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Their story touched my heart before we decluttered a single item. Mariya, called me from California after finishing Marie Kondo’s bestseller The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up. She shared a special mother-daughter moment with her mom, Raisa, when they decided to read the book together after being introduced to the KonMari Method via YouTube. “I bought the book online to learn more about the method and share it with my mom,” Mariya recalled. “We spent the week of Thanksgiving taking turns reading it to each other and finished it together before my parents flew back home to Chicago.”
Meanwhile, Mariya was secretly planning to give her mom a gift that would keep on giving. She signed her up for a Whole Home Tidy experience to help her turn Kondo’s words into action and make a KonMari lifestyle a reality. Mariya explained, “my mom’s parents grew up during war time in eastern Europe. Many things were scarce. They hung on to anything they were lucky enough to own. Learning to live in peace surrounded by the things you love is a true blessing. I felt compelled to give my mom that sense of peace and accomplishment that comes with tidying.”
Back in Chicago, Raisa happily accepted the gift of a 30 hour tidying program, which occured over three months. We began with a discussion around her ideal lifestyle and living environment. This exercise helped Raisa get in touch with the vision of your ideal self as it aligns with her values and short term goals. KonMari starts as an exercise in clutter, but ends as a journey in self awareness and growth. Therefore, it’s important to ground all decision making with a clear vision based on present day realities and realistic future goals. For example, Raisa shared her love for helping the Russian community learn english. Additionally, she lit up with joy every time she mentioned her passion for dance, a hobby she shares with her husband.
Next, it was time to get mindful. During Tidying Lesson 1, Raisa received a review of KonMari fundamentals, starting with the signature KonMari home greeting. We sat in the heart of her home in silence for a minute and breathed mindfully while we set our intention for the remainder of the lesson. This moment of stillness prepared Raisa for the jolt of activity that followed – her initial confrontation with a pile of clothes extracted from her closet and drawers. As she begin to understand what “spark joy” meant to her, the closet took on a new life and showcased her dance attire with respect, gratitude, and joy. Raisa shared, “I open my closet and I’m happy when I see how tidy it is. When i need to find something i don’t have to search everywhere.”
As we charged forward with Lessons two through six each week (about five hours per visit), Raisa embraced the magic of saying “thank you” to items she discarded/donated. Raisa recalled how “it’s possible to have respect for whatever we have in our life instead of being negative.” And sending this positive energy outward paid her back in many ways. She attracted gift certificates, priceless family photos, and a healthy change in behavior. “Instead of heading to the thrift shop, I used my money to pay down my credit card bill,” Raisa shared proudly.
Reports on the progress made during the Kitchen Komono category quickly made it back to California. The vision took shape as Raisa not only cleared her countertops to make room for activity and not storage, she also refreshed her pantry and made space for her tutoring clients at the dining table. Her daughter observed, “the kitchen was hers perhaps for the first time ever. She loves to cook, and it was so much more time consuming and difficult to cook without things being within an easy reach.”
When her tidying experience came to an end, Raisa was inducted as a For the Love of Tidy Graduate of Tidy (GOT) and started the next chapter – living a KonMari lifestyle as an extension of a home she honors. Also, tidying brought the mother-daughter pair closer together. Mariya shares, “we loved to have a new subject (tidying) to connect over. Plus, my mom is now considering moving out closer to us to be with her granddaughter. A decluttered house is much easier to sell and move from.”
Raisa went from rating herself a “2” on the tidy scale to an “8” and has no concerns her two bedroom home of 24 years will relapse to a state of disarray. “I’m more patient now when it comes dealing with things that don’t matter. I try not to control everything. My relationship with people are different now. I’ve always respected people who are super tidy and organized, but I didn’t understand how their home stayed that way. Now I understand.”