According to a recent poll from Simplii Financial, the online banking arm of CIBC, 87 percent of Canadians are looking to simplify their lives. Not everyone can have Marie Kondo appear at the doorstep to organize their life within the week à la Netflix’s Tidying Up with Marie Kondo but that doesn’t mean we’re all doomed to live in clutter.
Enter Michele Delory, a Toronto-based certified KonMari Method consultant and the owner of Modern and Minimalist, a home organization service. She works with clients to help organize and tidy using the same techniques outlined in Kondo’s best-selling The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which inspired her own transition to a minimal lifestyle. “I really started to have a better outlook,” says Delory of her lifestyle change affected her perspective on life. “[I was] less stressed and wasted less time on tidying. [I had] more joy and enjoyed life with my family.”
Here are her top organizational tips, along with the keys to minimalism and what it really means to “spark joy.”
What are your best hacks or tips to help with organizing?
“Use shoeboxes and Apple iPhone boxes. These boxes just help organize the little things better in your drawers and turn them into well-organized bento boxes where you can easily see and find things. You will no longer have junk drawers. Make sure you fold clothing vertically into your dresser, which is the signature KonMari way, so it looks like a filing cabinet of clothes and makes things easier to find.”
Can anyone become a minimalist? What’s the first step for someone who wants to try?
“Becoming a minimalist starts with your mindset and beliefs. If you believe that owning less things and having more meaningful experiences will add purposes to your life, then minimalism is something you should embrace. This lifestyle might not be for everyone, and that’s okay.”
How people can maintain organization and stick to their new habits?
“Always return items back where they belong in their designated homes. Create homes for where your things will live, and this will bring order both your space and your life. Chaos happens when things start being placed in different spots and then you lose track of where things are. If you bring new things into the home, let go of whatever item you had before to make space for the new item.”
What are your favourite storage solutions for clothes? Is there anything to avoid when organizing a closet or a dresser?
“I prefer to fold my clothing and store them into drawers and only hang what needs to be hung. I use shoeboxes or clear boxes to store my folded items into my drawer. Don’t double up things on hangers. I try to simplify things in every way, so I don’t use too many organizing products; it’s better to work with what you already have in your home.
What’s your take on the meaning of “spark joy”?
“It’s when something special—things, people, places, and experiences—speaks to your heart and [give you] an instant feeling of happiness. It’s important to let go of what is not needed or doesn’t work anymore so it doesn’t pile up.”
How can de-cluttering help your budget?
“Your spending behaviours change, and you only feel the need to shop for necessities and want to save more money for things you enjoy like experiences. An easy way to save money is to eliminate services that charge user fees, especially if it’s for services you don’t need. [Some] digital banks have no monthly fees, so you can put that money towards purchases that bring you joy.”
This interview has been edited and condensed.