Tidying Up with Marie Kondo: TV vs Reality

Tidying Up with Marie Kondo Netflix series poster

Happy New Year! I woke up on January 1st super excited not because it was January 1st but because Tidying Up with Marie Kondo debuts on Netflix. I spent the day watching the entire season 1 while trying my best not to neglect my 4 year old. The show is an eight-episode series where Marie Kondo guides eight families/couples to get organized and live a joyful life the KonMari way.

As a Certified KonMari Consultant, I was beyond excited for this new series and my high expectations were not disappointed. I watched each episodes attentively and felt so moved by all the amazing changes that were made on the show. I am not usually an emotional person but I was caught by my husband tearing up before the first episode even started and Episode 4 definitely got the most of my tears (#konmargie). Watching each family going through the KonMari process also reminded me of my own journey. It’s hard to imagine why tidying up can change lives but it’s absolutely changed mine. I thought it would be fun to point out some of the similarities and differences between what I saw on TV and my experiences of what happens in a KonMari Tidying Lesson in real life.

  1. Timeline

    On the show, each family were able to get through their Tidying Festival in about a month’s time. While it’s definitely possible to complete a tidying festival in such a short span of time, it’s way below the average timeline. That being said, my own tidying festival took about 3 weeks but I was home on maternity at that time and my husband was home on stress leave from work. Because of those circumstances, we were able to prioritize tidying and work from morning to night each day to get it done. I’d imagine most of the families and couples on the show dedicated a large portion of their day to get it done in such a short timespan as well. On average, people take anywhere from 3 months to 6 months to complete their tidying festival because there is work and family on top of everything else that is life. Typically, the people I work with are only able to dedicate a block of time (3-5 hours) for tidying lessons every week, every 2 weeks, or every month.

  2. The emotions are real

    As Marie Kondo said, Tidying is the act of confronting yourself; cleaning is the act of confronting nature. This process is so much more difficult than expected and can bring up so many different emotions. I often work with people that cry during tidying lessons and people do get stuck at different stages of the process. Just like in the show, some people are reluctant for change even after starting their tidying festival. But once they truly grasp the spark joy concept, everything changes and all the magic starts to happen.

  3. Homework

    One major difference between the TV show and real life that I noticed right away is the amount of work people do on their own in between tidying lessons. On the show, it looks like Marie introduces each category and then leave people to joy check and sort through the rest of the category on their own. When I work with people, I am there to guide and support them as much as they need in order to complete this process. While some people do get quite a bit done on their own, the majority of people I work with wants the guidance and support every step of the way so they aren’t left with questions in between tidying lessons. When we aren’t able to complete a category in one tidying lesson, I try to work in smaller subcategories so people can continue to live normally in between tidying lessons instead of having all their items sit in a pile. In my opinion, the TV show is showing an experience closer to if you were to read “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” (but instead of reading it, it’s Marie that delivers the message) and then try to tidy on your own rather than showing the experience of working with a KonMari Consultant.

  4. Organize by category

    On the first episode, Marie talked about organizing by categories (clothes, books, papers, komono, sentimental items) but often in the episodes, it looks like they skipped categories and go from clothes straight to komono. Knowing what I know and how much emphasis there is on following categories in our training (I’ve even had the honour to be a lecturer at a KonMari Seminar in 2018!), the only reasonable conclusion I can come to is that it was edited for TV since each episode is only 30-40 minutes long. A single Tidying Lesson is typically 3-5 hours; to complete a home would require multiple lessons. One of the reasons why the KonMari Method works is because it is so thorough. By working in categories, we ensure we don’t move on to the next category until the previous one is completed.

  5. diversity

    Something that I really loved about the show is how diverse the featured families were. KonMari clients are mostly regular people like you and me; it really is quite a diverse group! Everyone has a different starting point and everyone’s ideal life is different. In the past 2 years of me working as a KonMari Consultant, I’ve worked with such a wide range of people in terms of gender, age, race, income level, job, type of home, size of home and stage in life. It’s been such a privilege to work with each person and to be part of their KonMari journey. I especially love seeing the transformations happen to people throughout this process. I really love the diversity of it all because it just shows you that this method is universal and can work for anyone!

If you’ve watched the show, what did you think? I am crossing my fingers for Season 2 because the world needs more of Marie’s magic! But as Marie said on episode 6, she doesn’t use any magic, only you can do that!

Fall For KonMari 5-Day Free Challenge

Fall for KonMari 5-Day Free Challenge

It’s already September, which means goodbye Summer, hello Fall! Fall is my absolute favourite season to dress for and what better way to get ready than a mini challenge? 

Starting on September 10, you will receive a daily email with a small task that you can do no matter where you are in your KonMari journey. Each daily task will take about 5-15 minutes to complete. I am confident by the end of the challenge, you’ll have a better understanding of the KonMari Method and feel inspired to choose joy everyday. 

Sign up for this free challenge at https://www.helenyoun.com/challenge before September 10. Share this picture to invite your family and friends to join and let me know you’re in. I’m so excited to see all your progress photos so make sure to hashtag #fallforkonmari or tag me in your posts so we can all support and encourage each other to spark joy!

How to KonMari Your Way to a Stress-Free Move

How to KonMari Your Way to a Stress-Free Move

Summer is the most popular time of the year to move but did you know today (June 30) is the busiest moving day of the year? Moving can be a stressful event because you’re uprooting your entire life from one location to another but it doesn’t have to be if you’re strategic with your approach. I am pleased to partner with Kijiji to share my top 5 decluttering tips to help you KonMari your way to a stress-free move and live a joyful clutter-free life. 

1. Before you start, envision your ideal lifestyle at your new home

This is the single most important step you need to take before you start decluttering. Marie Kondo says the question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life. You need to ask yourself what is your ideal lifestyle? how do you want to live? and what will bring you the most joy? Having a clear vision of your ideal life will help you clarify which items to keep, how they fit into your ideal life and how they will support you to live the life you want to live once you finish.

2. Does it Spark Joy?

People often hang onto an item when they have an attachment to the past or a fear for the future. The only criteria you should consider when choosing what to keep is to focus on the present, hold the item in your hand, ask yourself if it sparks joy for you, and listen to your heart. When you do this truthfully, you will be left with only the items that bring you the most joy and the items that will support you to live the life you want. Asking this question repeatedly throughout the process will help you hone your sensitivity to joy and your decision-making skills. You’ll soon find yourself applying that knowledge to every aspect of your life to live more joyfully.

3. Your home is a living space, not a storage space

Once you decide an item no longer sparks joy, sell it or give it a second life. This can easily be done by selling in the second-hand economy. With 16-million Canadian monthly users, it’s no surprise that Kijiji is consistently the #1 channel for buying and selling second-hand. According to their 2018 Second-Hand Economy Index Report, Canadians gave second life to 2.3 billion items in 2017 and nearly all Alberta residents (99.7%!) participated in the second-hand economy in some way last year.

4. Sort by category, not by room

When you are decluttering and organizing, follow these 5 KonMari categories in the following order: Clothing, Books, Paper, Komono (includes all miscellaneous items grouped into subcategories) and Sentimental Items. Start by gathering everything from the category in one spot. When you work by category, you can move on to the next only after you have finished the previous. This is a great way for you to take inventory to see how much you have as people often don’t realize the volume of their possessions until they see it all together. If a category is too big, you can create subcategories. Furniture, clothing and entertainment items are  the top categories of most exchanged items in second-hand economy. If you decide to sell an item, give yourself a deadline so the items are gone before your moving date. 

5. Don’t Wait! Start now

You don’t need to wait until you’re moving to start this process. Everyone can benefit from clutter-free living even without a move in the near future. Starting early will also give you more time to manage the items you want to sell or donate. Did you know Canadians earned an average of $1,134 from selling items they no longer need last year? It’s also much more sustainable and better for the environment when you participate in second-hand economy versus buying new. Start by reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo and reset your life. It really is a life-changing method to simply your life and live more joyfully. Also check out secondhandeconomy.kijiji.ca and check out how to make the second-hand economy work for you.

KonMari Consultant Seminar SF18

I was invited to attend the KonMari Consultant Seminar in San Francisco last weekend as a certified KonMari Consultant as well as a lecturer for a portion of Day 2 and Day 3.

It was an incredible experience and a weekend that sparked joy every minute. Here are some photos from the weekend taken by photographer Ryan Soule.

Spark Joy Book Club | January 2018

Spark Joy Book Club is a small monthly book club reading books centred around joy. Each monthly meeting is held at different beautiful venues around Calgary. For our January meeting, we decided to meet at The Wednesday Room to discuss The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.

All Work and No Play at The Wednesday Room


  • In the book, they talked about giving up a category of purchases that resulted in feeling happier. Have you experienced this?

  • Gretchen observes that "Outer order contributes to inner calm," and many of her resolutions are aimed at clutter-clearing. Do you agree that clutter affects your happiness?

  • Did reading the book make you want to try one of the resolutions? Which one?

  • What was the one most valuable thing you learned from The Happiness Project about happiness for yourself?

I've had quite a few people asked if they could join the book club virtually so if you would like to do so, please comment below with your answers to our monthly discussion questions.