I’m a mom of 5. I run a busy house where, at the end of a day, you’ll find baby toys on the floor, dirty dishes in the sink, and 2 happy but tired parents on the couch after the evening
For as long as I remember…
For as long as I can remember – my oldest is going to turn 15 – I’ve had to organize, sort, clean, tidy the toys, the books, the crafts, the clothes (how many pair of pants does a 5-year-old need per year???) and a never-ending pile of dirty laundry. And I’ve been enjoying the journey. A lot. I even quit my corporate job to become a full-time stay at home mom. I thought the whole process of maintaining our belongings was supposed to be my part-time job. This is what the life of a busy family is supposed to be, right?
I became so competent in organizing everything and every space that my friends started to ask me to pitch in in their house. I started my blog, then friends and friends of friends asked me for consultations. I became a Certified Professional Organizer and was quite happy with spending so much time organizing my own life and the life of other moms.
A maternal burn-out
But something was still missing. How come I had to put up SO MUCH TIME and ENERGY to constantly tidy and reorganize our belongings? Why did it feel so burdensome? How come I couldn’t enjoy my home and just be at peace?? I could not understand why my to-do list and maintenance check-list were never-ending. And why felt simplicity like a distant dream?
My anxiety grew. I read an article online about maternal burn-out and realized I checked all the boxes. I had created a life centred on my to-do list. Yikes. I knew it didn’t resonate at all with how I understand my vocation as a mother and a wife.
My life felt centred on how to tidy the never-ending pile of books, clothes, crafts, papers, projects, plates, pots and everything in between. Something had to change.
I wanted a life centred about PEOPLE in my life, not STUFF: more time to play laying on the floor with my sons, more time to read stories, more simplicity. I craved more joy.
I needed more peace in my housekeeping life, more lightness.
A spark of joy… but not at first glance!
This is when I came across Marie Kondo’s work. Well, to be honest, I already knew Marie to be the Japanese author of the book “The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying-Up” (2014). But at the time, when I first read her book in 2014, I had quickly dismissed all of her organizing ideas. I had 3 main reasons for that, and they felt rather valid to me at the time:
- First, there was so much cultural gap between Marie Kondo and me. I couldn’t possibly relate to a single woman living in a tiny apartment in Japan giving me advice on how to organizing my home. I live in a 1,650 square foot house in the US with my husband and five kids, and it’s safe to say we’re NOT a minimalist family!
- Second, why on earth should we all fold our socks when my kids would not be even folding their T-shirts??
- And third, her crazy statement about papers in the house: Marie Kondo advice about papers is to work toward the goal of discarding them all. As an addicted paper lover and a pretty perfectionist paper-filler, I couldn’t even fathom this madness.
The Netflix Show
But then I watched the Netflix show in January 2019. The Netflix show « Tidying Up with Marie Kondo » really reconciled me with Marie Kondo, for many reasons:
- I just realized she’s a mom of 2! Oh my, so maybe I can hear what she has to say about tidying with kids now…
- Marie’s smile is like a ray of sunshine. Her gentleness melted my heart. And she looks like a little fairy, too. I just fell in love with who she is as a human being, so different from the person behind the author I had imagined in my head.
- Reading the book, I found her advice unrealistic and harsh. Watching the show, I discovered a practical gal. Marie was even ready to tweak her method to her client’s unique needs and situations!
- And last but not least, the client’s homes did NOT look minimalist and picture-perfect AT ALL at the end of the show. They rather look like « tidy-enough » ordinary homes. And that’s a VERY good sign to me, a sign that the home and the people living in are well served by the organizing method.
This is how my life changed.
Right after watching the show, my life as a certified Professional Organizer and my life as a mom of 5 changed for good. I decided to give her method a try. And it worked! I followed the categories, completed my tidying marathon, worked through piles and piles of my stuff then worked with each of my children.
It worked and continues to work so well! Here I am today, more than two years later, so convinced that I’m now advocating for the KonMari method® to all my friends, my family, my clients.
Four reasons I’m still in love!
Let me give you four reasons why the Konmari Method® changed my life for good:
- Confronting one category of belongings at a time – versus one SPACE at a time – is BY FAR the most effective method I experimented with to sort, purge, tidy and downsize our possessions. And this is my professional opinion as a Certified Professional Organizer but also my personal opinion as a mom of five children. Tidying by category – and not by location- works for my clients, but it also works for my family as well. I’m especially grateful for how the KonMari Method® helped my crafty teenager daughter to tidy her collections and how helpful it was for my 6-year-old son’s sentimental items. It even helped me tidy our never-ending collection of French and English children books… I’m just so happy with this method!
- The focus on this simple question « does it spark joy ?» simplified and continue to simplify to this day all my decisions as a mom/gate-keeper of the house. 10,000 decisions a day. Only one criterion. Yipee!!
- The KonMari method® helped me to reduce the volume of all our papers to almost zero – and I was a paper HOARDER, I’m telling you! There’s no paper clutter anymore on my desk, the papers we decided to keep are nicely filled (it’s so easy to file when you only have so little!) and I know exactly what to do with each new paper entering my house. Victory 🏅!!
- By confronting the family photos and my sentimental items, I found the joy and the energy to finish the scrapbooking photo albums for all the kiddos – I don’t even want to share for how many years this has been on my todo list… But I DO want to share Damien’s smile when I gave him his very own scrapbook album with all his baby pictures up to today.
I am now – March 2021 – a KonMari Consultant in training. I never want to go back to just organizing a space. I want to share with the world that tuning in with your emotions, coming to terms with your past and embracing your ideal lifestyle is the only mindset you need to gain more peace and a more joyful everyday life.
Applying the KonMari method® to our personal belongings then gently guiding our family to walk with us on this journey can truly change a life. It changed mine.
Now, it’s your turn! I want you to create a joyful life, simplified, less overwhelming. I want more joy for you and more simplicity. Would you like to walk this journey this me? I would be honoured and excited to guide you through the KonMari method®! All of this can start with a nice video chat over coffee ☕️ Contact me at elise @ vaidis.com and let’s chat!
With a thankful heart,
I love your article. Thank you for sharing your history with me. Love you!