With the recent release of the Netflix show ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’, the Marie Kondo (or KonMari™) method of organising has become a hot topic in both the press and the professional organising world. If you have read any news publication or looked at any social media so far this year, chances are you will have seen something about decluttering or the benefits of being tidy, both to your physical environment as well as your mental health.
The KonMari™ method differs from other decluttering methods because it advocates tidying by category rather than by room, and you choose what to keep based on what “sparks joy” for you.
In this post, certified KonMari™ consultant Jennifer Dudfield of Spark Serenity deals with some common misconceptions about the KonMari™ method.
There are so many different approaches to decluttering, it can be as hard to figure out how to begin as it is to deal with the clutter itself! Different methods deal with the clutter in different ways; each as individual as you and your needs.
There are methods to help up with decluttering your home, moving house, downsizing, house clearances, hoarding and those suffering with mental health issues. The list is endless; whatever can be organised has a method to help you along the way.
Along with this spotlight on the industry comes many misconceptions (and fears) about the KonMari™ method or what a professional organiser does. What you can be sure of, however, no matter which method of decluttering you choose, a professional organiser will treat you with respect, empathy and compassion every step of the way.
Currently trending is the fact that Marie states that you must discard all your books and that 30 is the optimal amount to keep. Bibliophiles are not happy about this one, and quite rightly, books are sacred! Luckily, this is entirely untrue; if the books bring you joy then Marie says keep them with confidence! However, we all have our favourites and some that we will never read again, so do not feel obliged to keep those that do not ‘spark joy’. You will be supported and coached in making your own decisions, no decision will be made for you and you will never be forced into discarding anything you don’t want to.
Professional organisers are there to support you every step of your journey to a more organised life. KonMari™ consultants will not come in to your home, pile all of your items in the middle of the room and leave you to tackle it on your own. We will do what’s right for you as an individual. For some people confronting a large pile of their belongings is just what they need to see (the ‘power of the pile’), but for others this is overwhelming (or there isn’t the space to do this). In these circumstances we will break the overall category down into more manageable subcategories.
Decluttering is about making your home work for you and your family, it is not about living in an Instagram worthy show home which is always pristine (unless, of course, this is what you’re after!). We will gently guide you into making those decisions that are right for you and will implement systems that really work in your home so you won’t revert to clutter again, and so that when your home does inevitably get messy (life happens!), everything will have a place so you can put it back easily, saving you so much time and stress.
Don’t worry! It’s really hard to identify what makes you happy, or ‘sparks joy’ when you start decluttering. As you declutter you start to learn more about yourself and, in time, what makes you happy. You learn to listen to, and trust, your decisions. Remember, things don’t have to be beautiful to ‘spark joy’, they could make you happy for the practical purpose they provide, a phone charging cable may not ‘spark joy’, but a fully charged phone sure will! When you are less distracted by clutter you will be able to identify what causes you stress and address it, so you can live a more relaxed life, freeing you up to do the things you’ve never managed to find time for before.
As part of the KonMari™ process we leave sentimental belongings until last. This is to give you a chance to understand yourself, and the feelings you hold about your belongings, in more depth before you try to address the more emotional items. Of course, it’s not as easy to just classify pictures and letters as sentimental, there are sentimental items mixed in with all other categories (your wedding outfit, an ex-partner’s jumper, your grandparents’ tea-set…) and it is ok to leave them until the end. Don’t try and address them until you are ready.
As with all approaches to decluttering, the KonMari™ method is client-led. We tailor the philosophy to meet the needs of the individual, to make the most progress and spark the most joy. We will not force you to do anything you do not want to do.
Dealing with your clutter and organising your home is a one-off exercise. If done properly then you should never revert to clutter again. Everything will be so much easier to maintain, folding your clothes will become a joy (not a chore!) and you will cherish your belongings. If it feels too overwhelming then it can be broken down into further sub-categories, whatever makes it easiest for you.
Whichever approach you take to tackling your clutter needs to work for you. Professional organisers are compassionate, caring, empathetic and will listen to you and your opinions, offering alternative solutions to help you get, and stay, organised. Above all, we all love mess and can see the potential and opportunity in any home.
If you’re ready to start your decluttering journey, choose a method which inspires you, whether it’s watching ‘Tidying Up with Marie Kondo’ on Netflix, YouTube videos, joining supportive Facebook groups, buddying up with a friend or hiring a professional organiser from APDO, there is a person out there to help you with whatever you need.
If you want to find your local professional organiser, you can use the APDO Find An Organiser search tool here.