The Vertical Declutter

I’m a big fan of decluttering – your workspace, your closets, and your mind! But when someone recommended Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up I hesitated to read it. My house and life are pretty much decluttered. Was reading this book a good use of my time?

It was, and here’s why: Vertical Storage.

Marie Kondo is adamant that after you pile up similar items, sort them to get rid of most of the pile, and are ready to put the few remaining items away in their own unique spot, that you fold or stack items vertically. I scoffed. My socks like being balled like potatoes. And my t-shirts could never possibly fold to sit vertically. And yet, I’m a geek for organizational ideas so I had to try it.

Here’s what vertical storage looks like in a sock drawer.


Here’s a shirt drawer.


And here’s kitchen storage.


Here are three things I love about making these changes.

  1. I have more space in my drawers with things stacked vertically versus horizontally which gives the drawer some breathing room.
  2. I know and can see exactly what I own and can find it in a snap.
  3. Because I know and can see exactly what I own, I have no desire to acquire any new items to file.

I’ve used this principle on my desk for decades. Loose papers go into a file, not into a pile. The files are pretty simple – work in progress, things I’m waiting for, and client files. Keeping things in vertical files keeps my desk clear of clutter, and I know right where things are when I need them. So why did it not occur to me to do this with clothes and kitchen storage? I know not.

Oh, and here’s a bonus. I have lots of books I love and have no intention of getting rid of them despite what Marie Kondo says. Except she made me question my bedroom bookshelf that had become a way-station for non-vertical items – like rocks, plants, and research notes, along with books that I’d read, intended to read, or would never read. So I decluttered that bookshelf and ended up with 7 books and nothing else. I left the shelf that way for a few days, then it’s size and lack of purpose got to me, so I cleared off the last 7 books:


Which was an invitation for this to happen:


That’s when I knew the shelf had to go. I moved it to another room that needed more shelving, moved the cats to a sunny corner of the sofa, and now my bedroom corner which formerly housed a messy bookshelf feels wonderfully open.

Vertical decluttering is crazy and amazing. Can you apply this to your current clutter challenges?

Sending you organizational peace from Two Lights State Park, Cape Elizabeth, ME.





2 thoughts on “The Vertical Declutter

  1. I watched a video of this lady making love to her clothes as she patted and folded… amazing. Love the opportunistic kitties filling in the shelf space. Too bad coon hounds wouldn’t fit. s;) Damn. Now I have to address my plastic container drawer, Janie!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It really is amazing how much of a difference this makes. And it’s all the more surprising, because that’s not the part of the method that is particularly hyped about.


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