My Journey to Becoming a Professional Organiser

By Master KonMari™ Consultant Gemma Quinn

One of my favourite places as a child was my granddad’s shed. Inside, he stored assorted bits and pieces, which he would craft into beautiful things—like the flower press he made for me, and which remains one of my most treasured possessions.

I would spend hours in the shed, wandering around and talking with him about various organisational solutions for his space, and when my granddad was looking around for certain objects, he would often call me to ask where they were kept.

His shed was a magical place — calm and orderly — a contrast to my own home, where objects had a nomadic existence.

Even at a young age, being neat and tidy gave me a sense of relief and calmness. Perhaps that’s why tidying and organising always came naturally to me — it was just part of my personality. I loved how objects would sit in a house and how people would interact with them.

People used to say to me, “Can you help me organise?” and “You should be a Professional Organiser.”

I really enjoyed helping people, and I wanted to give them that same sense of satisfaction that I got from organising. My path to becoming a professional organiser was far from direct, but everywhere I went—from studying business and fashion to working in business operations in the design and advertising industries—I always found myself organising.

I would organise everything from the office cupboard to production and business operations processes. I really enjoyed understanding an issue, getting to the root cause of the problem, and implementing a solution that was realistic and sustainable.

A few years ago, I was considering making a change in career to become a Professional Organiser, and that was when my aunt lent me Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying.

What struck me about that book is that the method it teaches, called KonMari™, is about so much more than just organising. It’s fundamentally about connecting with yourself and your belongings in a way that allows you to organise your home and get on with living your ideal life—one full of joy.

Reading that book helped me to process a feeling that I’d been experiencing in my life but couldn’t quite express. My whole house was always neat and tidy, but something was wrong. Deep down, I wasn’t living the life that I wanted, and I was unhappy. By being honest with myself, I was able to let go of the possessions (and connected emotions) that weren’t bringing me happiness or joy. And after doing that, I was able to connect to everything that I had: everything that remained brought me happiness and enabled me to live a happier life.

Looking back, I had always understood that having the right objects in your life can make you feel happier and more balanced. I think that my respect for objects developed when I was a teenager and I participated in a Japanese exchange program.

I was captivated by the way that the Japanese students who stayed in my home treated their belongings with respect, and I was drawn to the particular beauty of their pencil cases and stationery. During my own student exchange to Japan, my love of Japanese language and culture continued to grow, and so did my respect for spaces and objects.

Every one of us has a relationship with our belongings, whether we are conscious of it or not. We are surrounded with things, and we interact with them every day. The KonMari Method™ challenges us to face our relationships with those objects.

If you don’t look after the belongings that you have, and appreciate their value, it’s disrespectful. And if you’re not willing to value, appreciate and care for the things you have, then why do you even have them at all?

This is the question that I address every day with my clients. With the KonMari Method™ I’m able to help people connect not only with their homes and belongings, but also the powerful feelings that stem from their relationships to those belongings.

KonMari™ is not just about having a tidy house—it’s about having things in order, so that you can get on with living the life you want to live.

Central to this method is being able to pick up a belonging and, without any other thoughts in your head (e.g. who gave this to me, how much did it cost?) determine whether or not it sparks joy for you. This takes practice, like anything, and my role is to support and coach my clients.

I help them to strengthen their ability to clearly identify their relationships with their belongings, and I help them liberate themselves from any things that are holding them back from living their ideal life.

I never assume that I know what the root problem is for each client or project. Instead, I encourage people to communicate, be honest with themselves, and connect with their belongings in order to work towards living a life full of joy.

I find my work both humbling and immensely rewarding, because every day I see clients making drastic, positive changes in their lives.

Ultimately, I wish that everyone could experience the calmness and satisfaction that I felt when I was in grandad’s shed, and that is why I love being a Professional Organiser.

KonMari is not for everyone, and many people already have their own ways of managing their relationships to objects. But it is important to remember that everyone reading this, everyone, has a relationship with the objects around them.

We are all surrounded with and connected to objects. And all of us, whether we are hoarders or minimalists, or somewhere in between, are consciously or subconsciously managing our relationships with those objects in one way or another.

I believe that helping people understand these relationships helps people understand themselves, and by tidying the things in our homes we deal with the things in our hearts.

Gemma Quinn

Master KonMari™ Consultant

gemmaquinn.com.au

Gemma is Australia’s first certified KonMari Consultant and a Professional Member of the IOPO (Institute of Professional Organisers) International. She is based in Brisbane and Melbourne but travels worldwide to spark joy!

If you hear the calling to become a Professional Organiser head to https://www.iopo.com.au/conference2019 for details on the annual Conference for PO’s to connect, learn and grow!

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