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We speak to Dr. Aparna who has integrated the Montessori philosophies in her parenting journey and observed parallels with the KonMari® Method of tidying. She found that a prepared, cluttered-free environment using both concepts enabled her children to grow into confident and grate young adults. 

If you've missed our Instagram Q&A, here are some of the questions from our followers. With advice from Dr. Aprana, we hope these tips would make tidying up a little easier.

How do I get my children to throw away the toys they have outgrown? They want to keep everything! 

The KonMari® Tidying Method encourages you to keep what you love while discarding the rest with gratitude. One of the first steps to helping our children simplify their space is to have completed with our own tidying first. Before you tidy with them, ask yourself: “Have my children watched me keep items of joy? Have I demonstrated what ‘letting go’ to others looks like?” Our children need to be prepared what they’re getting themselves into by us being their role-models first. They will find letting go a lot easier later. It is important to also establish spatial boundaries, so our children’s decision-making is made simpler on how much to keep.


How often do you recommend decluttering?

Once you tidy using the KonMari Method, setting up organised and efficient systems is a once-in-a-lifetime event. I recommend checking within these systems created every 6 months typically during the school holidays to see if the items still align with the family’s values and fit with the current lifestyle.


Do you rotate toys to keep your home neat?

Keeping out or displaying a small number of toys that are your children’s most beloved ones, help to promote more focused and creative play. Anything extra that the play space can’t accommodate could be stored away in a hidden cabinet and rotated out with those on display that haven’t been played with (upon observation)


What are some strategies we can use to encourage our children to keep their toys?

Involving children in setting up their spaces (be it for their clothing, toys, and books) helps empower them to maintain and keep them tidy. I recommend having a regular time in the day or week to reset their spaces. When starting off, let children observe where and how to put things away. Next, move on to working together as a team before slowly letting them manage on their own. This takes time so be patient with expectations! Connect before them by getting into their world before asking them to tidy. Break down tasks into manageable steps. I share a lot of these tips on my Instagram page.


Can anyone be too messy to have a neat space? I don’t know where to start.

Thankfully, you don’t need to be born tidy to enjoy a neat space. Tidying is like any other practical life skill and as long as you really want to learn, there’s going be success! Start with your vision first: why do you want to tidy? How do you want to feel in your home once you’ve finished? What are your goals for yourself and your family after you’ve completed? Let these guide you in your tidying efforts. Start with a small category that seems easy to make decisions (never location) for example, your t-shirts. Choose what you like from the pile and learn “what” you’re letting go of from the discard pile. These are powerful learning lessons that shapes your future purchasing habits as well.


Would you have any tips for workspaces? WFH has slowly led to me and my husband accumulating more mess around?

Start with your vision again. Ask yourself what you want each corner of the space to look like. Then work toward that by starting with easier sub-categories of items and moving to more challenging ones. Remember to always bring items of the same category from all over the home to one location so you have a good understanding of how much you own and want to keep.


My child’s cupboard is overflowing, even after donating some! How can I better organise it? 

Define specific boundaries for each category. Having spatial limitations helps to make objective decisions on how much to keep. If you assign one drawer for tops only, then you know that once it gets full, it’s time to re-think which ones really need to be there. Too many choices overwhelm children so keep it simple for them.


Do you have any furniture recommendations if I’m creating a new Montessori / play space for my 3-year-old? 

I love open shelving that is low and accessible if you’re planning on creating tray activities (IKEA and even Kathy’s Cove have some wonderful options). Cubby-style shelves are great for bulky toys in baskets like Magnetic tiles or even categorising books based on theme.


I would really like to Marie Kondo everything, but I’m lacking time and motivation? Any tips on how to overcome this?

 Find someone to hold you accountable (a friend or even a KonMari® consultant). Schedule time every week to manage one do-able category that feels easy. Keep your vision board or journal in view when tidying so you’re reminded why you’re doing it in the first place. With these tips, it will be easy to stay focused and complete tidying.


May I know how can I get my whole family involved in decluttering? Just a mom trying to get 3 kids and hubby cleaning too. 

Complete tidying all of your own belongings first by category. Talk about your positive experience extensively with them as you move along including the joy it gives you to live with lesser items and donating the rest with gratitude. Your enthusiasm is sure to rub off! Remember that tidying is like any other life skill. It can’t be forced but you can inspire them to start on their own journeys when they’re ready. For shared spaces, talk about your vision collaboratively with them. You never know what creative ideas everyone might come up with!



If you've benefited from this 'Ask This Expert!' Session, do feel free to share it with your friends and family, and follow us on our Kathy's Cove Instagram and Facebook to be the first to know of these events! 

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