Why Tidying Up with Marie Kondo is binge-worthy

Marie Kondo is at it again! A few years ago when her little book came out there was a lot of buzz around her methods & her unique perspective. And now Netflix has given us a glimpse into this “magic art” with their new show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.

Both of Marie Kondo’s books, The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up & Spark Joy, are on my bookshelf & my resource list because whether or not you agree with her strategies around tidying, her little books have raised our consciousness concerning how we think about our stuff.

Marie’s criteria for determining if you should keep or let go of an item is to ask yourself if it “sparks joy!” If it doesn’t, the item should be thanked & passed on. For some, this idea seems too simplistic, unrealistic, or maybe even too Woo, but whether you like her style or not, I believe that respecting & honoring the things that we surround ourselves with creates a big shift in how we live.

Ask yourself, “Does this item spark joy?”

In the show, Marie & her interpreter lead clients through the steps of tidying using the methods that she outlined in her books. Each week, she visits the home to check their progress, make suggestions, and then offer the next lesson & homework.

You can decide for yourself if this is the right show for you, but I wanted to share a few of the things that I am excited to see highlighted on a show like this.

Validation– The show not only validates that there are other people living with spaces as messy as ours, but we get to see how Marie offers the client acceptance & understanding when they feel embarrassed, ashamed or are fearful of keeping up the new way of life.

I see the power of this all the time in my work in homes. Great things can happen when we open up & allow someone outside of our situation to confirm that we are not alone in our struggle. It brings a great sense of relief & then hope.

Intention– Marie models & then asks the homeowners to bring intention into each step of the process. She begins each new project with her own ritual of introduction to the space, she teaches ways to respect the things you have, even as you discard, and she asks questions that encourage the homeowner to claim the life they want moving forward.

The things that we surround ourselves with affect how we feel, our attitudes, & our energy, which is why it is so important to tune in & be intentional about this work. When we make choices with intention, the shift can be profound. Our relationship to the items in our home is heightened & positivity is increased.

Relationship– Marie walks couples, families, & a recent widow through this process & while each situation is different, we get to see that dealing with (or not dealing with our stuff) impacts our relationships.

What we choose to surround ourselves with is a personal, individual decision, but often the management of that stuff impacts those around us. Instead of spending time in fear, anger, shame or guilt, we learn to focus on gratitude & choose to find joy in our things. This naturally carries over into our relationships. It becomes easier to notice our gratitude & enjoyment of the people around us & clarity around how we want to spend our time together.

Peace– With each lesson, we see more space open up & the home take on a sense of order & peace.

When we pare down to what is essential & meaningful and create dedicated spaces for those items to live, then the stress around the management of this stuff decreases dramatically. We can rest easier knowing that there is a plan for all of the stuff in our life. And when the space gets out of order, we have the tools to get back to a place of ease.

I became interested in this profession years ago after watching Peter Walsh’s show Clean Sweep & I continue to be inspired by make-over shows. But I am not naive to the fact that what we see on TV is the glossy, edited version of the actual events. The timeframe to tackle each project is short, the piles are mountainous, & the amount of decisions require an abundance of energy & dedication, so I know that the show is leaving out a lot. And yet, I think it’s valuable to see how letting go of extras & honoring what you keep creates amazing changes in your life.

So, take it for what it is & maybe bringing just one of Marie’s methods into your home will allow you to spark more joy in your daily life!

Your Turn…

Shows like this are really inspiring and can lead to people digging in & then losing steam when decision fatigue kicks in & other obligations take time away from the project. Instead of entering that pattern of frustration, schedule a session with someone like ME. Check out NAPO-MN for a list of professionals in your area or fill out the form below & it will go directly to my inbox. The time will be set, the overwhelm will be decreased, and the change you are hoping for will be realized.

Reading NOW – Soulful Simplicity

I just finished reading Soulful Simplicity: How Living with Less can Lead to So Much More by Courtney Carver & knew I had to share it with you.  I will now add this book to my small stack of resources that I share at classes & talks.  And I’m sure I will find myself going back to reread sections again when I need inspiration or motivation.

I have been following Courtney Carver’s Be More withLess blog for a few years now & even tried my own version of her Project 333, so when this book came out I already had an idea of her story & journey.  But, I have really enjoyed reading her loving perspective, her gentle guidance & her permission to enter into living with less in the way that works for you.

Here are a few of her suggestions that I was sure to highlight –

I loved her nudge to schedule a Simplicity Summit with the people who are on this journey with you (in Courtney’s case it was her husband).  This was a dedicated time to sit down & share hopes, dreams, and the actions that they would take to move ahead with the desire to live with less.

I also appreciated her stories about sentimental items.  She offered permission to process this letting go in your own time & your own way.  I loved the idea of taking these items out for a “Victory Lap.”  You could do this by wearing or using the item one last time to thank or honor it & then let it go.

And here are some thoughts I will continue to ponder –

“Instead of working so hard to make ends meet, work on having fewer ends.”
“Am I shiny & admired, or real & loved?  Am I more show or soul?”

Happy reading!








How to Curate a Tub of all that Wedding “Stuff”

Finding a way to pare down and store memorabilia isn’t always easy.  It can feel daunting to sift through a tub or box of papers, tickets, cards, invitations, and all sorts of what-nots that you have been storing for years.  And there can be some embarrassment or shame over the fact that you kept some of the stuff in the first place!

I mean, why was I storing 17 year-old faded receipts from the cake decorator!??!?!  Ugh!

But… I have been determined to fight the shame & embarrassment and resolved to keep chipping away at the tubs taking up too much space in our storage area.   Along the way I have been doing a little research and conducting my own experiments to find out how we can all let go with a little more ease.

Here’s a recap of my sessions with a tub of “stuff” that we had been storing from our wedding and a product called the Wedding Edition Keepsake Box from Savor.

I decided to buy this product from Savor after thinking about the amount of space that I wanted this category of stuff to take up in our home.  Savor’s box with the folders & the little pull-out drawers felt like it would offer enough options to store a variety of different items and I liked the ease of having everything ready for me when I sat down to work on the project.

Disclaimer:  You do not need to buy a fancy product to get organized.  There are a million ways to store your things with items you already have in your house (shoeboxes, file folders, binders, paperclips, ziploc bags, etc.).  I chose this product because I wanted to conduct a little experiment to find out if a tool like this can make the organizing process easier.

I pulled the tub down from the shelf & began my first sort.  This meant I was only looking for things that I knew were a definite “NO.”  So I was making a “TO KEEP” & a “NOT TO KEEP” pile.  Remember this was my first sort.  I wasn’t trying to organize.  It was all about decluttering.  Making decisions & letting go of the extras.

I had some good laughs as I pulled out a big white wedding binder with color-coded folders that held all of the pamphlets, brochures & magazine pages that we had compiled during the dreaming & planning phase.  It was fun to remember all of the time spent in the planning phase, but it was easy to let go of most of the stuff in the binder because it didn’t hold specific memories- other than how excited & geeked-out we were about planning our “big day!”


After that first sort, I took out the recycling & trash that I had created & put the “TO KEEP” stuff back in the bin until I could carve out time for the next step.

The funny thing about sentimental things is that we often need a little time/distance from the event or the memory to allow the decisions to come easier.  Time can create some perspective about what really feels important & what doesn’t speak to your heart any more.  So, it really doesn’t surprise me that 17 years had to pass before I felt I could let go with more ease.

When I dug in again, I gave myself a bigger chunk of time and some room to spread out.  This time I was thinking about the story that I wanted to tell with the things that I planned to save.  It was like going on a treasure hunt.  Finding the best items to tell our story.

"What story will these items tell about our wedding & our marriage?"

I let go of receipts & blurred photos.  I pulled out a few pages from a barely-used wedding planner and let go of the rest.  I let go of any duplicates & all of those chicken-scratched notes of to-dos.

And then it was time to start organizing what was left.  I started dividing things into categories: engagement, wedding showers, ceremony, reception…

Savor helped me out with this by providing pre-labeled stickers & folders that I could slide everything into.  I made a few categories of my own using their blank labels.

The items that didn’t fit into folders found homes in the little storage boxes & those were offered a few labels too.

The whole process involved some time & diligence, but I was able to pare down from a huge plastic tub into an attractive box that can fit on a bookshelf & could be looked at on our anniversary or any time we want to take a trip back in time.

This project had been waiting patiently for 17 years to get some attention and I’m so glad it did.   Pulling out the tub offered a chance for my husband and I to reminisce about that very special time in our life.  And I think the items that we saved can now tell their own story of how we wanted to start our marriage.

Your Turn…

When I offer a talk on this subject, I remind people that it will probably take a few sorts before you really get down to the amount that you really want to keep.  That means starting out with the expectation that you will do a first sort, or first pass, to pull out the “junk” or items that you had forgotten were being stored & feel no emotional pull toward.  Then you can come back and do another sort with the items that are left.  At this point you can be more discerning as you ask yourself questions about whether this item still offers a good memory and tells a story you’d like to remember or share.

If you are interested in more of Savor’s products you can find them here.

And I’d love to hear your thoughts on sentimental projects.  Have you recently tackled a project that involved sifting & sorting to curate your special memories?  Or are you hoping to get started on a project, but don’t know how or where to begin?  Tell me about it!



Ask Kate – Where can I donate fabric?

Are you a crafter or a quilter who has accumulated mountains of assorted fabrics that are taking up space in an extra bedroom, the basement, or on the craft room floor? 

Do you have loads of fabric that you bought with the intention of using it in a project, only to have it sit in a pile or bin for years & the project long forgotten?

I get asked about donation resources all the time & this Ask Kate post offers a few places that could take that extra fabric off of your hands and put it to good use.


Bundles of Love Charity is a nonprofit organization that partners with community service agencies to assist Minnesota families in need by providing handmade baby clothing, bedding and basic care items for their newborns.  

The Textile Center takes donations for their garage sales which happen a couple times a year.

Minnesota Quilters, Inc. is a nonprofit that celebrates the art of quilting and accepts donation to make that happen.

Humane societies or animal shelters often take fabric to create beds & toys for the animals.  Google & then give a call to find out locations, hours, and needs.  Locally try Windmill Animal Rescue or Prairie Edge Humane Society.

ArtScraps is a reuse store in St. Paul that will take all sorts of crafting materials (by appointment).

And if you would like to sell fabric or crafting supplies, check Facebook and see if there is a local online group in your area.  In Northfield, you can find it at Northfield Online Crafters Garage Sale.

A call to your local art teachers or crafting stores can offer insight into where & how to pass things on.


More questions? contact me & we together we can find a resource that works for you.