someone will find a book he/she really loves. I’m passing my love of books to someone else, so that makes me feel good. You can donate to a women’s shelter, the Salvation Army, a church or other place of worship, or the library, and you can be sure those books will find good homes.

      Please let me know how it’s going for you. I enjoy reading about other people’s KonMari journeys!

      1. Thanks so much for responding, Kelly and being honest about it. I think once you’ve done another round or even maybe more, you’ll get to the point where you don’t have to struggle at all to keep things tidy.
        Working out of your home would make things a little different as well. It’s not like you can leave things at the office. You’re already there! 🙂

        I really appreciate your sentiments regarding the letting go of books.
        Looking at it from the perspective of how someone else benefits and finds joy in the books does make me feel better about letting them go.
        It feels like it’s the better of two choices and also the most stress-free. It’s a very easy way to make someone else feel good and hopefully a charity can benefit as well.

        Thanks so much, Kelly. You’ve cleared up this decision for me.
        I’ll let you know how it goes.

  2. Kelly,
    Have those stockings framed in either individual shadow boxes, or all together. At Christmas, switch out a wall picture for the season with those stockings. It’s a great way to preserve them and enjoy them once a year, plus, it will keep them from falling apart.

    1. Mikki, that’s a GREAT idea! Thank you so much for suggesting it. I used to work in a frame shop, and we did shadow boxes all the time, but framing them didn’t occur to me. I really hated to get rid of them.

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