About Zen with Julia

Hi there. I’m Julia, Malta’s first KonMari decluttering consultant (in training). I work with clients on the Maltese Islands and in the UK to achieve their goal of a tidy house and tidy mind.

My own KonMari journey began back in 2014 and has encompassed two house moves (one across Europe), the addition of another greyhound to the family, and most importantly, the birth of our son.

On some level though the seeds were there from childhood – I grew up in a busy home with 2 siblings and parents who worked long hours to build a successful business and care for their own parents. I wasn’t the tidiest child, though had the usual good intentions.

Above all I recall the frustration of tidying never being quite finished. I would take it upon myself to tidy the kitchen after dinner and spend ages on it, only to be truly surprised and disappointed when the clutter crept back in almost immediately.  My brother would go one step further and gather up each of our possessions before depositing them in our rooms, although my dad’s were never moved beyond the boundaries of ‘his’ chair.

When I left home for university I took the fairly usual approach of ‘tidy beautifully for one day and live like a hog for four weeks’. This continued until I got my own place, when it reversed to become ‘tidy beautifully most days and live like a hog when you’re so exhausted from work that you can’t be bothered to even cook’.

I like to think that I’ve now reached a good balance. My focus is obviously on having a home that’s comfortably clean (i.e. the baby can crawl on the floor but I don’t lie in bed thinking about a plate on the draining board). I’ve moved from the standpoint of tidying it all up to slimming it all down.

Making a conscious effort to surround myself only with things that truly spark joy has definitely helped me find a place I’m comfortable with on the tidying spectrum. I’m happy not to have to clear away stacks of clutter before friends visit but at the same time will not hold back from picking up, say, a seashell themed tea set (which was laughed at pretty unanimously by said friends) if it brings that lovely fuzz of excitement somewhere where I imagine the soul to be.

The decision to become a KonMari consultant was actually introduced by my wife. ‘Go to New York, you’re good at this’ she said after seeing me sighing enviously over Marie Kondo’s newsletter. I knew I had done a decent job in our own home and enjoyed talking friends and family through the process, but until that point had never considered making Tidying Up my profession. It all made sense though, and 5 weeks later I was bouncing my non-sleeping son on my knee, excited to meet THE Marie Kondo, as we flew over the Atlantic.

And it was great. I had found my people.

Move forward to the present day: I was in Gap recently, psyching myself up to try on jeans (isn’t that an event that could make even the stoniest person dissolve into tears?). I took 3 pairs into the fitting room, telling myself I’d be delighted if even one looked halfway decent.

Pair one: not bad, I could take these and not feel too bad in them. Yes.

Pair two: wow, yes, these are pretty amazing. I feel goooooooood and there’s no muffin top. Definitely (and fuzzy joy feeling)!

Pair three: see pair two but in a lovely soft pale grey.

Pre- KonMari I would have bought all three, twice, as I would have had The Fear that I’d never find any jeans again.

This time I happily put pair one back, knowing that pairs two and three brought more joy than buying all three.

I don’t tell this story to boast about the fact that I bought jeans without crying, but to make the point that adopting the KonMari way of living doesn’t affect whether you empty the dishwasher on time – it creates a monumental shift in the quantity and quality of items you choose to bring into your life and home.

I’ve found more mental freedom on my tidying journey than I ever would have thought possible. The process of folding and sorting is therapeutic for sure, and it’s a pleasant experience to choose an outfit when the wardrobe is well organised. But more than that, the time I save daily where I previously would have been tidying ‘clutter’ away can now be spent on personal development, pursuing hobbies, and, most importantly, spending time with my family.