If you are reading the fine script under the outfit photos and follow the Facebook page, you’ll know that in January I spent pretty much all my (meagre) savings on booking a place in the first Marie Kondo Consultant Seminar organized in Europe. It was my self-gift for my 30th birthday and I was ready o go to New York or San Francisco, it just happened to be London in April.
I worked very hard to keep my expectations in check: “To either put full stop on my KonMari™ fever or to enter the sect forever, I’m planning to do her consultant training this spring. The price is ridiculous, several of my loved ones have doubted my sanity, and I am aware that the most likely outcome of the course will be slight disappointment and a depleted savings account. But I want to do it. It will be my 30th birthday present to myself. Some people jump with parachutes or swim with sharks, why can’t I spoil myself with a Japanese decluttering seminar?” I wrote in December.
I guess I’ve attended enough international events by now and tried enough new things with a new crowd, so the whole thing went exactly as I expected. In a good way, mind you.
My most pleasant surprise – and confirmation that I’m not insane and/or truly entering a cult – was that every participant I talked to was very pragmatic about KonMari method™. Yes, it has resonated with them. Yes, they had reaped benefits from it. Yes, they see a lot of potential in it. Yes, they want to be part of the brand name and convert it into their business. But everybody was aware that “the life changing magic” is not magic at all but a very effective method of giving people permission to reset their lives via their possessions. No magical fairy dust. Exactly the way I like it.
The other pragmatic point about the whole endeavor is that it gives exactly what it promises – tools to use KonMari™ when working with another people. It’s not a fun friends getaway with a crafts class. It’s not a refresher or deeper dive into our own journeys. Nope, it’s practical, client oriented and down-to-earth. The steepness of the price helps, of course, that’s the threshold for the truly motivated (and those above a certain level of income/wealth, obviously).
And for me the funniest difference between the books, especially the first one, as I already wrote when comparing it with the second one, and the seminar is the amount of wiggle room and the bird’s eye view. Most of the press KonMari method™ has got has been somewhere between mocking and astonished that somebody would insist that folding the socks in a different way would change people’s lives or that, if you forgot a stash of clothing when gathering your clothing pile, you must just throw those garments out. The method is not really about the nitty-gritty of folding (or insert any other little thing that made you close the book midway and go rant about it on Twitter). It comes down to the already mentioned permission to reset, permission to change, permission to embrace our little (or not that little) idiosyncrasies and do whatever spark joy. Yes, Kondo thinks that doing it though possessions and not, let’s say, psychotherapy, meditation or other method, is the easiest way for most people. Turns out it that this way of coaching works for a lot of people…
(The same happens with the initial sexist and heteronormative gender-differentiated approach if the method. It stems from the traditional Japanese (~Western!) household role division where the default is to assume that there is a ‘wife’ who is in charge of the kitchen and household in general, so it’s her duty and interest to make the dwelling a pleasant space and she alone can take all the decisions concerning kitchen appliances, linen, etc.. When probing it, however, the method can be perfectly gender-neutral and applied to whatever households, the only difference being taking a pause and asking about which areas of life and sets of possessions do people share and which ones have one owner-user. Boom! Problem resolved, feminism wins.)
And these are probably the most valuable immediate credentials after the course: I touched Marie Kondo!
Being in London had several advantages: shorter travel, a city I had already been in many times (although London still eludes my grasp!), meeting a couple of friends on the side, and not having to pay for the accommodation. The best one, however, was that Maya not only had a bed to share but also knows me pretty well. So I had an outsider to go through the highlights and my mental notes after each day (and, coming from professional business consulting, provided our recurring insider joke that consulting is a love child of confusing and insulting). Thank you, lovely!
And now, future…
Yes, I am trying out the whole KonMari™ consultant thing and for that the next step is certification. So I’m looking for clients… I’m still writing the Terms & Conditions but in the nutshell for the first 10 the deal is as follows: I need clients in Barcelona who for free (for the first three) or very discounted price (for the clients nr.4-10, 10€/h) would want to go through their possessions following the KonMari method™ in series of ~5h sessions (the number of sessions depends on the amount of possessions and client’s pace). In exchange for the discounted rate I’d ask for permission to use their cases for certification and ask for extensive feedback to get better at this!
Let me know if you have questions, interest in doing the course (I can answer questions) or a KonMari™ tidying festival (I can help you with that one), or just want to talk about the sociological roots of the sudden minimalist/decluttering craze.