When we empty our bag / briefcase on a regular basis not only does it allow us to keep it tidy, it also allows us to take care of any pending items on our to-do list that my be hidden inside. For myself, I have a dresser by my front door that I’ve converted into an art supplies storage-area and one of the drawers serves as the location where I keep the contents of my bag. I can only tell you don’t knock it until you try it! You will be able to more easily change bags in the AM when needed and it will keep you feeling light and full of joy when you show gratitude for the hard work that your bag endures on a daily basis. Each category has it’s own little zipper pouch that I purchased at Sprouts. This keeps everything neat and tidy and it keeps me from not digging through my bag in search of a single item.
Happy Tidying, Everyone!!
Did any of you watch the interview with Marie Kondo on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert? You can watch it here.
She nails it on the head when she says we all have clutter in our hearts and that’s what needs tidying. This is what sets the KonMari Method far above any other type of self-help method because this method isn’t just about tidying, it’s about addressing your past, present, and future, by putting your things in order. If you open a drawer and it’s full of things that aren’t being utilized, can you imagine what it would be like for you to open that drawer and for it to only contain the items that you actually love and use? Then can you take that one step even further and imagine what it feels like to wake up in the morning knowing you are waking up to get ready to go to your dream job? I know many of you have read the book or maybe perused the book, but I want you to know it is called The Life-Changing Magic for a reason. You can only truly understand what this life-changing magic is all about when you try it for yourself!
Happy Tidying, Everyone!!
The importance of tidiness in one's home is crucial to our level of joy and overall physical energy. Feeling stuck? Not happy with your job? Want more meaningful social and personal relationships? The KonMari Method is specifically designed to help the individual find joy in everything and it all starts with your living space.
So, you don’t live in California where Marie Kondo is but you’d like help implementing the KonMari method into your home? The KonMari Consultant is the next best thing! We are trained and certified in this life-changing Japanese-style of tidying. As consultants, we are required to live the KonMari Method in our everyday lives. Which means tidying our homes top to bottom and keeping up with it consistently. We also take an oath that states we will assist every client with integrity and great care. Please visit konmari.com to find a Certified KonMari Consultant near you!
Please join me for another presentation of the KonMari Method and how this profound Japanese-style of tidying can change your life!
where: The Peace Cellar, 3494 S. Broadway
when: Thursday, November 15th, 6 PM
what: Instruction on the implementation of the KonMari Method in your home along with my first hand experience which will include the success stories of my clients.
**Bring 5-7 items you would like to learn to fold.
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org!
....a.k.a. don’t keep anything in your home that doesn’t make you happy!
Because you must make room for the things you DO want for yourself. Holding on to old photos is keeping all the new moments and photo ops from finding you. All of those old books you have that are just sitting there, dusty on your shelves, never to be read again, are stopping you from discovering the new and magical ones. Not only that, but those old books are also not fulfilling their purpose by sitting on your shelf, which can then create obstacles for you to move forward in your life. Some Japanese people believe that inanimate objects have feelings just like you and I do and that everything must fulfill it’s purpose. This is why we give praise to our belongings in the KonMari Method.
Leaving the clothes in your closet that you skip over every morning when choosing something to wear to work is a direct obstacle to you finding that beautiful dress or sweater that you will absolutely love. Those clothes you repeatedly ignore also have a direct effect on how you feel about getting dressed and starting your day.
Do you have a bunch of old shoes in your closet that hurt your feet or maybe don’t make you happy when you wear them? Yep, you guessed it! Those old shoes you don’t wear are hogging the space in your closet and they're keeping you from finding the comfy cute ones you can’t wait to put on. They’re also telling the world you don’t mind being in pain as you walk through life. Yikes!
Are you seeing a pattern?
If we hang on to the things that we don’t love or want then we will never discover the life we yearn for. If you want more joy in your life you must make room! Do you want a new career? Are you wanting to travel more? Would you like more time with your family and friends? Do you want a closer view of who you are as a person? If your answer is yes, then you must make room for these things to manifest in your life and you do this by removing the clutter in your home.
Here’s a little secret I’ve learned in my own life using the KonMari method, we have to shed parts of our past in order to make room for a new and fruitful future. By detaching from the things we have deemed to be so important we then create more energy to be present and live our lives fully. Try it! Give yourself permission to let the things go that are ready to leave your life.
That’s my Mom and Dad and I when I was about 5 years old in the photo at the top. I have a balloon in my hand, and you can tell I was a little squirmy and not able to sit still, but I love that we are all smiling and sitting so closely together.
Happy Tidying, Everyone!
You must make room for the life you want to live! If you are surrounded by the things you no longer need or want but also want to change things for yourself, then you must become part of the equation by removing those very things that are holding you back.
[your home + full of clutter = no room to create anew!]
It's time to get tidy for good! Please join me at the Tattered Cover, Aspen Grove on August 18th for a tidy talk on how clutter can affect all areas of your life and how to remedy it. Please bring 5-7 items to fold, a writing utensil and any questions you may have about the KonMari Method!! See you there!
One day, a young man contacted me for some tidying help. He was a bit distraught, for he had just endured a difficult break up. I met with him in his apartment for a consultation and assured him that after we were finished tidying he would find the girl of his dreams. Sometimes the wildest things come flying out of my mouth but they always tend to be true. My team and I tidied the entire apartment from top to bottom and we left him a happily tidied young man.
Fast forward a few months later.
"Hey, Kate, my girlfriend needs your help getting tidy and packed for her move to a new place," he said.
"Sure Thing, L, we'll take care of it!"
My team and I helped her tidy and get packed for her new place and she was oh so happy for our tidying expertise!
Fast forward almost 2 years later. I'm sitting in a coffee shop and in walks L and his sweet girlfriend K. They were on a date celebrating their 2 year, first date anniversary. How sweet is that?!
They chatted with me for a minute and said they needed my help again for they had just bought a new home and needed things put in their place. Of course I said I'd help them!
I ended the conversation in the coffee shop reminding him of my promise and he remembered. They are the sweetest couple and they are so patient with each other. So far I've helped tidy the new kitchen, front closet and K's oldest son's room. We have a tiny bit more to tidy and I can't wait to see what happens next for them!
Oh...and one last thing. They both quit their jobs and are pursuing self employment and said they couldn't be happier. Cheers to L & K for making their dreams come true!!
It is no secret that The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying up is in fact magical and life-changing. These past few months I've been helping clients realize how much freedom lies at the other side of their tidying journey. Just yesterday I was helping a client move into her new apartment. She was very worried by all of her belongings not being in a tidy state. Seeing her kitchen items on the counter and totes of clothes stacked in the bedroom and her beautiful art work on the ground and not yet properly hung made her very uneasy. I then gave her a KonMari folding lesson. I literally, right before my eyes, watched the stress and anxiety fall off of her face and shoulders! As she said goodbye to old socks and shirts that no longer brought her joy she became lighter and happier and was practically singing and dancing about in her new living space! That evening she sent a text that said, "Thanks so much for your help! When do we get to do this again?!" That's a success in my book!
At the end of the day, the one thing that should spark the most joy is YOU!
We finally made it! Today marks the day where I became a Certified KonMari Consultant. I love sparking joy in everything I do, especially when it involves helping others learn to live a life of freedom to be who they truly wish to be simply by tidying their belongings.
We had a wonderful tidying lesson with Colorado Home Realty. We had 5 attendees and gave tips on how to make Spring really transform your home and life goals! The KonMari Method truly is magical and everyone left inspired to tidy! Below are my 2 classmates from the Natural Food Chef program that I'm in, they catered the event.
On April 26th I pinned France on my dream-board map as the very first country that I wanted to visit for my tidying business and wouldn't you know I landed in Monaco on the 4th of September. After only a couple of Skype sessions and seeing the general layout of Suzanne's apartment I flew over the Atlantic ocean having really no idea how this was all going to turn out. But after doing this work with so many clients, I knew it would all be perfect!
A little background on how I came to know Suzanne involves her daughter, Kate, my client in Denver. I've been helping Kate tidy her home for the last several months and one day while we were folding clothes she said, "Oh how I wish you could help my mother get tidy." When I asked where her mother lived she said, "oh just outside of France, too far for you to travel I'm sure." I practically cried with joy and accepted the job without hesitation, applied for an emergency passport and bought my plane ticket.
After 11 hours on several planes from Denver to D.C. to Zürich, I met Suzanne and Aimé (ey-may) at the airport in Nice, France. We quickly said hello, threw my luggage in the trunk and were off to what would be my new living quarters for the next 9 days. We drove about 1/2 hour along a windy road barely big enough for two lanes. When a large fruit truck or van would appear driving in the opposite direction I decided closing my eyes was the best approach. With the most beautiful architecture out the left side car window and the Mediterranean Ocean out of the right, it was very apparent that the inhabitants of this age old part of the world used that view as their muse while they contemplated the design of their coast line. I could barely contain my excitement to be in the very place where I put myself for I created this experience all on my own.
Suzanne and Aime's 2 bedroom apartment was wall to wall parquet flooring with built-in's and marble tile and 2 balconies overlooking the city streets of Monaco and the large Mediterranean Ocean. I learned on my first trip to France in 1995 that everywhere you go there is a distinct smell of coffee, cheese and fresh croissant. Their apartment was no different. I spent the first day of my arrival recouping from jet-lag and the very next Morning Suzanne and I caught the city bus to the beach for an early morning swim. This was Suzanne's normal morning routine and I knew keeping things as normal as possible would help with the process of discarding.
Still shaking off the jet-lag and with the huge jolt of energy from our morning swim, we had a quick bite of cheese and berries then pulled out every piece of clothing that she owned. Two closets full and a few drawers later everything was laid in neatly categorized piles of blouses, sweaters, jeans etc., piece by piece Suzanne held each one in her hands to determine if it sparked joy. The clothing category extended over the duration of 2.5 12-hour days. I was hoping clothing would take a max of 8 hours but I majorly underestimated. I taught Suzanne the benefits of folding her clothes like pieces of sushi and to put her loving energy into it.
We then moved onto books. I felt like a tidying horse that couldn't stop. I was suffering from jet-lag but of course I was determined to get as much done as possible before I had to return to the states. We again pulled everything off the shelves and placed them in neat stacks in the living and dining rooms. Books took another 3 days for I believe she may have had close to 3000 titles. Suzanne was/is very attached to her books. She's an academic tutor to local students and she assists them on maintaining their path to college. After every day of discarding and deciding on what to keep she would return to the keep-piles and discard even more. The tidying at one point became too cumbersome so I had Suzanne sit down in a comfy chair and I would then bring stacks of 10-12 books at a time. Ultimately we didn't finish the book category. She had several books in storage in the basement of her apartment building and we simply didn't have enough time.
On the evenings that we ended our tidying adventures early we went out to dinner. The few restaurants we visited were on the water and the views were breathtaking. Our discussions were about our lives and how each choice we made led to the next and I realized all of those choices landed me in Monaco, owning my own business, being a good mother and living a life with a do or die attitude. On my last night in this magical place the sun began to set and as the night lights brightened I remembered to cherish each bite and each moment as if it were my last. I didn't get as far as I had hoped and was actually disappointed that we didn't get her entire apartment tidy. We've talked of my return and we continue to do tidying sessions via Skype. She's admitted she can only tidy with my urging but little by little I know Suzanne will soon be on the other side of her tidying journey. It can be a spark joy life if you let it!
I've come to the conclusion that the KonMari method is the only self-improvement program you'll ever need. How can I make such a claim? Well I've been helping people get tidy since 2005 and for me myself it's the only method I've found that actually forces you to face yourself and make life changes that completely shift the energy in not only your home but in your every day life which includes your habits and the way you think about yourself.
It's a simple method of tidying and is broken down into 5 categories: Clothes, Books, Paper, Komono (miscellaneous ) and Memorabilia. You must follow these 5 categories because it really is a method and if you scramble it then that's exactly how you'll feel. Scrambled. And you'll be prone to rebounding back to your old ways of untidiness.
My client "M" in the above photo was terrified of tidying clothes and even teared up in our consultation when we spoke about it but she knew she needed to do it. On the day of our first tidying lesson she was more than eager to take everything out and place it on her bed. She joyfully discarded items she no longer loved and made sure to try things on that were in the "maybe" pile. At the end of our lesson she was left with a closet that sparked joy! "I love opening my closet. I sit and stare at how beautiful it is and I love getting dressed in the morning," she reported to me.
Clients that I've helped in the past that didn't follow the KonMari Method almost always fell back into their old ways of a clutter-filled home. The reason for this? They were more focused on what they wanted to get rid of as opposed to what they wanted to keep. In my perspective, whatever side you focus on when you're tidying is the side that will manifest in your home. This is why Marie Kondo also wrote the book "Spark Joy". You must focus on what you want. As a result, you will manifest more of what Sparks Joy by doing just this very thing.
For me personally, I had to tidy my entire home before applying to be a KonMari consultant and I will confidently say that it is life-changing magic. I was a very untidy teen and I didn't do well in school at all. I had no drive, no ambition and no idea how to remedy it. I was also very lost and somewhat depressed and just couldn't find my place in the world. I was an only child and I had way too much stuff but I never realized any of it was connected or that all my parts affected each other. I tried shopping for new clothes thinking that would help fix the problem but I always felt worse afterwards. Now, after tidying my own home, I am excited to put things away because I know everything I own has a place. I also have more mental clarity and my goals and dreams seem much more attainable. Just by tidying I've cleared so much mental clutter that my home will never go back to being untidy again because by being tidy I have the freedom to live my life the way I've always wanted.
I'm certainly not a doctor and if you're suffering from severe depression or any psychological disorder I'm not suggesting that this will be a cure for your situation. Tidying your home allows you to let go of the past and focus on the present so that you can start manifesting the future life that you want for yourself. And like Marie says, "try it for yourself and find out." New clients that want to get tidy but haven't heard of the KonMari Method, I let them know that this is the only method that I practice and 9 times out of 10 it inspires them to read the book and to hire me.
If you haven't read the book I strongly recommend that you do. Marie Kondo has turned tidying into a science and the equation is you plus your belongings equals the level of joy you experience in your life. You will face moments that make your stomach turn and you'll feel helpless and like quitting. It'll seem hopeless and too difficult. So just start with your clothes first and see what happens to your life afterwards. Most of my clients get the "tidying virus" as I like to call it and they can't stop once they've started. So please know that the KonMari journey won't be easy but it will be worth it.
The photos below are of M's closet and accessory drawer after we finished tidying.
This new client hired us to organize the garage as a surprise for her hubby for Father's Day. What a great gift for the garage dweller in your life. This space is usually a catch all for the things we don't have homes for and for things that we might use less on a day to day basis. Typically when I encounter a garage, there is usually every tidying category in this one space. Blenders, pots and pans, clothes, paperwork and many other random items that also seem to lack in the Spark Joy category. This is why it is important to follow the categories listed in Marie Kondo's book "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" and gather all items from every room in your home for each category. Otherwise, you will be left with many piles that will sit until you tend to them.
Garages can be the least favorite project to tidy but I love them. Pulling everything out and getting rid of all the cob webs and dirt invokes a very gratifying feeling. What was once a dreaded space to enter and even think about then becomes a place you treasure. Marie says, "tidying forces you to confront yourself while cleaning forces you to confront nature." We definitely accomplished both during this session and the client was completely transformed when we finished up. It isn't a science I can prove on paper but after watching my clients go through these sessions, there is a major visible change in their presence. Kudos to my teammate, Takara, for she is deathly afraid of spiders and I think we had cob webs in our hair when we left.
Something I learned from my own dad, hard work pays off and being disciplined feels really good. The most important thing is to always keep your goals in the big picture. This will allow you to see your hurdles or obstacles as necessary steps to getting you closer to who and where you want to be. Then when you step back, you can be proud of your accomplishments and you will know that the sweat and dirt were the means for that accomplishment and your job or chore truly becomes your reward! Oh and my dad never sat me down and told me these things, I learned them by watching him. I love you dad!!
The photo below is what our client left on her hubby's workbench, a six pack of beer and a card. Thanks, K!
What better way is there to begin a new life with someone than to tidy your belongings ensuring you both "fit" together? Our new client, M, loves her shoes.....a lot!! And her jeans and her dresses and her leggings and her shoes and workout tee's and her shoes and her.......everything. This lovely business owner will soon be saying "I do" down south in Mexico and we wanted to make sure she felt settled and ready to be a newly-wed when she returns from her trip. She and her fiancé have a house in the mountains for the winter and a posh condo in the city for the summer and M doesn't like to schlepp her belongings back and forth and we don't blame her! The only request by D, her fiancé, was that he didn't lose any of his space in the closet. Keeping this in mind, we had a bit of work to do!
The KonMari Method tidying lesson #1 is clothes, so I urged M to pick only the items that spark joy. As I pulled all the shoes off the shelves she quickly selected several pairs to discard which lacked any spark at all and the pairs she kept, you couldn't mistake the sparkle in her eyes for anything other than absolute joy. She did the same with several tops and bottoms and when she opened the dresser drawers to see her newly folded jeans and workout clothes, she squealed with joy! M showed D and he was happy that she was happy! This method of tidying will change your entire life! We categorized and neatly folded all of her clothes so that they would fit comfortably in their newly designated space and at the end of our session everything fit perfectly. M said, "I'm moved in!" All of her belongings now have a spot and everything is visible so nothing will be forgotten. D was even given an extra shelf on his side of the closet, woot woot!! ;)
She was very proud of herself for discarding several items and as we were leaving, D was placing a dozen pink roses in a vase and she was getting ready to pack for her NOLA bachelorette party. Congratulations, M & D, we can already see you will have a life filled of much joy-sparking together!!
Where would we be without our mothers? One of the happiest times I can remember as a child with my mom is spending Saturday mornings organizing my room. It's when I discovered my gift. I wouldn't actually realize it for another 20 years but I definitely remember those mornings pulling everything apart and putting it back together in a newly arranged way and the feeling of newness, as if I could be a whole new me. Moving my things around and giving them a new home seemed to give my room new life and energy and it definitely inspired my creativity and gave me a new perspective on my world. Today, I still do the same thing. I think I've rearranged my closet half a dozen times, my cowboy boots that have turquoise leather and flying sparrows on them are now displayed on the top shelf instead of being stored away in their box. I've let go of all the shoes I used to wear to my office job along with all my office clothes. Now when I open my closet, I feel the newness and the possibility of a new me. I love you, Mom, and thanks for teaching me why tidying feels so good!
I'm realizing more and more why it's so important to monitor my thoughts. When I don't, I just create the same things over and over. I had the idea for a dream board 4 years ago and I started it but didn't finish. This time around I wanted to love it, so I went to a few stores and decided I would only buy the things that sparked joy and I would only choose images that spoke to my heart.
I have a few goals that I'm trying to attain and so I thought I would find images that represented them and one of them is yoga. Lately I've been seeing these images in my mind of doing yoga poses and they come out of no where. I'll be sitting at a traffic light and all of a sudden I'll have a vision of myself in the lord of the dance pose. I know, weird. So I decided to start doing it in my living room and the feeling it gives my body can only be described as love which I guess must be endorphins...I'm not sure. I love how it makes me feel, so peaceful and calm. I will keep doing it and hope to eventually master it. Another goal I set for myself is self-love. Yes, it sounds cliché but when I listen to my thoughts, I can be very hard on myself most of the time which causes my shoulders to practically touch my ears. Another goal I have is to start running again. I actually had a dream last night that I was running and doing 10 minute miles. Next on my board, there is a circle-shaped image of a man and a woman laying in hammocks above a body of water. This is my goal for a relationship, easy, loving and adventurous. I also love to paint and want to master that as well so I chose a photo of Van Gogh to represent this goal. I actually painted the other day for the first time in months and I'm very happy with the result.
Self realization is a goal because I'm constantly yearning to find out who I am and what my life is for so I put it at the very top because it's the most important to me. I also included a map of the world and marked all of the places I'd love to travel to not just for leisure but to teach the benefits of tidying as well (getting my passport might help). I chose the word MASTERFUL because it describes my intention for everything I do. I want to master it, no matter what it is. I put 3 of my business cards to remind myself why I love tidying and helping others achieve their goals through tidying. I chose 2 fortunes my son and I found one night after having dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant. The first one says, "A dream will always triumph over reality, when it is given a chance." The second one says, "Make your life an exclamation not and explanation." These came at a very appropriate time and I am listening to their wisdom. I chose a turquoise vase full of pink peonies because both the colors and the flowers are my favorite and they spark much joy when I look at them. I included a drawing that my oldest son did for me. One night after Easter he left little drawings for me all over the house as if they were Easter eggs. They all had loving messages and pictures and I chose the heart he drew that says "best mom". Being a mother is a constant challenge and I need many reminders that I'm doing my best. The last image I chose was of a photo of a chair that sparks joy in a living room that I love, but more importantly there is a picture on the wall of an Audrey Hepburn quote. "She said, I believe in pink. I believe that laughing is the best calorie burner. I believe in kissing, kissing a lot. I believe in being strong when everything seems to be going wrong. I believe the happy girls are the prettiest girls. I believe that tomorrow is another day and I believe in miracles." All of these statements spark joy and I love re-reading them, it's become my mantra.
A dream board will help you to remember why you have begun your tidying journey and when it gets tough and you feel like you can't keep going, your dream board will remind you why you can.
It's been 2 months since my last blog entry. I don't understand why time is flying by so quickly. I almost feel like I'm being robbed of my memory. My oldest is 10 and my youngest is 6 and no matter how hard I wish for things to slow down, they won't. Does anyone else feel this way?
I'm sitting in my living room reading Spark Joy which is the follow-up to Marie Kondo's first best selling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it. It's a refresher-course on tidying and it solidifies all the important reasons why it's necessary to get your living space in order. Some of you may have already started the tidying process (did you know she has an app that helps you tidy?) and some of you may have never heard of this book. I'm an advocate of the KonMari Method simply because she requires that before I can receive my certification to being a KonMari tidying specialist, I must first tidy all my belongings. That means walk my talk, practice what I preach, buy what I'm selling. It's genius. I've always felt this way about any profession. You must say what you mean and mean what you say. Otherwise it would be like hiring a dead doctor, paying for a life coach that has a drug or sex addiction, or donating money to a charity that pockets the profit. How does she verify if we are tidy? We must submit before and after photos of each category and if you know about her method you cannot fake it.
Now I'm posing a simple question, does your life spark joy? Maybe you don't equate your living space directly to your level of happiness but I'm here to tell you they are woven as tightly as two hands clasped together and are mirror images of each other. You cannot have one without the other. I've had clients look at me like I'm nuts when I tell them that tidying their closet will change their life. I've actually had some clients roll their eyes when I ask them "does this spark joy?" We aren't taught to be intuitive. We're taught to rely on external data. I believe we are inherently intuitive beings and when you listen to your gut you make the best life decisions specifically tailored to you. Oh and by the way, those clients that rolled their eyes, I rephrased the words and said, "do you like this, does this make you happy, can you see yourself using this ever again?" and then they were on board.
After my 3 day training with Marie Kondo's team and embarking on my certification I've come to a realization and it's something I originally posted on the very first version of my website about 3 years ago, long before I had ever heard of the KonMari Method.
It's very simple.....you must first envision the life you want to live or rather view from the end of your set goal.
Whether it be a photo on your bedroom wall, cut-outs on a poster board in the kitchen, a Pinterest page or even inspiring words written on a sticky note stuck to the dashboard of your car. We must have a tangible object that keeps us on track. Why do we do this? Because we must be able to see the finish line. We are all running a race and without a well-intentioned ending point we are merely floating along with no direction, rarely making progress, leaving our goals unmet. In sports, earning a college degree, child rearing, going to work, you have a deadline or an ending point. The quarterback sees the end zone, the working professional knows the date the project is due, the student counts the credit hours and days needed for graduation, the parent realizes they are raising an adult. All of life demands beginnings and endings...constantly.
Tidying your life calls for these same beginning and ending marks. But more importantly, without the vision of crossing over the finish line, starting the race holds no meaning. Have you ever heard someone say "I'm really good at starting things but I'm terrible at finishing them." It's because they failed to envision the end at the beginning. You can also call this setting a goal for yourself and once again, without the benchmark the goal is useless. I'm determined to lose 10 lbs and every day I wake up I envision what it looks like and feels like to be 10 lbs lighter and I'm getting closer to my goal simply by envisioning the end result. I have another goal of spending more quality time with my kids and before they come home I envision what we will do together that evening whether it be to put on a puppet show, bake cookies or paint and draw together. When I fail to do this, our evening tends to be a bit chaotic. I have also set a new business goal and it's to create a new blog entry once a month. I'm in the process of writing a book and these blog entries will allow me to develop more content for it. So I guess the blog is the starting point and the book is the end goal. Right now, my goal is to tidy the kitchen and laundry room.
If you're terrible at finishing projects, if you find yourself in a living space full of clutter, if you have a job that you hate or if there is one little thing you wish you could change about yourself, close your eyes right now and envision the life you want. Next, put it out there, on paper, on your phone, on a sticky note and lastly, aim. Let's get out from under the physical and emotional clutter and start living!
The photo is of my first marketing product. A year or so ago I knew I wanted something tangible to give to people other than a business card and recently I was visiting my mom in AZ and she had a lip balm that had a business advertisement on it. I loved the ingredients so I called the manufacturing company and I now have 500 of them in a box in my office ready to give to new clients.
Thanks for reading and keep it tidy!
"Dear, Tidy......I love you!"
How does one write a book about themselves? What determines if my words are worth reading? Who am I to write down anything that anyone would ever take the time to read what I have to say? These thoughts have been swimming around in my mind for years now and I haven't the slightest idea how one begins to write a book. I guess I could begin with an alliteration...
Today I must tidy, for too many a thing 'tis the reason for toxic waste in thought and tendency. Trash, turbulence and being too tired is the traffic that threatens and tears at my teacup filled with teeth and thunder. The topics in this thorough and thoughtful thread will be all about taking out the trash and transforming your (my) tracks. Tip top. Spit spot. Let's get tidy.
Phew…. that was really fun. It's like painting with words.
Today is Monday, November, 14th 2016, I'm about to be 40 years old in about 2 weeks and the country in which I live is treading in a tone of dissonance. I won't mention any names or point any fingers but many people are in total shock and I won't lie, I was too until I realized what it's all for.
The last 8 years for me personally has been a period of much growth. I remember on that very night in November of ‘08 I felt the magic.
"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.”
"The future rewards those who press on. I don't have time to feel sorry for myself. I don't have time to complain. I'm going to press on.”
“We, The People, recognize that we have responsibilities as well as rights; that our destinies are bound together; that a freedom which only asks what's in it for me, a freedom without a commitment to others, a freedom without love or charity or duty or patriotism, is unworthy of our founding ideals, and those who died in their defense.”
I could list them all and if you must remove the author’s name, there is an undeniable mystical divinity in every line. He spoke about change and personal responsibility and even though he incurred many protesters and disbelievers, I realized his message was for me.
For most of my life I have lived in fear. Fear of others thoughts of me, fear of the world, fear of the unknown and the fear to make a decision without. I was tired of this fear and his words evoked a power and strength in me that could no longer be held back. His words still bring tears to my eyes and I might not ever fully understand why.
Okay… if you're still reading, that means you haven't dismissed me based on my political views. If you're on the fence, let me assure you I know nothing about politics but I do know the power of words. And just a little side note-- This isn't a going to be a book about politics or religion. It's merely the background of my story.
Obama's inspiring words and first-time-buyer’s program allowed me to build up the courage to buy my first home. In April of 2009 my son Julien was 2 1/2 years old and being a single mom and working a 9-5 went together like oil and water. I was too tired to play with my boy because doing chores in the evenings and on weekends took up most of our time. We lived in my mother's townhouse which was a 3-level, 3 bed 3 bath too-much-space-to-clean-and-keep-tidy home. I also wasn't able to afford the mortgage and I wanted something that was all mine. Something I had manifested from my heart.
I hired a realtor and after several weeks of showings and not knowing what I wanted or where I wanted to live, she was downright frustrated with me and I think on our last venture she actually had a margarita in her water bottle. I guess I'm not the average buyer. It had to fit the budget which was teeny tiny, the location had to inspire me and I needed to feel it in my bones. So needless to say, I got in my car and started driving.
I'd looked on-line for weeks and weeks. When I found one I liked it either needed too much work or it was in a bad location. On the last day of my search I had written down several addresses on a piece of scratch paper. I left work on my lunch break and drove from one for-sale sign to the next. Nothing spoke to me. I felt lost. Renting in Denver at that time was the same price as a mortgage and it seemed more practical to buy.
It was the end of the day, the sun was setting and the road I was on curved around a cute little greenbelt. The thoughts in my mind were filled with doubt thinking that I had to rush to the daycare with nothing to show for the miles I had driven. All of a sudden I saw it. It kind of felt like that song from your childhood that you hear as an adult and when it comes on the radio and you are immediately transformed back into your child-like self. It felt like my heart was driving the car and carrying me forward towards this tiny little cottage from the 1950's and all I can tell you is that everything felt like it was drenched in a love bath. I saw the garden I would plant, the tire swing that would hang from the large oak in the back yard and the walks to the park after dinner with my sweet Julien. The sunsets in Colorado are like no other. Pinks, oranges, blues, lavenders and yellows, like the way a poem is written I was perfectly placed in front of what was soon to be my very own house of 685 square feet but this one wasn't on my list. I knew nothing about it but I felt it in every part of my being, like my first true love had found me....
Hello my neat and tidy readers!
I just spent 3 days in San Francisco for the KonMari consultant training and it was absolutely amazing. I met women from all over the country and from outside of the US that have been inspired by this Japanese style of organizing and it was wonderful to see all the different types of people that are inspired by this book. If you are wanting to get your home or office organized but you don't have the budget for it, then I highly recommend reading it. Marie Kondo walks you through the process step by step and she also tells you why you must follow her method if you want your life to spark joy. I'm not fully certified yet but I hope to be very soon!
Hello, my neat and tidy readers!
Today's blog is about being grateful. Have you ever noticed how being grateful can change your attitude in a millisecond? I'm not going to make this a long post, short and sweet will do just fine. I think the universe knew I needed a tiny break but my mind had a mini freak-out. Business has been a bit (very) slow and I started to panic. At the same time I had to deal with some unpleasantries I won't mention, took a trip to San Francisco to meet Marie Kondo for her 3 day consultant training, my youngest started kindergarten and my oldest son broke his wrist riding his scooter at the skate park. Honestly, there are so many more things I could mention but I promised to keep it short and sweet.
Let's just say this business roller coaster can get some good air and and also fall in an instant. It's the end of August and in just this past week we signed up 6 new clients. People are coming out of the wood work to hire us to help them for everything you can imagine. Paper sorting, garage tidying, back to school prep and a whole home purge and organization and I'm grateful for them all and each one of them has been so grateful for me and my team in return.
My team is the best! I'm not kidding. Two of the girls stayed 5 hours longer than scheduled last night and on a Sunday no less to help our client get ready for a move to Detroit. We also helped a mom organize her two daughter's closets and we helped another client sort her office paperwork and that was just this past weekend.
We've had fun. We've laughed. We've bonded. I'm the luckiest girl in the world to have each and every one of them. The team meeting is this Wednesday night and I will be sure to let them know how much I appreciate their efforts. I would be no where without them. It's true, I hired them because tidying alone can be slow and lonely and chit chatting while you work makes things so much fun! They bring so much more joy to tidying than I ever could've imagined and they teach me something new every time we work together.
The above photo is a Facebook conversation I had with a new client who hired us to help her organize her closet. She's struggling with health issues on top of being a mom, an educator all while getting her PhD and she just hasn't had the time or energy to stay on top of it all. We really enjoyed her sweet little girls and their warm greetings. We've been back a second time and she has sent so many messages telling us how wonderful we are. We even had a new client tell us we didn't charge enough and so she paid us double my hourly rate.
Happy Tidying, Everyone!
Today's blog is inspired by this day of our Independence. Freedom has been on my mind for quite some time and I've been contemplating over how to write on this very subject. (It's actually now August as I sit and finish this blog) The clients I've met lately have expressed this same desire for freedom. Freedom from their possessions, freedom from their clutter and freedom from their present state of consciousness which is a general feeling of a lack of inspiration.
Some people "just aren't good at organizing". I've been an organizer for over ten years and most of the clients I've encountered have said these very words. These are people that have gone through physical or emotional trauma, people who weren't raised in an organized environment and people that just seem to be too busy.
The answer to their dilemma is that they just have too much stuff!
It isn't rocket science. We all learned in kindergarten how to put together a puzzle and how to color inside the lines. So when they say they can't put things back where they found them it's because there are too many items in their home to manage and none of their items have the proper home to begin with. I hate to say it, but it doesn't have to be material items that make you feel cluttered.
It can also be emotional clutter as well.
When you walk into your home your mind should feel at peace and you should be able to face your closet or garage without wanting to close your eyes wishing you were somewhere else. I've observed my clients over the years and people can hoard their past along with present material items. They may even go hand in hand.
Did you ever think you could be a hoarder without looking like one?
Mental clutter is real and if we aren't able to face it, we typically buy more stuff to keep the mental stuff stuffed away deep in our minds where we think it will never rise to the surface. But it eventually returns in some way or another and then you find yourself hiring someone like me to help you purge all of the items you no longer want or need.
I know. Madness.
It's so important to be mindful of your habits and tendencies. My tendencies are to ignore issues until they turn into huge problems. When they become huge problems, I look back and realize had I just addressed the issue from the beginning then I probably wouldn't be paying double for that stinkin' parking ticket.
Some people do this with their job, money and relationships. Then we think if we fill our homes up with stuff we will be happy and feel confident. Nope. The problems you aren't addressing are still there and now they are buried under credit card debt and a closet full of clothes that you couldn't care less to wear.
Yep. You guessed it. We have to deal with ourselves.
Why do we run? Why do we ignore it? Why do we procrastinate? When did we learn these habits? And most importantly how do we change?
Well I can't speak for you and the only reason I can write about these issues is because I've been there myself and have witnessed it with my clients. I was an un-tidy teen and young adult. I was an emotional wreck in college not knowing who I wanted to be or what inspired me the most. I tried fitting into the world and the more I tried the more I failed. All the while accumulating possessions, hoping it would fill the empty spot inside of me. My issues festered and grew until I couldn't stand the sight of myself any longer. Maybe my story is a little more dramatic than yours but I'm sure you can relate on some level.
Then one day, I looked around my apartment and realized I wasn't free to live my life. I was a slave to my possessions and my outer life was a direct reflection of my inner unhappiness. So I decided to get rid of everything I didn't love... oh and I found a new apartment 1/4 the size of what I was used to so I made it a point to keep only the things that would fit into my new space. It was a basement apartment in Cheeseman Park and back then in 2003 my rent was $350/month for a 400 sq. ft. studio. Today it would probably cost $900/month. Then I moved again and purged again. And Moved again and purged again. It seemed so necessary to "move" through this mental and physical clutter and where I ended up was with a dream to start my own business and in the cutest apartment ever where I was free to be spontaneous and live my inspired life. I sold my car and I sold my paintings to pay the rent. To make a long story short, I had to deal with me and my clutter before I could become who I had always wanted to be. And to get there I literally had to get rid of almost everything. No, I'm not perfect and thank god for that. Yes, I still go back to the drawing board to re-create certain areas of my life. But had I stayed the old me with all my clutter not addressing my mental obstacles, living in a space that didn't inspire me I'd never be where I am today.
So are your personal belongings and living space a direct reflection of your dreams and desires and most importantly your ability to live a freedom-filled life saturated with spontaneity?
Yes, and I urge your to try it.
Happy Tidying, Everyone!
Hello my neat and tidy readers,
This week’s story is of pure inspiration, serendipity, and not a little sympathetic resonance. And believe it or not, it all started with a blog.
I arrived promptly at our meeting time of 5:30 PM for a consultation with a potential new client. The information I had gathered up to that point was that of a woman who was in need of help taking some tasks off of her plate. As per usual, having no idea what to expect, I pulled up to her house in my trusty white Kia Sportage. I Put my car in park. Set the alarm (beep beep). Closed my eyes to take in the warmth of the evening sun and instantly a surge of love and bliss almost bowled me over.
Keys and phone in bag.
New client forms in hand.
I really need to get my car washed.
Ok. I’m ready.
I could hear her music from the street. I knocked on the door and she answered with a side pony of tousled strawberry blonde hair and in what looked to be her workout gear. Very trim and fit, her petite and muscular frame was the epitome of health and vitality. Her home, absolutely stunning. I can usually tell when an artist lives in the house because it looks, well, like a piece of art. Linear and minimalist decor, exquisite color palette and everything in a well calculated station. To all you messy artists, I said usually. Seeing her home left me wondering why she had me there at all.
Then came the typical cup of coffee, (but this time it was homemade vitamin water that she had made with frozen blueberries, lime and mint and it was oh-so-yummy) followed up by a friendly introduction and a tour of her home. She showed me the main floor which consisted of the living room, her office, the kitchen, laundry room and a bed and bath.
Up the stairs we went.
Often I find that people can be very guarded when it comes to putting their homes and lives in order, and many times they like to vet the person that they’ll be sharing their intimate details with. I find these meetings to be especially exhilarating, and I love sharing my philosophy with new people.
As she lead me along, it was clear that she was very trusting. She held nothing back as she expressed her dissatisfaction for the minimal storage in her lofted bedroom. I of course saw nothing but perfection. Vaulted ceilings, butterfly café lights strewn above her bed and her artwork on the walls. One of them was an astute drawing of Jim Morrison. To me It was clear she desired freedom. Internal freedom.
At the beginning of the consultation, I sensed almost immediately the desperate situation of my possible future client. She was a lovely young woman, and very sweet, but I could literally see a phantom heaviness that she seemed to carry and her tone of voice said that she was emotionally numb. It was evident in her face and shoulders that she was carrying burdens far too heavy for anyone to bear alone.
I followed her out to the backyard where she had a very bohemian setup of a loveseat, throw rug, an old chest, which looked like it belonged on a pirate ship and some happy plants along with two cats parading in and out of the back door.
We then sat down and talked about her goals for herself:
-Help me get my calendar in order.
-I need help checking emails to stay on top of them.
-Maybe help me pull some weeds too.
-I used to cook a lot so maybe I need to get back into that.
-I used to do a lot of things….
As our conversation continued, she really opened up to me. She slowly explained that she had experienced some serious trauma in her life and her past had been hard to shake.
I listened intently.
I cannot reveal the tragedies of her life, for I told her I wouldn’t. She listed the details of the horrors she had experienced at the ripe old age of 29 and I could see she was somewhat ready to take the first steps toward setting things aright. She also made it clear she wanted to hire someone that didn’t know her, someone that would hold her accountable to checking things off of her to-do list and to basically help get her confidence back. She thought that maybe I could help.
To say the least, it was very humbling.
We then talked some more about life and what it is that makes us happy and sad. She’s traveled the world and her eyes lit up like sparklers on the 4th of July when she spoke of her time in Italy. The lover she found there. Her writing. She now has a hard time getting out of bed and suffers from PTSD.
“I think I have to start over from when I was a kid and re-learn everything.”
This is the part of the consultation where I like to interject my spiritual take on organizing when its appropriateness is made clear. After listening to her words of “I feel hopeless and helpless” and seeing the look on her face of pure fear and uncertainty, I felt it time to to share with her some profound words that my mentor has taught me, words that have delivered me from many of my own light and dark moments.
"Don't attach yourself to the outcome.”
Which is to say, it doesn't matter what you accomplish so long as you're developing self-love and are remaining present, in the moment. Self-love means you're doing the things for your own self-approval and recognition and no one else's. If the dishes are dirty in the sink, and the laundry is on the couch unfolded, which is also a current description of my home, it doesn't mean that you're a failure.
It means that you're human.
She had the idea, as do many of us, that if everything is perfect and in order on the outside, then everything will be perfect and in order on the inside, and let’s face it, this is rarely the case. She admitted that keeping things in their place was her therapy and it gave her a sense of control. But this method had yet to exonerate her from the depths of hell she described so clearly. She was in fact a prisoner to her own thoughts.
I then explained to her that it had been my experience that true peace can only be realized in the moment, when you don't let the end result dictate your emotions or your present state of being.
She paused for several seconds and it was like a whirlwind came by and took a wisp of her angst.
"Wow," she said.
"Freedom," I said.
Our conversation went on for quite a while, and by this point we had been about as vulnerable as two strangers can possibly be with each other. I shared with her my own struggles and my own setbacks along the path, she shared more of herself as well, and I caught sight of a lovely smile slowly spreading across her face. And before I knew it, even those tensed shoulders started to relax and that smile had spread to my own face, and we were chatting like a couple of old friends, just catching up.
She told me of her love for the book The Alchemist, as she flipped through it she showed me her notes in the margin of nearly every page. Most of her hesitancy had left, and a comfortability had taken its place. My consultations are normally 30 minutes long and an hour at the maximum. I looked at my phone and 2 hours had passed.
As we both transitioned from our chairs, she moved to sit on top of the deck railing as if to view things from a higher vantage point. She told me that she didn't want to compare her accomplishments with others anymore. She said that it always leaves her feeling empty and like a failure. I told her, the only person that I ever compare myself with is who I was yesterday and that I try to ride the waves of my experiences like a surfer.
Stay on top. Know you will eventually fall and you need to. Have to. But stay under for too long and it might take your life.
She loved that.
We made our arrangements to meet later, where we’d share the liberating task of organizing her material life, and removing one more burden from those weary shoulders. She called our meeting fortuitous and I left her with a hug and when we parted I told her she was beautiful. And that was the truth.
Geez. I guess I never knew how meaningful a blog could be.
I walked towards my car and closed my eyes once more to feel the glow and strength of the sun setting behind the Rocky Mountains.
It truly is a reflection of us all.
Our meeting ironically happened during Pride Fest. For those of you who don't know what that is, it is a day for lovers of all kinds to celebrate each other and as I drove through Denver on my way home, I regarded all the hand-holding and the freedom-ringing these lovers displayed. The skipping along in every kind of costume and color as if to convey to the neigh sayers “eff you, I’ll love who I wanna love and I’ll live for me” reminded me of myself and I have a tiny suspicion that my client is about to feel that way too, very soon.
Happy Tidying, Everyone!
I think Spring cleaning is a worldwide phenomenon. In the last month I've received several calls about people wanting to get organized or to help with packing because they're moving out of their old homes or are moving into a new one. There is something to be said for this fortuitous season and I believe it's about cleaning up the death that Winter has left behind. I’ve noticed not only are people wanting to get organized in their homes but in their relationships as well. Everyone I've spoken with in the last few weeks has gone through a break up or emotional transition of some sort and none of them seem to be remorseful! They actually seem to be excited to move into the new season with a strong sense of optimism and desire to be organized and that's why I love Spring! Fresh starts, new beginnings and new inspirations to live life.
For myself, I have to end my relationship with all of the dust bunnies and unused items laying around the house that have accumulated over the last several months. This is truly a feeling of being cleansed from the inside out. Sometimes this is difficult when you are stuck in a rut of not knowing what to do. What I do to purge a subject in my life, i.e. clothing, kitchen items, garage, icky emotions, etc., and I say “subject”, because we often have items of the same subject stored in different places in the house, is I pull everything out for that particular subject and sort by category.
The kitchen is my most favorite to organize regularly because items get lost and food expires and when new food comes in there always seems to be less and less room. I take everything out of cupboards and drawers purging old food and wipe off what's staying. I use the dining room table and put like items together. Once you've done this, your kitchen will look worse than when you started, but it is necessary so that you may take an inventory of your items and then put them in the proper place. This project will probably take you all day or over the course of a weekend so I tend to only do it twice a year. Or if you're pressed for time, do it in sections, i.e. pantry and food cupboards then in the next session tackle the food storage, match lids to containers. I do, however, recommend that if you can’t do the entire kitchen in one session, then I would wait until you can.
Firstly, If you're having trouble getting started, try to do a visualization of how you'd like for your kitchen to look and if you don't know then try to imagine how you want your kitchen to feel. I like to look on Pinterest or Apartment Therapy websites to give me inspiration and then I just get started. Turn on your favorite music, illicit some help from a friend, pour a glass of wine or do whatever you need to to accomplish your goal. If you find yourself hemming and hawing about making decisions, you'll never get started. So just start!
Front-facing things on the shelves or buying lazy susans really helps to display what you have. You can purchase organizing containers to help store things more efficiently, and if you're on a budget, I recommend going to the thrift store or to discount stores like TJ Maxx. I don't typically recommend buying anything prior to your purge unless it's something small like drawer organizers or shelf risers. If you do purchase thing prior to tidying, you may end up buying things you don't need and then returning them may prove to be challenging. As you go through your items you'll get a sense of what you really use and what you don't. Taste buds change and for my family, the infamous baking items like sprinkles and frosting get stored and end up in the very back of the cabinet never to be seen again until the following year and by then they've expired. So for now, we make our own frosting if we even use it at all, and the sprinkles get thrown out after holiday baking.
My kitchen is rather small and cooking for my family is easy because I tend to only buy what we use for that particular week. I have spices but not too many and I have a few canned goods but other than that I don't store packaged items simply because I don't have the room. This doesn't work for all families but for example, we have a few bags of granola, and for breakfast my family usually eats fruit, sausage and toast or cereal. On weekends I'll make pancakes or french toast which all require minimally packaged ingredients. This is also a good time to evaluate your eating habits, and if you want to lose weight or have more energy, limiting processed or packaged food is a great place to start.
Ok. You've done it. You've separated the what-you're-keeping and the what-you're-pitching. When you notice there are several bags of expired food that are headed for the trash, don't panic! This is a good exercise in really seeing what is important to keep and how to be more efficient with grocery shopping lists and meal planning. You’ll also save money by doing this because you won’t be throwing away unused food. Bonus!
Now everything is organized, wiped off and ready to be put back. I like to put messy items, such as coconut oil and honey, in little dishes to sit on in my shelves so they don't get sticky or oily. I also like to keep baking items in baskets or trays so that when we do bake, I can pull it down, find the items I need, and then easily put it back when we are finished. Above my stove are the items I use for dinners such as pasta, oatmeal and canned beans. Above the toaster is the coconut oil, honey and things we don't use very often. The dishes go to the right and left of the sink to make it easy to put them back (I don't have a dishwasher, but if you have one, your dishes should be right above or as close as possible to the dishwasher.)
I deep clean the fridge twice a year as well. If you are a busy household you might need to do it more often, but I try to wipe out the fruit and veggie drawer as they empty, and I wipe shelves clean with a vinegar and water solution just before my trip to the grocery store. Little ones love to help clean so their job can be pulling everything out of the fridge door, wiping them off, and putting them back. If you have no extra hands to help, then wipe as you go, for this will make it more manageable. The oven needs a little cookie sheet on the bottom shelf to catch crumbs, vinegar and baking soda are wonderful for cleaning the spots caked with grease.
On a side note, you must schedule room for tidying your home on a regular basis. If you let it pile up, you will feel overwhelmed. I once had a colleague tell me that even in high school her Sunday evening ritual was to put everything back in order so that she could feel at ease about starting the new week.
Now, if you've taken the time to survey, purge and clean your entire kitchen, you should feel a sense of accomplishment. If you still have the infamous kitchen junk drawer or the under-the-sink cleaning items in disarray, you might still feel a twinge of disorder inside of yourself, but once it is completed, freedom should be the dominant emotion and who doesn't want to feel more of that?
Happy Tidying Everyone!
Spring has sprung and it's time to put those heavy scarves away for the next 6 months. The Konmari method is quite useful, author of Spark Joy, and helps to display folded items in a way that's both visually pleasing and keeps things neat and tidy. If you have the drawer space I highly recommend trying this and depending on your drawer size, you'll have to try a few different folding methods to make it fit your space. If you don't have drawer space but haven't purged in a while then I would urge you to do so. Keeping things tucked away in drawers allows your bedroom to feel lighter and more open.
Happy Tidying, Everyone!