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Marie Kondo and Me

Marie Kondo is a major trending topic this new year precisely because we all set such terrific goals for ourselves at this time of year. Mari made waves first with her book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up which gave people some helpful tools to sort out and organize their entire home. Her new Netflix series, Tidying Up is a wonderful way to get inspired to tackle your own mess and get sorted for all the other things you want to accomplish in 2019. As someone who also helps my clients organize their closet and dressing spaces I really enjoyed seeing where the KonMari method and my own methods agree, and also diverge.

With Marie Kondo, a large part of the decision making process if left up to the client to decide if something “sparks joy”. While I don’t ask if your item sparks joy, I do ask “How is this serving you?”. This contextualizes your item in a way that you can recognize its usefulness in your life both now and in the future. I think most of us find the idea of asking if your underwear brings you joy a little difficult to answer when we really just need certain things to function. Recognizing how it serves you tells you about its usefulness to you at this time in your life.


As opposed to piling everything on a bed or on your floor as in the Konmari method,  I like to use my portable rolling rack. The rack gives us a simple place to centre our work and it especially helps me in the organizing aspect of it. Mari recommends storing like with like and I agree. So many people love to colour coordinate their clothing but it means you have to know exactly the item you are searching for. Putting like items with like items is helpful for making new connections and recognizing how you could put your things together in a whole new way.


One thing I like about her method is that she doesn’t tell you what to give away, after all she isn;t doing it with you, she is a consultant. We mostly agree on this as this is your time and your life and my interpretations of what works for you might not be the reality. I do stick around to help you make decisions but the focus is always on the decision being yours. I do, on occasion, have something to say about the volume of stuff or the item’s relevance to current styles but my fashion expertise is why you hire me to help with your closet. I will never just throw your stuff in the trash or make you feel badly about your choices even if I disagree!

Some people have said they think it’s weird to thank the items you are saying goodbye to as they do in the KonMari method. I certainly don’t ask this of my clients even though I often happily say a heartfelt goodbye to some things as we put them in the discard pile. I do think that for sentimental people there is a real difficulty in leaving behind an item that contains a memory that does spark joy. There are a lot of things you can do besides keeping it in your dressing space, however. Take a photo, use pieces of the fabrics to make a quilt, frame it and make it special, give it to someone you know will cherish it, it depends on the item. Regardless it always does need to go and if it isn’t going away it can get stored so you don’t need to consider it when you are trying to get dressed in the pieces that you can wear right now.

If you would like to try my method (should I call it the VanLeah method?) on your own closet you can use my handy tips for a DIY closet edit from my last blog post. If you would like to have the support, guidance and accountability of a professional to help you change your life through organization then please feel free to book an appointment with me. I can’t wait to get you started on your new path!