Tag: Spark Joy

Creating Calm with Jacquelyn

Creating Calm with Jacquelyn

00KonMari Method, KonMari With Kids, Simplicity ParentingTags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , September 17

Recently, I had the pleasure of supporting Jacquelyn Krieger, the founder of ChakWave, in a Creating Calm session. We cleared the clutter in her daughters’ room using the principles of KonMari (the Japanese art of decluttering) and Simplicity Parenting (the art of parenting simply). We worked together to create a simplified space for her girls to play joyfully and then easily clean up.  As Jacquelyn and I sipped our Gratitude tea she brightly exclaimed, “This is fun!”

Choosing Joy

It is important to begin a Creating Calm decluttering session by getting clear on your vision for your home. Once that is clear, the next step is to get quiet and tune into what “sparks joy.” Keep in mind your child’s preferences based on observing their play and knowing them. When your kids are too young to participate you will do the process without them. There is no need to worry about your choices, you can relax and trust your instincts. I recommend that my clients keep the discards in a secret spot in case there is something specific the child asks for. Believe me, the children will come home overjoyed to be able to find what they are looking for. Usually they even feel like they are discovering new toys in their cleared space!

A place for everything and everything in its place. With plenty of space for creativity.

Jacquelyn described the session as “a very root chakra/grounding experience that helps people’s life foundations be in a sturdier, healthier place.”  In case you are unfamiliar with chakras this is how Jacquelyn describes them on her website,

A chakra is a vortex of constantly moving energy. Imagine subtle energies glowing and rotating like gears or becoming blocked and stagnant dependent on our physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing. In Sanskrit, the classical language of India, chakra literally means “wheel.” While there may be thousands of chakras in a body, for simplicity’s sake seven primary chakras are usually focused on. They are often depicted as spinning wheels of light forming a ladder from the base of the spine to the top of the head.

The root chakra specifically is the first chakra which is located at the base of the spine. This chakra establishes deep connections with your physical body, your environment and with the Earth.

When we get quiet and make choices of what to keep – and what to let go – based on trust rather than fear, we get grounded and heal our root chakra. When we connect to our environment we grounded and heal our root chakra. When we move from focusing on material abundance to inner abundance we get grounded and heal our root chakra. This is the kind of healing many of us are craving. It may be intimidating to start the simplifying process in your home, but there are ways to make it enjoyable. The clear spaces and more joyful, easeful life are well worth the effort.

 

Spring Clearing

Spring Clearing

10KonMari Method, KonMari With KidsTags: , , , , , , , , , April 17

 

Spring is here! It’s been a wet winter here in Northern Califorina, which was exactly what we needed and now we’re ready for some sun. Spring is a great time to get energized to clear and clean your home. In my community we are about to have a “swap” where some amazing mamas organize a day when we can bring all the stuff that we are ready to pass on, and perhaps find stuff that brings us joy. At the end of the day everything left is donated. I’ve been asked to share some tips for de-cluttering, and thought it would be a great resource for people beyond my local community.

 

Low Hanging Fruit

 

First things first, get a garbage bag and a box and go through each room of your house and the garage looking for the obvious things that are no longer serving your family or are garbage. This would be a fairly quick pass through with the idea of finding the stuff that you know you are ready to let go. You might find that this is enough.

 

Clear by Category

 

Now if you want to get serious about clearing the clutter, you’ll need to collect categories of it (or subcategories if you’re a busy mom). This free checklist will guide you. I suggest checking out the Kids section of the checklist; focusing on kids clothing and toys since they grow and develop so rapidly will serve you well. Small doable steps are a great approach to adapting the KonMari method for a mom. I love how Kendra (a local mom) describes her  de-cluttering process:

I like to pick an easy category to start with – I konmari’d my little one’s pants. I threw them all on the floor, pulled out our favorites and then it became really obvious which of the ones that were left didn’t make the cut for us anymore, then (this is the hardest part for me) I actually got the keepers all back in the drawer. Voila! Now her pants drawer is freshly organized with cute little folded pants, I have a bunch to give away and I feel great! 

 

Edit Ruthlessly

 

If you’re attempting to fully de-clutter, be ruthless.  Don’t keep too much stuff, because you’ll just have to go through the categories again and again. That is a waste of your time. Being honest with yourself the first time through might pull at your heart strings, but it is well worth the time (and discomfort!). To help you edit, ask yourself these questions as you go through your stuff:

Is it necessary?

Does it bring me joy? (Does it give me a positive feeling? Or does it give me a negative feeling?)

Having less stuff means less dealing with stuff. Less stuff helps you align with your values. Less stuff means more time connecting with your family and friends.

 

Letting Go

The more you focus on what you are grateful for, the more joy you will feel. Marie Kondo’s  suggestion to actually say “Thank you” to your things as you let them go helps you maintain your attitude of gratitude. If talking to your things seems weird, you can say it in your mind, or find a way to remember how grateful you are. This act of gratitude can alleviate the momentary guilt you may feel about letting go.

 

Homes for Everything

Once you have gone through all your belongings, it’s storage time. Make sure each thing has a specific and permanent home. Creating homes for everything takes time; these strategies can help. Use the magical folding method for cloth. Place books and paper vertically.  Store related items together i.e. like with like.  Divide storage into squares by using boxes or trays.

 

Return Things to their Homes

After you use something, put it back where you got it from- right away, every time. Sounds easy enough, but it takes practice.  If you forget, gently remind yourself and your family. Make sure the home for each thing is simple and clear. With practice you’ll figure it out.

 

Control the In-flow

Once you’ve spent the time and effort developing your “joy meter” and de-cluttering your home, you don’t want to bring a lot back in.  Bring your “joy meter” with you when you go shopping (or to the swap). Trust that feeling and don’t try to convince yourself otherwise. Now that you understand what things are necessary, and what things bring you joy, use that wisdom. If you stay true to your joy, you wont have much for Spring Clearing next year.

Join a Challenge Group On Facebook

We learn best in community. Facebook is a great place to find your tribe. Especially these days there are lots of groups dedicated to KonMari or Minimalism. If you are looking for a KonMari with kids challenge group join our community!

Moms authority in the home

Clear the Clutter for your Children

00KonMari With Kids, UncategorizedTags: , , , January 17

 

When trying to involve children in the KonMari process, Marie Kondo’s advice – to simplify your own belongings and hope that your family will follow – wasn’t enough for me. Marie Kondo also said that once you’ve finished all your own categories, you can teach them the folding method. As good as my toddler was at folding, I needed to take a more active role in clearing the clutter for her.

Leading by example is essential, but it’s not the only way to approach simplifying a family home. Kim John Payne, who wrote Simplicity Parenting, agrees that parents must lead by example. However, he suggests that children under 8 years old should not be involved in culling their belongings. He says that young children need a safe and nurturing environment; too much decision making can undermine that sense of safety. Read: permission to be the authority in your home, or Queen if you prefer ;).

That having been said, when I started the KonMari method, my daughter was 2 and a half, and I did involve her in the decisions to a certain extent. I hadn’t read Simplicity Parenting yet. She was really clear about what brought her joy without me having to explain. Also, she is good at letting things go.

After reading Simplicity Parenting I realized that I didn’t need to always involve my daughter in the process. Now, I make most of the decisions of what toys and clothes of hers we keep, and what we don’t.

As a mom who works part-time, I spend much more time at home now than I did before I became a mother. For this reason, it’s very important for our home to be calming and joyful, both for my mental health and for the benefit of my family.

During the KonMari Process here are some of the strategies that I used with my daughter.

Joy/No Joy game

We call it a game, because it becomes more fun that way! It is about focusing on the positive after all. I didn’t explain anything- I just piled one category on the bed or floor at a time and would hold one item up and say, “joy or no joy?” She was a natural. She wouldn’t have a long attention span but she would say joy to things I knew she liked and then no joy to things she wasn’t interested in. For her, it seemed that the connection to knowing what her heart felt about an item came effortlessly- she didn’t have a long attention span for the game so it would take several sessions to complete. She was involved in much of the process but I would make the final call on her choices.

Folding

My daughter did enjoy the folding method, though wouldn’t be expected to fold much. Now that she is four and a half she shows the “proper” way to fold. She is constantly changing her clothing and will throw her clothing on the floor (she knows exactly how to push my buttons!) So honestly, her drawers are often not folded nicely, but at least there isn’t too much in there. It’s about what works for you and your family.

Letting go

As I said she was pretty natural about letting go of things that didn’t bring her joy. Once I threw away a string and she saw it and said, “you are so annoying! So annoying!” but she left the string in the garbage. I try to respect her wishes with her things while balancing that against my need for simplicity.

Choosing her favorites

Another strategy I tried was asking her to choose her favorites out of a pile of stuffed animals and that was successful. It’s easier to think about what your favorites are and again it’s about supporting a positive perspective of surrounding yourself in joyful belongings that you will be motivated to take care of properly.

Appealing to her compassion

During the time of our simplifying process there was a large fire in a neighboring town. I asked my daughter if she would like to go through her toys to see what she would like to give to the children who had lost their toys. She was generous in her letting go that day!

Observing Closely and Letting Go Quietly

I take notice of what she plays with and doesn’t play with. What she loves and plays with most. I have had success with hiding away things that she doesn’t play with. Especially the things that get dumped out but never actually used. Then I wait for a few months until I have a chance to clear out the stored away items. This has worked for us, after a few months without her asking for the items I donated them and she never noticed. She is still young so I imagine our days of doing this are numbered, but hopefully she will develop an understanding of having the right amount of things and taking good care of them.

Using the Power of Story

Story telling is magic. There is nothing that motivates my daughter better than an appealing story- we reach her through her imagination. Reaching children playfully and through their imagination works wonders.

 

Now that we have completed the KonMari Method in our home, this is how we deal with my daughter’s stuff. We have designated homes for all my daughter’s belongings. I remind her to put things where they go and help her with a regular cleaning routine (and after she goes to bed my husband and I make sure her things are put away). We tell inspiring stories about tidying and cleaning. One of our favorites is Tidy Teddy from Susan Perrow’s book, Healing Stories for Challenging Behavior. We talk about the importance of taking care of our things and the house. We lead by example as best we can. When I’m sweeping up and her stuff is out I ask her if there is anything she wants to keep and to come get it now before it goes in the trash. This may sound like a punishment, though it doesn’t seem like my daughter gets stressed. She comes to see if there are things she wants and gets them. It feels very matter of fact. We don’t buy much and we do our best to keep gifts simple and hand-me-downs “joy checked” at the door. When we are given a bag of clothing or toys we immediately do the joy check and don’t bring the no joys in. We express our gratitude for all that we  have regularly, especially our gratitude towards one another.

Adults don’t have limitless capacity to care for stuff; children have even less. I want to give my daughter the gift of less. She and I have worked together, and reduced her total amount of belongings. I put toys in books into storage for rotation. I also hide things away, and if she doesn’t ask for them for a few months, I donate them. Only once has she asked for backpack that was gone and I simply offered one of her other backpacks.

My daughter gets creative in a bit of a destructive way some times, so I throw a lot of paper clippings and dried up playdough, etc. away. I love supporting her creativity, and it is important to me to let her have freedom in her process – but once she has completed a project, it’s clean up time. She says the mess on her art table doesn’t bother her, but when I let her leave it there for a few days, she doesn’t engage in art. Once it’s been cleared, she begins creating again. I can see that I literally create space for her creativity by clearing the clutter.

 

One from her Joy Sparking series of paintings that made the biggest mess you’ve ever seen!

This is all done with kindness and love. It’s not about punishment and taking things away, it’s about creating the home and life that works for all of us. I’m the one that has to deal with her stuff on a daily basis, so it has to work for me. A cluttered space makes me stressed; a simple and clean space helps me stay calm.  This, in turn, keeps the family running smoothly and happily.

It’s important to make sure that the home environment is joyful for mom. Sometimes that means helping my daughter put away her belongings and sometimes that means quietly removing her uncared for ones.

KonMari My Husband's Perspective

KonMari: My Husband’s Perspective

00Written by FredTags: , , , , , , June 16

KonMari My Husband's PerspectiveI have to admit, when I first heard about the KonMari method, I was skeptical.  I loved the idea of organizing and getting rid of lots of things, but I didn’t believe that following some methodology in a book could really work.  After all, if we were motivated to get organized, what was stopping us?  Just jump in and start throwing things away!  And if we weren’t motivated, how could reading a book really help?

 

It turns out that KonMari works on an entirely different level, one that I hadn’t even considered.

 

The fundamental idea behind the KonMari method is to approach each of your possessions one at a time, hold it, and sense whether or not it ‘sparks joy’.  If it well and truly does, then it is worth keeping.  If not, then it is time to thank it and let it go.

 

The reason this is so important, and the reason it works, is because it allows you to approach each thing you own from an emotional level, rather than an intellectual one.  This emotional connection to our possessions has a two-fold effect.  It enables us to authentically determine whether or not we should keep something – we can always mentally justify holding onto stuff, but there is no fooling our heart.  The other effect, the true magic of the KonMari method, is that it forces us to get rid of some of our emotional junk, just as we get rid of some of our material junk.

 

This is a perfect illustration of two way causality, and one that I had not thought possible.  It’s obvious that our internal emotional mess can manifest in too much stuff – just think of the extreme case of a hoarder.  I had always thought that to ‘cure’ hoarding, or to be able to get rid of things that we are emotionally attached to, we’d have to do the underlying emotional work first, and then we’d be free to get rid of the stuff to which we were attached.  Until Christine went through the KonMari method, I had not realized that it can also flow the other way: we can get rid of the things that emotionally bind us, and doing so simultaneously cleans up our internal mess as well.

 

All this did not come in a flash.  It took time to figure out, and that time was not an easy one.  And how could it be – really going through the KonMari method is equivalent to therapy, and therapy is messy and difficult.  Few people I’ve ever met are really eager to begin a therapy session, but they universally agree that, having done the work and dealt with the mess, they feel better, and their lives are easier and more enjoyable.

 

That is what I’ve observed in our house, during the process of KonMari.  It was not easy, but Christine approached it with powerful determination and energy, and it worked.  Our house is neater, and our emotional lives are lighter and more free.  And that, ultimately, is what KonMari is all about.

Guest Post written by Fred Salisbury aka my loving husband. When I asked if he wanted to write about our KonMari experience this is not what I expected to read, I am happily surprised! I hope you and your partner take inspiration from his words. 

Behind the ScenesRevised

Behind the Scenes of “Tidy up with KonMari”

00Featured news, KonMari MethodTags: , , , , , , , May 16

Behind the ScenesRevised

When Gina Lambie Kruger announced my Facebook group that she was going to have Marie Kondo film the KonMari process in her home, I knew I had to be there. Luckily, Gina is the friendliest person ever and was happy to have me, especially since she had a lot of work to do behind the scenes! I can’t believe I flew across the country (SFO to NYC) for this.  Before reading her book and doing the KonMari Method in my home, I wouldn’t have considered such an adventure. It’s a good illustration of how much personal transformation is possible thanks to Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.  Leaving my daughter and husband behind was the hardest part. The rest was exciting, educational and fun! I was glad to have a big adventure and lend a helping hand.

 

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Good morning NYC!

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We had lots of work to do in order to prepare for Marie Kondo’s next tidying session with Gina. To keep track of it all we used the Checklist I designed for busy moms.

IMG_5421Of course there was plenty of folding involved. Following Marie Kondo’s advice for getting older children involved by folding their clothing, Gina instructs her son on the folding technique.

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He’s a pro at the KonMari fold!

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Next up: Sock Mountain!

We sorted out the joy and folded the kids socks. Then we had KonMari Consultant, Keiko give us a lesson on sock folding and storing. It’s not about one exact way of folding, it depends on the container you are using for storage. Keiko first tried folding the socks in half, but then decided they needed to be folded in thirds. Like Gina mentions in the show, the folding doesn’t have to be one specific way – it can be “your way also”.


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Here’s a big folding surprise:

Marie Kondo chose to hang Gina’s Jeans up in the closet.  Here is quite literally a KonMari’d closet.

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My only claim to fame on the show was the brief moment you see the shoe racks in the closet: yes I put them together.

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The Queen of Tidy is on the scene. She is perfectly perfect.

IMG_6984That day they filmed the tidying lessons of books and papers. Here are some of the tips straight from Marie Kondo:

  1. When doing the book category yearbooks would be considered sentimental.
  2. Catalogs that you read like a book can be included in the book category.
  3. Cookbooks can be stored in the kitchen while other books are stored in a book shelf.
  4. Books should be stored vertically and by category.
  5. For paper, she suggests keeping only the essential ones – its less about joy and more about need.
  6. One should think of the reasons for why you keep each paper.
  7. It is best if each family member has a separate file for their papers.
  8.  Store actionable papers vertically, so you will be more likely to take action.

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In Brooklyn it is easy to find new, joyful homes for books. Around the corner from Gina’s house is a mini library. We brought her discarded books to it and they were gone almost before we could add them to the collection!

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After a lunch break, which was delicious New York style  ricotta pizza, of course. Then there was more work to be done. A house doesn’t KonMari itself ya know!

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It was a true pleasure to get to know Gina and her family, to help her with the tidying process, to see New York and visit some of my friends. What a gift be so inspired and to create a the possibility to fly across the country to have an adventure of a life time. Of course the mission was to meet Marie Kondo and witness her in action. She is pure kindness and joy. I am grateful to have found her books and to have been touched by the magic of tidying up.

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In the conclusion of the show it’s a wonderful surprise to see all the clear surfaces which were once totally cluttered. I especially loved seeing Gina and her family happily playing music in the corner, connecting joyfully in a place in the house which was once inaccessible due to clutter. It’s all about making space for the people and activities that Spark Joy in your life.

If you are interested in seeing the show, it is available until May 23rd.  You can see it here:  http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/vod/konmari/20160507.html

 

5 Steps to Avoiding a KonMari Rebound

10KonMari MethodTags: , , , , , , April 16

5 steps to avoiding a konmari reboundThe fear of rebound is real. In both of her books , The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and Spark Joy Marie Kondo frequently mentions how no one has ever rebounded after following her method of tidying. A “rebound” would mean going back to living in a cluttered and messy house after you have completed the method. The idea is to tidy your home by going through all the things you own by category, choosing to keep the things that “spark joy” then thanking and letting go of the rest. No one wants to be the first to fail at the method.

“Thinking of your life after KonMari is the key,” according to Ms. Mitsugu Ando, the Manager of the KonMari Consultants in Japan who recently led a private seminar in San Francisco, California. I was honored to attend the seminar and the notes I took will help you stay on track with your tidying.

 

Follow these steps in order and you will be forever safe from having a KonMari rebound.

1. Imagine your Ideal Home and Life

The first and most important step. Think about the life you want. What does it look like? What does it feel like? How are you spending your time? To answer these questions write down your objective and goals, or create a board on Pinterest, or create a vision board from images cut from magazines pasted on a poster board. However you choose to express yourself, this activity will serve as your guide post to keep you motivated to complete the KonMari Method in your home.

2. Focus on the Positive

One of the ways the KonMari Method stands out from the other methods of decluttering is that it is all about focusing on what you want to keep in your life. Focusing on what brings you joy and surrounding yourself in these joyful belongings will increase your joy.

3. Decide your “Click Point”

The KonMari Method is not minimalism. There is no set number of things you should keep. As you go through your things by category, ask yourself, “how much is enough?” You decide for yourself what is the right amount of things for you.

4. Designate a Home for Each Thing

Once you have gone through all your belongings and kept the joyful things, it’s storage time. Make sure each thing has a home. Some basics of storing are the magical folding method for cloth/soft things, vertical placement, storing like with like and dividing storage into squares by using boxes.

5. Return Things to their Homes

After you use something, put it back where you got it from. Simple enough, right?

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Image: KonMari Media Inc.

Five simple steps that will lead to a forever tidy home. Nothing to be afraid of friends. My favorite lesson from the seminar is to forget all the “rules” of the method and tune into your inner guide. It’s all about finding what “sparks joy” for you. So you be the judge about these five steps. Joy or No Joy?