KonMari

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
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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!

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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.

The little angel that could.

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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

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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.







What about clothes that don’t fit?

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The number one question that I get is “What should I do with clothes that don’t fit?”

As my fellow KonMari consultant and wise friend Christina Rosenbruch says, the beauty of KonMari is that it brings us into the present. It’s about celebrating who we are TODAY and surrounding ourselves with what brings us joy TODAY.

So, what to do? Change the script.

I often say, “Our clothes are talking to us.”

Do you want a closet that says, “Good morning! I’m filled with things that you love and feel great in. Come on in. You can’t go wrong!”

Or, do you want a closet that says, “Ugh. Half of your clothes don’t even fit. Good luck finding something to wear today.”

Um, NO. That latter closet is totally rude, and it needs a new script.

Why do we need a new script?

Because our clothes set the tone for the day. They affect how quickly we get ready in the morning. They affect our mood and our confidence. They affect how physically comfortable we are. So, changing the script in your closet is a change that can provide amazing ripple effects, not just in your day, but in your career and relationships. Feeling like a million bucks changes everything.

So, do “joy checks” of ALL of your clothes, even the ones that don’t fit. (Check out my article here that walks you through how to tidy your clothes step-by-step.) This will give you the opportunity to identify those pieces that truly spark joy and that deserve a place in your home.

My clients often find that they don’t even like many of the ill-fitting clothes that they have, so there is no need to have them in your closet talking to you!

Choose to keep ONLY those ill-fitting clothes that you love, but then GET THEM THE HELL OUT OF YOUR CLOSET. Put them in a box with a cheeky label, like “ill-fitting clothes that I love” and then relegate them to the basement or other storage area, where they can’t be rude to you every day.

Welcome to your new morning conversation with your closet.

PS - If you’re looking for clothing brands that can help you spark joy at any size, check out Alice Alexander. They are a size-inclusive, ethical and sustainable fashion boutique with colorful, beautiful pieces that are sure to bring some joy to that closet.

What it’s like to work with a KonMari consultant

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Working with a KonMari consultant is a LOT like working with a personal trainer.

You hire a personal trainer because you want to get fit and strong, so that you can feel your best and live your best life.

You hire a KonMari consultant because you want your home to be peaceful and beautiful, so that you can feel your best and live your best life.

It’s hard work, but there is exciting and measurable progress along the way, and you feel better and lighter even after the first session.

In short, I provide the expertise, the accountability and the momentum. You show up and commit to doing the work.

Here’s how it all plays out.

Step One: We chat on the phone

Before deciding to work together, we chat on the phone for 15-30 minutes and I pepper you with questions.

What’s your life like now? What do you want it to be like? What’s causing you pain? What would you focus on in your life if your house was tidy? How much do you want to do this? What’s been stopping you? How does the family feel about this?

This conversation helps us figure out if we are a good fit and if you’re ready to dive in.

Step Two: We choose a package

One of the hardest parts of the job is figuring out how long it will take. This totally depends on a few things: your speed in making decisions, how much stuff you have and how much “homework” you can take on between sessions. The typical American home can take between 50 and 200 hours to complete! Knowing this, clients choose from the following packages:

  • 15 hours (Three 5-hour sessions) - You live in a small 1BR or 2BR apartment.

  • 30 hours (Six 5-hour sessions) - You live in a medium to large home and you want me there to help you start each of the 5 categories, and you’re going to do LOTS of homework in between.

  • 50 hours (Ten 5-hour sessions) - You want to go deep into the work and you might have less time for homework in between .

If clients wrap-up the project sooner than anticipated (which almost never happens!), they have a full year to use remaining sessions. (You can see more detail about the packages here.)

Step Three: I show up on the first day.

You’re feeling nervous and excited. You’ve kicked your family out of the house. You’ve put the phone on silent. You’re wishing you had cleaned up a little, but I’m glad you didn’t! (It helps to see things in their natural state.)

You give me a tour of the house for about 20 minutes, we take some “before” pictures, and then we dive right into the first KonMari category: Clothing.

We are going to pile EVERY PIECE OF CLOTHING THAT YOU OWN onto the bed, and one by one, you are going to choose those items that “spark joy” and gratefully say goodbye to those that don’t. You say: Right now? I say, Yes, right now.

After five hours of hard work and a few protein bars, you are exhausted but proud.

I whisk away your donated items (or help you to schedule a pick-up) and then I send you a link to your own personalized online KonMari journal, where you’ll be able to see all of your progress, and most importantly, the homework you’ll need to complete before the next session.

You take “after” photos and text them to your friends to brag. #myclosetsparksjoy

Step Four: We continue through all of the categories

On Day One, we picked a KonMari “graduation day”, so over the next few weeks or months, we will continue to work towards that date by tackling the next four KonMari categories: Books, Papers, Komono and Sentimental.

You may choose to do entire categories on your own as homework, or you might do bits of pieces of each category.

Along the way, you might discover that you need some repairs or some help around the house. I’ve got you covered. I can recommend everything from my favorite house-cleaning service to painters to handymen.

Step Five: Enjoy your home that sparks joy.

You’ve worked hard and now you are reaping the rewards. Your house is bright, open and spacious. It is filled with only things that spark joy. When people come over, you insist that they look at your closet.

And over the next few months and years, you fine tune. You edit more.

In your new space, you discover new possibilities. You are living a more “spark joy” life.

Ahhhhhhh. Sounds nice, right?

The Story of Indigo

Cerro Tololo Observatory near Vicuña, Chile, 1998

Cerro Tololo Observatory near Vicuña, Chile, 1998

People often ask me how I came up with the name Indigo Organizing.

The answer is a bit long and windy. It spans many years, from childhood to today, and it means a great deal to me.

The name “Indigo” came about in three seemingly unconnected ways:

  • When I was a teenager, I was a bit of a science geek. So much so, that I majored in physics and astronomy in college and took an entire semester off to do a dream internship at an astronomical observatory in the Andes mountains of Chile. Thanks to being that lanky science geek, I know that, in the 1600s, Isaac Newtown identified "indigo" as one of the seven elemental colors. It represents a focus on what is necessary, what is elemental. A building block for seeing so much else.

  • Now for the second part … I have a husband with an eye for design. (He is another little treasure that I brought back with me from Chile.) He has lots of beautiful design books laying around. One day, as I was still brainstorming a name for my business, I opened up one of his books, and it immediately turned to a page describing what the color blue signifies. It said: 

“The colour blue signifies relaxation, a successful result … trust … reliability, expansion, recovery, harmony, satisfaction, peace, stillness … endlessness, cleanliness, hope, solidity, intelligence, yearning [and] courage."

UM, YES. That is exactly what I want all of my clients to experience. 

  • The last one gets me a little choked up … My parents love birds and nature, and we spent much of my childhood camping and hiking. It is from THEM that I learned that there is a bird, called the indigo bunting, who migrates by night, to South America, guided by the stars.

And so, years ago, like an indigo bunting, I traveled to South America, guided by the stars. 

And many years later, that husband from Chile with an eye for design helped me to make another dream a reality by designing a beautiful logo, with those amazing little indigo buntings nesting together.

And now today, guided by all that the word “indigo” means to me, I get to help others find more joy and simplicity in their homes and their lives.

Sniff. (I told you that it would be long and windy.)

PS - Sign up for my newsletter to never miss a blog HERE.

A Script for Letting Go of "That" Gift

When helping my clients to simplify their homes, we inevitably find a treasure trove of gifts that have been given to them that do NOT spark joy. You name it - candles, soaps, scarves, trinkets, souvenirs, the works. You can probably think of the ones in your home right now.

We feel an obligation to hold on to these items, even though we don't find them beautiful or useful, for fear of offending the giver. The thing is, they are weighing us down.

I help people let go not just of the item itself, but of the guilt that may come along with it.

Here's how the conversation typically goes:

Client: "Ugh, so this is a scarf that my daughter gave me a few years ago for Christmas."

Me: "Does it spark joy?"

Client: "Damn. I knew you were going to ask me that. I really don't like it, but I'm afraid she'll ask me about it if I let it go."

Me: "The act of giving sparks joy in the moment. It's the person's way of telling you that they care about you. Once the act of giving is over, if the gift doesn't spark joy, then you can feel free to let it go and let it spark joy for someone else."

Client: "But what if she asks me about it?"

Me: "You say: 'Hannah, you remember how I am doing this KonMari process to simplify my home and my life? You know, I'm identifying everything that sparks joy? Well, I just wanted to tell you something. You spark a ton of joy for me. I love you. That scarf you gave me last year for Christmas does not. I let it go. [Wait for laughter and possibly a spontaneous hug of forgiveness.] And I want you to know that if I ever give you anything that doesn't spark joy, you can let it go as well."

Client: "Ooooh, that sounds good. Will you write it down for me?"

Me: "I'll write a blog about it and send it to you." 

Remember, simplifying and de-cluttering your life means having a ruthless focus on what truly sparks joy, so that you have the time and space to focus on what really matters. It's the gift-GIVERS in your life that matter, not the gifts themselves.

Happy simplifying, friends.

PS - If you need a little laugh, check out this hilarious Saturday Night Live skit about the oh-so-frequent gift: the candle. :)

Guest Blog: Traveling KonMari Style: Toiletries

Photo Credit:  Amanda Jordan

Photo Credit: Amanda Jordan

This week's blog is written by guest blogger Christina Rosenbruch. Christina is a friend, frequent traveler, certified KonMari Consultant and owner of Spark Joy Space. 

Christina Rosenbruch, Owner of Spark Joy Space

Christina Rosenbruch, Owner of Spark Joy Space

Visiting a new place is an exciting opportunity to explore a different perspective on life. If you’re seeing a new place, it’s a chance to leave your comfort-zone.  After planning your vacation, the challenge begins with deciding what to pack for your trip.  Whether you’re checking your luggage or limiting yourself to just one carry-on, don’t stress!  Instead, take advantage and consider this the perfect opportunity to “KonMari” your toiletries.

I’ve spent many years traveling, and I’ve determined that beyond carrying essential hygiene products, any additional toiletries I include depend on a few other factors. Start with the following considerations to determine what to take with you: Your trip length and destination’s season, climate and accommodations will drive your choices. The Ritz Hotel or a tent? With a close friend or family member or on your own?

Different Trips require Different Toiletries

Of course, different trips will have different requirements. If I’ll be wearing a backpack, I bring a multi-purpose product such as Pure-Castile soap which is a combination body wash and shampoo. I include bug spray and sunscreen. Badger and Bullfrog are two brands that offer combination sunscreen/anti-bug products.  

If my itinerary includes social dinners, such as on a cruise, I’ll include cosmetics. Even in this instance, I suggest that you can still pare down and take only the products that “spark joy” for you. If you haven’t already, before you leave, do a bit of experimenting. Look at what you already have in new ways. You might find that the cream blush you love on your cheeks makes a great lip stain (or vice versa with your lipstick!) 

Staying Within Your TSA Limits

If you’re traveling with only one carry-on bag, remember the United States TSA rules allow for only 1 quart-size plastic bag with 3.4 ounce bottles of liquids. Here are some tips for staying within the guidelines while still having what you need:

  • Many cosmetic companies offer convenient travel-sizes of their products. Google "travel size" and your favorite product to find it.

  • Putting small amounts of product into contact lens cases works great for concentrated liquids.

  • Maximize powder products. Lighter in weight and not subject to TSA rules about liquids, powder foundation like Zuzu Luxe is available in many shades and can be applied as lightly or as heavily as you prefer for a smooth matte finish that is not drying to the skin. (Remember to try any new products well in advance of your travels in case of a possible reaction.)

  • Consider taking along a few packets of powder laundry soap. It takes up little room, adds little weight and allows you to pack a bit lighter knowing you can wash some of your clothing on the road.

  • Pencils for lining eyes and lips also save space and weight.

  • One more pro tip: I place my quart-size liquids bag in a larger gallon-size bag and store them in an outside pocket of my suitcase. It allows for easy access in the security lines while also preventing them from possibly leaking onto my clothes.

In all situations, my goal is to bring the minimal amount, allowing me space in my luggage and more time to enjoy my new surroundings!

That’s it! I hope these tips help. Now get packing and safe travels!


You can learn more about Christina and her company, Spark Joy Space, here!