Tidying your home can be a journey to joy, says Alichia Pretoria
Marie Kondo took the world by storm a few years ago, with her KonMari Method, asking us if the things in our home ‘sparked joy’. Millions soaked up her wisdom in her TV series, but for Alichia Pretorius, the fascination ran deeper, leading her to become one of the three certified KonMari consultants on the continent!
“I discovered Marie Kondo while living in London. I read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up in 2016. I have always been an organised person, so I was fascinated by her process and started implementing it immediately. At the time, you had to fly to America to be trained as a KonMari consultant, which wasn’t possible for me … it became one of those things I really wanted to do but always put off. Then, due to COVID, KonMari Media offered the consultation course virtually, so when I returned to South Africa, I decided that I wanted to pursue this dream.”
So how does it all work? “The KonMari Method is different from traditional organising, so I always take the time to meet people … in order for me to understand my client’s needs better before I can support them on their tidying journey, I need to get to know their dilemma and tidying style, requirements and expectations and then also explain the method and how it can help. Once that’s done, a follow-up visit allows me to assess their space. I then prepare a bespoke proposal for the project and discuss timelines with the client so they can fit it into their schedule. With my support in their home or workspace, they learn the principles of the method and create efficient workflows and systems that contain only items that spark joy and have purpose. I guide my clients every step of the way to facilitate the calming transformation that they are looking for.”
Alichia’s services are particularly useful for busy individuals, those transitioning to a new season in life … think relocating, moving, retiring, or downsizing, or those who are overwhelmed by the prospect of doing this all alone. “A typical decluttering and tidying session is between three to six hours long. So, I usually see one client per day. It all depends if the client is super hands-on or if they need me to do most things for them. Some people may struggle with one of the categories – clothes, books, papers, komono or miscellaneous items or sentimental items, or they may find certain areas of the home hard to deal with.”
Speaking of things that can be tough to handle, Alichia’s work occasionally takes an emotional toll on her. “As a professional organiser, I emotionally hold space for people who are going through all kinds of life transitions. Some people just see clutter, but I see and understand the emotional baggage, the decision-making, the anxiety, and guilt that you have to confront when you set your home in order.” With that level of understanding and empathy, it’s no wonder that people flock to her as their organisation specialist.
It should come as no surprise that even Alichia’s day is well-organised. “I start the day with quiet time and movement before work. I will then do a virtual or in-person consultation with a client and catch up on some admin before I wind down for family time. I had to make the conscious decision to slow down and find a schedule that works for me. I am trying to live a little slower and more intentionally. My home is my sanctuary and when I am not cooking or baking up a storm, you will find me gardening or entertaining friends over a glass of wine.”
While COVID may have presented Alichia with the breakthrough she needed in getting trained, she also recognises the impact COVID has had on many of us. “During the pandemic, home became the office, home school, the gym, the restaurant, and more. We are now able to reset and decide which habits we will keep, and which habits no longer make us happy. It’s not just about decluttering, it’s about imagining your ideal lifestyle and how you want to feel when you step in the door after a long day of work.”
Head to ajourneytojoy.co.za to learn more about Alichia’s services or find her on Instagram @a_journey_to_joy
Text: TAYLA BLAIRE