Tidying Up with Your Conscience: Komono

First I want to explain what exactly “komono” means. Contrary to what I initially thought while watching the show, komono does not mean “everything else that is not paper, clothing, books, or sentimental items”. Komono is the wildcard category that most people have a hard time visually or even verbally organizing. Komono literally means “small things/items” or “accessories” so it helps if we break that down by room, for example “kitchen komono”, “tech komono”, or “bathroom komono”.

The 4 R’s of sustainable living: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle


When I started working my first 9 to 5, I was flabbergasted by all of the little trinkets everyone had on their desks- it was like walking into a Happy Meal museum for adults. After a few weeks of working there I realized that these tiny relics were taking over our office because every business has “flare” or more accurately “door prizes” to keep potential clients thinking about them or talking about them. When I was new at my company, I had a hard time turning down these items because I felt it would be rude. One year into the job, I finally found my voice and it turned out that most people were annoyed by the trinkets. So here are a few tips for turning down unwanted swag:

  1. Say “No” Before You Go
    • If you are hosting an event, ask people to leave their swag at home and to only bring what is necessary
    • In the event that this is not possible, make sure that door prize-like items are always optional and not every person is given one without their consent
  2. Communicate with Friends & Family
    1. If someone you now or love is going on a trip and they usually bring you back something, ask them to instead send you a specific picture of them doing something or even of the item that made them think of you. It helps family and friends if you explain to them why you don’t want them to bring you something back- you could express your interest in downsizing and living minimally, tell them about your sustainability efforts, etc. It’s important to include them in on your solution so they don’t feel like they are the problem
  3. Be Prepared
    • Bring a reusable water bottle, coffee cup, napkin, utensils, etc. The more prepared you are, the less likely you are to grab that novelty squirt bottle that you never actually needed but were too thirsty to pass up

And if you are out shopping or something catches your eye, ask yourself these 7 questions:

  1. Do I need it?
  2. Can I use something else?
  3. Do I have something similar used for a similar purpose?
  4. Will this be used at least 5 times?
  5. Is this good quality and will it last?
  6. Do I support how and where it was made?
  7. Will this bring joy into my life?



There is so much to cover in this section that my best word of advice for you would be to Google “upcycle or DIY ___________” and then whatever item it is you’d like to re-purpose. Here are some really cool projects I found online:


  • Electronics
    • FreeCycle
    • Computers for Schools
    • World Computer Exchange
    • Earth911
  • Furniture
    • Habitat for Humanity
  • Household Items
  • Garden & Garage

One Comment on “Tidying Up with Your Conscience: Komono

  1. Pingback: Tidying Up with Your Conscience – Altered Eco

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