KonMari, the methodology seen on the popular new Netflix show “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” is fast becoming a household name.
Kondo, a 34-year-old Japanese cleaning guru, goes to homes and helps the owners tidy up and make their lives more organized and efficient.
But the key to Kondo’s success isn’t through a focus on discarding. It is on giving focus and gratitude to the things one already has and making sure they all “spark joy,” as one local expert puts it.
Jessica Louie is a certified “KonMari” method consultant who services the Santa Clarita area. That means she works with clients in helping them enact lasting changes in habits, making sure all of their items speak to their hearts.
“It is based on some organizing and tidying and decluttering methods,” she said. “But it’s an overall lifestyle change. So you only go through the KonMari method once in your life. You don’t hire a professional organizer multiple times. You hire them once, and your life should be forever changed.”
The lasting change Louie advocates comes from category by category, instead of going around a house and scanning location by location to pick away at clutter. Starting with easier categories, like clothes, and going on to more challenging categories, like sentimental items, can build confidence in decision-making skills throughout the process.
Once you go through all those categories, the focus is on keeping items that spark joy and thanking them, as the KonMari Japanese method suggests.
“It’s transitioning from a negative mindset of, ‘How much could I get rid of?’ to a more positive one of valuing what you have,” Louie said. “It’s quite different for everyone, and you can keep as much as you want. You can keep everything if you love everything you own.”
Any interested clients can get a free phone consultation with Louie to work on goals, a timeline and more. The only caveat is that clients can only hire Louie for themselves, not on behalf of family members.
After the phone consultation, Louie goes to the home and asks that clients do not tidy up or purchase anything before she arrives.
“You have to take a look at what your natural habitat is,” she said. “But part of this is we always have a nonjudgmental pact when we come into your home.”
The show typically shows clients getting the clean treatment from Kondo, but some details are left out.
Other resources like joy journals, burnout prevention and life coaching are all needed to clarify a client’s vision for the lifestyle they want.
“If you don’t have an end goal, it’s hard to work through feelings,” Louie said. “We go through planning and make sure we’re intentional.”
Consultants and clients work four to six hours a day together and make sure to finish and put away whatever was started for that day. One client will typically take five to six sessions to go through the method, but some suburban homes will usually take 12 sessions, and there might be “homework” in between sessions
“I’m there for accountability and to provide emotional and physical support, while facilitating the discussion,” Louie said. “I never make any final decisions, I ask that it’s the client that has to decide, ‘Does this spark joy in my life, and do I want to keep it?’”
Other methods Louie employs from the show are grouping things together and giving them all a designated location, as she said clutter accumulates because things don’t have a sense of place or belonging. She also suggests people not buy new containers to hold things because many are usually found throughout the process and can be repurposed. Otherwise, new purchased containers should also spark joy.
Louie has been practicing this method for over two and a half years in her own life, and it eventually complemented her background as a critical care ICU pharmacist. She became officially certified in 2018 to teach the KonMari method.
She lives by advising clients to “clarify, simplify and align.”
She is one of 120 consultants in the U.S. and 215 worldwide, with the most concentrated in California.
“I think a lot of people are very overwhelmed, very stressed and they’ve heard of the method and the books, but weren’t able to start and finish because it can get very overwhelming,” she said.
Louie’s belief is people must schedule their own appointments with themselves, because the regular populace doesn’t break appointments with doctors or hairstylists, but does with themselves all the time.
That’s where coaching can be good.
“I’d say a lot of people are moving toward that we don’t have to own a lot of stuff to be happy,” she said. Louie can be found at clarifysimplifyalign.com or emailed at [email protected].