Marie Kondo, Ten Years of Tidying Up.

Judith Guertin Posted in Getting Organized

Do you feel the magic?

Marie Kondo, Ten Years of Tidying Up.

Ten years ago, Japan suffered a series of massive earthquakes leading to a 10-Meter tsunami. Kate Middleton married Prince William. Apple founder, Steve Jobs passed away at age 56, and Oprah Winfrey ended 25 years of sharing her wit and wisdom on the Oprah Winfrey Show. It hardly seems possible that all these events happened in 2011.

It was also ten years ago, Marie Kondo, the Japanese Tidying and Organizing expert, started “sparking joy” around the world with her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. The book was first published in Japan in 2011, titled Jinsei Ga Tokimeku Katazuke No Maho. That book introduced us to her signature program for “Tidying Up.”

We love those words, "Tidy Up" and "Magic". They are so enticing; they make the actual work of getting and staying organized seem easy and quick. At least that is how I feel when I think about “tidying up.” It seems the sessions will be no problem and will take only minutes to accomplish. She captured our hearts and minds, helping us to see a way out from our clutter and overwhelm.

I think we all hoped by some bit of magic, we would be joyful and clutter free, but in reality we knew from experience there would be hard work and tough decisions ahead.

In her Netflix series, we witnessed Marie entering the homes of her clients smiling brightly and offering hope to those who look to her to help them "Tidy Up". Following her process involves going through entire categories, one at a time. Clients take out everything matching a particular category and place them all in a pile. Now, they can see ALL of it. This, as you might imagine, can bring up some pretty powerful feelings but also illustrates the truth; the massive volume of possessions they have and why they feel so overwhelmed. Clients then take each item in their hands and decide whether it "Sparks Joy". If not, they thank it for its service, then put the items into bins to donate or discard. On her show, once she instructs them in this method for each category, she leaves the clients to do the "homework" of completing the category before she returns for her next visit.

Will you be inspired by reading her books and watching the show? Perhaps. Will her methods become your methods? Perhaps.

Will everything our clients keep spark joy? I can think of many items I need that do not spark joy! Think about it...the toilet joy, the broom ... no joy, the vacuum joy, the pooper scooper...nooo joy! However, these things are necessary in my life. There is no joy for me in these items, but they support feeling happy and at peace. I enjoy having a clean bathroom, a yard free of pet waste, and a fresh clean floor. It is the feeling I have after using these tools I seek. What I know is, having a system that you follow every day is the key. Maintenance of your systems is critical to staying on track. Having less is something most, if not all, of us could embrace in our journey to greater joy.

However, what I know after 20 years of helping people get and stay organized, is that Marie Kondo and all Professional Organizers transfer knowledge and train clients in their systems. Her systems are straightforward, and her clients find they work well for them. I cheer for anyone who can make the world a more organized place. What I also know is that her method will not work for everyone. Truly, there is no one size fits all answer to getting organized. If you feel drawn to her, then you know what to do.

What I can also tell you after helping clients for 20 years is, Professional Organizers and Productivity Professionals have been teaching their clients how to set up and maintain systems for many, many years. Do all of us teach the KonMari method? No, but will some embrace it? Of course! There is room out there in the world for all of us. Greater awareness is always a good thing.

Personally, I use the method taught by my mentor, Barbara Hemphill, the CEO of the Productive Environment Institute™. A Productive Environment™ is an intentional setting where you can accomplish your work and enjoy your life™! Living with intention means everything you do is in alignment with where and how you want to live. It includes our physical surroundings, belongings, emotional wellbeing, and spiritual life.

The most important word in the definition of a Productive Environment™ for me is intentional. Living with intention means to stop acting without first considering if something fits with my vision for my Productive Environment™.

My lifestyle only requires business casual, workout and casual clothes... I won't be shopping for formal wear, unless I have a specific event calling for this type of outfit.

If in my business plan I envision creating webinars, then I will steer away from other activities that, though they may sound exciting, will only draw me away from my vision.

So, how does a Productive Environment™ work?

The Productive Environment Process™ has 5 steps:

1. State Your Vision - This is your result if you are successful at what you set out to do. What does it look like, how does it feel, how does it work?

Vision for a closet solution example:

I fill my closet with only what I use and love to wear. My clothes fit my lifestyle and my body. I know what I own, and I know where to find what I need, when I need it.

2. Identify and Eliminate Your Obstacles

Obstacles to an organized closet.

· Clothing that is ripped, torn, out of style, no longer fits, is not flattering, not your color, was a gift but not your style.
· Broken closet rods.
· Lack of sufficient lighting.
· Not enough shelving.
· Cheap or broken hangers that ruin your clothes.
· Too many clothes.
· "Strangers" - Clothes in your closet you don’t remember purchasing.

3. Commit your resources - What do you need to commit to this task? This includes your time, space, energy, and money.

Closet Examples: Resources to consider.
· Time to complete the task—One session or a few shorter sessions.
· What time of day is best for you? Are you a morning person or is afternoon or evening better for you?
· What is your budget? If money is tight, there are solutions that are low and no cost. Start where you are and add later as funds are available.
· Space for sorting everything that comes out of your closet.
· Do you need help? Get helpers! Friends, accountability partners, or Professional Organizers all come to mind.

4. Create and Execute Your Plan - Who, What, When, Where and How

· Look at your calendar and schedule a time to empty and clean out your closet.
· Brighten the inside of the closet, paint, lighting, or using ventilated shelving.
· Have bags, boxes or bins for what you will donate, throw away, or recycle.
· Before you store what remains, measure everything. There is nothing worse than being in the middle of setting up a dream closet only to find the containers do not fit. Unused, unnecessary containers are another source of clutter.
· Purchase, or repurpose containers on hand,
· Purchase sturdy uniform hangers or repurpose the best hangers on hand. Complete this step only after you know what you have to store.

5. Sustain Your Success—The magic of the 5-Step Process is here.
Keeping your system going, just like preventative maintenance of your auto or your home, paying attention to your systems is necessary and pays huge dividends in your inner peace, your focus and yes, your joy!

Put time on your calendar to keep the closet in order. Once a week, twice a month, or whatever time frame you think will work for you. Use the change of season as an opportunity to revisit your vision, eliminate any new obstacles, and remove what no longer serves you. Remember, this is the most important step of all.

Here is an example of how to use the 5-Step Process to Organize Your Office

1. State Your Vision: Just like in our closet example, this is the result if you are successful organizing your office. What does it look like, how does it feel, how does it work?

My office is a place I enjoy coming to each working day. It is welcoming, well lit, clutter free, and has systems in place to deal with incoming and outgoing items. It has comfortable, ergonomic furniture, and the tech that supports my best work.

2. Identify and eliminate your obstacles.

Your obstacles could include:

• Your current office is cramped, overcrowded and dysfunctional.
• You hate your desk.
• Your chair hurts your back.
• Your flimsy filing cabinet tips over when you try to file your paperwork.
• The filing cabinet is overflowing.
• There are piles of clutter on and around your desk and on the floor of your office.
• You have no filing system. You are afraid to file because you might never find that paper again.
• The lighting in your office is insufficient.
• You don’t use your calendar and miss appointments and events regularly.
• You never know if you are working on the right things.

Get rid of what does not work! Free yourself from things that are no longer needed or wanted items. Deal with the stuff that belongs elsewhere, all the trash, and recycling Now, you have what really belongs, what you need to have access to and store for reference.

3. Commit Your Resources: Time | Space | Energy | Money

When are you planning to organize your office? What time of day is best? Are you better in the morning, afternoon, or perhaps on the weekend? How long will it take? Budget the funds for the project.

Ask Yourself:
• Do you have a timetable? 
• Do you have the time and skill to do-It-yourself? Do you want to do it yourself?
• Do you need help? What kind of help?
• Do you need to hire a professional organizer to help you?
• Besides organizing, are you planning to freshen the space and need carpentry, electrical work or painting? DIY or hire out?
• Are you planning to repurpose anything you already own?

4. Create and Execute Your Plan

• Coordinate with your Professional Organizer | Productivity Consultant to help you declutter your space (virtual or in-person.)
• Hire the pros you need to prepare for “new or refreshed space.”
• Electrician
• Painter
• Mover
• Tech help
• Update furniture
• When the time arrives: get ready, get set, and declutter!
• Get rid of what is no longer needed. Put things that do not belong in the space together, ready to return to their proper “homes” when you are done.
• Set up the essentials on your desktop.
• File your remaining paperwork in a system designed for finding it later.
• Get rid of the trash, recycle what you can, and shred any documents with identifying information.

5. Sustain Your Success

How will you keep your office looking the way it did when you completed the project? This step is where you find the magic of the Productive Environment 5-Step Process™.
In Step 5, you maintain your systems. Think of this step as you would the preventative maintenance for your auto or your home. You complete these items on a regular schedule to keep everything in tip-top shape.
Paying attention to your systems is necessary and pays a huge dividend. It yields inner peace, increased focus, and yes, joy!

Now, I would be lying if I told you my office magically keeps itself in order, (though that would be amazing!) In reality, I use Friday afternoon to put things away, review my upcoming projects, and prepare for the coming week. It really helps align me to my purpose and to be ready to best serve my clients. It is a great feeling. Everything will be where I need it, when I need it, and I am ready to spread out and get working on Monday morning.

Remember, this is the most important step of all. Circumstances change and revisiting your vision and making any necessary adjustments is a vital part of the process.

Not sure you can accomplish this on your own? Let's chat. Click here to grab a spot on my calendar for a complementary 30 minute strategy session.