frequently asked questions
What does “KonMari” mean?
It’s a combination of "Marie" + "Kondo." Marie Kondo wrote The Magical Art of Tidying Up — the book that describes this process which has resonated so deeply with people all over the world who desire to declutter their homes and lives.
What’s different about the KonMari method?
Several key things. The Why: Focusing on how you want to live, and what, therefore to keep. The How: Asking “Does it spark joy?” Working by category, not location. Handling objects with respect and acknowledging how they have served us. Focusing on valuing and caring for our things. The When: Not once-in-a-while, not a little bit at a time, but a single, concentrated effort from beginning to end, over a set time period.
What does “Spark Joy” mean?
It’s that feeling you get when you know something is a YES. It’s a heart-feeling, not a head thing. Only you know what your YESes are. Everyone’s are different.
What positive changes can I expect?
You’ll get more connected to your True Self. You’ll have more confidence saying “No” to what’s not right for you, and more clarity about what you love and what’s a “Yes.” You’ll practice this with your things, but it will extend beyond your stuff into all the areas of your life. You’ll free up mental and emotional energy as you get clear about what you want to keep, and you’ll feel a peaceful release and a sense of freedom as you let go of anything that you no longer desire. And, of course, you will create room in your home or work space to enjoy doing what you love alone and with others, to rest, to nest, to be more present and savour your life.
Nothing has ever worked for me, and I’m really messy.
It’s all about an internal shift first. Once you have that heart connection, the doing is easier than you think. There is a logic to this process which works. You practice and build up your skills, starting with easier things. As you work on each category of items in your home, you re-set old habits. Most importantly, you “dramatically change your mindset.”
Will I have to let go of things I don’t want to let go of?
No. You decide. The focus isn’t on getting rid of things. It’s on making a conscious choice about what you truly desire to keep. It’s about understanding what really makes you happy now, and what actually supports you in living the kind of life you imagine.
Is minimalism the goal? I don’t like spaces that are too empty and minimal.
No, that kind of minimalism is not the goal (unless, of course you want it to be). The goal is a home where you feel happy. Everyone has different things which bring them joy. There is no minimum or maximum number of things “allowed.” You are totally free to listen to your heart. That said, minimalism as a lifestyle is about living simply, with few things, so there is room for more freedom and fulfillment (“joy”!). And that lines up perfectly with KonMari’s “Spark Joy” philosophy. I like the quote: "Everything you own is a relationship you are in." The things we own require care and time. Great freedom comes with having fewer things. You might be inspired to see what's possible by reading about a few people who find joy in minimalism like The Minimalists and Zero Waste Home
How many Lessons are required to completely Konmari my home?
It depends on your home, your stuff, and you. Some people move quickly and decisively, others need more time. The amount of homework you complete between sessions can significantly shorten the overall time.
I haven’t read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. Do I have to read the book?
It is really helpful if you’ve already read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, and/or Spark Joy.Or the manga version: The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up. We will save time (and consequently you will save $), because you’ll already be familiar with the principles and process. But reading the books is not required.
What do I have to do during the Lesson? Can my Consultant do the work for me?
Your main job is to mindfully consider each item as we work through the categories. This is a hands-on process! During the Lesson the Consultant sets up sorting stations, helps to process items, and assists you every time you need help. She asks you clarifying questions if you get stuck. She pre-sorts items for you to make your sorting most efficient. She keeps you focused with one manageable task at a time. She works alongside you, packaging items for donation and recycling. Once the discarding stage is complete, she will suggest organization solutions, teach you folding, and help you put the items in their homes.
I only want to organize part of my home. Why doesn’t the Konmari Method work by rooms?
If you just want to organize one area, we can do that, but it won’t be a Konmari experience. And, usually, it does not assure long-term success in staying clutter-free. Organizing by category allows you to see the volume of like items. When you have them all together, you can truly get a sense of whether you "need" it all. You get a felt sense of what to keep. The room-by-room approach results in half-completed tidying, and in more rebound. Because we want you to succeed, and never have to do this again, we work by category.
Why is clothing always the first category?
We start with clothes because they are very personal. They express you. So they are the perfect place to begin to hone your “joy-checking.” Because clothes are something you use every day, the impact of clearing this clutter is immediate, and sets you up for greater clarity and success with the next categories.
Why do we have to gather all the items in one location? That seems like it just creates more mess.
It may seem that way, but there’s a method to the madness! Gathering everything together is a critical part of this process and why it works. The sorting “mess” is only a stage, and order is restored at the completion of each Lesson.
What do I do with items I decide do not spark joy?
We will assist you in donating items and taking away things which require ecologically-responsible disposal.
What about valuable or fragile items?
Please identify these items to the Consultant. You may wish to move fragile or especially valuable items to a safe location so they are can't accidentally be harmed or discarded.
Do you provide organizing supplies?
You will be asked to gather some boxes for sorting as well as recycling and garbage bags prior to your first Lesson. The Consultant provides basic packing materials (tape, label-maker, pens, post-its). Usually in the process of decluttering, some of the boxes and storage items you already have become available, as you reduce the volume of things you have. We creatively re-use these. We love shoe boxes in particular! When we get to the organizing phase we may suggest purchase of specific products. Normally there is no need for expensive storage systems, unless you personally desire them.
What about cleaning?
Professional cleaning services are not part of the Lessons, but can be arranged separately, if desired.
What do I do about my kids or partner? What if they aren’t into my Tidy?
We tidy only our own things, or those that our partners have agreed to. We don’t force anyone to tidy who isn’t ready. The best way to inspire others is to lead by example.
How do I know I won’t experience rebound and clutter won’t come back? Will this really last?
Once you have experienced the magical feeling of a truly ordered space surrounded only by what you love and actually need, where each thing you have has its special home, you will want to make sure your space always feels that way. The most critical thing in not rebounding is to continue to treat your things as though you value them and to take the time to return them to their homes as they are used. This is a change of mindset as well as a habit. Our clients tell us that things that they used to hate (like putting away laundry) have become activities that actually now bring them joy!
Once I’ve selected only the things that bring me joy, what if I need help rearranging my space, making it feel more “soulful” and more “me” — that decorative touch? Do you offer styling consultation services?
Yes! While we don’t do full-on interior design consultation, we can help you do simple styling using your existing things, so your space expresses who you are. This can include furniture placement, artwork, and suggestions for items to remove or purchase to get the feeling and look you desire.
How will my life be different after I invest my time and energy in the Konmari process of mindfully decluttering my entire home?
I see you do Feng Shui also. Is it different than decluttering?
Yes and no. Decluttering is in fact the first and most critical step in a Feng Shui process in any space, because clutter collects stagnant, negative energy. So the clutter must go first. Then you have a clean slate. Feng Shui goes a step further than decluttering. In Feng Shui, we consciously make adjustments to the space to fine-tune the energy, to create a high-frequency environment where you can intentionally activate key life areas that you would like to improve.
The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.
- Marie Kondo