The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
Marie Kondo
Contributed by Sharen Felty
Chapter 4

Designate A Place For Each Thing

It is proper to have a daily routine specifically designed to guide individuals on where to store things upon returning from work. This will mean the existence of a particular place that is intended for keeping things. In furthering this ideal practice, individuals have to designate a spot for all items in the house, with those that belong to the same category should be placed near each other. Adopting this method enables one to avoid cluttering a room while maintain a sense of order.Designating a spot for each item should only be done once. The advantage of this particular criterion is that it results in the effective storage of your items. This method has numerous advantages, including; it prevents one from buying things more than once; and it prevents accumulation of the things that one owns.

Discard first, store later 

The trick behind tidying up a room is to first eliminate any excess items, and followed by the storing of those that are required. One should carefully pick the items for discarding. By doing so, the individual will realize that the space in the room is actually more than sufficient to store those items — achieved by first eliminating the now-excess items.

Storage: Pursue Ultimate Simplicity

The method an individual chooses for storage should be as simple as possible, and not be complicated. One should know exactly how much they own. This is important because, more often than not, clutter is caused by owning an excess of items. Having complex methods of storage can lead to a lack of appreciation in how much one actually owns. So, naturally, by maintaining a simple storage solution, this allows an individual to easily tell the items they own and resulting in an uncluttered room. It does not need to be a miraculous storage design. Also, if one were to choose to arrange items according to their frequency of use, many of those items would be left to rot in darkness without apparent notice. 

Don’t Scatter Storage Spaces

Items of the same type should be stored in the same location. Such a practice of categorizing items can be done in one of two ways: by type of item; or by type of person. Living alone or having a room of your own makes storage very easy, because you create one space for storing each type of item. The categories can be kept at a minimum by utilising those same ones applied whilst sorting. Start with clothes, and subsequently move on to books, documents, and (finally) mementos. Also, it is possible more loosely define items for categories — such as cloth, paper, and things that are electrical — as your criteria, and then choose one location for each of these.

However, if one lives with family, it becomes important to have separate storage spaces for each family member, while focusing on achieving tidiness in a house by concentrating the items of each person in one space. The very fact or idea of a person having their own space will make them happy. However, if there are limited rooms in the house, which does not allow for one to have their own room, it becomes important to designate each person their very own storage space.

Forget about “Flow Planning” and “Frequency of Use”

Storage of the items in the house should be focused mainly in a single place. One should not store items in the house based on where it is easiest to access them. Clutter in the house can be caused by the effort needed to put things in a specific way, or due to a lack of clarity of where things belong. If one wants to achieve the results of an uncluttered room, it is important to arrange your storage so that you can ascertain where each and every item is situated. Things that are similar should be stored in the same storage space or proximity. By doing so, one can create a natural flow plan. This advice goes against those from professional books on tidying, which advise their readers to consider the floor plan when designing storage.

Never Pile Things: Vertical Storage Is The Key

Storage of items is best done vertically rather than stacking everything in piles. Stacking is discouraged for two main reasons: first, if you stack things, you end up with what seems like inexhaustible storage space; second, stacking is very hard on the things situated at the bottom. This storage method can be used for items like clothes, stationery, and writing tools. Vertical storage helps one not to forget that certain items are underneath a pile, which is often the case with stacking items. Therefore, anything that can be stood up should be arranged vertically. Besides being the best method of storage, it allows an individual to realize that certain items are unnecessary and, therefore, should be disposed of. This method of storage can be used anywhere  — for instance, in a messy fridge where the items can be quickly arranged by just standing them up.

No Need For Commercial Storage Items

Instead of buying the commercial storage items available on the market, one can easily find — in their house — the kind of objects they need for the storing of items. One of these may already be available for storage: an empty shoebox. This is because of its size, material, durability, ease of use, and attractiveness. It can be used to store items like shoes and stockings in drawers, and are also perfect in storing detergents and other household cleaning items. The shoe box may also have a lid, which can be used as a tray. It can be used in the cupboard to hold cooking oils and spices, and also to keep the base of the cupboard clean. Therefore, it is always convenient to use what you already have in the house for storage purposes, rather than finding a commercial storage item on the market. This should only be procured after the entire process of storage has been completed and have already identified where to store each and every item.

The Best Way To Store Bags is in Another Bag

Empty handbags, purses, and other bags which are not in use can waste a lot of storage space, especially in prime storage locations. The key to storing these items is to put the same type of bags together. For instance, bags made of the same material should be put together. But one should not put too many bags into the same one. Therefore, the best approach is to make sets according to the material, size, and frequency of use — and to store them one inside the other. All the straps and handle should be left in plain view; the handbags that came in a bag should be stored in that very bag. Finally, the bags should be lined up in the closet or wardrobe where you can see them. The process of finding the right combination of bags to be stored together is fun and can be compared to a jigsaw puzzle.

Empty Your Bag Everyday

Your bag carries the things you need, such as documents, your cellphone, and your wallet. The importance of emptying your bag every day is to ensure that the bag does not wear out. Also, if you fail to develop the habit of emptying your handbag daily, there is a likelihood that you will leave something inside when you decide to use another bag. This becomes even worse when you cannot remember what is in each bag. There are, however, other instances that you need not empty your bag every day. In such cases, all you need to do is develop an environment where the bag can rest, by designating a place to store the items that are usually carried within it.

Items That Usurp Floor Space Belong To The Closet

People who have built-in closets in their houses are required to take advantage of this space. This can be used effectively as follows: firstly, as a general rule of season, items should be stored in the cupboard above the clothes; secondly, regular clothing should be stored in the closet; and thirdly, bedding should be stored on the upper shelf of the closet, where it is less exposed to humidity and dust. Large items that take the greater portion of floor space, like suitcases, golf clubs, and electrical appliances, should be put inside the closet. To achieve the best outcome for this storage method, one has first to sort, discard, and finally store the items that are necessary.

Keep The Things Out of The Bath and The Kitchen Sink

Items used in the shower should be dried after use. Otherwise, the quality will be affected due to exposure to heat and moisture. This also makes it even easier to clean the bath/shower area without the items cluttering that same space. The same idea applies to the kitchen sink area. For instance, you can dry the sponges used in the kitchen and hang them outside to dry. Seasoning and spices, like oil, salt, and pepper, should be kept inside kitchen shelves and cupboards. This is because, when placed next to the stove, they are exposed to oil and splatters of food, and can become sticky with grease.


This chapter comprehensively discusses how the act of properly storing things may make an individual’s life shine. After discarding items that are no longer needed, the next step of tidying is storing away what is deemed valuable — or those items that strike joy in a person. Therefore, the said individual must find a proper, effective, and efficient way of storing the said items, which should also promote ease of retrieval without easily creating a mess. Also, the storage units should be safe and secure — to protect the stored items from loss, pilferage, and theft. Therefore, it is advisable for a person to designate a particular location for each item, as it helps in the ease of retrieval of the said items and limits the chances of confusion.

Also, a person should pursue ultimate simplicity as it is impossible to remember the existence of every single item, even after simplifying the storage methods. As such, the simpler the storage system is, the more likely that a person may remember where they have stored a particular item. To prevent further confusion, a person should store all items of the same type in the same place, while not scattering storage space. In a house with various dwellers, it is important to assign each of them a specific storage unit.

Finally, clutter is caused by a failure to return things to where they belong. As such, storage should reduce the effort needed to put things away, but not the effort needed to get them out.

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