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 Creating Beauty Feeds the Soul

A couple weeks ago the kids were out of school for the annual MEA break here in Minnesota so it was the perfect time to take a couple days off and head up north to my parents’ lake/retirement place in Northern MN.

As the kids are getting more involved with friends & activities it can be harder to find weekends to get away, so this fall break is something we count on & look forward to.

And I love being up north at this time of year!  The slow mornings for tea & a warm blanket, the quiet lake, the bright sun coaxing us outdoors, the leaf piles, and the last bonfires snuggled under the stars, wrapped once again in blankets.

Often the “cabin,” as we call it, is full of family on these kinds of weekends, but this time it was just my kids, my parents and I.  And I was determined to have some days to shut off the “should” button on work, but I continue to find that the designer, organizer, improver, creator in me doesn’t really ever shut off.

What began as an effort to straighten a rug, evolved into rearranging and moving furniture from all around the house to create a more functional, cozy main living area for us all.

First, I pulled in a larger rug from the porch to ground the 2 couches that had been floating around a tiny rug.   Then the side table from one bedroom and a desk from another were tucked into corners & will now get regular use & balance the heft of the couches.  A coffee table on sale at Target was ordered & a few fresh throw pillows were picked up in town.

Five years ago, we began furnishing this cabin for function with extras.  We all added items pulled from our collective houses, unique finds from second-hand stores, & bargains that we came across.  And now that we have had a few years to find out exactly how we use the spaces & what we need to be comfortable, it’s time for this home to function well and find it’s style.

Here is the cabin on move-in day 5 years ago.

Here is the space as the REDESIGN is in progress. Stay tuned for an updated pic.

Reminder that we are not going for Pinterest-perfect pics & designs here- this is real life.  I value the Permission to share and love your spaces because they work for YOU.

I came home & thought about the excitement that a project like this brings to my day.   There were other things that I could have done with my time,  but re-creating this space felt necessary to better fit our growing family & the upcoming holiday get-togethers.

And it brought me joy!

I came home refreshed and then ran across this quote from Alice Walker.


“Whenever you are creating beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul.”


It was affirmation that creating beauty, as well as function in a space is what I love to do.  And when my mom called and mentioned how she was enjoying the cozy new living room – well, that was just icing on the cake!

PS.  The other rooms weren’t left in a shambles, they also got tweaked to make sense with less furniture clutter & a plan to be on the lookout for up-cycled pieces that might be perfect for our cozy, yet practical cabin vibe!

Inspired & Ready for a Change?

Sometimes all you need is fresh set of eyes to see the possibility in your spaces.  I love being those fresh eyes.  Schedule a Clarity Session and in one hour you will be able to see your space in a new light.

And if you don’t live nearby or your schedule is too full to meet in your space?  We can make this happen with a virtual session.  All I need are a few pictures and an idea of your goals & I’ll create a plan that will offer the shifts you are looking.

The Problem with Hanging On Too Long

It feels like we have been in a pattern of extreme weather in our area & in my house every storm causes a small sense of panic as we all cross our fingers and hope it passes quickly.   You see we have struggled to keep our basement dry when heavy rain hits.  And the possibility of dealing with a wet basement has been a big reminder that there is no time like the present to make sure we aren’t storing extra stuff.  

Here’s a recap of a storm that really put things in perspective for us. 

The rain was  coming down in sheets, as it had been all afternoon.  And since our house is surrounded by large trees, we need to be mindful of our gutters filling up from tree debris- buds, leaves, helicopters- all that stuff!

Well, life had been a little too full to find time to clean out the gutters.  So…  heavy rain + a full gutter = water in our laundry/storage room.  We discovered the puddle/stream before it had too much time to do any major damage, but it still made a mess because our laundry/storage room is the space where items wait to be moved on or dealt with.  That evening when the rain started seeping up from the floor, a mattress & bed-frame that were waiting to be passed on to someone else (either donated or sold) got soaked!  Ugh!!!  

It was so frustrating and sad.  But it was a reminder that when we allow things to sit and wait, they aren’t able to do their jobs.  They are often forgotten & neglected and that’s when things can start to happen.  Mold can grow.  Papers can deteriorate.  Dust can settle.  Water can stain.

Our perfectly good items ended up at The Recycling Center instead of getting put to use in someone else’s home.  I know it could have been worse, but it still created a mess.  And I have found that when you are storing lots of extra clutter in your space, then a little mess can quickly turn into a big one. 

Paying attention to the things that you store will ensure that they won’t deteriorate or collect dust or mold.

Your Turn…

Do you have items waiting in your storage room, garage or closet that need to get out of your house?  Don’t wait!  Find a way to pass them on.

  • Check out my list of local donation resources HERE
  • Borrow your neighbor’s truck or trailer and drive them to the nearest donation center
  • Put them on the curb (on a sunny day) with a FREE sign
  • Take a picture and put them on FB or Craigslist for someone else to discover
  • Circulate a flyer or send an email to friends/co-workers listing your items

Next steps…

Still unsure of how to start?  Contact me today and together we can find homes for the items you no longer want, use, or need.



In the News!

Last month I was asked to offer some decluttering advice for an article being written for the Post Bulletin’s Haven Magazine.  At first my heart was racing!  What would I say?  What would be asked?  Would I have the answers?

I was in that excited, yet fearful state – probably how you feel when you decide you are ready to reach out and ask for my support – but I was curious enough to push ahead ahead & take the opportunity.   I took some deep breaths &  worked to silence those doubt-filled voices as the interview started.

I relaxed as I remembered the hours spent decluttering my own stuff, as well as, all of the books, classes, and advice that I have taken in these past 4 years.  And I listened to the phrase that I have continued to share with you all about there being “no right way,” because I know that the desire to do it “right” can keep us small and stuck.

It was a great conversation and when it was all said and done I came away feeling anxious to see how this article might find it’s way out in the world.  I know there are lots of articles offering advice, tips, and short-cuts, and you may have already read something similar to this piece- that is just great!  But I also know that the decluttering journey is unique for each of us, so even if you have heard something similar before, you might not have been ready to take it in.

My hope is that wherever you are on your decluttering journey that you take it one step at a time, finding the “right” tips at the just the right time, pushing past those moments of fear to take your next step in the process.

Here’s the article!  Happy reading!

How to declutter and keep it that way