Mama! I’m like Kiki!


It’s going to be a short and sweet one this week because this month has been BONKERS! (I’m already 3 days behind schedule on posting, but who’s counting?)

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen that the joy sparks have been flying up in New York City. I am now officially a KonMari instructor, training the next cohorts of aspiring KonMari consultants. I’m feeling some major ripple effects in motion, as these lovely people prepare to spread out across the world and help so many people create lives that spark joy. Check out all the action!

What I REALLY want to talk to you about today is Marie’s new book, Kiki & Jax, which was co-written and illustrated by one of my favorite children’s authors, Salina Yoon

It dropped on my front step the day it came out, and it debuted in our household at bedtime that very night. 

I am smitten. This book is SO DARN CUTE. It’s about a little squirrel who likes to collect and a little owl who likes to tidy. Together, they learn how to make room for the things that spark joy, especially their friendship.

My 7-year-old daughter is a bit of a packrat and has a LOT of attachment to her things, so I was really curious to see how she would react. 

Well, my friends, the life-changing magic was practically instant. Here’s a little peek into her reaction at bedtime that first night.

  • “Mama! I’m like Kiki! I like to collect things.”

  • “Those boxes that they use to sort their things are SO cute. Could WE make cute boxes for donating?”

  • “I know it’s bedtime, but can I pleeeeease try this out on a few of my things?” (To which I replied “Um, YEAH! I’m up for a little late-night organizing session ANYTIME.” #introvertpastimes)

  • “Hmmm …. I’m not letting go of enough. This is harder than I thought…”

  • “I guess I don’t really need this. I think another kid might like it.”

Even tonight, when I FaceTimed her from the hotel, she immediately brought the phone up to her room and asked if we could do a little virtual session. 


Even though I help people simplify for a living, sometimes our own family members are our toughest clients. I’m thrilled that she was finally able to understand these concepts in a language that meets her at her learning level.

I envision it being a great conversation starter for parents and kids around how we can make space for the things that we love so that our spaces, and our time together, can be more joyful. 

Let me know if you pick up the book and what reactions you get in your household! I’d love to hear!

You’ve got important work to do.

Photo by  Michael Hirsch  on  Unsplash

These days, there is a lot of important work to do.

There are wrongs to be made right.

There are children to raise into kind human beings.

There are lives to be improved.

There is beauty to be created. 

We don't have time to be bogged down with physical and emotional clutter. 

We don't have time to be surrounded by things, people, and activities that drain us.

We need all the energy we can muster to do our important work.

Taking the time to clear out your physical, mental, and emotional clutter is a HUGE step in freeing yourself up to do your most important work.

Every day, I have the unique honor of going into my clients' homes to help them de-clutter and simplify their lives. We get into real, deep conversations about how our stuff and our frantic lifestyles are making us feel stressed-out, overwhelmed, and depleted. 

Together, we get the stuff and mental clutter out of the way so that they can do THEIR most important work.

It's my small contribution to the world. As Mother Teresa said, "I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples."

Ready to eliminate what's weighing you down so that you can do YOUR most important work? 

There are lots of ways:

  1. Read this blog post, which gives you a step-by-step guide to how to start the first KonMari category - Clothing.

  2. Get inspired at one of my upcoming events and meet others who are ready to get going.

  3. Watch The True Cost documentary. You'll instantly want to buy and have less.

  4. Get to know the impactful organizations where you can donate the things that (used to) weigh you down.

  5. And if you're REALLY ready to get going, let's talk. Contact me here.

Let's get some ripples going, my friends.

We've got important work to do.

Slow down to do more

Photo from  @lindsaysatterfield

One of my mantras for 2019 is “Slow Down.” 

I chose this mantra because I sometimes feel a nervous, frenetic energy like there is so much to do and not enough time. (Sound familiar?)

Luckily, I chose this work because I wanted to learn better tools to simplify my own life and to find more calm and ease while helping others to do the same. 

That’s why I am excited that my new partner and friend Lindsay Satterfield was interviewed for a series in Authority Magazine and Thrive Global called “Slow Down to Do More.” 

Lindsay is a productivity guru. I met her through a fellow KonMari consultant who had taken Lindsay’s classes and found her tools to be life-changing. (Marie Kondo doesn't have a monopoly on life-changing magic. :)) 

I started implementing Lindsay’s tools and ... WOW. 

I am WAY more on top of things than ever.

Here’s what Lindsay has to say about our default mode today:

[People are] running on adrenaline to keep up with their buzzing phones and bursting schedules. This always-on, “so busy” mode is glorified in the workplace and in the culture-at-large. (Have you noticed how “people” often answer the question “How are you?” with “Busy”...?). In fact, it can feel like something is wrong if we aren’t going a million miles an hour, if we aren’t rushing through the day. 

Do you want something different?

To learn how to “Slow Down to Do More,” brew yourself a nice cup of hot tea, settle in, and read this article with six clear steps for slowing down. (Marie Kondo makes an appearance in Step 4.)

To pique your curiosity, here’s a little teaser of those six steps:

  1. Listen

  2. Put yourself in a time out

  3. Keep a “don’t do” list 

  4. Marie Kondo your schedule

  5. Use a “simple joy” list

  6. Breathe 

In the coming months, I'll be partnering with Lindsay to bring her flagship Workflow Mastery to more organizations, so if you or your team is interested in learning about how to use her life-changing and practical strategies to stay on top of your goals, tasks (and email!), drop me a line!

Would you wait in line 30 minutes for that?

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You’re in line at your favorite store. In your hands, you’ve got a scented candle, a pair of sunglasses, and a mug with a cute inspirational saying. (You should have gotten a cart.)

You’ve also got a shirt that you’re worried might be a little too baggy, or not quite the right color, but it should be fine. 

An announcement comes over the loudspeaker that the registers are down and will not be up again for 30 minutes.

Would you wait?

Or would you put that stuff down and walk out of the store?

That question is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE question to teach people who are trying to buy less. It often quickly short-circuits that natural knee-jerk reaction to “treat ourselves”.

This is just ONE of the brilliant questions on Sarah Von Bargen’s (@yesandyesblog) Before You Buy wallet card, and it’s hands down one of the best tools that I have discovered since becoming a KonMari consultant. 

Other favorites include: “If I hadn’t seen the price tag, how much would I be willing to pay for it?” or “Will this make my life significantly easier or more awesome?”

If it’s a “no”, it’s ok. Just walk out of the store. Right now. 

Put down the candle. Put down the slightly-wrong shirt. Put down the mug with the inspirational saying. Hand them to a friendly sales associate with a wink and a smile and go get yourself a latte instead. 

Because really, we have enough. We have too much. We don’t need more. 

To get YOUR free wallet card, follow this direct link. And be sure to follow her on Instagram and peruse her site - she has a wealth of information on how to “put your money where your happy is.”

Your house (and your sanity) thank you.

The push I needed to start my KonMari journey

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I’m an Obliger.

According to Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies framework, that means I need external accountability to get practically anything done. 

In fact, it took some major external accountability to complete my own KonMari journey. 

Three years ago, I was a member of the first class of trainees to begin the KonMari certification in New York. And of course, as part of the certification, I was required to complete the KonMari process in my own home first. 


Most people attending the training were KonMari devotees who had completed their journey long ago and were still raving about the benefits.

Not me. I was just an overwhelmed working mom who was looking to make a career change. My house was not joyful. It was cluttered and stressful, despite all my efforts to stay on top of things. 

Thank God for that external accountability. I had three months to complete my journey and send my “after” photos. I tackled each of the five categories with a vengeance (Clothing, Books, Paper, Komono - miscellaneous, and Sentimental).

I sent my husband and daughter out for long outings on Saturdays. I tackled smaller categories during naptime. I hid under my covers hoping all of the paper would magically disappear. She did promise magic, right?

After three months of HARD work, I found my magic. The house was transformed. I felt lighter, dare I say, on top of things. 

It’s hard to capture ALL of the changes that occurred. If I had to summarize, I would say it came down to three big changes: Overall Feel, Clothing, and Cleaning. 

Overall Feel

  1. I could find things. Oh, I could find things! No more running in circles, wasting precious time. (We spend an average of 55 minutes a day just looking for things!)

  2. The things I loved started to “pop”. No longer buried, our favorite things suddenly had a more prominent place.

  3. I could plop down on the couch after a long day and not look around in dismay. I could make myself a cup of tea and just relax.

  4. We cooked more! No more old kitchen gadgets getting in the way. We had what we needed at our fingertips. 

  5. I started viewing EVERYTHING through the lens of “does it spark joy?”. Relationships, invitations, magazines, social media. EVERYTHING. I started saying no a LOT more often. (See my video on the KonMari website where I talk about JOMO - The Joy of Missing Out.)


Clothing was a huge change. 

  1. I condensed my wardrobe down to one small closet. I was able to install some simple shelves in the other closet and turn it into a multi-functional space to store so many things that never had a good home in our small townhouse - wrapping paper, the printer and printer paper, office supplies, a small filing cabinet. 

  2. I began wearing a “uniform” of sorts and started investing in fewer, more high-quality clothes. I watched The True Cost documentary on Netflix, which dramatically changed the way I thought about clothing and waste. 

  3. Most importantly, I let go of how I “should” dress and focused on how I wanted to dress. After 20 years in the corporate world, my wardrobe had started to get a little bland. Black pants. Top. Necklace. Snoooooozefesssssst. I started playing around with colors and shapes and got a little groove back. 

My husband also wanted in on the action! We did his clothing, and he felt liberated letting go of years of unloved and ill-fitting clothing. And, he decided that his fire-engine-red pants sparked major joy. (Though he’s still too shy to wear them out too often.)


And finally, cleaning. Cleaning became so much faster and easier. We were now able to get most of it done in little spurts during the week so that the weekends weren’t sucked up by cleaning sprees. (I can thank Clean Mama for those tips!)

Statistics say that by reducing clutter, we can reduce the time spent on household chores by 40%. I totally experienced that. 

Less clothes to wash. Less stuff to dust and vacuum around an under. Less food waste because of easier cooking. Less. Less. Less. YESSSSS.

Final Thoughts

I share my story for two reasons:

  1. Knowing ourselves and knowing what’s required to motivate us can be a game-changer when it comes to getting stuff done. If you haven’t already, take Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies quiz to find out your own tendency. It may give you that needed kick-in-the-pants to get something done (like you own KonMari journey!).

  2. It’s about finding YOUR version of joy. Life is not Pinterest. I want people to know that it’s not all puppy dogs and rainbows. I wasn’t born organized. Even today, my house does not look like the cover of Martha Stewart magazine. But it works for us. It’s OUR version of joy. And I want other people to find THEIR version of joy.

What would YOUR version of joy feel like?

Is it Fun and Easy?


About a year ago, I started asking myself a question that gave me dramatically more clarity (and joy!) in my work and life.

The question was:

Is it fun and easy?

Why did I start asking this question?

Because I was overwhelmed by the "shoulds."

I have ALWAYS have been overwhelmed by those blasted shoulds, but I felt particularly overwhelmed as a new entrepreneur. Suddenly, I, alone, had to dictate how I would spend my precious time.

Being an entrepreneur can be incredibly freeing. But, there's also no road map. No clear strategy. No "right" answers.

After a year of trying to do all of the "shoulds," I signed up for Tiffany Han's 31 Days to Flow course. I had learned about "flow" previously in my career, and I was intrigued about how I could apply it in this new phase.

Essentially,  "flow" is a state where you feel totally in the zone. You don't notice the time passing. You feel energized. You feel like you're excelling at what you are doing or you're seriously enjoying the process.

(Doesn't that sound better than "should"??)

Tiffany asked us to spend almost two weeks identifying our core values. I was somewhat dismayed at this request since I had spent countless hours (days!) in my previous corporate and non-profit life identifying values. What?! Values?! But I signed up for flow!!

Alas, I love and trust Tiffany, and I had paid for the damn class already, so I obliged.

The results ended up being one of the most game-changing exercises I have ever done.

After much soul-searching, ranking, debating and word-smithing, I came up with a list of 5 (soon to be 6) values that would become my new compass for EVERYTHING that I do -  not just in work, but in life.

My values are (in order of importance):

  1. Honesty

  2. Courage

  3. Depth

  4. Quiet

  5. Laughter

  6. Beauty

These six simple words unlocked new wisdom about what I seek in life - in others, in my work, in my parenting, and so much more.

I could bore you for hours on the significance of each of these. So let me save you from that and instead offer a few examples. "Depth" alone explained why certain friendships filled me up, while others depleted me. "Quiet" explained why I turn into a crazed person from those hysterical Snickers commercials if I don't have some quiet time in my day. "Beauty" came later, as an antidote to a world that often feels out-of-control.

Tiffany promised us that if we began to follow those things that aligned with our values, we would find more flow. More fun. More ease.

And so it was.

The question "Is it fun and easy?" became a shortcut to test if something "checked off my value boxes."

I made some significant changes as a result.

  • Speaking to groups is SUPER fun and easy for me, so I do that a lot more. What's NOT fun and easy is hosting events, so I don't do that.

  • Writing is fun and easy for me, but all the legwork of editing, posting, and scheduling it is NOT, so I hired a virtual assistant for that.

  • Instagram is fun & easy for me, so I invest time in posting there 2-3 times a week and connecting with others. Facebook is NOT. So I don't spend much time there at all.

Working one-on-one with clients is fun and easy. Scheduling and invoicing is NOT. So I use an online scheduler for that.

By following the path of "fun and easy," I have found more flow, ease, and joy. I've accepted the radical notion that I can follow what energizes me.

I know what you're thinking. Not EVERYTHING can be fun and easy. So true, my friend. So true.

Luckily, for those things that aren't fun and easy, we can often eliminate them, delegate them, or find creative ways to make them just a bit more joyful.

I'm so excited to explore this concept more with you.

I may even have to launch a podcast about it.

Hmmm. Would that be fun and easy?!

Stay tuned, my friends. :)

Tired? Try this.

Photo by  Cris Saur  on  Unsplash

Photo by Cris Saur on Unsplash

Sometimes, we are just tired. We might be getting sick. We might have little ones who aren't sleeping through the night. We might have a major work project going on. 

Whatever the reason, it’s frustrating to feel zapped of energy, especially when there is still so much to do. (Just ask that adorable, fuzzy koala.)

Being tired is especially problematic when we want our homes to be tidy, but after a long day of parenting or commuting or care-giving, we can't muster up the energy to spend even 5 minutes getting things back to where they should be. 

Here are a few tips to help get you back on track. Think of this as an allergy test. Try a few of them. See which ones work. Toss the ones that don't.

Get Back to Basics

If you are tired, well, go to sleep.

  1. Get back on a sleep routine that allows you to get the amount of sleep you need. Most of us need at least 7-8 hours nightly. Resist the urge to binge one more episode. Don't stare at that pesky blue light from your phone while in bed. 

  2. Give yourself a Do-Nothing Day. Permit yourself to do absolutely nothing. Be a couch sloth. Drift in and out of sleep. Be tired. (The ladies at Being Boss podcast and book coined the Do-Nothing Day. I tried it recently, and I'm hooked.)

Go for the Minimum Effective Dose

Give your body a break, and choose the path of least resistance. 

  1. Find a happy minimum. I posted on Instagram recently about Julie Morgenstern's Max/Mod/Min technique. When you're tired, you don't have to go all out. So the house is driving you crazy? You can't realistically make it all go away. How about settling for making the bed, clearing off the dining room table, and washing the dishes? 

  2. When faced with a long to-do list, choose only 3 Most Important Tasks to get done. Assign a time limit for each. Send that critical email - 15 minutes. Straighten up the house - 20 minutes.  Return that voice mail - 10 minutes. Now you know that you can get your three Most Important Tasks done in just 45 minutes. Take a break between each task.

Try Some Jedi Mind Tricks

Once you've given your body a chance to recover, it's time to get some momentum. 

  1. Find your activation energy. Try Mel Robbins' 5-Second Rule. Imagine you are counting down a rocket to blast off. Count 5-4-3-2-1, and then get up. Do that thing you have to do. Don't think about it. Just do it.

  2. Do it anyway. Another favorite trick of Mel's is "Do It Anyway." Don't want to send that email? Put a timer on for 10 minutes, and do it anyway. Don't want to wash the dishes? Do it anyway. As Gretchen Rubin often says, "The stewing is worse than the doing." Just get it done. 

  3. Try doing a task either reaaaaaallly slow or REALLY fast. The slowness gives you the grace to approach something with patience and attention, and the fastness provides you the energy you need to see results fast. 

  4. Make the task more enjoyable. One of my favorite blog posts is "Me and Ray LaMontagne Do the Dishes." Do I looooove doing dishes? No. Is it exponentially more enjoyable when I do them while being serenaded by a soulful singer-songwriter? Most definitely. 

Say No

When you're tired, your number one priority is to get back on track, not being a social butterfly. 

  1. Remember Brene Brown's mantra, "choose discomfort over resentment." You don't have to accept every invitation. Just because someone throws you a ball, doesn't mean you have to catch it. Politely decline, put your PJs on early, and enjoy some quiet time. 

  2. Don't be afraid to offer an alternative. We often begrudgingly attend pointless meetings or coffee dates with people who want to "pick our brains." Instead of saying yes on auto-pilot, choose a less time-consuming route. Try, "I'm not available for that meeting. Can you send me a voice memo with your specific question, and I'll get back to you by tomorrow?" or "I'd love to share my experiences with you, but unfortunately this is my busy season. I could do a 15-minute phone call next week on Wednesday morning."

After 2-3 days of employing some of these techniques, you should be well on your way to your old chipper self. 

Be gentle. You'll get there.

How to give your items a second life

Have you ever felt amazing after a day of de-cluttering, only to realize that you have NO idea what to do with all the things that you’re ready to let go of? Should I donate this? Does this have value? Should I have a garage sale? Should I consign? Can I recycle? Where? 

Never fear! I’ve got some resources to help. 

There are many excellent organizations right in our community that can make use of items that you no longer need. 

For example, did you know that …

  • Many animal shelters need your old sheets and towels?

  • You can recycle old electronics while supporting job creation?

  • Your professional clothes can help women get back into the workforce?

  • There’s something called the “Free Store” right in Media?

My website houses a list of some of my favorite organizations where you can donate your items. It also includes a link to the brand new Discarding Guide by KonMari, and there is even information about how to consign and sell things that may have significant value. 

Always be sure to visit their respective websites to learn more about drop-off locations, hours and each organization's wish list. These organizations are often volunteer-run, so their hours and needs change frequently. 

So, thank those items for the years of service that they have given you, and send them on their new journey with pride!

Make a Summer Fun List

Photo by  Stefan Widua  on  Unsplash

One of my favorite productivity experts, Laura Vanderkam, published her summer fun list this week, and it spurred me to create my own list. She encourages us to make time for “effortful” fun, ie things that require a little planning. That way, we don’t whittle the summertime away, wishing we had done more when Fall comes around.

I also wanted to view our summer fun list through the lens of saving money. Using Julie Morgenstern’s 4D approach, I thought about how we could “diminish” something, ie find the minimum effective dose. For example, should we pay $150 to see fireworks at Longwood Gardens or watch them for free at the local high school? Do we need to do the Phillies or would a minor league Blue Rocks game be just as fun?

So, here goes … my summer fun list!

  • Watch an outdoor concert at Bellevue State Park. Bellevue is a hidden gem. Their outdoor concerts are a blast. Kids can run around and adults can lounge.

  • Have a date night at Media’s Dining Under the Stars.

  • Make a solid fireworks plan. I LOVE fireworks, but for some reason, every year on the 4th I find myself scrambling to figure out where and how to watch them. This year, following Vanderkam’s advice, I put some effort into it. We’ll be camping in good ol’ Slower Lower Delaware that weekend, so we’re all set to watch the Lewes fireworks from the Cape May Ferry terminal.

  • Hit up a Member Night at the Philadelphia Zoo. These run from 6-8 pm, once a month, and they’re a great chance to explore the zoo with less crowds and less heat.

  • Walk on the beach. I may have grown up on the beaches of #slowerlower, but I’m not a beach lover. I just can’t deal with all the schlepping and the stickiness. BUT I do love a good WALK on the beach, especially before sunset. So I’ve gotta figure out a way to make that happen, likely without my lovely but impatient daughter in tow, saying “Moooooooooom, my legs are tiiiiiiiiiiired.”

  • Sit in a pool on a float.

  • Read a novel next to a campfire.

  • Camping. Lots and lots of camping.

I’ve already done the work to schedule most of these things, so now I can just sit back and let the fun happen.

Happy summer everyone!

Camping with a K - Redux Version!

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Last year, I published a blog post on how I pack for camping. Now that it’s camping season again (yay!), I’m bringing this oldie-but-goody back.

We've been camping in the pop-up for 3 summers now, and we are finally getting good at simplifying things. This helps SO much, because when you bring too much stuff, it's WAY more work and WAY more schlepping.

We do what I call "camping with a K", aka Camping the KonMari way.

Below are my top tips, and if you scroll all the way done, you can find photos as well!

  1. I pack everything in categories - Clothing, Linen, Food and Komono (miscelleneous). So, I pack at home in that order, then I unpack at the campsite in that order, and then vice versa.  It prevents me from "zig zag" packing ("what the heck am I doing right now?!?") and keeps me focused on one thing at a time.

  2. I use clear Sterilite bins from Target for each category.

  3. I use colored duct tape and an Extreme Sharpie to label the bins. I label each side of the bin. This way, no matter which way the bins get packed into the car, I still know where everything is.

  4. I use one gray packing cube for each of us. #wearthesamethingallweekend #itscampingafterall

  5. This time, I got extra fancy and re-purposed some plastic containers to make a DIY Shake 'n Pour pancake mix and a smaller container for milk to fit in the cooler.

Similar to my beloved #backpackchallenge, this helps cut down on the work of travelling and adds lots of time to #donothing.

Tell me how you simplify YOUR travel this summer!

What are your colors?!


Pre-PS - I’ve got an amazing new partnership going and I’ve got a special code for you today! Read on to learn more ….


I’ve always been super fascinated that some people can wear certain colors, and others can’t. I’m sure you’ve said to yourself, “This does nothing for me”, or “I look so drab in this”. But how do we know exactly WHICH colors light us up and which drag us down?

A few years ago, I did some internet research and tested out the theories with a friend who clearly had a different complexion from me. We learned that I was “cool” and she was “warm”. A peach shirt made me look like a corpse. That same peach shirt made her look like a sun-kissed goddess.

But I always wanted to know more. What are ALL the colors that look great on me? And what are ALL the colors that don’t?? How can I stop wasting money on things that don’t work? Do I look good in black?? I certainly hoped so, since it was practically my uniform.

I also really wanted to help my clients figure it out. Sometimes, when we are doing their clothes, I hear from them, “Nothing sparks joy.” At the end of the day, I want all of my clients to feel amazing TODAY, not someday when they are where they “should” be.

So this is why I was STOKED when I discovered Jeannie Stith, aka the Color Guru, on Instagram (@yourcolorguru). Not only was her whole business helping people to identify their best colors, she was right around the corner in good ‘ol Wilmington, DE! (#homestate).

We wasted no time in meeting In Real Life. Over coffee and plate-sized chocolate chip cookies at Terrain, we quickly learned that we are kindred spirits.

So, this is where the rubber hits the road. Jeannie has already given me my own amazing color consultation, and I FINALLY know my colors!! Turns out that I am a Moonlit Winter. (How romantic, right?!?), and I now have beautiful laminated color cards (and digital files for my phone) for both clothing and make-up. She even identified five colors that are particularly special and unique to me. AMAZING.

All I had to do was fill out a short questionnaire and send her a few photos. Then we had a 25 minute video chat, and she sent me my cards - by email and snail mail.

Because I am so jazzed about helping my clients spark more joy. Jeannie is offering 10% off any of her color consultation packages if you use the code INDIGO.

I find her packages to be uber affordable, not to mention the fact that this knowledge will save you LOADS of money. No more buying things that don’t work.

Head on over to Jeannie’s site to check it and pick the package that works for you. And then, tell me ALL about it.

Spoken from a true KonMari client

I am so excited to begin a new feature on my blog: interviews with my amazing clients!

 I LOVE seeing how their lives transform during and after their KonMari journeys, and I’m bursting at the seams to share their stories with you. 

Today, we’re hearing from Liss.  

Liss lives in a quaint row home in Media, PA with her husband, two sons and their sweet blue-eyed dog. Over the course of six sessions, she worked SO hard to transform her home and, as she calls it, her lifestyle.

During our time together, I grew to admire her deeply. I’ve seen her kids really take to the process and her husband even got in on the action with his very own session. She also coined my favorite client quote of all time - “Guilt is not joy”.  

We’re both a little sad that our official time together has come to an end. Luckily, she’s right here in my hometown, so it’s not really goodbye.

I asked Liss to share some thoughts about her journey, and her responses are below. #chills

The book refers to some life-changing magic. How has YOUR life changed?

I have a sense of ease in my life that I’ve never experienced before. My time at home feels calm and relaxed – it’s a true haven from the stressors of the world!

What has been the most rewarding part of this journey?

I know what brings me the most joy and love, and I confidently skip the rest. For anything that just can’t be skipped, I have systems for getting them done quickly and efficiently so I can get back to the good stuff. My things – both what I discarded and what I kept – taught me so much about myself, and I like what I learned. 

What has been the most challenging part of this journey?

I struggled with the fact that certain areas of my home got worse before they got better. While I was completing clothes, books, and paper, sentimental items and komono would get pulled out of all their little hiding places in my closets and drawers, and then I had to find a place to pile them up until it was time to tidy those categories. I had boxes of miscellany in corners of my home and I hated it. I think I expected Pinterest-worthy spaces right away instead of respecting the process.

What has been most surprising about this journey?

I am amazed by how much less anxiety I have in general. Now that it’s gone, I’m surprised to look back and recognize how much anxiety I experienced on a daily basis. Now I know that the kids’ ballet uniforms are clean and in their bags. I know I’ve completed the permission slips and paid my bills. No more 3 AM worries! I’m still rather shocked by this.

Were any of the categories harder or easier than others?

Komono was very challenging, probably because it was vast! And out of Komono, my kitchen was the biggest project. It was an exhausting day, but it has also made one of the largest impacts on my life. It’s such a pleasant space now; we are cooking at home more and saving a lot of money that we used to spend on takeout because we just couldn’t deal with meal preparation. 

How has daily life changed? (eg, getting ready, finding paperwork, quality time, etc.)  

Almost everything about my daily rhythm has changed, but it’s most noticeable in the mornings. I barely have to look at what I’m choosing out of my closet and drawers – everything works together and everything looks and feels wonderful to wear. Even my jewelry is organized by color, so all I have to do is reach in the general direction of “blues”, “reds” or “metallics” and I know I’m going to end up with something that matches my outfit and makes me smile. I can’t make a bad choice! Another huge change is how much time I spend tidying and cleaning – it’s so much less! I do the 20/20/20 most evenings, but it usually takes me less than 20 minutes to tidy up. I don’t really tidy at all other than that; I’m just very consistent about putting things away as soon as I’m finished using them. On the weekends, the four of us in my family spend 30 minutes on cleaning, and we can finish the entire house: bathrooms, floors, counters, mirrors, and windows all get scrubbed/vacuumed/wiped in that time frame. Cleaning like that used to be a huge chore that I would tackle over several days, or (honestly) not at all. Now we do it together as a team, joyfully and quickly. Then we can enjoy our space and each other, go out into our community and play, and know we have a clean tidy home waiting for us.

What's the one piece of advice that you'd give to someone considering the KonMari Method?

I’d encourage you to make the commitment to yourself to get started right away, and to keep your intention on completing your tidying festival. A clear vision of *why* you are tidying, and *how* you want your life to look and feel afterwards will really help you stay motivated.

Do you fold your clothes KonMari-style? Is it a pain to keep up with?

I do! It is not time-consuming anymore. After a few months of folding this way, it became just as quick and easy as any other folding style. 

Do you do the 20/20/20 with your family? How does that go?

I do the 20/20/20 six nights out of seven, as does my husband. Our kids join us 4-5 times per week. Usually it is really fun and there is a lot of enthusiasm. Sometimes they balk and it’s a drag.When the timer goes off and they stop, they are always happy with the results!

What's your new favorite spot in the house?  

My bedroom. I used to love staying in hotels, mostly for their simple, clean, almost-empty rooms. I loved unpacking my suitcase and only having what I needed with me. So peaceful. I don’t have to go to a hotel to experience that anymore. My own bedroom at home is tidy and clean and the drawers have breathing room. The sheets and pillows are lovely and soft and the lighting is just right. I can truly relax and recharge in my room.

How has the family reacted to the new environment?

With gratitude! Throughout the process, all three of them gave me lots of words of praise and encouragement, because they felt the positive change right away. They’re especially appreciative of how easy it is to find their things and to put them away again. They’ve also noticed that I am not as grouchy as I used to be, and I am more available for fun. My sons LOVE doing their laundry, folding their clothes, and doing cleaning chores – I can see them taking pride in their work and how good it feels to know that they have important jobs to do. I feel very fortunate that I got immediate buy-in from my family. I give a lot of credit to “The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up.” My husband loved it and my 8-year-old has read it several times!

If you could do it all over again, is there anything that you would do differently?  

I would try to be more gentle with myself. The KonMari Method is about tidying up our stuff, and our physical stuff is just the tip of the iceberg. Throughout my tidying festival, I found myself excavating through layers of personality, temperament, and memory. It’s intense! I got a bit impatient with myself a few times, but I learned to let myself feel my feelings and figure out what they were telling me. I’m so very glad I did this work. I feel as though my physical space is now a perfect reflection of my interior space: cozy, gracious, playful, and with my priorities aligned with my values.

Is there anything else that you'd like readers to know?

Hiring a Certified Professional Konmari Consultant is an investment, and it will pay dividends. I literally found money – cash and gift cards – throughout my home. I am saving money on groceries and takeout because I love cooking in my kitchen and getting creative. I don’t pay late fees anymore because my paperwork is organized. I hardly ever buy anything because I already have what I love and need, and when I do choose to buy something, I very intentionally buy the best I can afford, that is made sustainably, and won’t need to be replaced for a long time. And best of all, the personal well-being I feel is priceless.

What's next for you? What are you looking forward to?

Doing the tidying festival and spending time with Amanda was so much fun; I’m a little bit sad that this part of my journey is over. I’m looking forward to finding new ways to spend my time and money that spark maximum joy – I see a lot of travel in my future!


Stay tuned for more stories from my amazing KonMari clients. Together, we’re making the world less stressful, one space at a time.

To find a KonMari consultant in your area, you can search the KonMari consultant directory here.

If you are local to the Greater Philadelphia area and you’d like to work together, you can schedule a free phone consultation with me here.

Don’t get mad. Get specific.

Photo by  Nick Fewings  on  Unsplash

When I work with my clients, we’re usually focusing on two things. One, we’re doing a massive de-cluttering and organization of what they own. Two, we’re working to instill new habits so that they can continue to enjoy their newly simplified life.

One snag people hit is trying to communicate with others about doing their share in the household. We often get frustrated that people just don’t do what we want them to do. We say things like:

“I wish my spouse would help out more.”

“I wish my kids would clean up after themselves.”

Sometimes, the problem isn’t the other person. The problem is that we’re not being specific enough about what we actually want or need.

Statements like “clean up your room” are not concrete. They don’t give clues about what your actual expectations are. They don’t give the other person an easy action plan.

Case in point: I once asked my husband to clean the windows on the interior of our house. He looked at me as if I had just asked him to clean the Sistine Chapel.

I could telI was going to have to break this down.

I got out the Windex and microfiber cloths. I handed them to him and said, “Can you clean the windows in the kitchen and the living room, and then, if you’re in the mood, in the bedrooms upstairs? It should take about 15 minutes.”

He took the bait, ahem, the tools, and 15 minutes later, I had clean windows.

Give it a try and see how it works. Try these little shifts to make your requests more clear and concrete:

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This can even work with more touchy interpersonal stuff.

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Give your inner martyr a little Spring Break, and give it a try.

Remember, be specific. Painfully specific. And see what happens …

PS - For more tips on daily habits and how to get the family involved, check out this blog about my favorite nightly routine - the 20/20/20.

The little angel that could.


Sometimes, we’re surprised by what sparks joy.

In my living room, I have a glass cabinet where we keep wine glasses, fancier tea cups and some other little tschotskes. As you might imagine, I’m not a fan of tschotskes, but many of them were gifts or things I feel too guilty to get rid of.

I felt especially guilty because this little knick-knack haven was an affront to the advice that I give clients - to let go of what doesn’t spark joy. I even wrote a whole blog post on how to let go of gifts, for Pete’s sake.

So, I decided to tackle it and rid myself of this double-whopper of a guilt trap once and for all.

Among the knick-knacks was a little porcelain angel.

I took it in my hand and looked it over. I knew my grandmother had given it to me, but other than that, I didn’t remember much about it. It had my birth month and my birthstone. The little porcelain rose was chipped.

As I examined it, I asked myself all of the questions that I always ask my clients.

Does it spark joy? No, it sparked guilt.

Does it remind you of the qualities that you loved about your grandmother? No, it reminds me of a Hallmark store.

What are you feeling? A little nostalgia, but mostly guilt.

And then, I turned it over.

In her delicate handwriting, she had written:

A.H.J.    3-27-80 With Love, “ME”.

This was followed by a delicate drawing of leaves.

All of a sudden, this angel represented so much more. It was given to me on my third birthday. It had her handwriting. It showed the funny way that she always put “me” in quote. I could picture her shrugging her shoulders in self-deprecation, as she always did. It had one of her signature little drawings, which she added to letters, envelopes and her diary, to give every day things a little flourish.

And most importantly, it said “with love”.

My grandmother never liked to say “I love you”. She said she preferred to just show it. We would say “I love you”. And she would say “thank you.”

But here it was: “with love.”

And at once, I knew that, yes, this little knick-knack did carry special memories of my grandmother. It had just been living in the wrong place, forgotten and dusty.

So I rescued it from its sad home in tschotske purgatory and placed it on the top shelf of my bathroom vanity mirror.

And now, every morning, I get to remember summers on the farm. I remember picking blackberries and riding a bicycle-built-for-two with my sister around the huge tree at the center of my grandmother’s roundabout. I remember her watching and smiling from the swing, sometimes us giving a self-deprecating little shrug.

And THAT sparks joy.

Taking KonMari to Work

Photo by  Annie Spratt  on  Unsplash

I love it when life comes full circle.

When I moved back to the States from Chile, I took a job at the prestigious Wharton School to create customized learning programs in their Executive Education division. I got to travel all over the world, working with amazing clients like the United Nations, the World Bank, and even the government of Shanghai. What I loved about this work was that it was PRACTICAL. We were giving people real-world knowledge that they could go back and apply to their work right away.

So it was a thrill to be interviewed by Knowledge@Wharton for a very practical piece on how we can bring KonMari into the workplace. Just like in the old Wharton days, it was fun to connect the dots on how we can use these principles to not just simplify our homes, but our workplaces and our careers.

Here’s just one example from the article about how managers can employ the “spark joy” concept:

“Tidying up also brings benefits at the organizational level. Managers can look for opportunities for team members to work on projects that spark joy, Jefferson said. “Let them stretch and shrink their jobs when possible. Maybe they love sales but hate writing proposals. Maybe they love the behind-the-scenes, but hate the schmoozing,” she said. “Think beyond the surface-level morale boosters like a staff lunch or an outing. Think about how you can help people re-engineer their jobs for more joy.”

To learn more about how you can use the principles of KonMari at work, click here to read the article.

This article is a great teaser for what’s to come. My work is expanding! I've joined forces with Lindsay Satterfield of Satterfield & Company, a productivity trainer and coach, to teach her popular productivity course, Workflow Mastery: The Disciplines of Accomplishment. I've been using her method to stay on top of my priorities, tasks and emails for months, and it's a GAME CHANGER.

Ready to learn more? Here’s 20 signs that YOUR team might need productivity training.

Happy KonMari-ing at work!

Let’s invite one another in


On a snowy Monday this month, in a nondescript building in West Philadelphia, my husband became a U.S. citizen. He was joined by 68 other people, representing 28 countries. We waved flags. He gave an oath. We took pictures.

Some people ask my husband: Why now?

My husband will answer some variation of this: Because we all want to contribute. We all want to be a part of something. Because it’s a beautiful thing to want to work towards the same goal of unity, love, acceptance and courage. Because the beauty and richness of the United States comes from the fact that it opened itself up to the world.

I know, I know. He’s kind of a deep guy. That’s why I like him. (If you want to hear more about how we met in Chile, you can read here.)

That same week, I finished Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming.

I listened to the book, captivated by her strong voice and her authentic story from childhood to today. Maybe it was because my own family was knee-deep in the the logistics and emotions of my husband’s citizenship process, but the book struck a chord with me, particularly the last lines:

And here is what I have to say, finally: Let’s invite one another in. Maybe then we can begin to fear less, to make fewer wrong assumptions, to let go of the biases and stereotypes that unnecessarily divide us. Maybe we can better embrace the ways we are the same. It’s not about being perfect. It’s not about where you get yourself in the end. There’s power in allowing yourself to be known and heard, in owning your unique story, in using your authentic voice. And there’s grace in being willing to know and hear others. This, for me, is how we become.

You see, these words also came to me at a time when Marie Kondo’s Netflix show burst onto the scene, creating a lot of excitement and curiosity. Since my passion today is all about helping people to find more joy via the KonMari Method, I was intrigued by all of the discussion.

Amidst the funny memes and online comments, one could, at times, identify a subtle undercurrent of fear, distrust or ridicule, and not necessarily of the method, but of Marie herself and where she comes from. It was as if some were saying, Who does this small, strange Japanese woman think that she is?

Luckily, an article appeared in the Huffington Post that dug deep on this question. In her article What White Western Audiences Don’t Understand about Marie Kondo’s Tidying Up, Margaret Dilloway explores why the show, and Marie herself, may have hit a nerve with some.

Of Japanese heritage herself, Dilloway helps us understand the concept of Shinto and how the KonMari Method is imbibed with the sacred practice of gratitude and wonder:

Kami are Shinto spirits present everywhere — in humans, in nature, even in inanimate objects. At an early age, I understood this to mean that all creations were miracles of a sort. I could consider a spatula used to cook my eggs with the wonder and mindful appreciation you’d afford a sculpture; someone had to invent it, many human hands and earthly resources helped get it to me, and now I use it every day.

Wow. This thinking is SO different. Starting in the 80s, we became bombarded by cheap goods produced overseas. We bought, and we bought, and we bought and we BOUGHT. We started to question less, and want more. We started to value less, and toss more. And with this new behavior, I worry we lost our sense of gratitude and wonder.

Dilloway goes on to say:

It’s cultural to imbue objects with a sort of dignity. Japanese culture, like any, is not monolithic, but the expectation to respect where you live and work — and therefore other people — is ingrained into many Japanese households that practice Shinto traditions. Treasuring what you have; treating the objects you own as not disposable, but valuable, no matter their actual monetary worth; and creating displays so you can value each individual object are all essentially Shinto ways of living. Even if you don’t have the space for shelves of books or can’t afford a dresser with enough drawers, make what you have work for you, instead of being unhappy that you don’t have more.

So, who DOES Marie Kondo think she is?

She is someone who wants to teach us about gratitude. She wants to re-connect us with the wonder and the joy of the world around us. She wants us to treat our homes as the sacred places that they are, that protect us from the elements and the chaotic world today.

Does she tap books to wake them up? Yes.

Does she believe it’s a crime to ball up your hard-working socks? Yes.

Does she urge you to empty your purse every day? Yes. (Ok, even I’m still not totally on board with THAT one.)

But she’s trying to teach us something. Just like my husband, she wants to contribute. She wants to share a different way of thinking. She wants to help bring simplicity and joy to our lives.

In the words of Michelle Obama, “there is grace in being willing to know and and hear others”.

Let’s invite each other in.

The life-changing magic of a morning routine

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I’ve been doing the Mindset Reset program with Mel Robbins this month and it is ROCKING MY WORLD. If you haven’t heard of Mel or this program, go to her website at and check it out. It’s a FREE, month-long program to help you literally re-program your brain so that you can create a healthier and happier mindset.

One of the most important life-changing aspects of the course has been establishing a morning routine.

Thanks to Mel, I now have a science-backed routine to start my day. Here goes...

  • Wake up at 6:20 am. (NO snoozing. The phone alarm goes off in the bathroom. I get out of bed, turn off the alarm but I do NOT look at my phone.)

  • Make the bed.

  • Take a shower, get dressed and put on makeup.

  • Sit down with my cup of tea and my 5 Second Journal page. (You can print out your own blank printable pages for free right here.)

  • I reflect on my mood, my most important project for the day, what I’m grateful for, and whatever else I need to braindump.

  • Then at 7:10 am, my daughter wakes up. I get her ready for school, knowing that I’ve already had 50 minutes, all to me, to start my day with intention.

I’m feeling pretty smug and proud because I recruited my sometimes-skeptical best friend to do the program with me, and she is feeling some MAJOR #lifechangingmagic from the program. #browniepoints

If you’re up for a mindset reset and to learn more about Mel’s ideas for how to start your day with energy and intention, head on over to her site.

Your Netflix questions. My answers.

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The excitement over the new Netflix show has been nuts!

Every day I get texts and messages from friends showing off their newly folded drawers and transformed closets. I LOVE that the show has been a catalyst for so many people to begin simplifying their homes and their lives.

With all the buzz, I’m been getting lots of questions. In today’s blog, I’m answering your most pressing questions about the show and the method.

  • What’s the real order for the KonMari categories? It seems like they skip around a lot on the show.

There are five KonMari categories: Clothing, Books, Paper, Komono (miscellaneous) and Sentimental.

Typically, when we do a tidying “festival”, we do it in this order because it helps us to hone our senses of what sparks joy in our lives. For example, we often have a visceral reaction to Clothing. It sets the tone for how we start our day and for how comfortable and confident we feel. It’s often easier to understand which items of clothing spark joy, so we start there, so we can learn what “spark joy” feels like.

Alternatively, we do Sentimental items last. This is often the most difficult and emotionally-charged category, so you need to go through all of the other categories first so that you can really hone your sense of what sparks joy.

On the show, you might see them bounce from Clothing to Komono. What happened to Books and Paper? In these cases, the homeowners have likely done these categories, but for the purposes of production, they have edited these out.

I always recommend doing the categories in order, when possible. But, as I said on Instagram, there are no “tidying citations” and no wrong answers. As long as you commit to doing the work and to asking yourself “does it spark joy?”, the rest is pretty flexible.

  • It seems like Marie Kondo leaves people to their own devices. I don’t think I could do all that work on my own!

I had the same thought! I thought “Wait, where she is going?!? She just left them with a mound of stuff!”. This is another place where reality TV steps in and production takes priority over true reality. When Marie or a KonMari consultant is working with a client, we typically work side-by-side with them in 5-hour chunks of time. We help them work through each item, and we ask questions when they get stuck.

That said, my clients DO often have a decent amount of homework. They might tidy handbags, scarves and belts on their own, once they’ve gotten a hang of things. Or they might have to make a trip to the tailor to hem all those skirts they’ve been meaning to hem.

I also suspect that there were individuals on hand to support these families behind the scenes so that they could continue the work with some guidance, but without Marie and the cameras.

  • Will all this de-cluttering be bad for the environment?

This is SUCH an important question. If you’ve been following me for a bit, you know that I am passionate about simplifying our homes and our lives SO THAT we can consume and waste less, especially when it comes to our clothes. When I work with my clients, I’m working with them on two things.

First, I’m focused on helping them find good homes for their discards. We take old towels to the animal shelter. We take old laptops to a great non-profit that recycles old electronics while also providing employment opportunities to citizens returning from incarceration. We take half-empty notebooks to the local Free Store. We donate maternity clothes to the local women’s shelter. We even send old worn-out socks to be recycled at Goodwill. It’s important to know the donation options in your area so that you can make sure that your non-trash items can find a second life. Here are some of my favorites in my area.

Second, we’re working on buying LESS. This is major behavior change, and it doesn’t happen overnight, but it’s SO important. I wrote a whole blog post on this topic, and you can see it here. To learn more about over-consumerism in our country, I also highly recommend the documentaries Minimalism and The True Cost on Netflix.

Have more burning questions? Send me an email or comment over on Instagram, and I’ll try to answer them.

Happy tidying, everyone!

You can do this.

If you’ve been watching the new Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, you might have the sudden urge to purge.

Luckily, you can EASILY get in on the action. You can achieve your very own reality TV show “before and after” results in your closet, and it only takes 5 hours. Think about inviting a friend over to do this with you, and vice versa. (And if you REALLY full stuck, you can, of course, call me!)

Here’s how to do it:

Step One:

Find a time in your schedule when you can get five hours, distraction free. No kids. No husbands. No phones. This is YOUR time.

Step Two:

Pile every item of clothing on the bed.

  • Make sure ALL of your clothes are washed.

  • Drag those off-season clothes out of the basement.

  • Bring up those coats from the entry-way closet.

  • Pull out those old bridesmaid dresses. You know, the teal ones with puffed sleeves.

Take a ‘before’ picture of your closet AND your pile.

Step Three:

Divide the clothes into broad categories like: Tops, Bottoms, Skirts, Pajamas, etc. Don’t worry about deciding what to keep yet. Focus on sorting, not discarding.

Step Four:

Now this is where the magic really comes in. You are going to take each and every item of clothing in your hand and ask yourself: Does this spark joy?

Pay attention to how the garment makes you feel. Does it give you a jolt of happiness? Do you love wearing it? Or do you frown, think about feeling frumpy, or have a bad memory?

If it doesn’t spark joy, thank it for its service and let it go with gratitude, ie put it in your “donations” pile.

A few tips:

  • Get quick wins. Start with a smaller category so that you can feel the momentum.

  • Make a “maybe” pile. Don’t lose momentum by trying things on that you really can’t decide on. Make a “maybe” pile and try all of those on at the end. (You’ll likely let go of 95% of them!)

  • Make notes. As you go, write down items that need to be replaced or upgraded.

  • Take a break. Midway, take a 15-minute break. Have some tea and a light snack.

  • Take stock. Take stock at the four hour mark. You might need to leave a few categories for homework, like shoes and bags.

Step Five:

Put all of your donations and items to sell right in the car! While you have them sorted, you can even enter the donations into an app like It’s Deductible or onto a printed Goodwill checklist. You can save thousands at tax time with donations!

Step Six:

Put all of the clothing that sparks joy back into the closet and folded in their drawers. To learn how to do Marie Kondo’s special folding method, visit this video. Think about using all that extra space in your closet to display your favorite items. I put my favorite books and my grandmother’s milk glass on the top shelf of my closet, where all of my bulky sweaters used to fall over onto each other. Some people hang artwork inside the doors or display wedding photos.

A few tips:

  • Someday = Never. If you find yourself thinking, “I might wear this someday,” think again. Think about your life today. Check out this post for what to do with clothes that don’t fit.

  • Don’t get bogged down on sentimental items. Set aside sentimental items. Can you turn that fabric into a cool pouch? Can you display it?

  • Beware of the temptation of ‘selling’. It’s tempting to want to sell your items. Be aware that consignors are VERY selective. Often, you will get more back by donating the item and cashing in on a tax refund. Check out this blog post to learn more about the pros and cons of consigning.

Now sit back, take that after photo, and enjoy!

After just five hours and six steps, you’ve created a closet that gives you joy, easy mornings and a boost of confidence.

What’s on your 2019 bucket list?

Photo by  Raw Pixel  on  Unsplash.

Photo by Raw Pixel on Unsplash.

Last year on the Happier podcast, Gretchen Rubin and her sister, Liz Craft, introduced the awesome concept of “18 for 2018”. It’s a fun spin on the traditional New Year’s resolution.

Think of it like a bucket list for the year ahead.

Instead of putting all of your eggs in one basket with ONE BIG FAT PRESSURE-FILLED New Year’s Resolution, why not instead create a list of LOTS of things you’d like to do in 2019?

You can sprinkle this list with all sorts of things, big and small, fun and mundane, important and trivial.

Some of the things on my list last year were:

  • Finally get our front steps fixed (check!)

  • Read more books (check!)

  • Get our wills done (nope!)

  • Organize the basement (mostly!)

  • Get disability insurance (check!)

  • Get my car detailed every quarter (mostly!)

  • Paint my bathroom (check!)

  • Do @cleanmama three times a week (shaky at best!)

You might consider things like:

  • Putting your phone away between 6 and 10 pm

  • Trying a meditation app for 30 days (My favorite is the Calm app.)

  • Asking your mom to teach you three of her favorite recipes

  • Making Friday night movie nights

  • Hugging your spouse twice a day

  • Hiring a handyman to fix some nagging things in the house

  • De-cluttering your house (hint, hint!)

I’m still brainstorming my 19 for 2019, but here are some initial ideas:

So what might YOU put on your 19 for 2019 list??! Tell me, tell me!