One of the aspects of the KonMari method that separates it from other organizing and decluttering methods is the idea that decluttering should proceed category-by-category rather than room-by-room. Those following the KonMari method begin with clothes and then move on to books, papers, “komono” (miscellaneous items), and finally sentimental items.

More specifically, those following this method gather together everything in a particular category (or subcategory) before they begin to make decisions about what to keep and what to discard.

This is often a stumbling block for those who would like to follow this method but find it daunting to even think about gathering together all of their clothes, books, or any other category. But I would encourage anyone who wants to make a lasting change to follow through with this process.  Why?  It comes down to the “power of the pile.”

The “power of the pile” is the impact that comes from seeing what you have accumulated in a particular category, all together, and all at once. The photos above are examples of my own piles of clothing and books. Seeing what I had, all at once, helped me to make good decisions about what to keep and what to discard.

If you find the prospect of gathering everything in a particular category too daunting to even begin, or if you have limited time in which to work and would have to put everything back before you could finish a large category, it is perfectly acceptable to work on a smaller subcategory. Often, one of my clients will not be able to finish a complete category during our session, so we will gather a subcategory, such as all tops, or even a smaller category like t-shirts. Once the client has decided what to keep in that subcategory, we will gather and review the next.

I would encourage anyone who is hesitant about this gathering process to think about the “power of the pile” and follow through with the category-by-category gathering process. My clients and I have found this aspect of the KonMari method particularly meaningful and powerful.