By Eliza Santiago
“Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” on Netflix is making waves on social media and has everyone digging through their stuff in an effort to declutter. Marie Kondo and her life-changing philosophy is famous worldwide, but there are people who are not aware of it, much less know that we have a certified Konmari consultant in the Philippines. Christine Dychiao, social media personality, stylist and marketing consultant is the lone certified Konmari consultant in the Philippines to date. A former shopaholic and shopping blogger, she found her household teeming with stuff, and felt burdened, literally and figuratively. She sought to change her mindset and found the Konmari way.
Tell us how you discovered Marie Kondo.
I first read about Marie Kondo and her book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” in The New York Times in 2014. I thought, “This could be the answer to my general feeling of being overwhelmed with stuff- literally.” With a growing family, our rooms were just groaning with stuff; our closets were just bursting at the seams. So I read the book, and never looked back. I started out unwilling to simply let go of stuff, but as I cleared the spaces I felt the tranquility settle in. I found myself not just looking to clear out clutter but also cutting myself loose from my attachment to things. I made sure to only keep things that had an intrinsic value to me. I gained insight into what truly made me happy. I learned to seek out joy, and surround myself with what sparks it.
Could you describe your first attempt to tidy up your own home?
It took me a month to read the book and let everything sink before I actually started tidying. I started with my own things, then worked my way to my kids’ stuff. Catching the tidying bug, my husband did his clothes on his own. I did round after round of KonMari in our rooms. Each round felt like a cleanse, making way to a sense of calm.
What pushed you to pursue a KonMari consultant certification? How was the certification journey? Could you share some highlights during your training period?
My friends were asking me about KonMari, wanting to know more. They asked me to talk about it, to teach them how, to go to their homes and hand-hold them in their tidying journey. I found so much joy sharing my own learnings with them and found a sense of purpose helping them tidy. There truly is happiness in seeing spaces and energies clear up just by decluttering! I only realized I could do more when my friend, Ning Tadena, encouraged me to take my KonMari experience to a whole new level. She had asked me to do a tidying talk the KonMari way and I told her, “I don’t feel I am an authority on it yet, because I’m not certified or anything. I do it for fun!” Ning said, “Why not go for it? Get certified!” I took her advice. In 2017, I flew to New York to attend the Konmari Consultant Seminar. I figured I could learn directly from Marie Kondo and her team. I could pursue the certification process and be able to help more people with the proper credentials. There really was nothing to lose by pursuing something I found purpose in.
To become a certified consultant, I had to finish reading the books, complete tidying my house and submit photos for verification! I attended the 3-day seminar in New York, which is a mix of lectures, group work, and Q&A sessions. Upon finishing, I was invited to join an online community of seminar attendees where we could share tips and ideas. When I got home I had to do tidying work with clients comprising of 10 practice sessions and submit reports in the order of the KonMari Method. These reports are reviewed by the certifying team at KonMari, and allowed me to move on and take the exam. After passing the exam, I had to do an interview before my application to become a certified KonMari consultant was approved.
I think the highlight would have to be meeting Marie Kondo herself! She’s tiny but has such an amazing spirit. You can really sense her energy as she entered the room, the atmosphere literally felt brighter and the energy lighter as she stepped in to greet us. She’s a rockstar!
What are some of the key and memorable tidying experiences you’ve had with your clients?
What was key for me was that, whatever situation my client may be in, whether they have a ton of stuff or they just have trouble with certain categories, no matter if they live in a condo, a townhouse, with parents or own their home, the KonMari method works, as long as the client is mentally and emotionally prepared to welcome the change in their lives.
KonMari is for everybody, as long as they decide it is for them. As a mom myself, my highlight would have to be my experience with Eliza and her son, Basti! She told me the story of how his teacher noticed the change in him, of how he was able to focus better in class, and how it linked back to it because she did the Konmari tidying for her household. That was really a wow moment for me.
How is the KonMari philosophy applicable for the Filipino household?
Filipinos are very sentimental and we ascribe a lot of emotions to stuff we own, especially items passed on to us from our parents and grandparents. Often times, we keep something out of guilt, “Eh, kasi sa lola ko pa ito,” even if we personally have no history with the item, even if we do not like it, and can’t stand seeing it. Some people have trouble letting go of letters from ex-boyfriends or girlfriends, even if they bring up nothing but painful or embarrassing memories. It’s a bit sadomasochistic, this inability to detach from painful memories or even seeking out memories of the past. Pinoys really stand to gain a lot from this method, because if we can detach from the pain and difficulties of the past represented by what we keep in our homes, we can all move forward with our lives and just fill it with what we need to live a life that brings us joy.
Follow Christine on her Konmari account on Instagram at @sparkjoyph.