I met Wiebke in 2009 (pronounced Veep-ka) at an event for the Italian Embassy in Bahrain I was my father’s plus one. Unbeknownst to myself the event was a charity lottery thing, and both my father and I were cashless, Wiebke stepped up and covered our 1BD raffle cost. I died of embarrassment and invited Wiebke out for coffee the next day. We’ve been having coffee, lunch, dinner and vacations ever since and I cannot have been luckier to cross paths with her.
Wiebke is one of those people who does things properly, efficiently and effortlessly. So it came as no surprise when she told me she was going to get Marie Kondo certified and with that start Tidy Bayti a professional home organization service.
It’s been a blessing reaching out to Wiebke and bounce ideas off of her about organizing my living space, there’s always room for improvements in keeping things tidy.
OD: Your career as a professional home organizer suits your personality so much, when did you realize that your passion for tidying could become a career?
WB: As you point out it is in my personality to be organized and in most of my previous jobs, in one way or the other my responsibilities related to organizing and planning. But I only realized after I finished my own KonMari journey that being a professional home organizer could become a career for me. After friends saw the results of my tidying journey, they asked me to do the same for others. If you had asked me some 2 years ago, I would have never imagined this would be one day my profession! But today, I’m happy to say that I found my true passion in life and I consider myself very lucky to be able to build a career around it.
"The beauty of the KonMari Method is that it works with any lifestyle even if we need to twist and tweak it a little to match the circumstances."
OD: In your many years living in Bahrain, how do you bring in your German efficiency to Khaleeji living through your work?
WB: If you decide to get on the path of a KonMari journey it means you decide to not only organize your closet but to change your lifestyle, your habits, your routines. Before you would start your KonMari journey with me I am very transparent on what to expect from this journey and I explain the values of the KonMari Method as well as my work attitude. Due to the close relationships, I develop with my clients over time we learn from each other and we share our life experiences and values. Yes, the Khaleeji way of living is different to a lifestyle in Europe or the US, and in many ways pleasant - yet I still retain the values and work ethics my parents taught me.
The beauty of the KonMari Method is that it works with any lifestyle even if we need to twist and tweak it a little to match the circumstances. Just one example: one of the KonMari rules is to pile up all items of a certain category e.g., all clothes, to get a full grasp of what you own. It is a sort of shock treatment that is required to acknowledge your consumer habits and to understand that they need to change. But sometimes that does not work due to the sheer volume of belongings in a category. In such cases, we adjust the rule while keeping its original intent, and pile up for example all clothes for a subcategory.
OD: What do you say to people who are just hopeless at staying organized? How do you make sure they don’t slip back into bad habits?
WB: There is no such thing as a “hopeless” case, everyone can change, habits can change, but it requires, as with everything else in life, determination, discipline, and the willingness to change. In my experience, there are two types of people: the ones who can easily depart with their belongings, but they have some trouble to stay organized and then you have the other type who has a hard time letting go but manages to maintain the order. If you know which type you are you can work on your weak point.
As a KonMari consultant I help you to find the answers on what “sparks joy” in your life but the decision on what to keep solely remains with you - and that is a very important point. My clients decide on every single item they own, and my role is to help them by asking the tough questions and not letting them get away with a “maybe” as an answer. I see myself a bit as a personal trainer: you know how to do your exercises, and as your coach I make sure you do them properly and I guide or push you out of your comfort zone. And once you trained very hard, you see the results of all the pain, sweat and work that went into getting fit and shaping up, and chances are you will not slip back into your old habits.
The KonMari method creates the same effect: A lot of effort, time, sometimes even tears and sweat goes in. This helps you learn to change your old habits because you will not want to go back on your results and into your old habits. To maintain this new order, you need to conduct an on-going “joy-check” on whatever you have and add to your possessions. We need to understand that clutter accumulates silently and steadily. Once you have decided what truly has a meaning in your life, what “sparks joy”, you will know what to keep. What is very important, for anything you own, you need to find a dedicated home for it and it must be returned once used. This is something that will never change and must be done every day, but it will be so much easier once you know where it belongs.
"As a KonMari consultant, I help you to find the answers on what 'sparks joy' in your life ... Once you have decided what truly has a meaning in your life, what 'sparks joy', you will know what to keep."
OD: Finally, what sort of advice would you give someone who is finally ready to get organized?
WB: Three things are important:
- Do not wait to kick off! There is no perfect moment in life to start tidying your belongings and to declutter your life, there are only missed opportunities of living your best live!
- Trust the method, there is a reason why the method suggests decluttering by categories and in a certain order. Clothes first, then books, then papers (documents) after that the Komono categories and the hardest category at the end which is “sentimentals”.
- Do not give up, when it gets hard! It is worth every single minute you invest; you gain so much more you could have never imagined. Space up your life!
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