I KonMari'd My Apartment, and Here's What I Bought So That It Continues to Spark Joy For Years to Come
I came, I saw, I KonMari'd. Like it did for so many others, Marie Kondo's Netflix series Tidying Up sparked something in me to finally get organized in 2019. When her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up first came out, I resisted the movement. "I'm really more of a more is more kind of gal," I thought at the time. Meanwhile, my small one-bedroom apartment that I share with my husband was slowly accumulating dusty piles of useless, well, crap in every nook and cranny. Closets were overflowing, bookshelves bending under pressure, floor space was becoming a precious commodity. Something had to change.
Enter: KonMari, 2019 edition. This time around, I was ready to embrace the magic, and honestly, it was life-changing. I followed Marie Kondo's steps in order, tackling each of her recommended categories on the weekends for the first two months of the year. I would make it my goal to finish a category in a weekend, including donating, selling, and trashing what I didn't want to keep by Sunday night so that I could start fresh the following weekend. As bag after bag of old-school papers, blurry photographs of scenery from a vacation we took in 1998, stained towels, broken kitchen utensils, unused hand-me-downs, ill-fitting clothing, and just plain garbage left our apartment, a literal weight was lifted off of me. I would do a happy dance every Sunday night as another category bit the dust. Now that my apartment was free of what didn't spark joy, it was time to make some strategic new purchases.
While it may seem counterintuitive, the process of KonMari-ing (or Spring cleaning) does involve purchasing new things along the way. Besides the obvious boxes and baskets, drawer organizers, and other storage and organizational products, clearing away the clutter causes you to reevaluate what's left and possibly replace that side table your parents gave you years ago that you never really liked or finally find some smarter space-saving solutions for art that's sat in your closet or clutter taking up valuable counter space in your kitchen.
Ahead, here are the organizers, furniture pieces, and other home products I bought to make sure my apartment continues to spark joy and stay organized for years to come.
Bedroom: Before and After
My side table before this didn't have drawers, so almost all the surface space was taken up with bedside necessities such as my glasses, diffuser oils, eye mask, and other knickknacks. But the biggest pain point was that underneath the table was a mess of cords for charging my phone, watch, diffuser, lamp, kindle, etc. that besides looking hideous, collected dust bunnies like you don't even know.
This charging nightstand from West Elm is a game-changer. Not only do the drawers provide storage for what was previously taking up precious surface space, it has a hidden charging strip with two USB sockets and two power outlets, so no more ugly cords!
Bedroom: West Elm Mid-Century Charging Nightstand
Here's a shot of the outlets. What's great about the placement and size of the charging strip is that there's enough room to tuck in all the cords, so you can keep the top of the nightstand clear.
Bedroom: Before and After
My bedroom closet's main issue was shoe storage. Previously, I had a hanging shoe organizer with cubbies for shoes and then a two-shelf shoe organizer on the floor. The hanging organizer took up valuable space that could be used for clothing, and even with that and the floor organizer filled to the brim, I still had way more shoes that could fit in them, so they ended up just piling up in the front. Every day, I'd have to climb over or step on my shoes to get to my clothing.
I searched high and low for a shoe storage solution that made sense for my space, and couldn't find anything. So I'm especially proud of this idea that came to me walking the aisles of Ikea. These wire mesh basket drawers are made for office products, craft supplies, clothing, or accessories, but they work perfectly for storing shoes. I can fit all my shoes in them, I don't have to bend down to a low shelf to grab what I need, and the mesh wire makes it easier to find the shoes I need.
Also, these are only $35 each, and there are almost identical ones at The Container Store for $130 each!
Bedroom: Ariana Ost Star Jewelry Hanger
This Ariana Ost Star Jewelry Hanger ($36) is similar to the one I have (also from Urban Outfitters years ago) and can hold necklaces and rings on the hooks, and earrings through the star holes. I love a hanging jewelry organizer because it saves surface space and ensures necklaces are easily accessible and free from tangles.
Hallway: Before and After
It was tricky to find a storage solution that would fit the narrow section of our hallway, so for years we just dealt with a less-than-ideal hand-me-down cabinet. We stuffed the bottom section with lightbulbs, batteries, tools, and other essentials that we didn't want on the open shelves, but this was just an eyesore that wasn't serving its purpose.
With its narrow footprint, this industrial storage dresser from Urban Outfitters fit the space perfectly and has enough drawers for all the things we need handy but don't want on display. The price is also unbelievably affordable, and while you do get what you pay for as far as quality goes (for instance, the drawers don't have rollers, so you have to be careful when opening them that they don't just fall out), it's stylish and useful and serves its purpose for this space.
Hallway: Urban Outfitters Industrial Storage Dresser
I'd highly recommend the Urban Outfitters Industrial Storage Dresser ($359) if you're looking for a cool-looking storage solution on a budget.
Living Room: After
This corner was previously filled with a stack of wine crates for a makeshift bookcase that didn't really hold very much except dust bunnies. This Ikea open shelving unit has a cool industrial look that comes off way more expensive than it is and is perfect for holding books and baskets.
Living Room: After
While the baskets and color-coded books are nice (and not pictured: the 100s of books I donated), the photo organization was the biggest accomplishment here. I had boxes and boxes of photographs, including duplicates (remember those?), boring scenery shots, blurry and ugly photos, and photos of people I can't even remember. I was able to fit all the ones I kept (that sparked joy) into two large photo albums. Now I can flip through them easily if I want a walk down memory lane instead of digging through boxes tucked away in my hall closet.
Living Room: Pioneer Photo Albums Fabric Frame Cover Photo Album 300 Pockets
I bought two different colors of this Pioneer Photo Albums Fabric Frame Cover Photo Album 300 Pockets ($16). It comes in several pretty colors, which all look great alongside each other on the shelf.
Living Room: Natural Water Hyacinth Storage Basket With Handles
This Natural Water Hyacinth Storage Basket With Handles ($25) is similar to what I have. I think you can never have too many baskets; they're pretty enough to have out on open shelves, keep your small trinkets organized, and are easy to move around with the handles.
Living Room: Woven Storage Shelf Organizer Baskets With Handles
Here are some more pretty and useful Woven Storage Shelf Organizer Baskets With Handles ($80 for 3).
Kitchen: Before and After
In our small apartment kitchen, surface space is extremely important. Once I got rid of most of the junk, expired food, and unused utensils, I was able to put almost everything in our cabinets. But one thing that continued to take up counter space was our bulky knife block. This magnetic strip couldn't have been an easier or cheaper solution. All we had to do was stick it on the fridge — easy!
I went a little crazy with the bamboo drawer organizers, but can you blame me? Look at how pretty all the utensils look in their little homes.
I used a slightly different drawer organizer from Ikea for storing smaller items like measuring spoons and cocktail-making accoutrements.
I had trouble finding a solution for hanging this tea towel and some other posters that were taking up closet and drawer space. I found these great magnetic hangers from Amazon that I loved so much I bought three sets. They are a cinch to use and come in a few different finishes and a wide range of sizes.
In the bathroom, it was all about small-size-optimized, renter-friendly storage solutions. I used a basket to keep my blow dryer, curling iron, and flatiron hidden away, and this over-the-toilet cabinet is essential for towel and toilet paper storage. I also found a number of cute, small containers and boxes from Ikea for storing everything from tampons to Q-tips.
Bathroom: Wakefield No Tools Over the Toilet Space Saver
This Wakefield No Tools Over the Toilet Space Saver ($160) is so helpful if you have a tiny bathroom.
Our medicine cabinet got a major makeover with a variety of containers from Ikea. The clear glass makes it easy to spot what you need, and almost all the lids double as trays for smaller items. Plus, everything was crazy affordable. This makes me so happy to see every morning as I'm getting ready!
Bathroom: Ikea Brogrund Set of 3 Transparent Gray Boxes
All the lids of these boxes can be used as trays in this Ikea Brogrund Set of 3 Transparent Gray Boxes ($7), and the transparency is a must. (Marie Kondo approved!)
Bathroom: Ikea Saxborga Set of 5 Glass Jars With Cork Lids and Tray
I love how this Ikea Saxborga Set of 5 Glass Jars With Cork Lids and Tray ($15) fits in a single tray. These look way more expensive than they are.
Bathroom: Harlow Toilet Paper Holder
Our bathroom didn't have a built-in toilet paper holder, so we were using a stand instead. In addition to taking up floor space, it was easy to knock over (and cause toilet paper to drop into the toilet). This chic Harlow Toilet Paper Holder ($14) solved all our problems at a great price point. It's also easy to install; you just hook it on two nails.
More Home Storage: Decorative Basket Rectangular Fabric Storage Bin
We also have several fabric baskets like this Decorative Basket Rectangular Fabric Storage Bin ($15) that are great for throw blankets and towels. The handles are a must for ease of mobility.
More Home Storage: Threshold Twisted Paper Rope Large Tapered Gray Basket
I have a couple of these Threshold Twisted Paper Rope Large Tapered Gray Baskets ($14) that are perfect for stashing extra tissue boxes, paper towels, and toilet paper in our hall closet. They're easy to pull down when you need something and keep the closet looking organized and attractive.
More Home Storage: Threshold Small Milk Crate Wire Basket
This Threshold Small Milk Crate Wire Basket — Antique Pewter with Copper Colored Handles ($13) is helpful for holding mail on our entryway table.