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!

Lessons from My 30-day Yoga Challenge

Junction 9 Yoga Studio November 2017 Letterboard: Outdream Yourself xx

For the month of November, I joined a "30 classes in 30 days" yoga challenge at Junction 9 in Calgary. I originally went to check out this beautiful studio with a friend mid-October and we both bought an intro month pass. Two weeks later, I went back on my own and it happened to be day 1 of the yoga challenge. I've been going to yoga on and off (mostly off...ha!) for more than 10 years but have never attempted a yoga challenge. Usually, I buy a 10 class pass and would take a year to finish it. I've always loved the idea of doing a yoga challenge but always made excuses why I couldn't participate. As soon as I started listing reasons why I couldn't do it in my head this time, I knew it was exactly why I had to do it. Now that the month is done and I've completed the challenge successfully (yay!) I want to share some lessons I learned in the past 30 days about yoga and life in general.

1. It's a practice

I often hear the teachers say in class  "it's called a yoga practice and not yoga perfect." This resonated so much with me because I can't do all the poses perfectly but also realized that there is no such thing as doing all the poses perfectly. Everyone is learning and each time I went to class felt different. Some days I have really good balance, some days I am super wobbly, some days I am more flexible and some days I just need to give my body a break. The important thing is I showed up to class and I tried. Give yourself the permission to try a pose and fall. Applaud yourself for trying. Applaud yourself for succeeding. It's a practice after all.

2. Variety is key

When I used to go to classes sporadically, I tend to choose Flow type classes because I think I get bored easily and I like that you keep moving in Flow. In order to complete the challenge, I ended up going to classes based on what fits around my schedule and tried a variety of classes in the process. I realized quickly how important it is to have variety. Some days, I need to slow down in order to keep going. Some days, I need the challenge of a more intensive class to push myself. Life doesn't work at one speed either so it's ok to take some time to slow down so you can push yourself at full speed when necessary.

3. make time, not excuses 

Just like everyone else, I thought I didn't have the time to yoga every day. I also had serious mom guilt about taking the time for myself to do the challenge. Throughout the month, I went to classes as early as 6 am and some days I leave the studio at 10 pm. I went to some lunchtime classes and sometimes more than one class a day when I knew I didn't have time to go on other days. At one point, my husband said he didn't think the yoga classes have taken time away from our family time at all. It was then I realized I had more time than I thought and that when I prioritize something, it is possible to make time for it.

4. You don't have to. You get to.

Yoga has improved both my mental and physical wellbeing. In one of the classes, the teacher said instead of thinking about all the obligations in life as things you have to do, feel grateful that you get to do them. I've been thinking about this a lot especially on days I want to stay in bed. No matter how good or bad something is, there are always different ways of looking at it. Going to work, shopping for groceries, even having a mortgage and paying for taxes; how lucky are we to be able to do these things? 

5. don't wait until you're ready

To be honest, I wasn't sure if I could do the challenge. Aside from thinking I didn't have time, I am not particularly fit either. I am glad I didn't give it much thought and signed up on an impulse because if I thought I had to be ready before doing the challenge, then I wouldn't have done it. I've been sharing my yoga challenge experience with my clients throughout the month as well. So many people feel reluctant to start their tidying festival because it seems impossible. Even if they start, they may feel discouraged about their progress and how much more to go. Both yoga and KonMari is a journey. Take it day by day without expectations. Celebrate what you've accomplished rather than what you haven't done yet. Some days will be easier than others. Trust the process because if you try to control the outcome too much, it may backfire. Listen to your body and your heart. With enough practice, it will get easier.

Love Yourself Challenge

I recently went to visit the 80/20 Hub in Inglewood and had a great chat with the ladies running a Love Yourself Challenge going on in Calgary right now. It is 6 weeks of daily challenges and weekly meetings to empower yourself in loving who you are while you become the best version of yourself. What I love about this challenge is that it's about improving every aspect of yourself. It's not about just nutrition or exercise or an appearance makeover. I was told today's daily challenge they have for the participants is to pick a messy spot at home and to tidy up and make it a spark joy space. I think this little act could potentially have a big effect!

Picking a small area and organize it isn't something I would normally suggest as a KonMari Consultant. When you follow the KonMari Method of tidying, you organize by category and not by room. That being said, since this is a one day challenge, I can see the potential that it could be enough to inspire the participants to do more. Having a tidy spark joy spot at home could give the participants a glimpse of how joyful and stress free life at home can be if they committed to do a KonMari Tidying Festival and organize their home once and for all. 

A dramatic reorganization of the home causes correspondingly dramatic changes in lifestyle and perspective. It is life transforming.
— The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Marie Kondo

Our home is a space that reflects who we are and contains all the possessions we've accumulated in our life so far. Marie Kondo has a saying that I love: Tidying is the act of confronting yourself; cleaning is the act of confronting nature. During your KonMari Tidying Festival, you look at every single item in your home. Truly asking yourself, does this bring me joy? To make the choice to keep only the items that brings you joy and to select a permanent home for each of your spark joy items. When you choose to keep only the items that brings you joy, you are choosing to live joyfully. In return, your home will support you to live your ideal lifestyle. You will not be making decisions based on fear or guilt or any of the other negative reasons to keep an item. In your KonMari journey, you discover who you were, who you are now and define who you want to be. How can you be your ideal self if you don't know who that is or what your ideal lifestyle look like? For some of us, we discover our true selves in this tidying process. It certainly has changed my life for the better in more ways than one.

Why Would Anyone Hire a KonMari Consultant?

When I tell people I am becoming a KonMari Consultant, some asked me - why would anyone hire a KonMari Consultant?

Tidying is something that we're all expected to do as a responsible human beings (#adulting) but most of us weren't taught how to do it at all. We were just told to clean up after ourselves - whatever that means. This is why people generally have a junk drawer, a secret shame room, a rental storage locker or a garage so full of things they can't park their cars inside. 

When we hang onto the things we no longer need, we're hanging onto the past or have fear for the future. That is not to say you shouldn't have anything. I love things! The difference is that I keep my things not out of fear or regret but because they spark joy or are a necessary part of my life. But mostly joy. Even my can-opener sparks joy! There is no perfect formula for joy or a set number of items to own in each category, which is what makes tidying so personal and emotional at the same time. As a consultant, I am there to help you define what is right for you: Your ideal lifestyle.

Here's the thing, most people don't think to hire a consultant, just like not everyone hires a personal trainer. We could all probably benefit from a personal trainer but not everyone needs one to get into shape. I like to think of KonMari Consultants as personal trainers for your home organization. The role of the trainer is to give you motivation and clarity; to bring you focus. Some of my fittest friends are the ones who have personal trainers! You don't need to be completely overwhelmed with your things to hire a consultant.  A tidying consultant may be just what you need to get you over that last hump.

Like personal trainers, we don't do the exercises for you. You still have to put in the time and do the work if you want the results. We are your coach and accountability buddy. We are your support throughout this emotional and personal journey. We make sure you're doing things the right way so you don't end up wasting time moving your clutter from room to room whenever you need to "tidy up" before having guests over. We will help you deal with your things once and for all so you don't have to think about it anymore and this will, in turn, change your attitude when it comes to acquiring new things in the future. Imagine a life where you will only let things that truly sparks joy to enter!

As a consultant, I will help you learn to hone your sensitivity to what sparks joy for you throughout the process. And once we finish your once in a lifetime 'tidying festival,' I will help you figure out how to store everything to keep things tidy. You'll want to show off and enjoy the company of your belongings and everything will have its place. 

Why would anyone hire a KonMari consultant? If you haven't been able to get there on your own, I'd love to help you achieve your ideal lifestyle living a life surrounded by only the things that sparks joy for you. Doesn't that sound like a life full of joy?