Kondo is the founder of KonMari, a method of decluttering and tidying up your home in order to “spark joy.”
We wanted to find out more about the trend taking over homes across the nation, so we contacted Jenny Albertini, the only certified KonMari Consultant based in the DC region, to learn about what the method is, and how you can implement it into your own home and lifestyle. Highlights from our conversation are below.
Describe the KonMari method.
Konmari method is a philosophy and practice designed by Marie Kondo to approach decluttering within your home. It goes through utilizing five categories: clothing, books, paper, miscellaneous items (also called komono), and sentimental. The process involves finding each of the items that you have for any of those categories, putting them all together, and then making the decision one by one about what sparks joy for you, or what is useful to keep in your life, and then what isn’t.
For the items that you determine are no longer useful, or no longer bringing you joy, there’s a gratitude practice that goes to thanking the belongings, or just considering how they probably were important for you at some point, but aren’t helpful for where you are now in your life or where you’re going. Then, you’re letting them go or discarding them. What remains is really only what’s most helpful and most joyful for your life for whatever your goals are for what you want to do at home, and elsewhere in your life.
You’re the only certified consultant based in the DC region, correct?
I am! Yes, I was in Marie’s first training group, which was the first time she offered this program outside of Japan, in August of 2016. I went to New York to start my certification process then and I became certified. I’ve seen 67 clients and done almost 130 sessions.
Also, last spring I was selected to be a service speaker for Marie. Those selected went through an additional layer of trying out for the organization. So, I’m a qualified speaker on Marie’s behalf. I do lectures and small group events for companies, speaking about the method. I teach a workshop on how to apply the KonMari method to more than just your home—really taking the philosophy and applying it to finances and family life and careers.
You’re based in DC, but do you service the Northern Virginia area?
Absolutely. Probably about 50 percent of my clients come from Alexandria, Arlington, and go out as far as Ashburn and Falls Church.
Why are people choosing to implement the KonMari method into their lives?
I would say the main reason that people reach out for help is that they’re going through some type of transition. They’re moving, they’re getting married, they’re getting divorced, they’re trying to have a child or they know something’s wrong and they can’t put their finger on it, but they don’t want it to be that way. Sort of this overwhelm of something’s got to be different. The method says let’s start at the most basic level: our home. Our home is what should support us. It should keep us calm. It should enable us to rest when we get home at the end of the day. If your home is cluttered and stressing you out, you’re not going to be able to do that. So, let’s go through step by step what’s going on in your home, and find out how we create a space that will support you better.
How do you get kids involved with the KonMari method?
I love when kids get involved. It’s really wonderful modeling behavior for them to really be able to appreciate what they have and to take care of the things that they own. They can make decisions very often about which toys they really enjoy playing with and which books they want to read the most. It gives them a choice of where are we going to keep those in your room? Where will it be easy for you to put back? Sort of getting into a routine and a habit with them that you take out one thing, you take care of it while you’re playing with it and then you put it back so that you can find it again so it doesn’t become frustrating.
What’s a common mistake people make when starting the tidying up process?
I don’t want to phrase it as people are doing it wrong, but it takes a little while for people to get over the fear hurdle that this is different. This is not just another way of doing professional organizing. This is really about giving yourself permission to only do the things you want. To only have the things that make you feel the best. It’s almost this leap of faith to say, “Actually, I don’t need all that stuff. That stuff is what’s holding me back.”
Whether they want to implement the entire method into their lives or not, what is the one thing that everyone should take away from the KonMari method?
Start with the first step, which is pick one category, and do it completely. Focus on your joy for that one category. So much of this is about asking, how do we think about the things we have differently? One of the things for the method is it doesn’t have to be scary. People are like, “Oh, I can’t spend all that much time on organizing everything.” It doesn’t have to take forever. It’s not supposed to. You just have to pick times that are good for you to work through it, and just go through it consistently until you finish it. Really, this idea of having joy about why you’re keeping certain things is really helpful.
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