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  • Why I'm not a "home organiser"

    In Japanese, 片づけ (katazuke) means "tidying up" or "putting things in order". Looking at the literal meaning of this word gives us a wonderful insight into the Japanese approach to tidying, which is quite separate from organising (整理 or seiri). In this blog post, I discuss: How the mentality of 片づけ helps us declutter How thinking about the object's purpose help us gain clarity The difference between tidying and organising, and why I don't call myself a "home organiser" Why a tidy home is just a benefit of 片づけ Intentional decision-making Rather than focusing on arranging items neatly, the emphasis of 片づけ lies on the process of decision-making and letting go. The word comes from 片を付ける (kata wo tsukeru) or to put a kata, decision between two sides, on something. As a verb, 片づける (katazukeru) can refer to the act of putting things where they belong, both literally and figuratively. Thus, it can be used to refer to completing a task, taking care of a situation, or finalising a decision. The word carries a sense of closure and resolution. In the KonMari method, the process of decluttering involves two opposing sides: keep or discard. You go through all your belongings one by one and decide which side, or kata, they belong in. You either keep items intentionally or you let them go. It might sound harsh at first, but it gets easier as you hone your sense of tokimeki (spark joy) and realise that not everything deserves a place in your home. After all, items that you keep half-heartedly, "just in case", or avoid taking a decision on turn into clutter, no matter how nicely you might store them. 片づけ is not merely about organising your belongings but about bringing harmony and completion to various aspects of your life. Think of the object's purpose To help you decide whether to keep an object or let it go, there is of course the notion of tokimeki for which the KonMari method is famous. However, this can be a little fuzzy and hard to grasp, especially when you are starting out. To make it more concrete, I like to ask my clients to reflect on the purpose of the object in their life. Whatever your current feelings towards it, each item you own was once chosen and brought home by you. There was a reason it came into your hands, it most likely brought you joy at some point. Acknowledge this by thanking the object. Once you have done this, take the time to contemplate whether the object is still serving you. Is it still bringing you joy? If so, keep it! Has it completed its mission with you and is it ready to move on? Is it time to let it retire? Then part with it with gratitude. Many people feel guilty about discarding items, even though they don't spark joy. Shifting your perspective to focus on the purpose of the object allows you to see that not everything is meant to be kept. For instance, you may not have used the bread-making machine you bought during the pandemic. That's OK, it still served you! It helped you realise that you love good bread, but not making it at home. You have other priorities. So let go of the machine and the self-imposed obligation to use it one day; reclaim that physical and mental space. You (and the neglected machine) will feel so much better. Client story: Anna's dresses Anna had three beautiful dresses she'd never worn. During her tidying festival, she let them go very easily, explaining simply "I bought these dresses during a shopping spree in London. My friend and I had such a great time trying different outfits!". She treasured her memory, but knew that she would never wear the dresses. The dresses had brought her much joy at the moment of purchase, and that was their mission in her life. Although she had plenty of space to store them, rather than seeing them at the back of her wardrobe, Anna wanted to imagine these dresses being worn by someone else. They were brand new with tags and had plenty of adventures left! Anna let go of the dresses with love and joy, not guilt or regret. It was a touching moment when Anna bed the dresses farewell and wished them a lot of fun with their next owner. Read Anna's testimonial here Tidy, don't just organise I intentionally speak of "tidying" rather than "organising", and refer to myself as a "tidying consultant" instead of "home organiser" or "professional organiser". This is because my work embraces the sometimes arduous but ultimately rewarding, life-changing journey of 片づけ. While some of the nuances may be lost in translation, the act of 片づけ goes beyond 整理 (organising), where the focus is on storage solutions. The physical transformations in my clients' homes are often impressive and I take many photos to document the journey. I might share a couple of photos online, but the main audience for them are the clients themselves. Because 片づけ is so much more than the before & after photos. There is a much deeper, more intimate evolution that takes place. You learn to identify and value what truly matters to you, and to let go of everything that's superfluous. I like to say that you practice with objects, but the magic really happens when you apply this approach to your whole life: activities, commitments, relationships, habits, thoughts...What sparks joy and what can you let go of? A tidy home is just a benefit By tidying, you put a shape not just on your physical surroundings, but also on your past. You can transform your present and influence the course of your future. Through 片づけ, you put a shape on your life. 片づけ is a journey of self-discovery and liberation, an opportunity to create space for what truly matters for you now. It is a moment of joy, a celebration to mark the start of your way of life from now on. Are you ready to spark the magic of tidying in your life?

  • The 5 differences between cleaning and tidying

    Introduction Have you ever noticed how taking care of your home can make you feel better physically and mentally? This is because your home is an extension of your energy field. By decluttering and cleansing your external environment, you are doing the same with your whole being. This is why, in moments of transition like moving from winter to spring, we often get the urge to clean and tidy our homes. However, although complementary, these two activities are completely separate endeavours with distinct objectives. Both contribute to a sense of wellbeing in your space, but for different reasons. To create a living space that both looks and feels good, it is important to understand the 5 key differences between cleaning and tidying: The purpose: removing dirt v. allocating a place for each object What you address: dirt v. clutter The impact: external & short-term v. internal & long-term Who can do it: anyone v. only you How often you do it: frequently v. once Simply put, through tidying, we create a space where energy circulates freely; with cleaning, we maintain the cleanliness and freshness of this space. The 5 differences between tidying and cleaning 1. The purpose Cleaning: The primary objective of cleaning is to eliminate dirt and dust to maintain a clean and hygienic living environment. Tasks include vacuuming, dusting, mopping, wiping and disinfecting surfaces. Tidying: At its core, the objective of tidying is to create a harmonious living space by choosing the items you want to keep and, subsequently, assigning a designated place for each item. 2. What you tackle Cleaning: Cleaning targets the physical removal of dirt. It is is a straightforward process focused on achieving immediate, visible results. Tidying: Tidying focuses on addressing clutter and optimising storage. This involves sorting through possessions, discarding items that no longer serve a purpose, and organising the remaining items so they are visible, accessible and beautiful. The simplification that comes with tackling clutter opens up physical and mental space. 3. The impact Cleaning: The effect of cleaning is immediately visible in the external environment. However, dirt comes back as you use your space and has to be tackled regularly. Tidying: Decluttering and organising often results in an impressive transformation of your home, one that is effortless to maintain. However, the impact goes well beyond before and after photos. By learning to identify objects that spark tokimeki, or joy, you begin to recognise what is truly important to you. You experience a profound mindset shift and set your bar high for any new items you bring into your home. You also begin to conscientiously choose joy in other aspects of your life: relationships, career, commitments, habits, thought processes...Does it spark joy? 4. How often you do it Cleaning: Cleaning is an ongoing maintenance activity that should be carried out regularly. Consistent cleaning habits prevent dirt from cumulating and contribute to the longevity of your home and belongings. Tidying: According to the KonMari method, the "tidying festival" is a one-off activity, where you go through all of your belongings. There is a clear end — when you have decided on whether or not to keep each item that belongs to you. While this may sound daunting, the KonMari method is designed in a way to make it as easy as possible. For example, you tackle items by category rather than location to avoid simply moving them from one place to another; you begin with clothes because you are able to feel tokimeki most easily with them. One of the most empowering parts about completing a tidying festival is that you gain the ability to "reset" your home, i.e. put everything where it belongs, in a breeze. After all, your home is made for living in, so the objective is to have a home that is easy to tidy, not always tidy. 5. Who can do it Cleaning: Unlike tidying, which is inherently personal, cleaning tasks can be performed by anyone with the necessary tools and equipment. Professional cleaning services offer a convenient option for individuals seeking assistance with routine cleaning tasks or specialised cleaning projects. Outsourcing cleaning can free up time and energy for other pursuits, making it a practical solution for busy families. Tidying: Tidying is a deeply personal endeavour that requires active participation and ownership of the process from the individual. While support from a specialist is often valuable to apply the approach effectively and stay on track, the actual process of evaluating items and determining what to keep ultimately rests with the individual. Tidying is an opportunity for self-discovery and introspection, allowing you to reconnect with your values, priorities, and aspirations... with what brings you joy. No tidying consultant, no matter how experienced, can take joy-based decisions on your behalf. 3 tips to cleaning and tidying easier Cleaning and tidying require both time and energy, and it can be difficult to find the motivation. Here are three tips to make it just that little bit easier: Gratitude: think of cleaning and tidying as taking care of your home and your belongings. It is a way of showing your gratitude to the inanimate yet valued objects that accompany you every day. Focus on the objective: whether it's a clean home or increased clarity in your life, reflect on your priorities and how cleaning and/or tidying can help you. Get support: there's not need to do it all alone! Seek help to keep your home (and yourself) happy. Conclusion While cleaning and tidying serve distinct purposes, they are interconnected and both are needed for a happy home. Tidying makes cleaning more efficient. Less clutter means less things collecting dust or needing to be moved so the surface below can be cleaned. Imagine vacuuming without first having to clear the floor. Cleaning means taking care of your home and belongings, with which you renew your relationship through tidying. Note that both cleaning and tidying are skills. You can learn how to tidy, just like you can learn how to clean. Cleaning products come with instructions, but everyday objects don't come with tidying instructions. All the more reason to seek support to learn to tidy.

  • Tidying is a skill like any other: you can learn it

    A common response when I tell people that I'm a tidying consultant is "you're Japanese, tidying is in your genes". Except it isn't. I only learned to tidy in my early 30s upon discovering the KonMari method. Up until then, I had largely given up on having a tidy home. I tried different tips, trips and hacks, but nothing stuck. The only time home home looked tidy was after moving into a bigger flat because I had more storage space, i.e. places to hide my things. I felt powerless before all my possessions. I was uncomfortable in my own home but didn't know what to do about it, desperately incapable of tidying... It's normal to not know how to tidy The is no shame in not knowing how to tidy. We are rarely taught how! As a child, your parents surely tasked you to tidy your room. But did they actually teach you how to discern joy-sparking items from clutter? Or how to store things in a way that makes it natural to put them away? Was tidying your room a chore, even a form of punishment? In discovering the KonMari method in 2016, I felt a huge relief because I learned that 1) tidying is a skill and 2) you can learn it. Just like we aren't born knowing how to play the piano or ride a bicycle, it's normal to not "naturally" know how to tidy. How to build your tidying skill: knowing versus doing In the pursuit of a clutter-free and harmonious living space, many people turn to resources like "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" by Marie Kondo for guidance. While books and videos offer valuable knowledge and inspiration, there's a significant gap between learning about tidying and actually tidying your home. Say you want to master the piano. Firstly, no matter how much someone might push you, you can't magically play a concerto if you never learned how. Once you decide to learn, you can read books, watch instructional videos, and follow inspirational pianists on social media to build your knowledge. But true proficiency only comes from hands-on experience. The good news is that there are certified teachers who can guide you on your tidying journey. 5 things I do as a tidying consultant Like a piano teacher who accompanies their students through the intricacies of music theory and technique, as a tidying consultant I use my expertise and experience to help you navigate your tidying journey with confidence. But just as the role of a piano teacher isn't to play the piano on your behalf, my objective is to empower you to tidy, not tidy for you. At the end of our time together, not only will you have decluttered your physical space but also transformed your relationship with your belongings, your home, and yourself. You will have activated the life-changing magic of tidying up. Here are five ways I help you through the tidying process: Certified expertise: I have deep knowledge of tidying, specifically the KonMari approach in which I am certified. I teach you the method and explain the reason why we do things in a specific way. I show you practical techniques such as folding, maximising storage space, and maintaining tidy habits. I also have personal experience and client experience to draw from as I teach and guide you. Personalised guidance: Unlike a book, I provide guidance tailored to your specific needs and challenges. Using the KonMari method as a basis, I help you tidy in a way that makes sense for you. After all, radical minimalism is not for everybody (it's certainly not for me!) but tidying can be. Show me your tidying trouble-spots and we will trouble-shoot. Real-time support: Whether you're struggling with decision-making or applying organising techniques, I am available to provide clarity. For example, the KonMari method encourages us to keep items that spark joy, but this concept can be unclear, especially when you are starting out. I propose guiding questions and practical exercises to help you grasp this approach. Even between sessions, all my one-on-one clients get unlimited support via WhatsApp. Motivation and accountability: Tidying can daunting and it's so easy to lose motivation or become overwhelmed, especially if you are on your own. My presence ensures that you stay on track and committed to achieving your tidying goals. Efficiency and effectiveness: Time is a valuable resource, so why not maximise efficiency and effectiveness? No more trial and error; I will teach you a tidying method that actually works and answer all your questions. No more wondering whether a specific organising solution will work; I have probably seen it before and can tell you. No more putting off tidying; I help you implement the simplest, most functional, sustainable solutions that work for you. Are you ready to embark on a joy-filled journey to transform your home and your life? I'm here to guide you every step of the way.

  • Spirituality: the secret ingredient of Japanese tidying

    When I started out as a tidying consultant, I relied entirely on the "Marie Kondo" brand or KonMari®. I felt like it gave me a certain legitimacy, even confidence, in what I was doing. From "KonMari Consultant" to "Japanese Tidying Consultant" However, in recent months, I have started to refer to Japanese-style tidying rather than Marie Kondo to bypass preconceptions about the latter. Being Japanese like her, I share her worldview, including the spirituality that underpins her famous tidying method. In fact, it's this familiarity that both comforted and moved me when I read her book. Nevertheless, I've observed that this spiritual aspect is often dissimulated in Western media. Sometimes, you even get the impression that the KonMari method is just interior decoration — clean, white, minimalist... While I understand this communication strategy — spirituality can make this foreign approach even more foreign — I find it unfortunate because it is the key element that makes this approach so different from others. The aim of Japanese-style tidying is to live in harmony with your belongings and home, transforming tidying from a practical act into one of kindness and love. Done with intention, this "chore" rises to an art form. Each object has a soul and wants to serve its owner We even believe that an object that exists for 100 years gains consciousness and becomes a yōkai called tsukumogami (付喪神). This why we should choose them carefully, treat them kindly, and put them back in their place after we use them so they can rest. When its mission with us is completed, we let it go, either to serve someone else or retire. Moreover, our belongings are our allies, not our enemies. So, instead of searching for what we can get rid of, this approach teaches us to identify what we truly love and makes us feel tokimeki. We let go of the rest with gratitude because even if we don't keep it, it has shared our life. In simple terms, the KonMari method codifies Japanese-style tidying, makes it easy to apply, and infuses it with a good dose of joy. Japan Impact 2024 My mission is to make Japanese tidying better known, including its spiritual side, to spread tokimeki around the world. This is why I am delighted to be invited to Japan Impact 2024, the theme of which is "Yōkai," at EPFL in Lausanne from 17 to 18 February. I will give two conferences and two folding workshops in French. Tokimeki: L’essence du rangement à la japonaise samedi, 17 février 2024, 16h00 - 17h30 S’entourer de tout ce qu’on aime, voilà la base du rangement à la japonaise. Chaque objet a une âme, donc choisissez-les avec soin, restez à leur écoute, et traitez-les avec bienveillance. Bien plus qu’une simple méthode d’organisation, le rangement à la japonaise est une philosophie de vie qui vous mène vers l’harmonie extérieure et intérieure. Venez apprendre comment remplir votre quotidien de pépites de tokimeki avec une consultante certifiée KonMari. Plus d’informations Vivre en harmonie chez soi avec les Yokai samedi, 17 février 2024, 18h15 - 19h45 Vous avez probablement des Yokai chez vous. Qu’ils soient apparents ou pas, espiègles ou bienveillants, ils font partie de votre quotidien. Venez apprendre comment cohabiter sereinement avec vos Yokai. Conférence en collaboration avec Yasuka Fader (midnight blossom). Plus d’informations Cours de pliage KonMari dimanche, 18 février 2024, 11h30 - 13:00 et 16h00 - 17:30 Je vous présente les bases de la méthode de rangement de Marie Kondo, suivi des exercises de pliage. Vous apprendrez à plier et ranger vos vêtements à la verticale pour que tout soit visible, accessible et joli dans votre garde-robe. Apportez des vêtements à plier (T-shirt, chaussettes, etc.), ainsi que des articles que vous ne savez pas plier. Plus d’informations

  • The art of gifting with grace

    Giving and receiving gifts with grace About ten years ago, I gave a book as a Christmas present to a friend and she was delighted. Me too, because it was my favorite book and I was sure she was going to love it just as much as I did. A few months later, I went to her place and by chance my eyes fell on the book...in the recycling bin. I was hurt by her rejection of my gift (and therefore me). I was so ashamed that I never spoke to her about it. Eventually, I even convinced myself that she hadn't liked the book because the translation was bad. It's only after all this time, and a lot of tidying up, that I can suspect another explanation which, knowing my friend, is more likely. The irony is that now this has become my way of approaching gifts and I am faced with incomprehension from some of those around me. So, what is a gift? In Japan, there are several words for “gift.” For example, プレゼント (purezento) is a gift that one gives to a loved one during a celebration such as Christmas, お土産 (omiyage) is a travel souvenir, and one brings a 手土産 (temiyage) to one's host when we're invited. There are often meanings associated with the objects we give, but at its core, a gift is a message. It is used to convey an emotion — love, gratitude, esteem, etc. — from one person to another. Once the gift is received, the message is transmitted and it becomes an object like any other. So, if it inspires you with tokimeki, keep it and make a place for it in your home. Otherwise, let go it with gratitude for the mission it accomplished. It's easy to say, I know. But don’t you think that allowing yourself to part with a gift you don’t like is the best way to honour the intention with which it was given to you? Based on this approach, here are some suggestions that could be helpful in the coming days: Give omoiyari: Take the time to think about the other person and choose a gift that might make them happy. The omoiyari or consideration you bring is a gift in itself. Offer for the pleasure of giving: Give without expectation, reduce the pressure that could spoil the gesture. If you manage to deliver it in person, the shared moment will be a great gift too. Receive mindfully: Reflect on the message behind the gift. Receive with gratitude: Sincerely thank the person who gave it to you not only for the gift but also for their message and their omoiyari. Communicate your tokimeki in advance: Don’t hesitate to ask and give gift ideas to increase the success rate ;) Gifting and receiving gifts with grace elevates the moment into an art.

  • Ikigai, so much more than a Venn diagram

    Have you heard of ikigai (生き甲斐) ? Most people outside of Japan know ikigai in the form of a Venn diagram that is filled in to define your life purpose. The four overlapping circles represent what you love / what the world needs / what you are good at / what you are paid to do. But this is a misinterpretation of the concept as we know it in Japan. The word is composed of 生き (iki) which means life and 甲斐 (kai/gai) which denotes value. For those who like the etymology, “kai” comes from the word 貝 (also pronounced “kai”) or shell, because shells were of great value in the Heian period (794 to 1185). Ikigai is found in every aspect of life. It does not necessarily have the grandeur that we give it in its Western version and it is certainly not limited to the professional sphere (“what we are paid for”). It’s the little everyday pleasures that have meaning for us, that motivate us to get up every morning. Taking care of your pet, observing the change of seasons in your garden, having tea with your friends...Moreover, the Japanese don't look for their ikigai. It’s more something that we uncover and appreciate, especially as we get older. I was lucky to find one of my ikigai — because you can have several — by chance. I read Marie Kondo's book to practice my Japanese. Inspired and motivated, I tidied up my flat in the weeks that followed. But that wasn't enough for me. Even though I had a full-time job in an international organisation, I found myself talking about tidying up non-stop and encouraging everyone around me to do it. A few years later, I gave in to this passion and launched myself as a Japanese-style storage consultant! Fill your everyday with passion When we sort, we choose what we keep according to the famous criterion of “spark joy” and we declutter the rest, which brings us towards a space and a daily life filled with glimmers of joy. To this, I would add that you should be passionate about everything you own. For example, I'm a huge fan of my backpack. As soon as someone makes the slightest remark about it, I launch into brand ambassador mode (although I don't receive any commission). Ditto for my water bottle; there is even a security agent at Geneva airport who noted the brand to give one to his daughter. Every object wants to serve its owner, hence the notion of treating them with gratitude. But even more powerful is treating them with love. Remember that everything we wear, use and surround ourselves with is chosen by us. We might as well choose things that brighten our day, right?

  • Mini luggage, maxi pleasure: how to prepare your suitcase the KonMari way

    Since I was little, I have traveled a lot. I have gone around the globe for pleasure, work, or a combination of both. In recent years, my way of packing and my approach to travelling has evolved. Now, most of the time I only travel with hand luggage. Of course, it’s often cheaper but it’s also so much more pleasant! I am convinced that there is a direct relationship between the quantity of objects we own and what we believe we need. I'm not a minimalist, but I've gotten rid of a lot of things thanks to the KonMari method. This process taught me that I didn’t really need that much, that it’s so liberating to declutter and lighten up. Since then, this approach has transformed how I travel too. What I no longer do Before I learned to take care of my things, I carried around overstuffed suitcases. So much so that I had to sit on them to close them, especially when returning from my beloved shopping trips. Once, I even had to buy an extra bag to be able to bring back all my shopping. So, here are 3 things I no longer do : Bring lots of things “just in case” that I rarely, if ever, use. By planning your trip, you can have a good idea of what to bring. In case of emergency, you can always find a solution. Once, in London, I decided to go for a more glamorous outing than I had planned. As I hadn't brought any make-up, I went to a beauty counter in a department store where I had my make-up done for free by a professional. Prioritise shopping at destination, or even travel for shopping. There is so much more to do! What a shame to spend your time browsing shops (which are often the same ones you find at home). Let's spend on experiences, not things. This may seem obvious, but it took me a good bit of decluttering to incorporate it. Bring back gifts. I used to buy gifts on every trip for my family, friends, colleagues. Even though it didn't stress me out, I saw it as a duty and I went around the shops looking for something to buy. I'm embarrassed to remember that I brought back a bottle of plum brandy from Romania for my husband who doesn't drink alcohol, simply because it was the only local thing I found in the duty free. It goes without saying that this bottle remained untouched at the back of the cupboard. My top 5 tips for travelling light without depriving yourself And here are tested and approved tips, the result of a long learning process: Comfort: Your travel wardrobe — and at home for that matter — should only consist of items that you feel good in. In other words, only travel with items you already know. It would be a shame to shorten an outing because your new shoes hurt! Layering: choose clothes that can be layered. Not only are they more versatile, they are also lighter and less bulky. In addition, it allows you to easily adapt to the weather of the day. Pro tip: wear bulkier pieces when on the move. Folding & storage bags: Fold your clothes according to the KonMari method; they will be easier to squish than if you roll them. Store your clothes vertically in storage bags (here is a tutorial video). Once you arrive at your destination, you can simply transfer the bags into the drawers or, if there are none, onto the shelves. Small pots for cosmetic products: I used to store samples to use when travelling, but I stopped because I prefer to bring products that I already know. I transfer the necessary amount of my usual creams and lotions into small pots. A little effort to avoid unpleasant dermatological surprises while travelling. Do laundry on site: the simplest way to travel light? Bring less things! So, don’t hesitate to do the laundry at your destination. For trips longer than a weekend, I bring a small piece of Marseille soap so I can wash underwear by hand. To speed up drying, wrap the item in a clean towel and wring it out before hanging it up. When you return home, take the time to thank your faithful traveling companion. Air and dry your suitcase before storing it. It’s like giving it a little bath before putting it to bed until your next adventure together. I hope these tips can brighten your vacation this summer ☀️

  • Maternity leave, a moment for rest and reflection

    This start of spring marks my return to work after four months of maternity leave. It was an immense joy and privilege to be able to fully enjoy my daughter’s first months of life. At the same time, this break proved to be full of challenges, as I like routine, certainty, and efficiency. I had plans for my maternity leave, but ultimately I ended up doing “nothing”. First by necessity and then intentionally, I lived by the rhythm of my little one. The fact that a newborn has no concept of time (they live in the present) or obligations (they expresse their needs without embarrassment) made me integrate many concepts which, I admit, were until now mainly in my mind. Here are a few: Time passes whatever our state of mind. You might as well be present and savour every moment. Lately I've been thinking a lot about the Japanese concept of mono no aware (物の哀れ), which expresses nostalgia and the impermanence of things. We often don't know that we are doing something trivial for the last time. For example, it was only when I saw that a favorite pyjama had become too small that I realised that the previous time had been the very last time my daughter would wear it. Taking the time is not wasting time. By slowing down, I learned to appreciate the process and not just the result. We are often in a hurry, which makes everyday life stressful. During my maternity leave I took great pleasure in spending entire days without commitments. This allowed me to meet new people, discover new paths, learn new things...all while doing everyday things. While going to the pharmacy one morning, I came across a gentleman who had just picked quinces from his garden. In addition to filling my bag and sharing his family recipes, he delighted me with stories from our neighborhood (and his daughter-in-law is Japanese like me!). A chance encounter that reminded me how taking our time can enrich our days. Empty spaces create calm. Not only does emptiness help us calm the mind, whether in our home or in our schedule, keeping empty space allows us to better manage the unexpected. More concretely, this means giving yourself plenty of buffer time before an outing or dedicating a shelf as an “inbox” for gifts while you find a place for it in your home (or elsewhere). Beware of the “always in a hurry, always late” phenomenon. It's enough to do what you can, even if it's not everything you want. We are encouraged to be ambitious, to want and achieve everything. Not only is this impossible, the very idea is unhealthy. Let’s be honest with ourselves about what we can do and say “no” or “maybe” to the rest. Changing or even canceling plans is a privilege that most of us should allow ourselves more often, new mothers or not. By consciously deciding what we are going to do, we minimise the anxiety of having to do everything or the guilt of not having accomplished everything we wanted. Even Marie Kondo recently said she prioritises time with her family more than tidying up. Let's keep a mindset of kaizen (改善) or small daily improvements. A trick that works to put my daughter to sleep may not work the next day. Storage may no longer be suitable when clothes sizes change. Staying stuck in your habits or mentality is not good for anyone. Flexibility is a strength. Gratitude leads us to contentment. Let's stop looking outward, whether it's those around us, the perfect people on social media or even our self-image. Let’s just be content, let’s be comforted by knowing that we are exactly where we need to be. There is no need to always live in ecstasy (how tiring that would be!). Let us be kind, patient and grateful to ourselves. Let us value and thank our loved ones, our home and our objects that support us every day.

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