Yep - it’s a thing. And yep - it will change your life. We find out all about the Japanese art of tidying up, via Dani’s friend Gemma Quinn, an international expert in the field
Follow Dani Wales on Instagram? Of course you do! And you probably saw her post a few months back about KonMari. Or, more specifically, about how her friend Gemma, an international KonMari expert, came to her house to help organise her clothes - and her life.
Gemma Quinn, Australia’s first certified KonMari consultant
“Sooo this smart boss lady (who I get to call my friend) has recently qualified to become one of only 3 Certified Gold KonMari Consultants IN THE WORLD and she’s coming to KonMari the sh*t out of my wardrobe this weekend!” Dani posted.
After seeing this glorious ‘after’ shot of what they got up to, our interest was piqued, so we decided to get in touch with the lady herself to find out what all this KonMari fuss is about.
Read on to change your life!*
So, spill the beans - what exactly is ‘KonMari’?
The KonMari Method is not about organising - our ultimate goal is to help people achieve their ideal life and to lead a life filled with joy through tidying.
So, ur, it’s all about cleaning up your stuff?
It is a tidying philosophy and method, based on Japanese values people use to tidy their homes. By going through the method, it allows you to focus on and achieve ‘living your ideal future life’ and living a life full of joy.
Sign us up! Who originally made it famous?
A Japanese woman called Marie Kondo - she wrote a book called, ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.’ In that book she has created what is the KonMari Method - KonMari is actually her nickname. She practiced as a tidying consultant in Tokyo and she basically got too busy and that’s when she decided to write the book, to help other people - it went on to be translated into English and I think it sold ten million copies!
Yeah. She has released a couple of other books too, one called ‘Spark Joy’, and the other one is a manga (Japanese cartoon book), which is a love story about tidying up, and how it can change your life. This is a really hard thing to get across to people - this actually happens! It’s unbelievable how much this changes people’s lives.
Because it has a flow-on effect?
Completely. Not even a little bit - it changes your perspective on life and how you see things. You can ‘KonMari’ anything. It’s not just about the physical tidying - you can KonMari a space, and say ‘How do I use a space to give me the most joy? You can KonMari your Facebook feed - it’s really about just living a life where you are surrounded by joy. It might be your friends - it can be anything.
How did you first connect with it all?
I have always been a very organised person. I have always worked in the creative industries in business operations, so it has always come naturally to me. I felt like I was doing a lot of the method beforehand, in terms of the physical things, and I always thought I was minimal. But my Aunt lent the book to me, and mentioned how much I would enjoy it and I read it and it took me from being organised to making a fundamental connection with myself and not lying to myself about what makes me happy.
I don’t think I had been happy for a very long time. So a quote from Marie is, ‘By dealing with your things, you are dealing with yourself.’ So when you - I am not necessarily going to say ‘confront’ - but when you understand and connect with your objects and the emotions associated with them, you do really deal with yourself.
Can you give us a practical example?
So for instance, if you picked up a scarf that might have been given to you, or whatever it might be, there are lots of different emotions connected to it. If you understand that and choose to cherish it, and include it in your life, you will love it even more. Or you will understand that maybe this item doesn’t make you happy, or spark joy. You understand and express gratitude and you let it go on your journey. And it’s cathartic. Because you are happy to let stuff go. Inspiring people to live their ideal life, and to live a life full of joy, is one of the main aspects we do. And we do this through tidying.
How lovely to be able to help people get organised and live their best lives...
The most amazing thing in the entire world is being able to help someone else. It sounds silly and a bit unrealistic, but people say they feel liberated. And clients say they have been reborn.
I guess people can feel overwhelmed with the task of trying to sort their lives out themselves…
Oh, completely! So basically this gives you a structure and a framework to be able to apply to your life, to be able to become happier and live a life full of joy. And you do that through the mechanism of tidying.
What did you do with Dani?
We did all her clothing. In the Method itself, we call it a ‘Tidying Marathon’. You tidy everything that you own. You don’t touch anything that belongs to anyone else. Your client isn’t a house or a room or individual belongings, it’s that person. And their heart and soul. Because it is about happiness and joy. We do it by category, because you should be able to see everything in that category. We start with items that should be easier for people, which is clothing - it’s a really lovely way to grow someone’s sensitivity to what makes them happy, and what sparks joy for them.
Part of that is organising and folding - we noticed Dani’s t-shirts looked exquisite after you spent some time with them…
I made her put them all away in the drawer and I folded them. Everything in the house should have a home. And you should allow that object to rest. So that is why we fold, overhang. If everything has a home it’s hard to mess it up. You are more respectful, because of gratitude you express to your belongings.
This sounds like a pretty addictive process...
When you start consciously doing it, it becomes addictive and you start using the terminology. And you will be walking around saying, ‘Oh, this does NOT spark joy for me!’ Consciously saying that to yourself, saying, ‘I don’t have time for this’ is part of the process - the next stage is to say ‘Thank You for being in my life. I let you go now’ and you move on - it’s empowering.
Find out more about Gemma here
* This is by no means a sponsored post, but the author would like to point out that after this chat, she went and took Gemma’s advice and KonMari-d under the bed and the back of her Tupperware drawer - and has never looked back. Next stop - the pantry! The end.
Did you like this blog? Subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to receive news from The Block! Subscribe now to receive $20 off your next order.