Spring Free

The snow has melted away, and the sun is shining. On back-to-back weekends, I enjoyed my last skate of the season – and in the warmth of the sunlight coming through my windows, I packed up my winter coat, boots, and other gear, and I brought out my bicycle and baseball caps. Spring has arrived, and I am always inspired to take stock of my physical surroundings and possessions at this time. What am I loving? What is no longer serving me, that I’m ready to release with gratitude?

At the turning of the seasons, I think we are most aware of these things. “Oh, I didn’t use this all winter,” or, “Should I really take this out? I didn’t reach for it once last summer,” might be top-of-mind, and it doesn’t all have to be physical. In this year of deep transformation and hibernation, many of our habits shifted and changed – and so may have our priorities, our passions, and our needs.

When I first discovered the Konmari Method and became a Certified Konmari Consultant, I really loved coming into simplicity. I recognized the power and wisdom in addressing every item in our lives and asking “Does this spark joy?” – which I’ve often described as shorthand for “Does this align with the life that I want to be living?” – If the answer is yes, wonderful! We get to commit to keeping the item and taking good care of it, giving it a dedicated place in our home where it belongs. If the answer is no, we release it gently and with gratitude.

It’s all about joy. This is about putting our own personal happiness and wellbeing front and centre, and prioritizing it. I offer this as a simple yet powerful practice to embrace joy in your life, and I have found through practicing this again and again, for every item in my possession, that it leaks into every other area of your life. When you learn to embrace joy in your home, you also learn to embrace it at work and in relationships – and you learn to let go of what doesn’t bring you joy.

I love teaching the folding, and I love organizing closets and kitchens – but most of all, I love guiding my clients towards choosing themselves and learning to make decisions based on joy. Are you interested in engaging in some Spring Clearing this season? Here are my simple tips, inspired by the Konmari Method:

  • Tidy by category, rather than location: Rather than getting overwhelmed clearing out your full closet or garage, try to just focus on one category of item at a time. Go through your t-shirts one day, then your pants the next. Try tackling just your dvd collection or winter sports equipment. When we break things down into categories and subcategories, they become more digestible. If you’d like, grab a free checklist from my website which can guide you through some suggested categories.
  • Does it spark joy? It’s a great question to ask yourself. Commit to keeping these things well cared-for and organized. Release with gratitude everything else. (You can extrapolate . . . your toothbrush doesn’t spark joy, but the fact that it keeps your teeth clean does? That can mean it sparks joy.)
  • Don’t clean while you clear: Cleaning and clearing are two different things – allow yourself to focus, and worry about “mess” once you’re done.
  • Save the sentimental: If it’s brings up an emotional response and you’re not ready to address whether it sparks joy or not – you can put it aside for later. No sweat.
  • Do you LOVE, love it? Display and cherish the things that spark joy for you. They’ll fill your home with happiness.

When I visited my closet this weekend, and started to consider what sparked joy, I felt some grief for the past year. I feel I’ve had a luckier year than most – and still I feel sadness for the friends that have moved away due to job loss, the closure of the yoga studio and the barber shop I frequented, the losses so many have experienced, and the breakdown of my routines and habits that I considered a fundamental part of being me. I’ve gone on an incredible fitness journey over the past handful of years – and this harsh winter came with a change of my eating patterns and some weight gain. This was all reflected to me when I explored my closet.

Working through similar issues? The Habit Reset Retreat is equal parts Konmari, Core Values, and Habit Development, and I’m very excited to co-facilitate it at Northern Edge Algonquin — this is the ultimate immersive retreat for stepping into how you truly want to be living, in a supportive community, and we’re so excited to share it with you. Although our April retreat was perfectly timed for this moment of change and transition, we did have to postpone it to our next session in the Fall: September 9 – 12. (Another time where we naturally pivot and start to crave a return to routine.) In the meantime, the sunnier days and bringing out my bike have re-inspired me, I know for myself that now is exactly the time I want to be working on my personal habits, engaging my values and reclaiming my habits.

This Winter, as I explored my yearly Dare to Dream exercise which I shared about at the turn of the New Year, I was invited to take stock of what patterns, commitments, and relationships were no longer serving me. There was something pretty big I decided I was ready to let go of. As a facilitator and leader, I once felt a lot of “imposter syndrome” – in particular when I was stepping into leadership without a formal background. I decided I needed to become an expert in something to better establish myself as a leader – and I chose decluttering and certification in the Konmari Method as one avenue, as it’s something I love. I also became a certified yoga teacher.

As a Certified Konmari Consultant, I pay a yearly licensing fee. The reality is I work full-time at Northern Edge and right now Tidy Tim is my passion project based out of Muskoka. You know I’m going to continue doing this work that I love – but I’m taking a big scary leap and this year I won’t be renewing my licensed rights to use the words “Konmari Method” to describe my coaching and decluttering services. I’ll always love and respect Marie Kondo – as well as Gretchen Rubin, Charles Duhigg, and James Clear who have also inspired my work. I’ve always approached my sessions and workshops in my own way with my own authentic voice, and releasing the title and license will allow me more freedom.

As I mentioned in December when I shared that I had become bronze-level certified, reaching the next level: It feels great to have a little bit of external validation — but really, I’ve put in the work and internalized the Konmari Method and it’s principles. At this time, especially after the year we’ve all had, it just doesn’t sit right with me to continue paying for a title that I’ve earned.

That said, I worked hard for it! So while I can I’m going to sign off with this:

Now, here is my invitation to you: What could you bravely release this season, in order to “Spring Free” and embrace your authenticity?

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