I am so excited that my journey to become a Marie Kondo certified consultant finally began yesterday!
I took part in the first of three training sessions, which are just the first step towards getting certified. The 3-6 months after the training ends is where the real practise and implementation happens!
It felt amazing to be a part of this growing community of people, whom all share the same passion for helping others live their ideal lifestyle. There are already 600 active consultants across 57 country's and with yesterdays 130 added to the mix, this number is steadily growing.
Before the training began, we had to complete the KonMari tidying festival in our own homes and document the process with photos along the way.
On day one of training, we had to reflect on our tidying experience and discover what our own triggers are and the difference that tidying has made to our lives.
This for me, was an opportunity to really reflect on what brought me to this place in my life.
I've spoken before about how I started to use tidying as a form of bringing back some control to my life when I felt like things were spiralling, but here is a little bit more about my story.....
I sometimes think I was born anxious. I've been an overthinker for as long as I can remember, and used to have extreme seperation anxiety from my dear mamma when I started school.
I started using cleaning and tidying as a control mechanism for stress or anxiety as a young teenager.
As I moved into adulthood, I would joke to people that you would know how stressed I was by how clean my house was. It started as a bit of a joke, but actually it ended up taking over my life far more than I'd hoped!
Becoming a Mum
This picture was taken a couple of days after my beautiful daughter, Esme, was born.
I'm not ashamed to admit that I went into pregnancy with rose tinted glasses. I thought I would have a calm water birth with candles and music, I would have skin to skin contact with my baby and feel an immediate bond.
How wrong was I?! Reality doesn't always live up to our expectations right!? What I hadn't envisaged in my birth plan was 52 hours of labour followed by a very traumatic birth experience that ended up with an emergency C-Section, a huge tear in my broad ligament that made me haemorrhage, resulting in multiple blood transfusions and my body shutting down from the shock.
I couldn't hold Esme or feed her as I kept passing out from the blood loss, when I did finally start to feel better, my body was convulsing from the shock and I remember being so scared that I would hurt her as I couldn't keep my body still.
It was, needless to say, not the start to motherhood that I had expected, and it set off a trigger in me that I tried to control with cleaning.
This picture was taken a couple of weeks after Esme was born. Even though I'm smiling in this photo, I was at the time, very unhappy. I felt as though my body had failed me, I was still in a lot of pain, I had a very unsettled baby and I thought it was my fault that I couldn't settle her (turns out, it was milk allergies, so nothing to do with me!)
I started cleaning every spare second to try to make myself feel better and more in control. I would hover multiple times a day, steam clean the floors every day, clean the windows, dust, polish, you name it! but that feeling of anxiety still remained.
It took me 5 years, two more pregnancies (that's another story entirely!) and a lot of cleaning!! to finally realise that I needed to seek help to change my way of thinking.
My anxiety was at an all time high and I was diagnosed with PTSD from the births of my children.
Speaking to a therapist, I realised that all the constant cleaning was doing was fuelling my anxiety, not helping it.
I have perfectionist issues and at that time, I felt as though I couldn't and shouldn't ever make a mistake and that my home needed to be perfect all the time (I mean come on?! what was I doing to myself, I had two young children, I was already setting myself up for a fail!)
My therapy started with me being banned from cleaning. To some, I imagine this sounds like a dream, but to someone like me, it was an absolute nightmare!
I had to sit with the mess and dirt and realise that actually, nothing bad was going to happen if my house was dirty or messy. The world wouldn't cease to exist if my bed wasn't made, or the floors hadn't been vacuumed. This might sound absolutely ridiculous, but these were rules I had pre-conditioned myself to follow for years, so breaking the cycle was really hard!
It took me quite some months to fully recover and realise just how damaging my perfectionism had been to my life. But the feeling of freedom that I got once I'd managed this was worth all of the struggle.
It was around this time that I first came across Marie Kondo. I was recovering from a hernia operation and had hours upon hours of bedrest and I binge watched the entire Tidying Up with Marie Kondo series on Netflix (highly recommend if you've not already seen it)
I was hooked and it felt nice to be organising my home, and subsequently my life, in a way that wasn't self-destructive like my cleaning had become. By discarding some of my items, my house became far more manageable. It was easier and quicker to clean, I could open drawers and know where everything was and I felt so much calmer.
The process of decluttering not only gave me a better home, but better mental clarity. I've felt so much calmer and in control of my anxiety since taking control of my belongings and I really want to help anyone else having struggles to do the same thing.
What challenges did I encounter?
Like many people, I had accumulated a lot of sentimental items and these are, by far, the hardest things to part with. I'll talk a bit more about each category in later posts, so I'm not going to go into detail on the how's and why's to declutter your sentimental items. But what I will say, is that by following the process you will learn to trust yourself and your instincts and that by expressing gratitude to the items you are parting with, you will be able to let some things go.
What did I learn?
One of the most revealing things I learnt, that I hadn't realised before, is that I'm actually quite a minimalist.
I just hadn't realised that because over the years I'd been gifted so many ornaments and bits and bobs that I then felt obliged to keep out even though they weren't my style and not something I would buy myself, that my house was cluttered with things that I didn't even like.
By being able to remove these from my home, my home is now only filled with the things I love and that spark joy with me.
Another thing I learnt is that I love a bargain and a gadget! I had lots of random 'things' that I'd been persuaded to buy because I thought they were a good deal, but actually I'd never used them or even needed them in the first place.
What difference did it make in my life?
It made me re-evaluate my relationship with my possessions. I am now much more mindful when I shop.
I felt a lot calmer after completing the festival, I now don't waste as much time looking for things, which was a huge bug bear of mine. I feel cleaner, the house feels cleaner. I feel much more in control, without feeling the need to clean, clean, clean
I still suffer with anxiety, but I have far less anxiety about the house now.
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Think about what kind of house you want to live in and how you want to live in it. What is your ideal lifestyle? If you like drawing, sketch out what it looks like. If you prefer to write, describe it in a notebook. You can also cut out photos from magazines.
If you need help, don't be embarrassed to ask for it. I can walk the journey with you so that you are not alone. Your home should be your safe place, not somewhere that causes you stress, let me help you to change this.