Miriam Bakker – “You need to train the ability to make decisions based on emotions”
Miriam Bakker is a certified Marie Kondo consultant and coach and she’s an expert in tidying overstuffed households by ‘decluttering’. Using Marie Kondo’s philosophy, she helps her customers find peace in their homes and in their minds. “Tidying up is not the same as storing away”.
What is it that most people do wrong now?
“Due to a lack of structure, people often lose the overview at home. They usually own a lot of things that don’t necessarily support their lifestyle, but that are actually obstructing it. This causes noise. And that absorbs energy. We’re constantly saying goodbye to jobs or relationships, but it seems like saying goodbye to stuff is more difficult for us. On the other hand, we’re constantly encouraged to buy things.”
Can you tell us something about the Marie Kondo philosophy?
“Marie Kondo’s philosophy is all about ‘decluttering’. When people want to tidy their homes, they usually buy large storage containers to store their belongings. But essentially that’s just moving stuff. Me and my customers start by determining the goal for their tidying and how this will contribute to their desired lifestyles. Tidying is just a means. The question is: why do you want to tidy up? Why is this something that’s necessary right now? And then we start tidying per category, not per room. All items are collected in one place. This can already be very confronting, because sometimes people have so many clothes that the piles touch the ceiling. The starting point for the selection is not ‘what has to go?’, but ‘what would you like to keep?’. Which items contribute to the lifestyle you desire? One exercise that often helps is to pick three items per category that bring you happiness. Marie Kondo calls them spark joy items. These items help you to choose from within, not from ratio. Because you can think of reasons (excuses) to keep something for pretty much every item. We want to work towards the life you dream of and you can achieve this by parting with things that don’t contribute to that goal.”
How do you become a Marie Kondo expert?
“I lost my father shortly after my daughter was born. It was a rough period for me. At the same time, I continued to work on autopilot. My battery ran out. It made me realise that something needed to change. I was no longer able to recharge at home either. That’s when I bought a book by Marie Kondo, it was about tidying in the broadest sense of the word. I had a garage that I rented for 60 Euros a month, which was full of clothes that I never wore or used. And my house was full of things I couldn’t part with. I started decluttering my home using the KonMari Method. It had a kind of therapeutic effect on me, which eventually made me decide to quit my job. The image of what I did want became clearer and clearer. Marie Kondo’s method had a big impact on me and how I envisioned my life. And I also want other people to experience that transformation.
So I then attended a three-day seminar by Marie Kondo in London. It takes you through an extensive process, including fully decluttering your own house, someone else’s house and an exam. That requires quite a bit of discipline and perseverance.”
Let’s say, I ask you for help. How long does this process take?
“It differs, there are long and short projects. It depends, for example, on the size of the household, the size of the house and the amount of stuff. But a long project can easily take up to 6 months. In that case, I work in weekly sessions. You need to train the ability to make decisions based on emotions. The more often you do it, the better you get at it. The most important thing is that you tidy the house in 1 go.”
What do you like most in your job?
“The life-changing transformation I achieve in my client, enabling them to live the way they really want to live. Which is often a life in which they spend more time with their loved ones, a more joyful life. That gives me so much satisfaction.”
How do you make sure people are able to find you?
“The best advertising truly is word of mouth. But I’m also active on Instagram, for example. There, I write about my experiences and the conversations I have. In addition, customers occasionally post a photo or video in their stories when I visit. That has led, for example, to a community manager of WTC Schiphol approaching me with the question if I’d like to come over and do a master class.”
Last but not least, what does success mean to you?
“Success for me is living without compromise. As an accountant you might call that financial independence. I miss the sun very much. My parents were both born on an island. I want sun, sea, a beach! Ultimately, success for me is when I can work where I want, when I want, and at the same time help as many people as possible.”