What is the KonMari Method™ of tidying?

The KonMari Method™, developed by Japanese tidying expert, Marie Kondo, is an unconventional, two-stepped approach aimed at simplifying and organizing your home in a way that stays tidy. She insists that if you follow her instructions, step-by-step, you won’t have to do it again—ever.

Here’s how it goes. Step one, take hold of something you own, starting with clothing, and ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?” If it does, set it aside for the time being. If it doesn’t, express your gratitude for its service and say goodbye. Step two, take each beloved item and find a permanent home for it. Arrange it so it remains visible and easily accessible. This two-step process is repeated five times for each category: clothing, books, papers, miscellaneous (kitchen and bathroom things), and finally sentimental things.

Kondo says that tidying is a simple process that gets easier as you do it. Not because it actually gets easier, but with practice you get better at sensing whether something “sparks joy”. Therein lies the magic. When you surround yourself with what truly reflects, supports and delights you, you feel joyful. People are drawn to this approach because it promotes mindfulness, self-reflection, gratitude and forward-looking.

How is what you do different than the KonMari Method™?

I follow the method closely, because it works. The key difference is the conversation we’re having. While you focus on something in your space, I listen intuitively to how you are connecting to it. We are all attached to our things in conscious and unconscious ways. By becoming aware of our attachments we can free ourselves of fears and self-imposed limitations. The conversation is not a dreadful soul-wrenching process—quite the opposite! It’s fun and lively—energizing in fact—which quickens the tidying process.

What if “sparking joy” isn’t how I feel? Does that mean I need to get rid of everything?

Do you have something that makes you happy when you see it? It might be a cozy sweater, a tool that fits perfectly in your hand, or a photo you’ve had since you were a child. Then again, it may not be beautiful, practical, or sentimental, it simply makes you feel good.

We all have an inner sense for whether something is right for us. It’s what we mean when we say, “I know it in my gut.” This awareness isn’t based on aesthetics or social conventions. It isn’t regulated by what you want or find beautiful. It’s deeper than that. It’s an inner voice. Thing is, it doesn’t shout. To hear it, you need to get rid of the noise, and listen. The tidying process does just that. It improves your listening skills. We start with clothing because that’s the easiest category. As you face every item, you get better at hearing your inner voice. By the time you get to the sentimental things you have a strong inner-guidance system.

Do you work with couples and families?

Yes, I sure do. This is an amazing practice for couples and families. Tidying is transformational for each person and their relationships. It’s a powerful way to strengthen communication skills, clarify shared interests, empower personal responsibility, and create honest, up-to-date connections with one another based on respect, trust, empathy, compassion and gratitude.

Does the entire family need to be part of the decluttering process? 

Ideally everyone would be involved so the entire home becomes transformed. If one or more family members aren’t (yet) willing, their spaces will be avoided. I’ve found that reluctant family members become inspired to get involved once they see all the positive changes going on around them.

How long does the process take?

It depends on the size of your space, how much is in it, and how much time you can devote to the process. Each in-home session is three hours. During the initial consultation we will estimate how many sessions may be required for each category. It’s common to schedule one per category and adjust as needed. On average, the entire process takes six weeks to three months. Sudden make-overs, on the other hand, take about a week to 10 days assuming we can complete each category in a day or two.

Why don’t you have before and after pictures?

I understand the desire to want to see what I can do, but I prefer to maintain my client’s confidentiality. It takes courage and trust for someone to reach out for my help and it doesn’t feel right for me to showcase their personal space.

Do you take away my unwanted things?

I drive a Mini so I’m not much help to you that way; however, I have a long list of local options for reusing, recycling and re-homeing.

What supplies do I need to get started?

None. In contrast to organizing, we will not be putting things in storage bins or cute boxes. During the initial in-home consultation we will take a look at your storage space. Once we start, you will focus on finding those things that reflect your ideal life. You’ll be letting go of the rest. You might actually be getting rid of your storage bins, so don't buy any more.