I have a confession to make.

I have hoarding tendencies.

Don’t we all?

(At least a little bit?)


So, what do I hoard?

Trinkets… No.

Clothing… not really.

Shoes… surprisingly, no.

Photos and memorabilia… a bit.

Journals and workshop/seminar notes… 100%. Nailed it.


I’m an information junkie and I always have at least one notebook on the go (usually 2-3) for different things. So what the heck do you do with a notebook that’s filled with random musings, to-do lists, moments of inspiration, and potentially useful notes from meetings or conference calls?


Last month was a big month for transitions. After house sitting for four months we hunted down a dog-friendly rental home to hold us over until we find the right property to buy. The place we found is super cute, and by cute I mean small. Really small. I don’t know the exact square footage but I do know we have minimal space for storing anything that isn’t absolutely necessary to our lives.

Have you noticed how no matter where you are, your life expands or contracts to fill the available space?

It’s a bit like how most of us manage our finances. When your income increases, so do your expenses until everything is right on pace and there’s no extra ‘space’ in your budget.  

Knowing we were moving into a much smaller space, I finally picked up (and devoured) the book, The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo, which I had heard about numerous times. Her suggestions for tidying were super helpful.



What I realized throughout the process is how incredibly FREEING it is to let go of unneeded things.

In Feng Shui it is highly recommended to declutter your space so that energy can flow freely and I had been wanting to do this properly for a long time.

Using the process outlined in Marie’s book, I was able to downsize drastically. I recycled multiple boxes of papers, gave away my filing cabinet, donated several bags of books and clothing and disposed of several garbage bags worth of unneeded items. What about those boxes full of journals and seminar notes? I flipped through many of the journals briefly and if a page caught my attention as being valuable I snapped a quick photo of it on my phone. Then most of it went in the recycling.

The key realization for me in understanding this hoarding tendency was that me holding on to old journals and notes was done out of fear, fear that I would need to refer to these documents in the future and would regret throwing them out. The truth is, the information I’ve used and assimilated into my life is part of me now, and if I haven’t internalized the information, then I likely don’t need it at this time and it’s okay to let it go.

If you’re anything like me, you probably have some clutter lurking in your space and maybe, like me, you are daunted with the idea of dealing with it. I suggest picking up Marie’s book and reading it all the way through… but in the meantime, here are my key takeaways from the book:


1. “Marathon tidying” is the only way to effectively de-clutter, for good

In Marie’s words, until you have completed the once-in-a-lifetime event of putting your house in order, any attempt to tidy on a daily basis is doomed to failure.  You have to actually go through all your belongings within a small time frame in order to make real lasting progress towards a simpler life. For me, moving was the perfect time to do this. Since we had been house-sitting, most of our belongings were already boxed up. As we moved and began to unpack, I could fairly easily tell which things I was excited to unpack and which things I had a sinking feeling about: Oh, that thing… hmm what should I do with that thing?!


2. There’s a specific order in which de-cluttering & discarding should occur

It’s really hard to throw out photos and other items that have a memorable or sentimental quality to them, even if you never use or look at them. Marie recommends starting with clothes, then books, papers, miscellaneous items, and finally things with sentimental value. I followed her suggestions and it worked like magic. That doesn’t mean it was easy-peasy, it just means I actually managed to get through everything.


3. When deciding whether to keep or discard something, ask yourself if an item ‘sparks joy;’ if the answer is no, in almost every case, get rid of that item

Oh. That seems pretty easy, right? It is, IF you can really tune in and trust your instincts. When it came to clothes I had to ignore the voice of others, who might have complimented an article of clothing or an outfit, and really ask myself if it was something I enjoyed wearing. You know when you are packing for a trip and you only bring your favourite items? Imagine if getting dressed everyday was like that. You only had to choose between things that you love and never compromise with something that you only kinda like. This part really is life-changing.

In other cases the whole ‘spark joy’ idea was really challenging. I had a few sentimental items that bring joy, but I never use or look at them so I decided it was time to let them go. And then there’s the things you have to keep, like old tax documents, which may or may not spark joy but are a necessary fact of life.


4. After you’ve discarded all the items you don’t need/want, then you must find a place for everything to live

The organizing part of tidying becomes much easier when you have way less stuff. This seems like a no brainer, but the funny thing is, when most people (including myself) set off to organize a certain part of our home it usually means going and buying baskets or bins or additional closet organizers; which just end up being filled with stuff they (I) never use. Marie has a fun approach to organizing and it is to tune into each object and your home because items know where they want to live. Intuitively, you’ll be able to find a place for everything, and it usually does not require any additional storage.

Another significant takeaway was folding my clothes differently so that I can now see everything that lives in a drawer. I don’t know if I mastered Marie’s folding technique but what I did seems to be working! And the best part is, I’m actually putting my clothes away every day.


5. Treat your objects with the same love, care, and gratitude that you would your loved ones

This one caught me a bit by surprise, but now that I think about it, I love the idea of it. I really am so grateful to the objects that bring me joy and allow me to live my life the way I choose to. Just saying a few kind words to your items as you put them away {thanks for doing such a great job!} seems a bit wacky at first, but feels really good when you start doing it. And I can already see how it will be easier to manifest the objects I want when they’ve got such a lovely environment to come into.


I hope these tips make it easier for you to dive into the process of tidying, it really is worth it!

I’d love to hear your thoughts, ideas or strategies that have helped you create more space in your space. Please share in the comments below.