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“You’re in the business of home organizing? You must be so tidy!” This is a common reaction I get when I tell folks about my new business venture. And of course part of it is true (have you ever met a financial advisor whose finances are a mess, or a sport coach who has never played sports? very unlikely), but it wasn’t always so. Let me explain. 

person holding laundry saying "the only thing I hate more than having a dirty house is cleaning"Growing up, Sunday chores were a serious activity in our house. Each weekend my parents would pick a different room/area to focus on and we would spend a solid half day doing a deep clean. My sister and I would have much preferred to play outside or with our Barbies, and the “allowance” we received for cleaning was just enough to keep us from running away. We would fight over who got to do a quick vacuum versus the dreaded Pledge dusting of all the furniture (picture frames included), to the point where my parents implemented a rotating schedule of cleaning duties to share the load. While this weekend ritual could have pushed me to become an overly messy person as an adult, it made me appreciate and keep a clean space. However, what I realized is that although I learned how to clean, I didn’t learn how to tidy.

I distinctly remember when I picked up Marie Kondo’s decluttering and organizing book Spark Joy in 2016. I was living in Victoria BC with my now-husband, our cat and dog, and travelling weekly for work. When I wasn’t on the road I felt overwhelmed in our house – by the amount of stuff, not knowing where to put or find it, and the messes that were constantly created by two humans and two animals. Cover of Marie Kondo's books "Spark Joy" and the "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up"After reading Marie’s book and following her KonMari Method® to a tee – keeping the items that “sparked joy” for us, discarding the rest with gratitude, and implementing various principles of proper storage –  I felt like a new person. A weight and dread had been lifted off my shoulders. I literally felt 10 pounds lighter from the amount of stuff I was able to discard, but more importantly, knowing that I was now surrounded by everything that we loved and needed. And I knew exactly where it all belonged! I could suddenly spend my time how I wanted – being active, outdoors, with friends and family – guilt-free, instead of feeling like I had to be tidying. Cleaning became easier and quicker because there was less clutter. Spark Joy became my life manual and I wanted to share this life-changing magic of tidying up with everyone I talked to.

The irony in this story is that one year later, in 2017, I found myself back at my parent’s house. This time, they weren’t coaxing me to clean, but I was willingly supporting them in their “tidying festival” and tackling their basement clutter. For over 30 years it has been a storage spot for family heirlooms, childhood toys, school notes, university furniture, and everything else that gets dumped into a parent’s basement. By guiding them through the KonMari Method®, we transformed it from a dumping ground to a cozy hangout place. One that they had wanted to create when we were kids but could never manage to do, and understandably so – decluttering and organizing takes time, energy and some knowledge of how to do it effectively.


I love looking at the before and after photos and thinking about the physical and emotional changes that happened in this process. Not knowing it at the time, my parents became my first unofficial home organizing “clients”. I will explain what happened between 2017 and now (the actual launch of my home organizing business) in my next post. In the meantime, I encourage you to think about the following: 

Joyful Tip #1. Cleaning is the act of confronting nature (hair, fur, dirt, dust, etc.) – it always has to be done. Tidying is the act of confronting yourself – deciding what to keep or discard, and where to store it. Tidy your home thoroughly, and you will free up time and space for what you love for years to come. 

Joyful Tip #2. Please don’t use your parent’s house as a dumping ground for your stuff. Take responsibility for it. Your clutter just becomes theirs, and chances are you will have to deal with it at some point anyways. To parents of adult children – give yourself permission to return your kids’ items (that you don’t want) so they can decide whether to keep or discard it. Collect the memories, not all of their things. 

If you want to get your home in order but are overwhelmed at the thought of knowing where or how to start, contact me to discuss! I provide support in-person in Collingwood ON and surrounding areas, as well as virtually outside of Simcoe County.