By Kate Juelfs | Director of service, Foster Group

As a lifelong learner, I’m always interested in picking up new information to see where I can fit it into my life. It seems like everyone I know is talking about "Kondo-ing" their home. It has even made the news: Local thrift stores were reporting higher donations thanks to the Netflix series "Tidying Up With Marie Kondo" and the book "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up." The small amount I had learned from social media and the occasional news story had me curious, so I set out on a quest to learn what Marie Kondo’s magic was all about.  

For those of you who are uninformed on all things Marie Kondo, the premise is simple: She encourages people to examine their physical space and make decisions about what needs to stay and what needs to go. One of the most interesting things in the Netflix series to me is that Kondo stops and thanks each physical space before she starts to explore it. I love the concept of both the book and show, seeking peace and happiness through tidying, especially with a focus on gratitude for what you have. 

Something that has stuck out to me with Marie Kondo is her presence and demeanor. She moves slowly when she enters a home. Not only does she take a moment to kneel and thank it, but also she doesn’t rush, doesn’t press with expectations, and doesn’t offer firm direction on how or what should be done to organize it (except for the crazy folding thing). 

In the past, I have attacked my storage "hot spots" with a vengeance. I have approached them with energy, treating them more as a sprint fueled by frustration. Upon reflection, I’ve found that most of those times have been frantic, as I tried to unwind cutting corners or not taking the time to do things right. I may have achieved results, but they weren’t lasting and certainly didn’t spark joy. 

Maybe there is a metaphor here, and maybe Marie Kondo’s magic is about more than tidying up. As I consider it, I think that her gift is her demeanor, her lack of expectations and a focus on gratitude with a side of joy. When entering into a space, both figurative and literal, I was disappointed to think how infrequently I entered with the spirit of Marie Kondo. In hindsight, I think there are more than a few figurative "hot spots" that would benefit long-term if I were to enter into them with more Kondo and less intensity.

I love Sunday afternoon naps and an extra hour or two with a good book, so as much as I’d like to neatly organize every nook and cranny of my home, I am directing my focus to "Kondo-ing"my life. Specifically, the practice I want to embrace is to move slowly, start with gratitude, and release all expectations. This goes beyond my closet or my basement storage room. It’s about the long overdue project I want to tackle, the tough conversation that might escalate, and the big meeting that has a tight timeline.  

I’ll leave you with this quote from Marie Kondo,

"The process of assessing how you feel about the things you own, identifying those that have fulfilled their purpose, expressing your gratitude and bidding them farewell, is really about examining your inner self, a rite of passage to new life."

In her role as director of service,Kate Juelfs works closely with the teams that handle much of the service and execution at Foster Group. She is passionate about developing a high-engagement culture by fostering effective communication. Connect with her on LinkedIn.