At this stage, everyone's heard of Marie Kondo and her revolutionary approach to keeping an organised home. But once the hype of a Netflix series dies down, how do we find motivation to keep our homes tidy? And after all, does everything we own really need to "spark joy"?
One of the founding principles of Make Room was to create homes where people can be truly happy, relaxed, comfortable, and content. There's no better feeling in the world than coming to home to a beautiful home that functions as you need it, and is your own haven away from the chaos that lives right outside your front door. So of course I absolutely love that Marie Kondo made home organisation cool and became a mainstream, household name. I wholeheartedly believe the physical clutter we surround ourselves with creates mental clutter, too. Hands up if you're someone that can't go to sleep with the dishes piling up in the sink? Or even if you're ok with a little mess here or there, I bet we've all experienced the constant nagging voice in our head telling us we need to find a better storage solution for the kids toys that end up in all corners of the house. Whatever is on your tidying to-do list, we all know the emotional impact it has on our day to day wellbeing.
All that being said, I bet you that every sock you own does not spark joy in your life. And I'm sure that ever-growing LEGO collection also does not bring joy to you! So how do we approach home organising and tidying in a more approachable and realistic way? Meet Dr. Aparna, a doctor-turned-KonMari® Consultant who is on a mission to help create peaceful family connections in their ideal homes. Aparna and I immediately connected because we both approach the home from a holistic point of view. When I design a home, and when she organises one, it's about so much more than how things look. We want to make sure everyone feels their best at home, and simply put, to #behappyathome.
So let's find out a bit more about Aparna and her journey to finding purpose and mindful living, through one organised home at a time!
Barbara: So Aparna, let's first take a step back to make sure everyone is on the same page. Can you tell us a little about about what the KonMari® Tidying Method is exactly, and how it's different from a simple, spur of the moment "declutter" spree?
Aparna: The KonMari® Tidying Method is a revolutionary home organising method that was created by the Japanese tidying guru Marie Kondo. The method is so much more than just ‘organising’ one’s belongings. Although it begins with the tangible aspects of your home (i.e., managing clutter), it goes above & beyond that. The tidying journey is a steppingstone to self-discovery, introspection, gratitude, creativity and above all, contentment. I could talk endlessly about the details and intention behind the method, but as a quick overview, there are multiple steps involved, so it's very methodical (as the name suggests!). Of course, the first step needs to be commitment. Without it, I can guarantee you won't succeed. We need to set goals and a realistic timeframe and from there we start to organise by category, rather than location in the home. One important element about this method that makes it stand out from traditional decluttering is that you embark on this journey yourself. So, while I'm there to help guide you, this is about you doing the work and not relying on a professional to do it for you.
B: You mentioned setting goals and a timeframe. What do you think is a realistic amount of time to dedicate to this?
A: On average, I work with my clients for 3-6 months. I've found that having an end date is really important to keep momentum. This intensive 3-6 months’ long journey is called a ‘Tidying Festival'!
B: Is it true that you only have to tidy once in your life using the KonMari® Tidying Method? How is that sustainable when new items come into the home constantly (especially with children)?
A: In theory, yes. But it's not quite as black and white as that. Understanding your family’s values and the actions you need to take that align with your goals is one of the first steps in your tidying journey. Once there is clarity with this step, your efforts will have efficient & systematic outcomes that only need re-evaluation every 6 months to a year to see if the items within these systems still “fit”. Once your intensive tidying festival is complete, your purchasing habits also become more intentional where you would ask yourself these questions: Does this item align with my values? Do I really need it or have an alternative at home? How long do I honestly think I will use this?
B: We often have clients who use big renovations as a change to start fresh, but that isn't realistic for everyone, and not a sustainable way of keeping a tidy home. We also have clients who just need styling help and are looking for a total makeover using their existing pieces which is sort of like an oxymoron. So, I'm wondering what your advice is on when the best time to tidy is? Before or after styling/renovation?
A: If possible, I always advise tidying your home BEFORE you renovate or style your home. It has numerous benefits:
— Space planning can be done with confidence & clarity when you plan built-in furniture and storage solutions because you’re only bringing over things you absolutely enjoy using instead of having to do it with clutter around you that doesn’t add value to the vision of your new home & lifestyle.
— You save money on not only the movers (because you bring over way lesser than what you anticipated) but also on building storage units that are unique to your needs rather than what you get stuck with. Money is also saved on future purchases because you learn to shop with intention and alignment to your values & current home storage limits.
— You plan for your children’s growing developmental needs in advance so you’re better prepared to help them be independent & confident right from the beginning.
— You save time without having to get stuck in a never-ending, vicious cycle of decluttering-buying-decluttering.
— You connect to your new home in a positive way even before you’ve moved in.
— Packing & unpacking can be done swiftly and with ease without the added stress of the actual moving process.
B: What are some life tips that you’ve learnt as a KonMari® Consultant?
A: The KonMari® Tidying Method is different from traditional organising methods as it encourages us to surround ourselves with joy and be intentional with not only our belongings but all aspects of our life. This changes our perspective to look at life positively amidst all challenges. It teaches us to show respect and gratitude to our belongings & how we look at our relationships with ourselves, our jobs, and our loved ones.
I no longer spend my free time stuck in a vicious cycle of buying-decluttering-buying because I am intentional with inviting items in my home that align with my values and priorities. Tidying has transformed how I parent so I can build trusting & positive relationships with my children. Teaching my children important life skills of contributing in a meaningful way at home with family tasks, has been one of the most fulfilling results of the KonMari® Method.
B: And finally, I'm dying to know. What are your favourite organising products that you find yourself turning to time and time again?
A: As a sustainability advocate, I rarely see my clients purchasing new containers to organise their things (we've even used shoeboxes and handbag storage boxes) but two of the most versatile containers I see time and again in their homes that can be used in various locations are the humble rectangular-shaped rattan basket (the MUJI ones are my favourite!) and the shallow RASSLA/STUK containers from IKEA.
If you know anything about me, it's that I'm a sucker for a good "before and after". Keep in mind that so much of what Aparna does goes beyond the physical, it's about so much more than aesthetics. Home organising is about intentional and mindful living, but as a little sneak peek into what we're talking about, check out these snaps!
Want to find out more about Aparna and home organising? we'll be jumping on Instagram Live on the Make Room account to introduce you to Aparna and to answer all your home organising questions! Set your clocks for Tuesday 23rd Nov at 8pm Singapore time.
And to jump start your mindful living journey, take a quick quiz here to find out what your organised style is!
Follow Aparna on Instagram at @globalmindfuljourney.