Sparking Joy by Letting Go 7

The Eco Advantages from the Love of Tidy

Next time you’re looking to make your home lighter and brighter forget about going to a hardware store to decide between incandescent, fluorescent, halogen or LEDs. Let me plug you in here: Talk to Kristyn Ivey.

If you’ve seen the Netflix series “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” or read Kondo’s best-selling books on sparking joy and reducing clutter, Ivey has emerged as a leading translator connecting the dots locally, helping interpret, apply and adapt Kondo’s tidying approach.

Ivey is Chicagoland’s first certified KonMari Consultant. Her just-published book, “The Tidy Home Joy Journal,” achieved #1 Best Seller status on Amazon in March, and her weekly “Spark Joy” podcast at offers 75+ conversations with experts discussing their perspectives on life focused on what’s most important. Ivey recently met with SW Lake Lifestyle to share why this approach to creating a joy-filled home isn’t just another fad.

SWL: How does Marie Kondo’s way simplify somebody’s life?

Kristen Ivey: It really gets you focused on what’s really important; it shifts your attention to what you really value. It’s about mirroring and aligning your home and your possessions with your values, helping you shift to a mindset where you’re being more conscious and aware, and leading with respect, gratitude, and joy when you address your belongings.

SWL: How does this ethos support a more “step-lightly” approach?

KI: It’s important to remember the adage, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” with reduce being #1. This gets us in tune with our consumption patterns, as we transition to the idea that “less may be more” in certain ways. This process helps us take an inventory of everything that we have, make sure we’re in alignment with what we value, recycle as we go, and reuse things in creative ways which we highly encourage — repurpose things so they can live their best life, so you can live your best life. All that clutter is this thing between you and your ultimate best life. It’s about reducing that “noise,” getting clear about where we’re going, and having nothing in the way of that so you can elevate your talents, your existing successes, and learn a new lifestyle.

SWL: For some of us letting go of possessions is not a joy-evoking experience; it can lead to an uncomfortable, sometimes guilt-ridden place.

KI: The Kon-Mari method shifts attention to what you are keeping, rather than what you are discarding. It can be uncomfortable for people to focus on just what they need to let go of, especially those sentimental items. Our process says, “Let me pick what I love first, and I can think about those things that are more difficult to decide on later.” It’s important to note, though, that the process itself is slightly uncomfortable because it is pushing you away from doing things the old way that hasn’t been working. Self-awareness can sometimes be uncomfortable, but it’s productively uncomfortable. It leads you to more thoughtful conclusions about your home, and ultimately about your life.

SWL: What are the psychic benefits of donating items that don’t “spark joy?”

KI: Most of my clients choose to donate things, or thoughtfully gift or sell them, knowing that they’re going to a good use. That helps with the process of letting go. It’s also beneficial when you’re leading with abundance, rather than with a mindset of scarcity. For example, I have clients who worry about letting go of something because they paid for an expensive item, but it’s not doing any good just hanging around; the money’s already spent. It’s now only as valuable as someone would pay for it today, or as someone would value receiving it. Moving it along in its lifecycle is healthy for you; let it go with gratitude and thoughtfulness, and make room for more treasured things.

SWL: For those who’ve watched the Netflix series or read Kondo’s books and are looking to start their tidying journey, what’s the biggest value-add you bring to the table?

KI: When someone hires me, they’ve often tried tidying on their own but have stutter-stepped through the process. They’ve tried one category and stopped, or they’ve had trouble making that connection between the things that spark joy and the boundaries that their home is presenting them. When those two aren’t worked out, the space will still feel cluttered. We want people to stop worrying about tidying and organization so they can get to enjoying life and spontaneous gatherings and things of that nature. It’s almost like a personal trainer experience, or a professional nutritionist; I have that expertise to push your skill at tidying to the next level, so you don’t run the risk of falling back into old patterns.

SWL: What are some of the success stories you’ve seen that have been inspiring to you?

KI: I help my clients change their story — the story they keep telling themselves, that they will never be organized, or they’ve always lived with the mess so that’s always what it’s going to be. I love helping people get beyond that and empower them: shift their shopping behaviors, or take better care of their things. I’ve also had clients come to terms with personal relationships while tidying; they’ve let go of toxic relationships, and attracted new and better relationships — finding better partners through the process. I’ve had clients find money in their homes; some model better behaviors for their children, helping the next generation think more consciously about how they’re organizing and taking care of their things and honoring their possessions. And surprisingly I also ended up losing 30 pounds as I transitioned to my new career in tidying full-time.

SWL: Wow. Congratulations!

KI: I can’t figure out exactly how I lost so much weight, but I know it had something to do with my letting go of the emotions around my previous corporate job and then moving to doing KonMari full-time. Being more active in client’s homes, and making sure that I’m picking the right nutrition that sparks joy, led me over a year to shed 30 pounds and more importantly feel “lighter”. So I took care of the clutter around my waistline, as well as the clutter in my home… and they’re all connected. I’ve had other clients report that they’ve also lost weight, as well.

For more information about Kristen Ivey and her services, best-selling book or podcasts, visit her website at

All that clutter is this thing between you and your ultimate best life. It’s about reducing that “noise,” getting clear about where we’re going, and having nothing in the way of that so you can elevate your talents, your existing successes, and learn a new lifestyle.