Calgary-based Helen Youn will present on the KonMari Method at the Calgary Home + Garden Show this weekend at the BMO Centre.
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Thinking of a home refresh or design? Maybe a downsize or upsize to a new home? Well, not so fast, say the tidying experts. A little spring-cleaning can provide a clear slate and a new perspective.“The tidying process is all about defining your ideal life and identifying what is the life that is going to bring the most joy. I always sit down with my clients and ask them: what would you be doing if you weren’t stressing about organizing your home; what is the lifestyle you want,” says Calgary-based tidying expert Helen Youn.She follows the KonMari Method, designed by Japanese tidying guru Marie Kondo and is one of 19 certified KonMari experts outside of Japan and the only certified consultant in Canada’s prairie region.There is no doubt that Marie Kondo’s hit Netflix series Tidying Up with Marie Kondo has people everywhere saying thank you to their old possessions and de-cluttering their homes.Many times, once a home is organized, the concept of less is more shines through, as it did with Youn, when she was first introduced to Marie Kondo’s little turquoise best-selling book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, while on maternity leave three years ago.“We live in a 1,000-square-foot condo and my husband and I were always talking about buying a bigger house and upsizing. We had furniture and storage bins everywhere. So I bought the book and did a tidy marathon in three weeks. And now everything feels really spacious. We’ve had parties in here for over 30 people and with kids. We now love our home and are staying put,” says Youn.But ditching the extraneous stuff is not always as easy as one, two, three, thank you, toss.That’s where Youn steps in.“There’s often a huge emotional attachment to items,” she says. “It was really hard for me to go through the process alone. It is nice for people to have someone who will listen and push them along on their journey. Some people like to talk about each item; often there is a great story behind it. I am kind of like the personal trainer of home organization.”While Youn has been transforming spaces since 2016, she admits that since the January release of the Netflix series, there has been an overwhelming surge in interest from Calgarians looking to adopt the method and spark joy in their lives.It’s a no-excuses elimination philosophy. If an object sparks — in the Netflix series Kondo refers to it as a feeling, almost a bubble of happiness that blips upward through the body — then keep it. If it doesn’t, then give it away, sell it or toss it, but make sure to thank it first.The process tackles clutter by categories, not rooms, starting with clothing and then in order, books, paper and komodo (the Japanese word for miscellaneous — kitchen items, camping and sporting gear, hobby stuff and so forth). The final category and the most challenging to sort through is sentimental items, including photographs.“It can take time. You have to go through photos one by one — often people have 30 images of the same thing. Keep the best one and move on to the next. Like everything else, you want to only keep those that spark joy,” says Youn.By the time the tidy marathon is over — a process that can take three to six months — clients will have looked at every item in the home, right down to each battery and paper clip.“When I completely finished everything in my home, I felt a quiet in my mind. I didn’t realize how much my mind was thinking about organizing and various tasks and all of the things that I needed to do. All of that noise just disappeared. I now love how my home looks. It’s wonderful to feel so clutter-free.”Each of Youn’s tidy lessons lasts between three and five hours. Much like personal training, clients can see Youn only once to get kick started on their way, or buy a package of several visits.You can check out Helen Youn on the Main Stage at the Calgary Home + Garden Show running now through March 3 at BMO Centre, where she will be sharing tips and secrets of Marie Kondo’s revolutionary approach to home organization.You can also connect with her on Instagram @sparkjoywithhelen or visit www.helenyoun.com.