In a split society of wanting a simple life, drinking margaritas on a patio vs. hustling day and night as an entrepreneur or rising that corporate ladder, finding a balance was top of mind when I sat down (virtually – because COVID) with self-titled Simplicity Coach, Joselyn Brooksbank.
Joselyn is a certified KonMari™ Consultant & Simplicity Coach, don’t worry, I didn’t know what that was either. Here is my interview with her, some wicked tips for streamlining your life, and of course my spin on how to do it in style.
Q. What is a simplicity coach?
To be honest, I kind of just made up the term. I’ve met a couple of other simplicity coaches on the internet but that was after I Googled it. I am a KonMari Consultant but I also wanted to be able to offer a few more services as well.
My idea of a simplicity coach is helping people simplify their lives in general. Simplifying everything, your schedules, your workload, reducing stress. I know first hand how detrimental it is and I wanted to help people get through that. Thought, how can I help people find simplicity. So I called myself a simplicity coach in addition to the KonMari Consultant.
Q. What’s the story of how you got into this line of work? Assuming you didn’t just wake up one morning thinking, “I’m going to be a simplicity coach today”
I was a ball of stress in my teen years. I was a nerd, but I would get stressed about school and that followed me throughout my teen years into my adult life as well. Especially during my masters and PHD. I was so stressed all the time. I could never relax.
I realized that it had to do with my surroundings. I love traveling, but I would travel with a carry-on only. I would stay at friends’ houses or in very very simple hotels and it was awesome. I found myself able to write for days (if I wanted to).
I especially noticed this in Japan. My partner and I went to Japan in 2018 and the Japanese style of living is more simplistic than our North American way of living. This translates into their hotels, fashion and everything else.
I found myself able to breathe for once. It felt like this weight was lifted off me.
I found myself able to focus in this very small, simple hotel, where I was able to get so much work done. I then discovered the KonMari Method audio book, which I listened to on the plane ride home, found that they had a consultant’s course being offered in LA that September. I joined this very vigorous course that they offer and here I am.
Q. What is the KonMari Method and how is it different from just “clean your room” or a home organizer?
The KonMari Method is about only keeping what sparks joy in your life. It’s not about minimalism but about using this as a tool to help clear the, usually physical clutter, but then it will lead to decluttering other areas of your life. You start to declutter your schedule, your eating habits, relationships that no longer serve you.
It starts with the physical but it transpires into your emotional and mental.
It is a bit different than a home organizer. A lot of people think that, “oh, KonMari consultant. They’re going to come and organize my home.” and yes that’s part of it, but that’s at the end.
The process goes a lot deeper than just coming in and organizing. Because I can do that, and there are other organizers that can do that. But my goal is to get into WHY you have the stuff that you have and WHY you feel you need it when it doesn’t really serve you anymore.
You can’t organize a mess. Or, you can, but it’s just going to become a mess again and that’s why people struggle to keep their homes clean.
Q. Talk to me about “sparks joy” and have you ever had someone say “everything sparks joy”?
A lot of people actually. Especially their initial reaction. They say, “I love all my shoes” or “I have to keep my 75 mugs” and that’s fine. If that is what sparks joy for you if you love waking up every morning and having coffee in a different mug, go for it.
But when they start with, “I love all my t-shirts, I have to keep all my t-shirts” I don’t push people to get rid of things, that’s not why I’m here. I’m here to help them figure out why they want to keep all their t-shirts. We go through each t-shirt and touch each piece and it’s going through it, where they look at that t-shirt from high school and all the letters are fading off it that they’d never wear again and they get to the conclusion of, “I didn’t actually need all those shirts. Or, someone else can use them.”
Another reaction that people have is, “I don’t know what sparks joy” or “What is sparks joy?” and Sparks Joy is a way of seeing what makes you feel great. Clothing is a perfect example. You can put on a shirt and feel great. If you want to walk downtown and run into your ex, that’s a shirt that you want to keep. Or you put on a shirt, and it’s a perfectly good shirt, but you don’t feel great. You would never leave the house.
For example a screwdriver for me sparks joy because of what it means I can do. For me a screwdriver allows me to put up a shelf, I don’t have to call someone to help me, which makes me feel independent and fills a need in my life?
It’s more about thinking about what you want to keep, not what you want to get rid of. The KonMari method isn’t about minimalism, it’s about only keeping what’s important to you.
Q. How do you know you have a complicated life? Are there warning signs? In a world where we’ve glamified being “busy” how do we wrap our minds around this simple lifestyle?
We have this idea that we need to be busy in order to be productive, or to be a functioning member of society or whatever. A lot of people just need to cut back. If you can’t find twenty minutes in your schedule to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee in the morning, or to take that time for yourself, something’s off. In fact, if you don’t have an hour a day to take some time for yourself, something’s off.
I also realize people like to be busy in a sense. But if you’re feeling stressed all the time, if you’re feeling anxious all the time and there’s no time for you to do what you want to do or need to do that’s when you know. Very often our spaces will be the first thing we let go. If you’re working a full time job, have a side hustle or an active social life our living spaces are the first to go. You get home and you crash and your space just gets messier and messier.
It would happen to me all the time.
And we would put those things off, but even if we took twenty minutes a day to tidy we would feel so much better.
Q. How do we start? It just seems overwhelming.
Step one is committing yourself to actually tidying up.
It’s just committing to it. Because you start, then life happens and you get distracted and you don’t do it. But once you make that promise to yourself and you hold yourself accountable it motivates you a bit more.
A lot of people don’t know how to tidy and we start with “I’m going to take twenty minutes to clean my desk” which then turns into three hours of your day because you brought a mug into the kitchen and started doing dishes.
Most people aren’t taught to put things away in a way that makes sense with the flow of their morning, or in a place where things are easily put back.
If stuff isn’t easy to put back, you’re not going to put it back. That’s where most people go wrong. It’s either too hard to put back or there’s no designated home for that item. Think about those clothing items that you wore once but don’t need to be washed yet. Do you put them back in the drawer? More than likely they’ll end up on THAT chair in the corner or on the edge of the bed.
Q. What tips do you have for someone looking to start simplifying their lives?
Start by envisioning the lifestyle you want and picturing it. Then follow the steps of tidying;
Declutter first and give everything a home. Or call me.