The KonMari method of Tidying: Getting your life in order

A single flower pot surrounded by clear space: Impression of how an apartment can look after cleaning with the KonMari methodWith the KonMari method of tidying I achieved something I never thought possible. A permanently tidier apartment and regularly some kind of weird joy when neatly folding my laundry. For your background: I didn’t even use to iron my clothes before… But let me explain a little bit first, what the KonMari method is. And why the heck everyone who tried it seems to be crazy about it.

Disclosure: Some of the links below are so-called provision links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

What is the KonMari method of tidying?

The KonMari method is named after its inventor Marie Kondo. Marie used to love tidying since she was a little kid. (Freaky, I know!) Over the years she tried and perfected different techniques for tidying. Until at some point she realized, that it would make so much more sense to just keep a place tidy continuously. Without needing to go through huge efforts every time. So she invented the KonMari method of tidying and tested it with many of her clients. It became so popular, that she actually wrote a book about her method of cleaning.

The KonMari method book

Probably the most-sold book on the topic of tidying and decluttering, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing“* has been published in more than 30 countries. Now you might wonder how a book on such an unsexy topic like cleaning can get such a huge fan base. Well, it’s simple: Her method works! Marie Kondo even goes as far as saying that none of her clients ever relapsed back into their “messy state” after having gone through her program.

In her book, Marie explains, how instead of looking for things to throw out, we should be looking for things to keep. This will make sure, we only have things around us that we actually like. And it enables us to find a place for everything, making regular tidying unnecessary.

Bedroom after using the KonMari method of tidying. So much space!
Bedroom after using the KonMari method of tidying. So much space!

The two steps of the KonMari method of tidying

To get to that blissful state where our home is effortlessly tidy and you never need to clean, there are only two steps. But those steps mean really going down to the heart of your messiness!

Step 1: Decluttering

This is not your usual “throwing out some old postcards” type of decluttering. Instead you will do this decluttering all at once. (Meaning up to 6 months.) No “I only want to declutter my closet”. Everything. You will systematically go through everything you own and only keep things “that spark joy”. That is Marie Kondos criterion for items to keep. No reasoning about how you might still need that box of cables at some point. Just taking every item into your hand and feeling your physical reaction to it.

I admit that this sounds weird at first. But after going through the first 10 to 20 objects, you will notice a clear difference between “Meh, might need it” and “I like this”. As the goal is to create the perfect environment for you, take this seriously. It does work and it is a lot of fun!

As Marie knows that it is easier to declutter some areas than others, she developed a thought-through order in which to discard of things. Starting from clothes, which are easily replaced. Going on to books, paper stuff and “Komono” or miscellanea all the way till keepsakes. I know, that’s a lot. She breaks down those big categories into way smaller, better digestible ones. (For a full checklist, scroll to the bottom of this article!)

For every category, you will take EVERYTHING in that category that you own and put it on the floor. In the same room. (Forgetting something means automatically to get rid of it.) And then you go through the items one by one. Touching them and asking yourself, if they spark joy.

All of my clothes on the floor before discarding with the KonMari method of cleaning
All of my clothes on the floor. And no, not all of them fit the frame…
Step 2: Organizing

Now that you already have everything ordered by category, things need their permanent place. One suggestion by Marie Kondo is to “keep like with like”. All clothes together, all paper clips together, all books together. This way, you will always know where to find it. And where to put it. Which brings me to her second very important tip. Make it easy to put things away. Not to get them.

Oftentimes we rather think where we need things and put them there directly. But when you want to get something, you are motivated to do so. Putting it away… not so much. So make it easy for yourself, to put things back in place. If you use something all the time, make “it’s place” somewhere easily accessible.

Another specialty of the KonMari method is her way of arranging things by “heavy” to “light”. This can mean starting with dark colors and working your way up to the lighter ones. Also it could mean going from thick winter coats up to flimsy sun dresses. Being honest, I haven’t completely followed through on this advice. Just my clothes do get ordered by color. It gives an awesome effect in the drawers!

The KonMari method folding

Ah, the KonMari method folding. As I wrote earlier in this post: I am actually weirdly enjoying folding my laundry now! Marie Kondo has a special way of folding clothing, so that you can put them in the drawer standing up. Who better to explain this than the master herself?

Some people complain that it would take them forever to do their clothes like that. Obviously I can only speak for myself, when debunking that. Anyways, it doesn’t take me longer than my old way of folding clothes. And afterwards my clothes basket looks like this:

My laundry folded after the KonMari method of tidyingI don’t know why, but it makes me feel really good about myself! And it makes it so much easier to see all the things you have! Going to my drawer I now feel like I got my life under control. Very recommended feeling!

The KonMari method checklist

As promised above, I prepared a KonMari method Checklist for you here. It lists all the categories and subcategories. And if you print it, you can have the satisfying feeling of checking off the little boxes one by one! Enjoy, share and let me know how KonMari worked for you!

KonMari method checklist*These links are so-called provision links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Is tidying up always difficult for you? Do you feel like you need help to declutter and organize? Try the KonMari method of tidying. Read my experiences with it, how it works and get the tidy house you deserve! You don't need decluttering ideas, because you are already in love with the KonMari method? I got just the thing to help you with tidying up! Find my free printable KonMari checklist here. And then have fun decluttering your home! Do you know what KonMari folding is? In this blog post you will read what the KonMari method is. And how to declutter and organize your home. Additionally you can find a free printable KonMari checklist attached. Time for tidying up!

Book review: The optimized woman

Today I want to share my review of the book “The Optimized Woman: Using Your Menstrual Cycle to Achieve Success and Fulfillment*” by Miranda Gray. Unfortunately I do not remember how I stumbled upon it, but I am so glad I did! It doesn’t even matter if you have a cycle yourself or if you live or work with someone having a cycle. This book will give you a new and more positive understanding of how females and their hormones work.

The optimized woman celebrating sunriseDisclosure: Some of the links below are so-called provision links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

The author and her mission statement

According to the website optimizedwoman.com Miranda Gray is a published author, artist, an alternative therapy practitioner and Company Director of a multimedia production company. “The optimized woman” is not her first book about the power of the menstrual cycle either. The first book “Red Moon*”  was published in 1994.

So why this fascination with that time of the month? Well, according to the author we have been (wrongly) casting negative judgements regarding our period far too long. She even goes to far to say that those changes we undergo each month give us “an unrealised powerhouse of tools”. This view is reflected in the books’ tagline “If you want to get ahead, get a cycle!”

Miranda is dissatisfied with personal development literature and coaching for not taking into account that we are changing throughout the month. And we are changing significantly as she details in a few chapters. Different brainwaves, for example. Hormones giving us heightened abilities in some regards and taking away skills in other areas. Reading through this was as baffling as it was enlightening. And to be honest – I felt found out more than a couple of times!

In a nutshell, Mrs. Gray wants to help women become aware of what she calls their “Optimum Times” and associated abilities. This way she wants to help us become more successful and happier in our daily lives.

So how do we become the optimized woman?

Miranda breaks down our cycle into four phases, each about 7 days long. The length of those can be adapted depending on your personal cycle. She also states clearly that everyone is unique and that this is a generalization to help women become aware of general patterns. So don’t worry if you don’t find yourself in every detail, nothing wrong with that!

For each of these phases there is a separate chapter, detailing which skills we will most likely have in that time. And also which areas of our life might be more difficult for us. While it is impossible to give all the details here, I want to roughly summarize the phases for you.

1. The Dynamic Phase

In the book the dynamic phase is regarded as the start of the cycle, even though it refers to cycle days 7 – 13. Pre-Ovulation. Why, you wonder? Well, as the name indicates, it is a phase of new energy after our period. We emerge like phoenix from the Woman feeling powerful after creating a morning routine including exercisesashes and are ready to tackle a new cycle. Accordingly, this phase is the Optimum Time for anything that requires mental or physical energy, focus and structured thinking or simply a lot of confidence.

2. The Expressive phase

The expressive phase: Two optimized women talking over a coffee Cycle days 14-20, the days around ovulation or the so-called expressive phase. In those days we will be more sociable and empathetic. So Miranda suggests to use those skills for teamwork, meetings, working on our relationships with clients or in our private lives.

3. The Creative phase

This is the phase most of us dread. The pre-menstrual phase or the phase of wildly ranging emotions and trouble with ourselves and others on cycle days 21-28. According to the book though, this can be a perfect time for The optimized woman using her creative phase to generate ideascreative solution-finding and problem solving. If we can manage to give ourselves the understanding of what is going on within us, we can use this phase to our advantage instead of fearing it. Miranda does recommend to get a lot of alone time though.

4. The Reflective Phase

And finally, the menstrual phase. The time for resting and reflecting.The reflective phase: Woman taking some time to herself, thinking. Interestingly we are almost naturally meditative in this state, so we can use this time to really think about the big picture. According to the author this is also the best time to take big decisions as we will be most in tune with ourselves. If we take the time, that is.

What I loved about “The optimized woman”

I have been reading self development literature for quite a while now. It motivates me, it teaches me, it helps me grow. And still, sometimes I felt like I am completely lacking consistency with my newly learned techniques. Like I kept discovering them not working for me after all. Imagine my relief when Miranda writes about how many women feel that way, especially when it comes to self development. And when she says that we are not inconsistent. We are cyclical!

Of course I wasn’t as easily convinced. But reading through the different chapters, I kept finding myself in the descriptions. Patterns, worries, also strengths. So even if you do not intend to work through the “Optimized Woman Daily Plan” for a whole cycle, just reading this book will give you valuable insights.

Personally, I did work through the plan for one month now and I intend on keeping doing so. I liked the actionable advice, no matter your situation. Obviously it is easy to avoid meetings if you work from home, for example. But Miranda always keeps in mind that this is not the standard lifestyle and has ideas for everyone.

Weak points of “The optimized woman”

At some point, it does get a little repetitive. Understandable, as this book is about a cyclical subject. Still, at some point I felt as if I had read certain formulations way too many times by now.

At times the choice of language. Miranda Gray writes more like an artist than a scientist – which is perfectly fine, don’t get me wrong. There were a few occasions though when the formulations were too esoteric for me. Obviously this is definitely a matter of personal preference. And I only remark it, because it sometimes made it really hard for me to understand what she was trying to say. Then again, maybe this is just my lack of educations in metaphors.

Do I recommend “The Optimized Woman”?

Absolutely. Especially if you suffer from PMS, PMDD or any other hormonal imbalance. I know how that might make you doubt if nature knew what she was doing. But also if you are “just” female, if you live or work with females. Or if you just want to admire female nature. After reading this book and consciously experiencing my cycle and the various strengths it brings, I am in awe of what the female body and mind can do. So yes, Miranda, I agree. If you want to get ahead, get a cycle!

The Optimized Woman: If you want to get ahead, get a cycle - Pin*These links are so-called provision links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

My Morning Routine or How I live my life as if it’s on purpose

My morning routine has been the most powerful tool for me to go from wishful thinking to actually start making changes in my life. I have already written about how creating a morning routine will bring you closer to the life you want. Today I don’t want to go so much into the why. Rather I want to share my personal morning routine and how I developed it.

My Morning RoutineDisclosure: Some of the links below are so-called provision links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

My morning routine: How it all started

At some point last year I was fed up with my life situation. I did not like going to work. I felt stuck personally and professionally. Why did nothing ever change? I took three (!) weeks off from work to have some time to myself and figure out where this huge dissatisfaction was coming from. Or better even, how to do something about it. I had been interested in personal development before, but this was the moment I really dove in. Listening to podcasts, reading blogs, watching countless TedTalks on Youtube. Soon enough I noticed a recurring topic. Something that apparently all successful people had and every self-developing person was getting into. You guessed it, everyone stressed the importance of a morning routine.

My morning routine: Borrowing from the Magic Morning

Once you start reading about morning routines, you will inevitably come across Hal Elrods book “The Miracle Morning: The Not-So-Obvious Secret Guaranteed to Transform Your Life (Before 8AM)*“. Don’t worry, the essential idea is not as bulky as the title of the book.

Hal Elrods “Miracle Morning”

Hal suggests five main ingredients for a truly success inducing morning routine. He uses the acronym (life) SAVERS, which makes them easy to remember. The letters stand for:

S ilence: Get some quiet time in. No electronic devices, no TV, no chit-chat. Just you.

A ffirmations: Enough has been written about the transformative power of affirmations. Whatever your goals and dreams are, have some affirmations for them ready.

V isualization: Now it’s time to visualize what it’s gonna look and feel like to have achieved your goals. There is this video of Tony Robbins on Youtube, where he talks about the power of visualization. (If it’s too long for you to watch, skip to 10:29 where he shows the two guys how instant the effect can be.)

E xercise: Move your body in some way. Stretch a little, do some cardio or even go for a full blown workout session. But do some kind of exercise for your physical body. Weak body, weak mind.

R eading: Read at least a few pages of a book. This is not referring to entertainment literature though. Hal talks about reading books that teach you something. Self-development books, for example. Something to educate yourself.

S cribing: Write down your thoughts, your to dos or whatever comes to mind. Basically journaling in some form.

Building my own morning routine around it

As I could clearly see the advantages of each of these six habits and as they gave me a good starting point, I built my morning routine along those letters. Luckily it is not as hard as it might sound. And does not need to take 2 hours. Actually, it usually only takes me half an hour most mornings. One hour if I have time and enjoy the process. 15 minutes if I am short on time and skip some steps.

Meditating

Usually I wake up with my alarm and simply sit up in bed for a few minutes of meditation. Nothing complex, just following my breath while slowly waking up. If I feel motivated, I set a 10 minute timer. Otherwise I just do the Meditating to learn how to deal with uncertainty and as part of my morning routineexercise as the whim takes me. On those days when I feel really uninspired or have a bad case of monkey mindedness, I resort to videos of “The Honest Guys”. They are awesome!

(If you want to incorporate Meditation into your daily life while also becoming more resilient read my article about learning how to deal with uncertainty. In it I review a program that helped me so much doing this. It’s free and does not take any crazy commitment from your side.)

Looking forward to something

Another short thing I do before going any further is to find something I look forward to that day. It can be something small and insignificant like my morning porridge. Or it can be something big like an important, possibly life-changing appointment. However, I definitely find something to look forward to every single day before getting out of bed.

Affirmations

Afterwards I open my eyes and turn on the light. Depending on where I am in my cycle, I might opt for doing some affirmations here. Sometimes I skip it. When I do it, it takes just a couple of minutes.

Deciding for or against affirmations cycle related might sound weird to you. But if you are female with a cycle that actually might make a lot of sense for you, too. For further information let me refer you to the book “The optimized woman*“. I am planning on writing a more in depth review about it soon.

Visualizing

The visualization exercise happens sometimes, but I am not very consistent with it, to be honest. Definitely room for improvement there, as I can tell a huge difference in my mood when I do it. Honestly, it is worth doing it just for that. Putting yourself mentally in the situation where everything is perfect, you reached your goals, feeling what it feels like… It is like a mini vacation and huge mood booster. I am also doing visualizations with some physical goals. Difficult Yoga poses, to be specific. Simply out of curiosity, if this will get me closer to the poses without actually physically practicing them. I just like experiments.

Exercising

Happens pretty much every day. I can already hear your objections. “Not enough time in the morning. I already get up super early. Don’t want to go to the gym before work.” Relax. Sometimes my exercise is just a few gentle Yoga stretches in bed. Sometimes I do a real Yoga session on the mat. Most of the times I just go on my beloved stationary bike for ten minutes. (My  bike looks similar to this* one, just not as fancy. Seems like mine is not on Amazon anymore.) Doing this wakes me up and helps me get into the shower, as even just ten short minutes on the bike can get me sweating. Because of the integrated mini-desk, I can even combine my exercise with reading, learning vocabulary on Memrise or doing some brain training with the Elevate app.

Reading

Ah, this has to be my favorite ritual of my morning routine. Most of the times I already start doing it while still on the stationary bike. (So it mostly doesn’t even add to the time for the morning routine.) This happens reliably, every day. Most of the days I will be reading some self-development book  on my kindle. Sometimes I swap it out with the “Blink of the day” from Blinkist, if that happens to be a topic interesting to me. Even less often I might be reading a blog article about a topic keeping me busy at the moment.

Scribing

This one is usually quite quick, too. As I haven’t been much of a journal keeper before, I adopted bullet journaling around the time when I also built my morning Bullet journaling as part of my morning routineroutine. If there was a really inspiring or note-worthy thought during the reading session, I will write it down now. Otherwise this is mostly making a short to-do-list for the current day. Additionally I write down whatever I am looking forward to that day  and one thing I am grateful for. This helps me focus on the things I want to achieve, while approaching them with a positive mindset.

 

Obviously showering and  a nice and healthy breakfast are also part of my morning. However I don’t really count them as part of “my morning routine”. Should I? How do you do it? Do you have a morning routine? And has it helped you achieve your goals?

My morning routine, morning routine women, morning routine bullet journal

*These links are so-called provision links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I can earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.