KonMari Inspired - How to Shop for Children at Christmas


Like a lot of people, during this hectic time of year, I use to buy for the sake of buying. I would do this for pretty much everyone on my list, our children included. Of course, there were always the "show-stopper" gifts that the kids would include in their letters to Santa, but on the whole I was lost. I constantly felt like I needed to add things to meet my gift quota per child and this is where things always end up going nutty for me. I would purchase random things so they, "had something", but this always resulted in useless junk that the kids had no interest in. This is also probably true for the random gifts I purchased for adults as well... but I'll leave that for another post.

The first Christmas post KonMari was a huge eyeopener for me. The idea of buying for the sake of buying was simply not an option as I felt really called to buy with absolute intent. I wanted every gift to bring joy and allow for creativity, play and learning. But, how? 

As soon I established I wanted to change the way I shopped for the holidays, I discovered a list on Pinterest that served as a guide for shopping for children. Unfortunately, I cannot find the source of this awesome concept, but from what I gather, it has been around forever. This little rhyme of sorts, hits all my criteria for gifting my children and keeps things so easy!

Over the last couple of years, I've altered and refined it to serve my needs and ultimately, that of the KonMari philosophy of Sparking Joy. This simple guide (see photo below) can easily be downloaded to your mobile device or computer for easy reference. I recommend creating a separate list for each child and predetermining which of the categories on the list you want to focus on for them. Beside each category, include some ideas and start crossing them off as you purchase/make. Easy!

Right Click to Download

Right Click to Download

Some Things to Note

- Not every category needs to be bought for
- It is fine to purchase multiple items for one category
- This list can also be used for gifting adults
- Consider giving gifts that encourage: imagination, play, physical engagement and  creativity!
- Buying used items is a wonderful way to repurpose and save money

Summary of Categories:

Something they Want: This is the big ticket item(s) that almost every child has on their list. 
Something they Need: There is nothing wrong with using the opportunity of Christmas to gift something that is needed. Examples include: sport/hobby equipment, clothing/footwear, bedroom items, etc.
Something to Wear: While not every child gets excited by new clothing under the tree, this can be an opportunity to splurge a little on attire you wouldn't normally buy and/or shop a bit more specifically for clothing that will excite your child. Perhaps your little one is a big fan of a specific character/theme - delight them with a new piece of clothing to reflect that. Older children may especially appreciate the treat of name brand clothing if that's not normally what you purchase.
Something to Read: Books make a wonderful gift no matter what age! Like #3, not all children will necessarily get excited about a new book(s), but when you shop specifically based on their unique interests, it's more personal and is typically well received. 
Something to Do: Consider gifting experiences! Not every gift needs to be a tangible one. It's fun to gift something that children will look forward to, especially after the novelty of their other gifts has subsided. Suggestions include: movie passes, theatre/museum/event tickets, a "date" (dinner, outdoor activity, concert) etc.
Something for Me: This is personally my favourite category, because it is so special. The love of this gift and the magic of the Christmas it was received, will carry through many more Christmases and years to come as a treasured keepsake. Set aside some time to create something unique for your child(ren) such as a handwritten letter, picture album, video, painting, handmade gift or other. This will show your child just how much you care for them and teaches the appreciation toward "from the heart" gifts.
Something for Family: This category suggests buying or gifting something for everyone to enjoy together. Serving as an opportunity to encourage spending time with all members of the family, ideas include: game(s), movies, a shared experience/outing, subscription service (i.e., cooking or crafting), etc.

This is such a special time of year to share the joy that is gifting, doing so in a manageable and beneficial way truly makes for a world of difference. If you've never shopped for the ones on your list this way, I encourage you to strongly consider it!

Ready to Spark Joy in your home for 2018? Click above for information on my 12 Weeks to Tidy Program (and take advantage of 2017 pricing - 25% savings!)

Ready to Spark Joy in your home for 2018? Click above for information on my 12 Weeks to Tidy Program (and take advantage of 2017 pricing - 25% savings!)

5 Things that Changed After Completing the KonMari Method


I recently asked the following question on Reddit, "in what way(s) has either journeying through or completing the KonMari Method changed your life"? Of course I had my own answers to this question, but I curious to see what others would share. Perhaps not surprisingly, the replies I received, were completing in keeping with my own sentiments and experience. Below are the top five most popular responses:

  1. Sense of calm - Having your home filled with only the things that Spark Joy is a solid foundation for feeling an overall sense of control and calm in all aspects of your life. When your home is in order, others things tend to follow suit. For the things that are not in order, most people express that they feel more focused to make a positive change. 
  2. Easier to part with things - Learning through the tidying process of the KonMari Method instills an ease by which to let go of things and to recognize when belongings are no longer serving us. 
  3. More free time! - Time not spent cleaning and tidying in circles, affords us the opportunity to do more of what we want without guilt or reservation. New hobbies and interests because much more recognizable when we have downtime to recognize them.
  4. Order and organization - Simply put, the obvious benefit of the method is a tidy home. This is the main reason most people seek out and commit to the process. It doesn't dissapoint!
  5. Shopping with intention - The days of buying on impulse or without passion are over once you start your KonMari journey. You become much more intentional about what you invest in and in turn, are likely to find you shop and spend less.

If you have anything else to contribute to the list, I would love to hear about it! Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section of this post.


Children's Responsibility Baskets


For this school year I am implementing a new system for my two oldest children. I came up with this idea from the constant struggle of trying to stay on top of the things that they drop and leave lying around the main portion of our house... every. single. day. At six and four, I don't expect them to have the same idea or proactive attitude toward keeping our home tidy as I do. However, that doesn't mean that I should overlook their poor habit. I feel as parents, it is our responsibility to teach our children how to be responsible and respectful toward their belongings. This is where the 'responsibility baskets' (totally feel free to come up with a more creative name), come in. I have created one basket per son and have strategically placed them both inside the door of their shared bedroom so they won't be overlooked. The idea is that rather than me constantly picking up after the boys, I will put these things in their respective baskets. Then, they can recognize the items they have left out and put them back. The intent is that over time they will start to appreciate just how much they leave around and realize it is much easier to simply put things back after use than having to put back a lot at once (fingers crossed!). For me, this helps to maintain the order that I want for our home; because yes, I could leave everything where it is and ask them to put it away, but that doesn't allow me to enjoy our home. 

The baskets I am using are from Tidy Living, but anything similar will do!

If you give this a try, I would love to hear how it worked for you - please let me know.

5 Tips to Help You Complete the KonMari Method

Here's a bit of a real talk. Like a lot of new pursuits, there is an initial honeymoon stage whereby you are swept up in excitement and optimism. You're firing on all cylinders and you couldn't be more motivated. Then, inevitably, you settle into your new endeavour and the time, effort and commitment start to fog up the rose coloured glasses you were wearing. This is when we must dig in a bit deeper and find ways in which to stay the course and see our pursuit through to completion.

Below are five practical things you can do to ensure you complete your KonMari journey:

  1. Visit (and revisit) your vision: There is a reason you sought out the KonMari Method. You decided to make a positive change to create order and tidiness in your home. Your reasons and goals are your vision. Spending time reflecting on your objective is an easy way to reignite your motivation. 
  2. Observe how much you've tidied: Gain inspiration to continue your efforts through looking at what you've already tidied. Spend some time proudly admiring your orderly closet and dresser drawers. Recall how many books you decluttered and piles of paper you recycled. It's easy to lose sight of how far you've come when you are only focused on what remains. You can do this, because you've been doing this! 
  3. Plan: I cannot stress enough the importance of scheduling time for tidying. In the beginning of your tidying festival you were excited to tidy and therefore you prioritized time for it. Once the novelty starts to wear, other obligations or interests will easily distract you from tidying and if you don't commit yourself to scheduled sessions each week, they can easily not happen. You can read more about this here.
  4. Accountability: There's very few better motivators to get you tidying, like knowing someone is going to hold you to your goal. Share your tidying plan for each week with family and friends and ask them to hold you accountable. 
  5. Recruit a friend, join a group/program: Don't go it alone! Gain inspiration, motivation, encouragement and support from others going through this unique process. Encourage friends and family to consider going through the method and commit to assisting each other throughout your journeys. There are lots of Facebook groups and other online communities of people sharing and connecting through the KonMari process. Another resource can be obtained through the guidance of a KonMari consultant for trained support. There are options, determine what will work best for you!

Thinking about starting the method or feel some guidance would help? Check out our popular, value-priced program below:

Back to School - KonMari Tidying

With school starting soon, or perhaps even started, now is a great time to tidy up some key areas in your home. A bit of time and effort in going through these areas will ensure the year starts off organized and running smoothly (who doesn't want that?!). Below you will find a list of the areas and/or groupings to tidy through.


  1. Clothing - Sort through and remove any non-seasonal and outgrown items. This will ensure that everything remaining fits and is a daily option.
  2. Footwear - Swapping out (some) sandals and other summer related footwear for more fall appropriate options will reduce entryway and closet clutter.
  3. Food storage containers - Tidy up all containers used for packed lunches and snacks. Ensure all containers have their matching lid and are in good order for the upcoming year. Organize these items in one area to make lunch prep easy!
    *Related video*
  4. Office/craft supplies - Clean out all home school/craft supplies and remove items that are too plentiful or broken. Organize supplies in one space, which will make homework time run more efficiently when everything is easily found.
  5. Summer toys - While summer weather may (hopefully) continue into September, it's a great idea to start slowly putting away water toys, sports equipment and other summer related items. This makes it easier to transition between seasons and reduces clutter between summer and fall toys/equipment.

Here's to a wonderful 2017-18 school year! 

Post KonMari - The Importance of Storage and Organization

The importance of efficient storage and organization has been made abundantly clear in the above video. While our tidying efforts through the KonMari Method, effectively reduced the contents of our home by at least 50%, we still have work to do in establishing organization. Some areas of our home are exactly as I want them to be, neat and orderly. Others, definitely need our attention. 

The laundry room has been an easily dismissed area in terms of organization and storage. It's not a livable space in our home and therefore, while I recognized work needed to be done, I put it on the back burner. Yet, every time I would be in the room, I felt stressed and anxious. Given that it's where we do our laundry, I spend a decent amount of time in there... so, no more procrastination, time to get the room sorted!

The first task was to tidy up and put all the items that had gathered in one corner where they belonged in the house. Next, was an evaluation of what organizational solution would be best given the space, nature of the room and items to be stored. This is why it is so important to wait until after your tidying to begin organizing. It is impossible to know your needs/wants until everything you no longer want has been removed from your home.

Once I had everything removed off the floor and the existing shelves, it was so obvious that the two long shelves we had installed were not sufficient. I never liked the look of them (definitely no joy factor) and they caused clutter to accumulate under them for things that didn't fit on the shelves. The perfect remedy was found through, Tidy Living (my favourite place to buy organizational items). Two of their 5 Tier Wire Shelves fit wonderfully against the longest wall in the room and left a great amount of room for mops/brooms.


The shelves are strong, attractive, allow for levelling and have adjustable shelves. I organized the two shelves according to likeness. One shelf for 'household goods' and the other for 'gear'. Now everything is off the floor, all items have a designated home, there is easy access to everything and it looks much better! FULL joy now!

This mini project reinstated the importance of taking your time and really working on getting storage and organization right.

Here are the main points to consider if you too are working on organizing a certain location in your home:

  1. Clear everything out first: Tidy up! Put everything that doesn't belong in that location where it needs to be.
  2. Gather everything that is going to be stored in the space together, grouping like items with like items. This will allow you to gain a sense of the volume of things you will be organizing and how much storage will be needed and organizational aids required. 
  3. Determine the best storage. My recommendations are to:
    1. Reduce the amount of things you have stored on the floor. 
    2. Shelves work really well for a lot of things. 
    3. Baskets, bins, trays and dividers work well to corral smaller items on shelves
  4. Create organization and storage that makes you happy. The more you appreciate the appearance of a space, the more likely you are to maintain order. 


The Life Changing Manga of Tidying Up Book Review


Above is my complete review of, Marie Kondo's new book, The Life Changing Manga of Tidying Up. A quick summary of my thoughts include:

  • The book presents the KonMari Method in a unique format, using comic (or manga) style, that is simple to follow, easy to understand and relatable to real life.
  • This different form may convey the process in a way which will serve useful to people who find it a challenge to absorb instructional material in traditional writing style.
  • The Life Changing Manga of Tidying Up highlights key points of the method and provides the logic or reason behind this process of decluttering.
  • Wonderful illustrations of the KonMari folding technique are included.
  • Thoughts to consider which were either not included in the previous, Kondo books or presented as factual information are provided with a sense of mindfulness/meditation.
  • Discussion on the idea of one's "vision" is referenced more than in the previous books.

    You can purchase The Life Changing Manga of Tidying Up through Amazon here:

Places to Donate Things

One of the easiest ways to let go of things is to give them to someone or place that will benefit from your donation. This is especially true for belongings that otherwise would prove difficult to part with. Knowing that your belongings will make a difference and be appreciated is a comfortable way to rid yourself of guilt and hesitancy and instead celebrate and honour the items that no longer spark joy for you. 

Below are some suggestions of places to consider donating your unwanted items:

School/Preschools: Teachers are some of the best innovators! It is amazing what they can do with regular household supplies for crafting and creative play. 

  1. Mismatched socks (puppets, bean bags, etc)
  2. Crafting supplies (including odds and ends like buttons)
  3. Fabric
  4. Sheets (Picnic blankets, forts, puppet theatres)
  5. Boxes, bins, baskets (Storage, make-believe play)

Hospitals: While likely more particular on what is accepted, hospitals will often be happy to receive the following:

  1. (Basic) Stationary supplies (Nurses stations love pens, sticky notepads, etc)
  2. Simple craft supplies (tip: put together kits of a few items to create craft projects for sick children)
  3. Small, new toys
  4. Vases (People receiving flowers during their stay would greatly appreciate one)
  5. Baby sleepers/clothes (not all hospitals accept these, suggestion is to call ahead)

Shelters: Some of our community's more vulnerable residents would be so happy to receive your gently used items. 

  1. Clothing (including children's)
  2. Unused toiletries (or minimally used products like perfume)
  3. Toys/Books/Puzzles
  4. Unwanted gift cards
  5. Stationary
  6. Bikes
  7. Home decor (lamps, wall hangings, curtains, furniture)
  8. Home supplies (Cleaning products, flashlights, batteries, tools, kitchen equipment)
  9. Bags/Purses/Backpacks/Suitcases
  10. Blankets/Sheets/Pillows/Pillowcases

Community Centres: Basic supplies are always in need, especially given that a lot of centres run on donation.

  1. Cleaning supplies
  2. Reusable bags
  3. Stationary
  4. Recreational games/equipment
  5. Kitchen supplies

People Starting Out: Running an ad, checking your local buy/sell or inquiring through community services/shelters will help you to connect with someone local who could use some items for starting out/over on their own. 

  1. Furniture
  2. Home decor
  3. Cleaning supplies
  4. Linens
  5. Kitchenwares
  6. Electronics
  7. Baby supplies
  8. Children's items

Favorite Marie Kondo Quotes

While going through the my own KonMari journey, I often found myself seeking motivation, inspiration and above all reassurance. In an effort to create an easy source of reference for when I was seeking encouragement, I added a page to my KonMari journey journal (say that 5 times fast) of Marie Kondo quotes. This quote page helped me immensely. If you are going through the KonMari Method, I highly encourage you to create your own list of favorite Kondo quotes. Write them in your journal, include a few in your daily planner, post them on your fridge - you'll be glad you did!

There are a lot of Marie Kondo quotes to be found, but here are a few of my personal favorites:

1. "The best way to find out what we really need is to get rid of what we don't".
A lot of things become very obvious once you begin removing clutter from your home. Things you never thought possible, become options and things you never considered become increasingly obvious.

2. "The space in which we live should be for the person we are becoming now, not for the person
we were in the past".

We cannot expect great change in your home or life, if we are not mindful of our own progression  and journey.

3. "Keep only things that speak to your heart". 
Simple message with a deeply rooted message. Contained in the words of this quote is a tremendous source of power.

4. "The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life". 
For me, this quote served as such a wonderful reminder of why I set out on my KonMari journey - to gain order and clarity. Reading these words while I tided gave me focus and continued motivation.

5. "Clutter represents indecisions". 
Yes, yes, yes! Confront the clutter and regain a sense of control, it really is as simple as this.

6. "When we really delve into the reasons for why we can't let something go, there are only two: an attachment to the past or fear for the future". 
The KonMari Method will essentially force you to do a lot of self-exploration and the final outcome of successfully completing the process will leave you forever changed for the better. 

7. "When you surround yourself with possessions that spark joy, you'll create a home and a life you love". 
What sounds better then this?!

8. "Cherish the things you love. Cherish Yourself."
Marie Kondo, you are one wish woman! 

The latest Virtual Program is here! 
This condensed tidying course will provide you with step by step guidance, information and support to complete the KonMari Method in twelve weeks.

Click the image below for more information.

Continued Tidying

The promise in that if I properly adhered to Marie Kondo's method of tidying and organizing my home, I would never have to do it again, is one of the main reasons I decided to give the process a try! Tidy once... and never have to do it again?! Sign me up! 

While I believe the above to be true, the reality post completion is not necessarily as straight forward. You will never have to do a full home tidy again, this is true. But will you need to maintain the order you have worked so hard to achieve? Yes, absolutely. 

This is not something that, at least to my knowledge, Kondo has really addressed. So with this, should it prove useful to you, I will share my experience. 

The tidying I do now varies greatly from what I use to (attempt) to do prior to going through the KonMari Method. Now, in an effort to maintain only the things that serve my home and Spark Joy, my current tidying is much more enjoyable and requires a minuscule about of time and effort... but I do, still have to do it.

In my experience, I have recognized three separate groupings of items in my home that I maintain the tidiness of:

FREQUENT: This category of items includes belongings that I use daily and therefore find myself tidying on a routine, albeit sometimes unconscious, basis. For example, my beauty products. I use these every single day and declutter as I find myself no longer enjoying or making use of certain ones. The same for my clothing. 
Other examples: Home Decor, Purses, Cleaning Supplies/Equipment, Books

INFREQUENT: These items are grouped according to things that are readily accessible in my home, but are not used on a frequent basis. Our off-season footwear is a great example of this category, because while the storage is in our laundry room, I only find myself needing to visit this area quarterly as the seasons change. I have now made it a routine that when I go to use a grouping of infrequent items, that I do a quick tidy. 
Other Examples: Tools, Gift Wrapping Supplies, Outdoor Equipment

NON-FREQUENT: Items belonging to the non-frequent category of belongings is the one that I encourage being the most mindful toward. This is because often items in this category are stored and therefore can go undetected as no longer being made use of or bringing joy. I recently went through my paper stationary supplies for this exact reason. I hadn't taken an inventory of what I had since doing my initial tidy as part of the KonMari Method. I was amazed that I decided almost half of what I had stored was no longer Sparking Joy. For this category, I recommend making a list of the groupings of items you have stored and schedule a time, ideally annually, to go through them.
Other examples: Seasonal decorations, Hobby Supplies, Camping Equipment, Digital Documents

Mindfulness after tidying is what ultimately will maintain order in your home. Simple planning and a few scheduled tidying sessions in combination with your routine decluttering is all it takes to maintain a home of joy, order and organization! 

The latest Virtual Program is here! 
This condensed tidying course will provide you with step by step guidance, information and support to complete the KonMari Method in twelve weeks.

Click the image below for more information.

KonMari Packing - Tips for Only Using a Carry-on

Going from being an over-packer, of at least two checked size pieces of luggage, to now comfortably traveling on most trips with only a single carry-on suitcase has been huge! 
Prior to making the change, I always packed too much for fear that I would wish I had something while away. What I wasn't aware of is that if you plan your packing, this will never happen!

The benefits of traveling light include:
-Being able to move around the airport and check-in with greater ease
-Never having to worry that your luggage will be lost in transit
-Having everything on your person while you travel
-Savings, checking luggage on most major airlines now comes at a price of at least $25USD each way
-Minimal luggage takes up less room in vehicles

Tips for Packing a Single Carry-On

  • Plan Your Outfits: Go over each of the days you will be away and set aside a complete outfit based on each day's activities.
    • If possible, check the forecast of the area you are visiting and plan accordingly
    • Try on all clothing to ensure they fit properly and are in good condition
  • Pack Neutral Clothes: To maximize being able to mix and match your packed clothes, try and choose colours and prints that are neutral and versatile. For example, bring a solid coloured sweater that will work well with all outfits. Do the same with footwear.

  • Leave the Amenities at Home: Do not pack what you can easily use at the hotel. Bringing items such as a hair-dryer, notepad and travel iron are a waste of valuable space in your suitcase when you can most often find these items in your hotel room (call ahead or check website if you're concerned).

  • Travel Wearing your Heavier Clothing: Free up space in your luggage by wearing your heavier items while traveling. Examples include: sneakers, jacket, heavier sweater and pants.

  • Use Packing Cubes: Packing cubes are an organizational aid that really help to contain clothing in your suitcase. Furthermore they also help to group clothing together for easily locating items and maintaining the structure of folding.

  • Fold Clothing in the KonMari Style: Even if you choose not to use packing cubes, maximize space in your carry-on by using the KonMari style of folding. 

  • Decant Toiletries: Save room by decanting your favourite body and make-up products into smaller travel bottles. This is especially important if you are flying, as full-size liquid products are not permitted in the cabin of the aircraft.

BEST Tip for Completing the KonMari Method


As they say, sometimes the simplest of things have the biggest impact.

In this post, I am sharing my #1 tip for successfully completing the KonMari Method. This tip has proven immensely beneficial to my clients and I hope it offers you the same. 

Like many endeavours, there tends to be a lot of excitement and motivation in the beginning, but that often fades as time passes. Novelty can give way to dismissiveness and it requires effort to continue the pursuit.  I can attest to this as my own experience of going through the KonMari Method. Initially I couldn't wait to tidy; I felt all consumed with the process and the last thing I found myself doing was struggling to put the necessary effort in. By the third or fourth category however, I needed to really push myself to get my tidying done. When the novelty subsided it became "one more thing" on my to do list and sometimes it was the first thing I omitted during a busy week. While I knew quitting was not an option, because I wanted to achieve success, I realized I needed to make tidying a priority. A great analogy is wanting to train to run a 10km race, but not planning or scheduling times in which to go out to practice running. The same is true for progressing through the KonMari Method. If you want to make it to the finish line of this process, you need to plan and accommodate this into your weekly and monthly schedule. Designating specific time for tidying will ensure that it happens!


  1. Choose times for tidying that have the least amount of distraction. If you are a busy parent, plan to work during the evening when your children are in bed, have your partner mind the children or hire care. If you work from home, do not try and accommodate your tidying during your working hours. It is best to focus a small amount of concentrated attention on tidying than it is to try and multi-task over several hours.
  2. Ensure that you share your plans for tidying with the other members of your family or anyone else that may be affected by this, so there are not any surprises when you begin your tidying session.

  3. If your weekends tend to be busy and do not accommodate a full morning or afternoon session, spread out your tidying over the course of a few evenings a week.

  4. Plan for your tidying in advance of the week ahead. This way you can ensure that there is allocated time and you are not just "squeezing it in"

The latest Virtual Program is here! 
This condensed tidying course will provide you with step by step guidance, information and support to complete the KonMari Method in twelve weeks.

Click the image below for more information.

KonMari Kids - Tidying Toys (Before & After)

It's one thing for me to share that tidying toys is possible (and actually easier than most assume), but pictures often convey this best!

Below is a before and after look at the playroom of one of my client's. This space is enjoyed by her two young sons. Sarah-Jane was efficiently able to declutter two bags of toys that were no longer sparking joy and pass along another bag to her nephew. Well done!! 



A playroom that has been properly tidied and cleaned allows for better play. Reducing clutter in areas that store toys provides floor space for creative play, visual simplicity which reduces overstimulation and allows children to actually see more of their toys and instills a sense of order and simplicity. 

It should be noted that encouraging children to maintain tidiness is key to maintaining order. This also teaches children responsibility, pride of ownership and routine. 

If you would like to follow along with Sarah-Jane's entire KonMari journey, you can do so here.

If you are interested in learning how to teach your children the process of tidying through determining what Sparks Joy for them. You may find joining one of my KonMari Kids Virtual Group Tidying Programs to be a good fit.
This group provides step by step guidance through the entire KonMari Method with a specific mindfulness towards the busy schedule of families and categories not included in the author's description of the process that are specific to family life. 
More information can be found here
Next group starts: Week of April 30.

5 Criteria for Investing in Toys

According to my standards, our children have a lot of toys. Compared to other children of similar ages, they likely have a lot less. Since completing the KonMari Method, while I am mindful towards the amount of toys in our home, I am more concerned with the quality of toys and whether our children are actually making use of what they own (aka. what Sparks Joy).

As part of my KonMari Kids program, I teach parents how to guide their children towards learning what it means to Spark Joy, but for the focus of this post, I am only concentrating on the criteria that I use when buying toys for our children. 

5 Criteria for Investing in Toys

  1. Quality - As with most things, "you get what you pay for". Toys prove as an excellent example of buying once so you do not have to replace. When I buy toys I want them to last and be durable enough for all three of our children to get use from them.
  2. Think & Move! - I always look for toys that make my kids think, be creative and encourage movement. Toys such as Lego maintain their novelty because they are open-ended, meaning children can continue to invent new ways of playing with it. Toys that promote physical activity are always a good choice.
  3. Portable - As a young family always on the go, having toys that can come with us is always a solid bonus. I look for toys that are compact, easily portable and can be enjoyed both indoors and outside.
  4. Range - Toys that can be used at various ages and stages of development are always a safe bet. A toy that grows with your child decreases the amount of turnover of toys and instils a sense of contentment and ingenuity in children. 
  5. Space-savers - I like open areas for play and the sense of calm that an uncluttered playroom provides. Limiting the amount of big toys in play areas allows for smaller ones to easily be put away without taking up a lot of visual space. This allows for children to enjoy easier movement and creative play.

Things I Avoid when Purchasing Toys:

- Themed toys. Now, my kids do have character toys, but as much as possible I try to limit them. This is because in my experience, as kids quickly outgrow the latest fad, these are the toys that tend to lose their novelty (or Spark Joy factor) the fastest. 
- Dollar-store toys. While cheap and fun in the moment, toys from the dollar-store usually do not hold up and tend to be a waste of money. I encourage mindful consumerism and try to avoid places that make for easy impulse decisions.

How the KonMari Method Changed My Outlook on Life

As I've shared in other content, the KonMari Method not only changed our home, but to the same extent me as a person. The latter is not something I anticipated, yet it has created as lasting of an impact on my life as tidying up our home has.

Clutter and disorganization has an overwhelmingly negative affect on our mental wellness, yet it is rarely discussed much less remedied. This article by Sherrie Bourg Carter, Psy. D is a tremendous resource to help illustrate my point and is well worth the read. For further conveyance, picture how you would feel in a room that is packed with overflowing boxes, with books stacked to the ceiling and clothing in piles all over the floor. Now comparatively, imagine how you would feel in a room that is void of clutter, where there is nothing on the floor and where everything is initially displayed. It is not hard to determine which the preferred environment would be and how living in this space would have a positive affect on your life. 

Prior to starting my own journey, I recognized that I was feeling increasing stress with our home and my hope was that the KonMari Method would help me to address this. However, I was unaware of how this change would transpire or how soon it would start to manifest itself. 

The initial glimmer of change occurred with the first category of tidying, clothing. Removing the articles of my wardrobe that did not bring me joy, freed up physical space and created a sense of inspiration. I felt excited to get dressed in the morning, knowing all of my wardrobe was an option because everything made me happy to wear it. Spending time looking at my neatly organized wardrobe brought me a sense of zen; and honing in on my style preferences established a better sense of focus for shopping which significantly cut down on the amount of time I browsed stores and money spent. 

The more categories I tidied and the more unwanted things that left my home, the more centred I became. It's as though tidying removed the haze that had been clouding my vision. I started to recognize and better, confront poor habits I had previously not been aware of or chose not to acknowledge. My attitude became more positive and my prioritizes shifted. The trivial things that occupied my mind six months prior, never resurfaced and the dreams I thought were unattainable suddenly were at my doorstep. As over-the-top as it may sound, by the end of my KonMari journey, I felt reborn.

I refrained from sharing the full extent of the above sentiments with others because I felt it would likely be met with skepticism by those who had not started the process. However, one of the most affirming experiences I have ever had (not just with respect to the KonMari Method, but in life) was to be in the company of fellow aspiring KonMari consultants at the seminar I attended. It was shared that every attendee, felt a significantly positive change in their life as a result of the method. Some shared that they left their respective professions, others talked about how they downsized their homes, started new hobbies, lost weight and so forth. 

When we remove distraction, priorities and possibilities become obvious and much more obtainable. The KonMari Method is not just about decluttering and organizing your physical space, but also your mind and heart.


Starting the KonMari Method.

Sometimes you need to go back to the beginning in order to fully appreciate how far you have come. The above photo unexpectedly popped up on my newsfeed, reminding me that today marks two years since I started the KonMari Method. On that day, I was cautiously optimistic and equally desperate for change. What I was not aware of then was the extent of the change I was about to experience, both in my home and my person.

I have been candid in sharing my KonMari journey. I've noted the highs and lows of the physical process of tidying; and I've focused just about the same, on my personal growth that transpired while progressing through the method. 

Conveying the magnitude of change that I have experienced as a result of this method is definitely better suited to a book (someday) rather than a blog post, but if I could go back in time to two years ago and offer myself some reassurance this is what I would share:

  • Despite all the things you assume will stand in your way of the process (children, busy schedule, etc) you will find it easier and more manageable than you thought. It will become a priority and through which you will progress at a steady pace.
  • You will start to save money almost immediately and by way of selling, even start to make some!
    (This may seem like a strange thing to share, but as a family of five on a then, single income, this made a significant difference)
  • Almost immediately after starting the process, you will feel a deep sense of calm. Knowing that you are working towards a permanent change shifts your mindset and overall outlook.
  • You will learn things about yourself you never knew or recognized. This will allow you to create a vision of your life that you would never have otherwise imagined possible. (Seriously
  • The time you spend currently cleaning and tidying up will be drastically reduced once you complete the method - hurrah! 

See, the KonMari Method is bigger than the sum of things you declutter and the beautiful ways you decide to create organization in your home; it is weighted in the first hand experience of discovering your true self and potential. This is the why the KonMari Method is not simply creating change in your home, but rather your life. It is also why I am so passionate about others discovering this process, I want everyone to experience the joy I have found in their own lives.

Tidying Without your Partner

As beneficial as the KonMari Method is for your home and family, not all members may be on board right away (if ever). While this can be upsetting, frustrating and even cause for reconsidering your own journey, there are ways to approach this likely sensitive topic. 

First, make sure that you have thoroughly shared your desire and reasoning for doing the KonMari Method with your partner. I always encourage my clients to plan an appropriate time to have this discussion; when it can be relaxed, open and void of other distractions. Often a partner's lack of interest is a result of not understanding the method and ultimately the outcome. Sharing your reasoning and hopefulness of journeying as a couple and/or family may invite participation.

If the above suggestion does not result in your partner willingly joining, be mindful that not every pursuit of yours will be a shared one. As wonderful as the KonMari Method is, it does require commitment, time and ultimately the desire to journey through the process. Being hurt or angry that your partner does not initially share the same goal will only hurt your progress and experience with the method. Focus rather on going through this process for yourself and channel your time and energy towards your own motives, progress and desired outcome. 

The KonMari Method is a great example of, "seeing is believing". A lot of times clients will share that despite not initially be interested in the method, partners and other family members reconsider and join in when they see the benefits of tidying come to fruition in the home.

If your partner or family never decide to participate, that is ultimately their decision. This process is as much about decluttering and simplifying your home as it is discovering what is important to you and your life. The benefits of going through this process are immeasurable and well worth your effort. Tidy your belongings and the communal areas of the home with openness and respect - this will be as much a gift to yourself as it will be the members of your home and the space you share. 

Digital Decluttering

I use to truly believe that if something were "out of sight" then it was equally "out of mind", that was of course until I started the KonMari process. What I discovered while decluttering our home, completely disproved this idea, because the more I let go of things that were hidden out of sight in storage (i.e., out of mind) the less overall stress I carried and more focused I became. 

In relation to the KonMari Method, one area that I find which is not discussed nearly am much as it ought to be, is the amount of digital material a lot of people have and continue to accumulate. Yourself included, how many people do you know keep an empty or nearly empty email inbox? Or, only maintain a certain about of social media related groups, pages and the like? Most people would agree that because this type of acquisition is not a physical one, meaning it does not occupy actual space in their home, they do not concern themselves with tidying this area of their life. Yet, conversely, most people would agree that they have accumulated a lot of digital affairs that they find can be overwhelming resulting in stress, frustration and a lack of efficiency. As with all categories, streamlining your multimedia, social media and computer based documents will make a significant difference, daily, in your life. 

It is for the above reasoning that I include digital decluttering as an important category that must be properly addressed. Most of my clients are overwhelmed at the idea of having to tidy this area and based on my own experience of having completed it, I can definitely appreciate why. However, like all big categories that initially seem daunting, breaking down this area into more manageable subcategories is the easiest approach. 

As a helpful resource, I have provided my subcategory list for Decluttering Digital. 

If you have any questions related to decluttering digital or any other aspect of the KonMari Method, you can always contact me!

How to Go Through the KonMari Method as a Family


Completing the KonMari Method has been one of, if not, the best things we've ever done for our family. While we still have to maintain order and cleanliness in our home, the KonMari Method has afforded us joy, a sense of pride and an every day gratitude for the space that we enjoy as a family. We spend less than half the time and effort we use to cleaning and tidying, which has allowed for more time spent together enjoying these precious years with our children. 

The KonMari Method is an achievable undertaking for every family, but it does require commitment and a strategy for success. Below I am sharing the outline of my foundation for my KonMari Kids, family focused, consulting program. When implemented this sets every member of the family up for success and instills a sense of team for the entire process. 

Team KonMari Family
*Following these steps is recommended prior to beginning the KonMari process

1. Pick the Team Captain
This is usually a parent, but can sometimes be an older child (age 15+). This designated person
will fulfill the role of facilitating the KonMari process. They are responsible for keeping the
family on schedule with the tidying, will work to maintain motivation and will complete the majority of the tidying. 

2. Establish a "Gameplan" or schedule
Creating a gameplan for tidying is imperative. This incorporates the KonMari process into the family schedule, making it a priority and focus. When designated time has been allotted for tidying it makes it easy to complete, otherwise you are always struggling to "fit it in" to what
is typically a busy routine. Remember, establishing the completion of the KonMari Method as a priority will ensure it is achieved.

3. Let all members know they are part of the team!
Everyone will be motivated to contribute to the tidying when they are made to feel important
and are provided with a role. While the older members of the family will complete the large majority of the tidying, children as young as three are still able to tidy their own belongings. 
Bringing all members on board to the KonMari Method in the beginning makes for less work later on. 

If you have questions regarding how I can help your family through the KonMari Method, please feel free to contact me.