When I got home from New York, I had my first session with a client scheduled for the following day. My sweet neighbor, who cleans houses for others, and rarely has time to focus on her own. The visit before we begin tidying, is a critical part, not only for me as a consultant, to understand the client’s concerns, but for them, to relax and start the mental process of feeling safe to be real with me.
We started in her closet, and soon, the amazing thing was – I could tell if she liked an item before she spoke, just by her body language. It really surprised me how quickly that became apparent. We worked in her closet and her dresser, and finished in about 5 hours. She views her items in a mostly utilitarian fashion, so tends to quickly determine if an item truly does spark joy for her.
The second session was to discover which of her books she truly wanted to keep. She doesn’t have a lot of books, so I was a little concerned that we might not be able to fill the 3-hour requirement with just books. But as she said, after we unloaded every bookshelf in the house, onto the dining table, “Wow! I really do have more books than I realized!” (I’m noticing that having more in nearly every category than a person thinks they have, is a common theme.) I had recently arranged my living room bookcase in rainbow order, which made me inordinately happy! So part of me wanted to try it with her books, but as it turned out, the books she had were less conducive to that style of arrangement, so we went with a more topic-themed arrangement. She chose to pass along quite a few books to bless someone else. The ultimate ‘going green’!
Papers! I find this to be a fun category, as there is usually a Big visual difference in a short amount of time! We unloaded her file drawer completely, onto the floor of the room we set up in. There were many outdated papers – from insurance statements, bill receipts, paycheck stubs, and multiple random papers – that were no longer necessary. She felt so good when we carried out trash bags full of what was unnecessary, and re-loaded the drawer with the small batch of remaining items. It looked so tidy and accessible!
Komono comes next – the Japanese word for everything else that doesn’t fall in the other 4 categories. This category covers kitchen cabinets, pantry, knick-knacks, bathroom cabinets, towels, linens, art and hobby supplies – you name it. We started in her pantry, pulling everything out, dusting it, checking for expiration dates, organizing appliances, jars, lunchboxes, and more. It felt so awesome when we looked at the finished product and saw a clean, tidy pantry, where all items were visually accessible, and categorized in logical ways. So helpful for everyday functioning of the kitchen.
The master bathroom cabinets were of particular concern to her, and I was so pleased when I opened them, to see the jumble, because I knew what a difference it would make in her life when we were finished! I would estimate she threw away half the items from that cabinet – due to age, or not being needed anymore. She was thrilled with how it turned out, and followed up at a later date, letting me know how much she was enjoying the serenity of a tidy cabinet in an area that she accesses multiple times each day.
The laundry cabinet also was fun, as it is such a practical area, and can make so much difference in how we enjoy doing our laundry – a task that is a constant, so we might as well discover how to make it the best it can be. We took a packed, willy-nilly cabinet, and created a logical, orderly functioning utility, with a little bit of breathing space.
When we got to the last category of Sentimentals, we hefted the big batch of things onto the floor and sat down opposite each other for sorting, and the first thing on the top of the stack was a letter from me to her, when we were little girls! It was a beautiful and inspiring way to start! There were many things in sentimentals that she decided not to keep, and there were others that she knew would always spark joy for her. Those things she lovingly sorted into more logical and accessible categories, some by child, some by theme. When we were finished, there was another couple of garbage bags full of items to throw away, and a beautifully organized Sentimentals storage place.
During the weeks of my practice sessions, I worked with two other clients also, each of whom has a bit different relationship to their items. It fascinates me, and so much of what I’m drawn to in the KonMari™ process, is the fact that it is a personal heart journey for each individual, and getting the privilege to walk beside them as they discover the strings that attach them to their items for different reasons, is something I don’t take for granted. For one of my clients, she expressed intensely, feeling as if it was an impossible task, but that being able to talk her feelings through with me made all the difference in the world. I asked questions. She shared. I listened. Together we persisted. And she has taken every opportunity to let me know how it is changing her life. Her perspective. Her day-to-day functioning. It may be my ‘job’ now, but truly this is a shared friend journey, and one that I feel so privileged to be allowed to take with my clients, who transform into my friends!
After each session, I submitted my reports. We are asked several open-ended questions. There is very little guidance for what information is most important to the KonMari team, so I tried to do a mix of the practical process, along with sharing the relational heart journeys of my clients. Apparently, that suited well. In the email I received after submitting my 10th report, they ask us to allow them 4 weeks to review our reports, then to expect questions we would need to answer that could extend the process an additional 2 weeks for every question/answer. I was amazed and incredibly grateful when I received an email 3 weeks and 2 days after my 10th submission, stating that my reports had passed with no questions or comments needed!
Once the reports are passed, the exam portal opens up. I was both looking forward to the exam and dreading it at the same time. The guidance given, was that if we didn’t pass the first time, we should wait a week or so, study more, and try again. If we didn’t pass the second time, the setback would be much greater. So I told the boys that I had to do something very important, and must have a spell of quiet until I let them know they could be loud again. Then I got a cup of coffee, sat down and studied my entire workbook start to finish. Then I went to my computer and logged in to the exam portal. I prayed, then started the test. I focused on taking my time, to increase my confidence that I had read and understood each question in its exact context. When I was finished, I prayed again, then pressed ‘Submit’. Imagine my joy and relief when the screen popped up informing me that I had passed!!!
The next step was scheduling an interview with Christina – the global supervisor of consultants. I had met her in New York, and really liked her, so I wasn’t particularly nervous about the conversation, but more excited to know what advice she might have for me, and what was important to her that she know about me. She called me at the appointed time and we had a lovely conversation, sharing things with each other about how the KonMari™ method had changed our life, and what my goals and plans were from here. It was with much amazement that I listened as she shared with me that I had completed the certification process the second fastest of anyone so far! That was such a fun and shocking discovery! She let me know that I was consultant #144, spread across 22 countries, and #83 in the US. My goal was to be a number under 150, so I was thrilled to discover I had accomplished that goal!
She shared with me more about the first ever consultant retreat that will be held July 13-14, and sweetly encouraged me to join them – which I absolutely will be doing!
So the last item after our phone interview, was to pay my franchise fee, which I did, and then was sent my Green Consultant Package. Later in the day, I had a moment to check out KonMari.com, and I cannot tell you how incredible it was to see my name and pic uploaded as an Official KonMari™ Consultant! So excited about the next phase of this journey – meeting new people, helping to calm the crazy they feel, as a result of the overwhelm of their closets and cabinets. Walking the journey with them, and feeling the overflow of joy that they receive from the transformation!