I was delighted to join Waubgeshig Rice on CBC’s Up North to chat about my new certification in the KonMari Method and why this method (that is experiencing a real pop culture moment!) can be helpful for people. Take a listen:
Or, read the interview below:
Waubgeshig Rice: Now, if you have a choice to make today, choose what would bring you the most joy. That’s the message our next guest wants to share with you. Tim Lucier is a professional organizer in South River who just received certification in a trendy decluttering method. It’s based on the work of Japanese author and the star of Netflix’s Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. The method is known for asking people to choose what to keep in their lives, based on what sparks joy. Tim is also the first male in Canada to be certified in the KonMari Method, and he joins us now. Hi there, Tim.
Tim Lucier: Hey. How are you?
W: I’m well. Thanks. Yourself?
T: I’m very well. That was very well-said. Thank you for the introduction.
W: Oh, well. I can’t take credit for it. Our producers wrote it up. To begin, what got you inspired to get into this field?
T: Well, I was actually on a trip, visiting family, when my aunt asked me to help clear out my cousin’s closet. I found that it came very naturally to me. This was, maybe, a year and a half ago, actually, so I’m still fairly new to it.
When I did that, I realized this is something I’ve been doing my whole life. I’ve always loved organizing bookshelves or the kitchen drawers, all of that sort of stuff that you find in the home. When I first decided that this was something that I wanted to do, one of the first books I picked up was The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. I just really resonated with it.
W: How did you get to be trained to become a certified Marie Kondo consultant?
T: Mm-hm. Well, the first thing that you have to do is you have to fully apply the KonMari Method to your life. I completed that task, pretty quickly, and I was invited to attend the KonMari certification seminar in San Francisco, about this time last year.
W: What did you want to do with this training? What was your plan, from there?
T: Well, I really just feel that it’s something that would be so helpful for, really, anybody to be able to do in their homes. I think a lot of people are the sort of people that can pick up the book and just do it. Similarly, a lot of people are getting really inspired by watching the recent Netflix show, and they’re able to tidy up their homes, after watching that.
There are other people, like myself. When I go to the gym, I need a personal trainer to work with. I find it’s, sort of, having somebody to hold you accountable. That’s what I’m looking to do for people.
W: Carrying on from the show and its popularity, Marie Kondo is definitely having a moment in pop culture, thanks to her book and the series on Netflix. What makes the KonMari Method different from something like minimalism or just good old-fashioned tidying up?
T: Mm-hm. Well, I would say that minimalism is the pursuit of living off of as little as possible. I might not be exact, in my definition, there, but where the KonMari Method is different is you could still end up having a lot of things. The main goal is that you’re surrounding yourself only with things that bring you joy.
W: As with anything that becomes big and trendy, nowadays, there’s usually a backlash; usually, someone to write a hot take against something. The KonMari Method has experienced some of that. What do you think, when you see people, maybe, pushing back against some of these ideas?
T: Oh, absolutely. Actually, I wrote a blog post on this, a couple weeks ago. I find that most of the backlash that you see comes from people that are not fully understanding, or they haven’t, maybe, actually, even read the book. Or they’re not really fully tuned into what we’re talking about, when we talk about concepts like “spark joy.”
A lot of people might look at that and say, “Okay, well, how am I going to get joy from these medications that I have to take every day,” or from this or that, things that you wouldn’t naturally think would bring you joy. It’s about reaching a little bit past that, thinking a step further about… In the case of medications, for example, they allow you to be healthy or move at a pace that you want to be moving. That should bring you joy. It’s about extrapolating that message, a little bit.
Really, I think it’s due to people looking at something, really quickly, and saying, “Oh, she wants me to throw out all my books” and without really fully grasping our method. Marie Kondo would love you to have a huge book collection, as long as you love every single one of those books.
W: What are some of the big challenges, when you’re doing this kind of work?
T: Mm-hm. Well, one of the biggest challenges would have to be when you get to sentimental items, so photos and pieces of art history that we’re carrying with us, especially, maybe, in the scenario that there’s been a death. There are things in the home that come from that person that we’ve lost. For that reason, the method has been constructed in the way that you tidy things in a very specific order.
You start with the things that are easiest to move through and let go of. And it progressively gets harder. You get a lot of practice in toning that intuitive muscle that you use to make decisions on what you want to have in your life.
W: When you’re helping people in a hands-on way, through this process, a lot of emotions are at play, as you mentioned. Do you feel, sometimes, like you’re maybe a part-time counselor, when you do this kind of work?
T: Absolutely. I was describing the KonMari Method, today, as being very similar to yoga. It’s like a wellness aspect. In yoga, you’re working on the exterior, sort of working on your body, but you’re also doing a lot of internal work.
It’s the same way with KonMari. You’re still doing all that internalized work, and the exterior that you’re working on just so happens to be the lense of the physical objects that are in your life. That extends much further, once you’ve completed the method. You’re really able to start using those decision-making skills to make decisions about the people that you’re hanging out with, the job opportunities that you’re accepting and so much more.
W: You say that gratitude is essential, in this process. Why is that?
T: I find that when you’re finding it difficult to let something go, letting it go with gratitude is the missing piece that really helps us to express gratitude to that item for however it might have been involved in our life. Starting with gratitude, ending with gratitude, it’s a message that I can’t get enough of. I think everybody should be practicing gratitude, in everything they do.
W: That’s a good message, for sure. Just, lastly, Tim, what has learning the KonMari Method done for you?
T: Well, it certainly changed my life and the way that I engage with my things regularly. I was actually not the tidiest person. Although I loved to organize things, my room, before and after the KonMari Method, has been a huge, huge difference. Also, just the opportunities that it’s opened up for me to work with people in my life and help to better their situations, through the KonMari Method, has been really great.
W: Well, it’s very interesting. Tim, thanks a lot for joining us, today, to tell us about it.
T: Yeah. Thank you so much for having me.
W: Tim Lucier is a professional organizer in South River who just received certification in the KonMari Method. He’s aiming to offer workshops in North Bay, in the near future.