Reflections

Take Action to Tidy

Take Action to Tidy

I once saw a client who had read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up years ago.  She loved the book, and believed in the Method.  She joined KonMari®-themed groups on Facebook and told her friends about the book.  Then, she tidied her home… in her head.  Thoughts without action got her nowhere. Years went by.  And she never got started.

The Best Advice for Donating Items that Don’t Spark Joy

The Best Advice for Donating Items that Don’t Spark Joy

An older friend recently came to me for decluttering advice, about how to get rid of unwanted items in her home.  The advice I shared with her is the same I will share with you:

Seven Simple Steps to Purify Your Space

Seven Simple Steps to Purify Your Space

Two years ago I helped a client move into a new home and unpack.  This week, I helped her move out.  Since she had already completed her big tidying event, she instead asked me to come perform a home cleansing ritual.  I had never done anything like this, but I wanted to try.  It seemed new-agey, which is not my style, but I do value peace, harmony, and cleansing.  With the client’s perspective in mind, I put together a fitting ritual.  It was exquisite!  Here I share with you some simple tips to cleanse your home so you can purify your space with mindful intention.  Home Cleansing is especially relevant before moving out, but after completing your tidying event or at year-end are other great times to cleanse your space.  

Before you begin, gather your supplies.  For the Tidy Upgrade Home Cleansing Ritual, I used a tuning fork, incense, an incense holder, salt, and a small bowl to hold the salt.  A pen and paper or a journal are optional, and encouraged.  When you do your home cleansing, use your own creative ideas that feel right for you.  You may want to add or substitute music, essential oils, gratitude sharing with family, or special prayers.  I also dressed up to give the home a proper send-off.  Tidying your space as much as possible before the ritual will aid in creating a peaceful environment for your home cleansing. 

 

Fresh Air

Once you are properly dressed and have all your supplies at the ready, begin the Home Cleansing by opening the windows in the home.  Allow the fresh air to refresh you and your space.

Open the windows for fresh air

 

Home Greeting

Then, greet your home.  The home greeting Marie Kondo does with her clients involves taking a moment of gratitude for how your home serves you.  In the case of the home cleansing, kneel or sit on the floor, close your eyes, and think of all the ways your home supports you.  Be mindful to release any negativity, leaving your mind and body at peace. 

 

Harmony

If you have one, use a tuning fork or something similar and set an objective for a clear, refreshed space.  Strike the tuning fork, close your eyes, and let the sound resonate in your body and through the space.  Repeat this action as desired.

 

Cleansing

Light a stick of incense, place it in an incense holder, then carry it through the home to cleanse the air.  During this time, show your gratitude, and thank the home for sheltering you and supporting you. Allow the incense to continue burning until it burns itself out.

Incense holder and burning incense

 

Purification

After touring the home with the incense, grab a small vessel of salt.  Sprinkle a pinch of salt in the corner of each room to purify your space.  After a day or two, sweep up the small piles.  If you have pets that freely roam your house like dogs or cats, you can safely drop a few grains in each corner for purity. 

sprinkling salt to purify the space
Sprinkling salt in the corner of each room

Visualize Your Ideal Lifestyle

With the incense still burning, find a seat in a comfortable location. This is where your pen and paper may come in handy. At this point, take a moment to visualize yourself living your ideal lifestyle in your home. What is your ideal lifestyle? How do you see yourself living in your home? What habits do you perform there on a daily basis? Open your mind and heart, allowing any changes to take place within you that better allow you to find your mission in life and freely carry it out.  If you are moving out, see yourself in your new space and consider how you would like to live in your new home.   

Visualize Your Ideal Lifestyle in a journal

I recommend writing this vision down to seal your commitment to achieving it.  Review your vision frequently and make adjustments to your habits as needed with determination to live a more joyful life. 

 

Reset The Space

Resetting the space is important after completing any activity you perform in your home. Resetting is essential to keeping your home tidy. Close the windows with gratitude for the fresh air. Restore items you have finished using to their homes with thanks for helping you. Finally, spread the remaining salt on the front steps. 

I was surprised how fitting this ritual felt to perform and witness!  It truly did leave a clear and refreshed feeling, similar to the feeling of tidying your space. 

While we’re on the subject of purifying your space, would you like to sweep the dirt of this year out of your home?  December is a great time to not only cleanse your space but to clean it as well!  I’ve already started to wash comforters and curtains, and dust my fan blades and cold air returns in my annual “Osouji,” or “Big Cleaning,” event.  Click for more about the year-end Japanese cleaning tradition known as Osouji.  

May the dirt of this year be gone, leaving you with a peaceful and purified space. Happy cleansing!

 

Other home purification ideas and more details on the ones listed can be found here on Marie Kondo’s blog

For more tips on moving house, check out KonMari’s guide to moving

Sharing Her “Love” of a Tidy Home…

Sharing Her “Love” of a Tidy Home…

This morning when I opened my e-mail, I was greeted by this heartwarming testimonial. “Lisa… We are so grateful for your help over here especially now that we are spending so much time here! [due to the coronavirus] …” Read to find out how she signed her letter.

It’s Time to “Stretch” – 5 Ideas to Make the Most of What You Have

It’s Time to “Stretch” – 5 Ideas to Make the Most of What You Have

Right now, if we focus on what we have and how we can use our resources to the best of our ability, we will see that we can get through this and we can make it work with what we already have. That’s how the KonMari™ Method works, too!

Top 5 Tips for Tidying Up Your Space

Top 5 Tips for Tidying Up Your Space

Did you know that National Closet Clean Out Week begins the third Sunday of March?  It is always a great time to clean out your closet, so don’t wait to give yourself the joy of a tidy closet and a tidy home.  Let’s jump into Closet Cleanout Week and get started now!  Here are my top five tips for tidying up your space with the KonMari Method™.

#1 Begin With the End in Mind – In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey lists “Begin with the end in mind” as the second habit.  Marie Kondo words it a bit differently in Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, using the phrase “Visualize your ideal lifestyle.”  First, imagine yourself in your perfectly tidy home.  What does it look like?  How does it feel as you walk through the space in your mind?   Then ask, “What kind of lifestyle do I want to live in this tidy home?”

Do you want to relax in the evening by candlelight with fresh flowers on the table while listening to music, or watching your favorite TV show?  Do you dream of the aroma and taste of home-cooked meals?  Perhaps you want to deepen your friendships, or even start new relationships?  Think about the people and things that bring you the most joy.  Before you begin tidying, it’s important to clearly visualize the end goal, and write down or select a picture of how you want to live once your home is tidy, so you can refer to it throughout the process.  You might even want to hang it on the wall or frame it so that you can have a daily reminder of your end goal, the light at the end of the path!

#2 Gather Everything in One Place – In the KonMari Method™, it is imperative that you gather every single item in the category or subcategory in one place in preparation of the discard process.  Don’t leave anything out!

For example, when you tidy clothes, bringing everything into one place means making sure your laundry is done before you begin and that you have fetched any odd clothes like coats or formal dresses stored in other areas of your home.  It is very important to lay your eyes on the full volume of your possessions.  This will also give you an idea of the amount of each item you have in the house.  I’ve seen people with large collections of household items like pens, pencils, shoes, toys, and even spatulas – and they didn’t realize it.  While individual spatulas may “spark joy,” most non-chefs will admit that they don’t actually need – or want – 10 of them.

#3 Practical Items Spark Joy, Too! – Thank you, Marie Kondo, for giving us the simple question to use while tidying: “Does it spark joy?”  This ingenious metric catalyzes the process of decision-making while tidying!  I often get questions about items that are practical but don’t seem to spark joy on the surface, such as, can a hammer really spark joy?  Absolutely!  A hammer is there for you when you need it.

Marie Kondo suggests praising such items for their practicality and keeping them with confidence.  (But you probably don’t need twelve of them!)

#4 Discard Items with Gratitude – Letting go with gratitude is one of the hallmarks of the KonMari Method™.  It might feel uncomfortable or awkward to say a few parting words to your things, but give it a try.  Thanking our discarded items for their service helps us let go of any guilt we feel about having held on to something that doesn’t spark joy and lets us be more mindful about the items we allow into our life in the first place.  

Gratitude also increases our joy.  Show gratitude not only for the items you are releasing, but also for the items that you are keeping.  Always be thankful for what you have.

#5 Remove Items That Don’t Spark Joy Right Away – I suggest donating, re-selling, or discarding items that don’t spark joy as soon as possible after tidying up.  They will continue to weigh you down until you have released them, and you will feel great relief when you let them go.  

When I KonMari’d my home, I still felt burdened until that donation truck arrived or that buyer showed up at my door.  Re-selling an item can be a beautiful opportunity for gratitude for both the giver and the receiver, as buyers are always so grateful to receive something useful to them.  If you do end up with any items that you would like to re-sell, take a photo and post it immediately.

National Closet Clean Out week starts now.  Let’s get tidying!

The Day Joy Left My Life: From Grief to Gratitude in Three Days

The Day Joy Left My Life: From Grief to Gratitude in Three Days

In 2017, just after I made my first blog post, joy left my life–only briefly, but it’s a story that I have been keeping inside for almost two years. Completing the KonMari Method™ in my home helped me grow in many virtues, including gratitude and courage. It is with that bravery that I begin to tell the story.

Tidying the Hard Stuff

Tidying the Hard Stuff

Sometimes it’s hard to finish tidying up because it means confronting painful memories. Letting go of the stuff may offer relief, healing, and even joy. Is it time to let go?  

Osouji – Japan’s Year-End Cleanup

Osouji – Japan’s Year-End Cleanup

Here in the United States, the New Year is seen as a welcome opportunity to make a fresh start. To help you get ahead on your resolution to get organized, The Container Store holds its annual sale on elfa® shelves. In fact, you’ll find plenty of organization tools (as well as yoga mats) on sale in January. But why wait? Put your affairs in order now so you can enjoy life in the new year. Wouldn’t you be able to get an even fresher fresh start by tidying and cleaning your home before the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve?

In Japan, the end of December is the time of year to clean the home. It’s called Osouji, (pronounced OH-SOH-jee, and spelled in English in creative ways including oosouji and osoji). Osouji means “Big Cleaning,” and it is similar to what we call Spring Cleaning, except that it is more widely practiced and developed out of spiritual roots. December 13 remains the day that Shinto priests clean and purify the temple, but Osouji has become secularized into the Japanese culture as an end-of-the-year cleaning event that lasts for days or weeks.

It is with intention that you enter into the new year, wrapping up the old year and sweeping out the dust, paving the way for a new year that sparks joy. The general thought is that you do not want to bring the literal and figurative dirt and soot from the current year into the new one. I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a difficult year and I find the idea of cleansing particularly appealing.

Bestselling author and tidying advocate Marie Kondo describes the sensible Japanese tradition of Osouji in her book Spark Joy. “Every December, television programs and magazine articles feature cleaning tips, and cleansers and other goods are prominently displayed in stores. People throw themselves into this year-end cleaning spree as if it were a national event,” she writes. Nearly everyone participates in this cleansing ritual. As Tokyo native Moeko Noda of San Francisco put it, “it’s just something we do.”

“You get prepared to invite the new year with a clean slate inside and outside,” says Noda of Osouji. I feel inspired just imagining this feeling. It is a wonder that an-end-of-the-year cleaning ritual is almost unheard of in the United States, except maybe for those hosting relatives for the holidays or tidying up after gift-giving. “The timing is tricky for us in America because everyone is so busy with Christmas,” notes fellow KonMari Consultant and owner of Spark Joy Bay Area Jane Grodem.

Grodem, who studied in Japan during high school brought to light one especially unique aspect of Osouji, which is the effort made by school children to get their school shiny and clean before the new year. Here in the United States it is usually the janitor’s job to clean the school. “In school in Japan, cleaning is done by kids. Everybody participates,” Grodem recalls. “I remember changing into my P.E. clothes [during Osouji] and cleaning the school.”

Any cleaning lady will tell you that it is faster and easier to clean a home that is tidy. “My clients who have finished tidying up frequently say that cleaning now takes them no time at all. In fact, they like doing it whereas before it made them feel totally incompetent,” writes Kondo in Spark Joy. I completely agree. A kitchen counter completely free of clutter, appliances, and cooking utensils, is both easy and joy-sparking to clean!

Not only do people who have finished tidying their homes have an easier time cleaning, but that deep cleaning is more facile as well. “After tidying, I found that I had more time to devote to deeper cleaning practices, such as cleaning chandeliers that I never took the time to dust,” Grodem concurrs. “I also shifted away from chemicals to organic cleaning substances and if feels and smells so much healthier in our home!”

I hope you will join me in completing a Big Cleaning of your home as the year comes to a close. To take full advantage of Osouji (Big Cleaning):

  1. Start with tidying using the KonMari Method. Consult The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up or hire a KonMari Consultant to help you take full advantage of your time tidying. Kondo makes it crystal clear in Spark Joy, “If you want to succeed at year-end cleaning, the secret is to finish your tidying marathon beforehand.”
  2. Clean your house with intention. You can download a spring cleaning checklist if you’re not sure what to do. Imagine yourself literally sweeping the old dirt out the door. Any trash and items for donation go out the door as well.
  3. Welcome the new year with a clean slate and spark joy every day!

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and Spark Joy to the World!

Great Room Closet, Before And After

Great Room Closet, Before And After

Closet Before: A jumbled space (look at the far right and notice the storage unit that we moved into the closet) Here is a “before” look at the storage unit. A unique aspect of the KonMari Method involves moving furniture used for storage into your