The KonMari Method: Photos and Treasures

This is the last part in my series about using Marie Kondo’s tidying method. You can read about the introduction and her book here.

The category that Miss Kondo saves for last is momentos. All of the things that we treasure and that are very special to us. These can include scrapbooks, photos, special gifts from loved ones, inherited trinkets, etc. She saves this for last because this is all stuff that we have a hard time letting go because either at one point it brought/brings us joy or because they hold some sort of significance above everyday items. By this point, I have had lots of practice deciding whether one of my belongings brought joy or not. So now, the real test on these learned practices and my discarding skills.


There are several places that I store photos. I have a few albums and scrapbooks that hold the photos that are truly dear to me and that visiting family member enjoy to look at. Those stayed as is. The rest of my photos (that aren’t in frames) are on my computer or in plastic container. The container holds a ton of photos ranging from my baby photos all the way to Dominik’s baby pictures. Initially, I doubted that I could let anything go because these were photos of my family and friends, of course they all bring me joy! But I was surprised to find that there were many that I easily discovered that they brought no joy. There were photos of landscapes and places that I couldn’t remember where exactly they were. There were blurry and bad photos that really shouldn’t have been printed to begin with. There were copies of the same photos. And then there were photos that brought back painful memories. For example, I had a big chunk of pictures from sixth grade, when I was around 12 years old. This was an extremely awkward and difficult year for me and having documentation of it was not necessary and gave me zero joy. Of course there were plenty of photos that had me laughing and smiling, those all stayed.

Photos that left


Me! 🙂


Don’t ask.


A lovely trip to Hawaii with my dad


My one and only surprise party


Our honeymoon

I have SO MANY photos on my computer. I’m good about creating categories so that they are grouped by event or time period. But, I always forget to back them up. So, in the most tedious process ever, I went through each category and deleted photos that were blurry or that were just not ones I needed to keep. Then, I did two things: I burned each category onto a disc and I transferred them as a folder to an external hard drive. Although I did defeat the purpose a bit of the KonMari method by creating more stuff, it was important to me to backup these photos because they brought tremendous joy.


Well, not actual treasure, but all things that are important to me. All of these things are stashed under my bed in containers and shoeboxes. I have a shoebox of things from when my husband and I dated. I have assorted boxes of various artwork given to me. I have a large container of very old family photos, some of which date back to the early 1900’s. I also have a box of all of my wedding memorabilia. These were harder to go through than my photos. Did I need a brochure of a hotel my husband and I stayed at for a few days in Puerto Rico? No, but all of these wonderful memories rushed back. But then, I remembered something important that Miss Kondo brings up in her book: our memories and experiences do not depend on these items. I am perfectly able to remember these wonderful past events without the aid of ticket stubs and brochures. So, I let items like these go, savoring the memories they conjured.

Of course, I kept most things in my wedding box as well as my wedding shoes. I also kept the artwork and the family photographs because these things are irreplaceable and things that I would like to give to Dominik. To be able to see photographs of his ancestors and Japanese artwork brought back by his Great Grandfather I believe will be truly special. This is what true joy is all about.


Speaking of art, I saved my own art for this category as well. I pour my heart and soul into each painting or drawing. Most are the product of hard work and I am proud of it. I store my paintings under the bed because canvases are thick and bulky and I store my paper artworks in a portfolio. I took a deep breath and dug in.

The easy things to discard were the sketches, still lifes and practice drawings. These were made simply to practice and held no special meaning. There were also some things that either weren’t complete or didn’t turn out quite right and that I was not proud of. There were things from high school that I had hung onto just because it felt wrong to throw away art. Some were created out of the depression I battled. I thought that these would not bring joy as they came from a dark place, but I was surprised to find that they did indeed spark joy. But why? They symbolized my rising from that dark place. They symbolized the fact that creating that artwork soothed and healed my soul. These dark drawings were special and meaningful and beautiful.

There were also my figure drawings from college. Finding these stirred something else deep inside of me. They pulled out that deep and insatiable longing to create art, something that I have been too busy to tap into. Portraits and artwork of the human body are where my passions are when it comes to art, so these items not only brought joy and pride, but they served as a reminder that I really did need to nurture this part of me.

How to keep it green/eco-friendly:

-pretty simple: recycle what you can, discard what you can’t.

I’ll admit that I didn’t totally reduce the number of items in this category. Most of this stuff brings me joy so that’s not entirely surprising. Yes, I tidied a bit and yes, I organized the heck out of my pictures. But something more important happened than tidying. I was reminded of my love for creating art, something that has been put on the back-burner since graduate school. I’m looking forward to diving back in; I’d love to start with a portrait of Dominik.

There’s just one last post for this KonMari series! Up last is what I learned from this experience and the results.

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