Fine, it may sound over the top but they were slowly killing my spirit and taking my health with it.
One day some years ago, I snapped at a family member, it was the wake-up call telling me that I was no longer my happy self. The stress of dealing with details from work and from taking care of people and things had got to me.
Fixing Big Things Is Not Enough
Luckly, even though I was struggling, I had enough energy left to fight back hard. I changed how I work, Konmari-cleaned my room, and did my best not to push myself too hard. Still, I was tired, irritable, extremely indecisive, plus, feeling stuck, alone, and helpless. All signs pointed to depression.
Hunting Down My Inner Energy Vampire
If fixing big things didn’t finished the job, what else was draining my energy and joy?
Then I remembered why Konmari method works. The process helped me remove the noises in my environment and inefficiency in my everyday tasks. When I was done, not only I ended up with a space I want, I am saving time, energy, and grief every time I reach for something I need.
Small Annoyances = Noises of Life
Once I realized this, I observed how I move through the day, a major pattern emerged. I was constantly stopping to clear my nose and throat, an issue I had lived with for a long time. Though the respiratory congestion was never severe enough to see a doctor, once I noticed that I could not un-see how it consumed my life.
Since then I have been working to cure it and I will be sharing my experiences in future posts. In the process, I am also solving other little things that annoy me, something simple like replacing heavy pans with lighter ones for easy cleaning and handling.
Must Small Annoyances Die?
Living with small annoyances is like being in the stop-and-go traffic.
It demands your constant attention (induces fatigue).
It is a danger to your life (brings on road rage, increases chance of accidents).
If you do it everyday then it turns into a chronic, sometimes permanent, mental and physical illnesses.
I am assuming you are here because you have read the course description for the latest “The Power of Eight Intention Masterclass” and want to know what it would be like before you sign up.
If you have not, Lynne teaches this online course every year and she updates the contents with her growing knowledge and experiences. So instead of linking you to the class page, visit Lynne’s site, signup for the newsletter or watch for early-bird discount near the end of the year.
Before you go on, please keep in mind these are my own experiences and opinions, know that you might have a very different experience.
First, Learn The Basics with Lynne
Every week of the 6 weeks when Lynne teaches live, you will learn the science and the basics of intending and practice with randomly assigned classmates.
[Advice] Don’t get frustrated or discourage if you can’t get the results like some. Just keep practicing, you need time to learn the skills and to accept and recognize that you, too, have those amazing abilities. I thought I didn’t learn much the first time through but now that I have done it a second time, I see I was building on my efforts back then.
[Advice] If you are paired with someone you click with be sure to find a way to contact each other so you’d have a practice partner before the yearlong groups are assigned. Lynne creates a FB group for each year, usually that would be the place to search if you didn’t get a chance to exchange info during the class.
The Best Starts After The Masterclass Ends
For me, the yearlong group experiment is why the tuition is worth every penny.
After the 6 lectures, Lynne and her team will do their best to assign 10-12 people into a group so there is a better chance of having 8 members making it to each meeting.
Lynne will ask for a monthly report to check your progress until about 12 months after the first lecture. So if your group starts meeting quickly, you would get about 10 months.
My first time through the class, we were left with 3 people at the end, though we still saw some results, this group did not meet again after the year ended.
It was a good thing though, I was not at a very good place mentally and physically. I needed a break after a year of not missing a single meeting.
Second Time Is The Charm
After making some life changes, I was slowly getting better. When Lynne’s early-bird offer came, I decided to try again. This time, I connected with a member soon after the group assignment. And before the first group meeting, two of us intended for a group with wonderful members to grow and learn with. And it worked!
We were one of the groups that started regular meeting quickly. Even with privacy and technical concerns, everyone was gamed and did what one could to learn the secured social media and online meeting platforms.
Our Group of Love And Light
Our members are supportive, forward moving, kind, easy to work with, highly enlightened, intelligent, and humorous, I can go on for a while here. Every week, together, by intending and problem solving (adjusting the intention statements to be more effective), we bonded as a circle of love and light. I am proud to say we have pretty good results in helping ourselves and others this year.
Thanks to my group mates, I am happier, more confident, and has regained most of the energy and health I used to have. And after years of asking for an answer, I figured out a firm new direction to go as a writer but without the stress and pressure I felt. Not all the results came directly from specific intentions but 100% brought to me by my group mates!
With them, I can speak freely and not worry about sounding crazy or silly. It’s a great feeling to find this many like minded people and be with them every week. At the end of the year and there were still 7-8 participants every week. There were people who dropped off or switched earlier on but new members just fit right in. It is not a coincident who came to be in our group.
[Advice] To get most out of the class, prepare to commit to attend the group meetings for the whole year. If you can’t do that and still want to try, perhaps Lynne’s live, in-person Intention Workshops would be a better choice.
Have Goals, Not Expectations
Having solid reasons for taking this class would keep you on track as you intend during the year. They are also a good way to track your progress.
Not having any expectation about the class might bring you many unexpected gifts by not setting limits to what may come your way.
Be Kind & Have Patience
You may experience technical/admin issues during the year, remember that Lynne and her team are dealing with a large group of people, know that they always try to provide us as best as they are able.
Giving by Receiving
Like me, most people find it hard to receive, through both of my groups, I leaned that receiving is also an important part of intending.
Being a good receiver in general, it could be as simple as accepting a compliment with grace, allows you to sync up better with the receivers of your intentions which helps you deliver your gifts with better results. At the same time, there is a better chance for your own intention to manifest since you are better prepare to receive
My Intention for You
Whether you end up taking the course or not, be like a Jedi, as I feel sometimes when practicing the art of intending, May The Force Be with You!
Qi, even to most Chinese is a mysterious force that only kung-fu masters possess, much like the powers comic book superheroes have.
In 2016, Prof. Si-Chen Lee (李嗣涔), published Scientific Qi Gong (科學氣功), explaining the science behind Qi Gong through his experiments, research, and personal journey.
Is Qi Real?
In kung-fu novels, Qi is often used to heal or to hurt people. With the help of Qi Gong Master Lee (李鳳山), showed that healing Qi increased DNA replication, harmful Qi slowed replication and even damaged some DNA chains in chromosomes.
From his experiments, Prof. Lee thought that since Qi can affect other objects, Qi must be a fundamental force that exists everywhere like the gravity.
What Is Qi?
By chance, Prof. Lee learned about the Torsion Field, the twisting of space-time.
After comparing Torsion Field’s properties with a passage from an ancient document, “Qi can be interrupted by water and scattered by wind” (氣，界水則止，遇風則散。)
He also proved this statment from his experiment by projecting a massy source energy through a crystal.
He then concluded Qi is a torsion field.
How Does Qi Gong Work?
Prof. Lee suggests that Qi Gong activates Qi to adjust the body’s muscular system, smoothing out the body’s communication networks to allow the collagen protein to pass on the repair commands from the master gene to every cell before the next round of regeneration.
Qi Gong ensures the commands are delivered without blockage thus promotes the body’s own self-healing ability.
Prof. Si-Chen Lee’s Scientific Qi Gong
In his book, he showed us some simple Qi Gong exercises to keep us healthy. (If you like to try them out, be sure to find a Chinese speaking friend to translate the details of the video for you.)
We don’t all have to become Qi Gong masters to benefit from Qi Gong. If you read Chinese and are interested in science and alternative healing, you would love this book.
From this picture, you see mostly solid colors and no small clusters of stuff. This create the visual tidiness like folding with Konmari method.
This Aqua metal 5-drawer cabinet was the seed of my vision. I’ve always wanted one, now I have a good reason. When I saw the actual color in The Container Store, sparks of joy flew. I’m still happy every time I see it!
But I needed two to hold up the stereo and other things (unknown at this point), so I ordered one in yellow, a color I also like.
I also joined their POP membership to save on possible future purchases.
At the bottom I need something strong to support everything on top. After measuring, searching, and comparing, I ended up with BESTA shelving frame from IKEA.
To be honest, I wasn’t so sure about the white but the other two colors just shout blah. Once I put it in, it actually brightened things up just the right amount.
By the way, a few weeks after I bought it, it went on sale. Being an IKEA Family member gave me a 90-day price protection. And I got $8 back from my IKEA store.
While waiting form my metal cabinets, I kept visiting The Container Store just for fun. By accident, I wondered to the clearance rack, saw a bit of yellow that matched the cabinet peaking out of an discountinued item for $13.
When I opened it, it was a metal storage cube I had considered but thought it was too expensive. Right then, another part of the vision puzzle fell into place.
I bought it then ordered a white one to help support the shelving plank above it. FYI, the doors and inside shelves come separately!
Free shelf covers! These are actually packaging lids for the 5-drawer metal cabinets. They are effective in hiding the “noisy” contents thought they don’t cover the whole opening. However, that’s what makes them easy to remove. I thought making something wider myself but none would look as nice.
I’ve this arrangment for 3 months now and haven’t changed a thing.
Party on the inside
From the pictures, you can see that I wanted color inside the drawers. This way I get the burst of color joy only when I open the drawers, as I prefer visual tranquility most of the time.
Looking inside drawer 2, you see the turquoise and white trays are lined. I used the color paper I have on hand to add vibrance and protection to the trays.
I also carry the idea to other drawers. Each drawer, according to its contents get a different treatment. Keep in mind that I also made my own insert when I did not like anything fitting on the market.
Function + form = spark of joy
What makes me smile other then all the colors in my drawers? Everything is where they should be.
Drawer 2 holds the most used items. I might have use drawer 1 but it doesn’t like to be opened all the way, even after I fixed the inside structure. And after months of using it, I realized drawer 2 is at the perfect height.
So, as you put your items in order, remember your sprak will go away if it’s a pain to use.
Do I have enough pens and pencils?
Once you are Konmari Clean, you can save money and avoid new clutter. As you see in my drawers that it’s obvious that I don’t ever need to buy more pen and pencil. And that’s the whole point of working by categories.
(Re)Locate with logic
Consider these with storage containers, cabinets, and individual items alike:
Keep these near where they were before? Is there another location that would be more efficient?
How often will you use it? Think ease of access.
Are these items where you might be looking if you don’t really remember exactly?
Officially Konmari Clean
One last thing, I do have a deal-with-it-later shelf but it’s obvious enough I won’t forget it and not prominent enough to bother me.
Oh, one more last thing, less stuff = easier to clean = clean more often.
I believe, as Marie promised, I don’t think I will ever clog up my space again.
What’s the point of all the KonMari work? Why fold and store clothing Konmari way? I first tried folding things my way then her way, the difference–much lower visual noise.
I was amazed how well visual tidiness brings tranquility to my life. I am more relaxed when I am in my room and in general. Then I applied the same principle to other categories.
Window shopping = energy to go on
Again, this started with my vision of a tidy built-in bookshelf. I didn’t know the exact items to buy but I know how they must work:
Must be able to hold heaver weight. The tiny stubs can’t hold much more than the shelf planks, not useful.
Must hold all I kept after Konmari sorting–mostly items from this bookshelf and the meditation corner (formally the clutter blackhole).
Must have colors that brings me joy.
It was 5 months into the process, since I needed a break, I measured my shelf, armed with a tape measure, then visited various stores and web site for inspiration. Boy, that was fun and productive. Building this vision also pumped me up to finish the office supplies and smalls categories.
If you read Marie’s first book, you know before you even sort a thing, you must envision the end result.
Mine was simple–have a meditation corner in my room, perhaps with a comfy chair. And if I have the desire and energy, I will put up my own oversized Zentangle art in turquoise blue, black, and white.
That vision powered me through to the end of the Konmari process. And trust me, this end vision is crucial to the process, even if the vision might change on the way, and the end result might be different.
Vision is not carved in stone
After 7 months of tidying up, I got my clean corner.
Sorry, no before picture, all I cared at the time was getting rid of the corner clutter–dusty black metal shelves, an IKEA double hamper, and a bunch of this-might-com-in-handy-someday stuff. Trust me, no one needs to see that.
Instead, I bought some yoga gears on sale to fulfill the vision of the meditation corner.
One of the toy chests you see here holds those gears, the other holds my backpack and cloth I’ve already worn but not ready to wash. Once I put the lids down, no loose items, no visual noise.
This works so much better for me than my original vision.
Tips on vision and decorating
Figure out the essence of your original vision. In my case, I just wanted my own quiet, uncluttered space.
Be flexible and creative. Would following your original idea really spark joy? If not, look around, get ideas, change it. To suit my needs, I often find myself using/buying things that have different original purposes.
Be okay to wait and buy what you need. Only after I knew what I need to make a new home for the items in each category, I start looking for their “home”, starting with what you already have. If that doesn’t spark any joy, then start searching to buy.
To save money, use the boxes and trays you are not using/recycling for organizing things that will be inside drawers or closets. The point is to have a clean visual environment.
Listen to your inner voice–“Yes, this definitely sparks my joy”
More on the Sprout toy chests
If you put it next to a wall, you can prop up the lid as if there were hinges.
I used a plastic container (and I managed to sneak turquoise blue in there) to separate my backpack from my clothing since it’s more dirty.
For assembly, it’s easier to have 2 people and a rubber mallet (I folded corrugated cardboard into a thick stack and used that with a regular hammer). And if you are a perfectionist, a level would be great, too.
After donating, recycling, and throwing away the rest of what I no longer need or love, I was surprised that I actually have shelves and drawers left empty. And I have to remind myself that empty spaces are the best medicine for my sanity.
Now I’ve lived with my KonMari-ed room, I am proud to not pile things up again. One empty shelf is now the holding place for things to be give away, either going to friends or for donation.
Reclaiming the joy of paper crafting
For my desk, I have two metal boxes from IKEA, holding the most used items. The boxes come with cork lids but bits of cork fall out all the time. So, I decided to make lids my way:
Instead of having to remove the lid, the new lid act as a hinged cover. It’s much easier to open and shut.
No more holes in the lids for dust to get in the boxes.
This process also helped me reduce my specialty paper collections. My collections are my sentimental items. I figured the more I used now, the less volume (i.e. pain) I would have parting with them.
I had great fun making and designing the lids, therapeutic while productive, exactly how I roll.
Since white dirties easily, I also made inserts to line the boxes. See the bright yellow poking out from the bottom of the black insert? Sparks joy everytime I raise the cover.
Repurposing & make it yours
You may not be a paper nut like me but try repurposing what you do collect. Marie did suggest to use what you have on hand to save money as you reorganize your items. You can’t buy read-made items to fit your every need anyway, why not make them your own?
Since I can recycle shredded paper with residential garbage collection and I have a cross-cut shredder (strip-cut is not as secured), I decided to shred as I sort. I tried to mix different types of documents when I shred, cautious or paranoid? Could be both, ha ha!
If you don’t have a shredder or you have a lot of confidential documents, look for free document shredding events in your area.
Learn the recycling rules
Can you recycle shredded paper?
How do they want it? Our collector asks us to put shredded paper into clear plastic bags. (I saved the dry cleaning protective covers from the “clothes on hanger” phase, tied the hanger ends and used it for hold the sheredded paper.)
Can photo paper be recycled with regular paper? In our area, you can recycle photos but only if they are shredded.
On my first read of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I realized my design career no longer sparked joy. And for the first time in many years, I stopped blaming clients for not letting me go because I was actually the one who couldn’t let go.
Little did I know, this revelation even helped me clean out my books, too.
Declutter, make money, donate
I found out many of my design/art books are worth pretty good money. So before you throw your books out, do the following:
Donate to your local library (in our area, most branches sales book to raise funds)
Recycle (hardcover books might not be accepted for residential pickups, check with your garbage company)
Combining the sales to Amazon traid-in and secondhand bookstores, I made almost $100. That is more joy for the rest of the KonMari process.
General (books for fun)
Kept 0. Lucky for me, our library almost always has what I am looking for and more.
Practical (reference, cookbooks)
Kept 2 for writing novels
2 dictionaries (Japanese, English idioms)
3 Adobe CS books (running an old version, so best to keep on hands)
1 Mac OS book (can’t search for answers if the Mac dies)
4 Computer language books (still running WordPress sites)
A box of reference books for my next book/series, not in English, items not easily found here
1 baking book
Visual (photographic, art)
Design related books
Since I finally decided to end my design career for good, I was able to let most of them go. It felt like I am telling myself and the Universe that I’ve declared my intention to move away from design and focus on writing
Kept only what I love the most, patterns, graphics from old catalogs and products.
Paper swatches and print samples. Be sure to remove metal bindings before recycling the paper. The metal binding might contain unknown combination of metals that can not be reversed into pure forms again.
I only had ones for graphic/web design, so I didn’t keep any but these are what I’ve tried.
Sold on ebay before, expensive to ship because of the low price point. And it’s a lot of work to package them. Unless you do this for a living, it’s not worth the effort.
Local secondhand bookstores didn’t want them
Recycling them turned out to be the only option
All my books fit into one single shelf with space left over.