Ultimate KonMari Declutter - Before & After by Dana Roberts

When it comes to staying organized, I have never been very talented. I always had a messy room growing up and while I ended up marrying a super neat and tidy man and therefore have had to adapt in some ways, decluttering is still a big problem for me as you can tell from this picture of my childhood bedroom.

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If you are new to our little corner of the internet, my name is Dana and my husband Lou and I live in Ody, an old Mercedes van in Europe that we converted ourselves. We absolutely love how living in a van has transformed our lives over the past 12 months - from scaling down our possessions to finding comfort in simple pleasures, to exploring parts of the world that would never have been possible without our home on wheels.

However, we might be the only people living in a van who have a major problem with clutter. Back in November, Lou and I left our van Ody in Portugal for the holidays and flew back to Connecticut to spend time with family and friends. During our comfortable stay at my parents' house, we stumbled upon the new Netflix show "Tidying Up with Marie Kondo" and were immediately drawn into Marie's KonMari Method.

Kondo's method of organizing is known as the KonMari method, and consists of gathering together all of one's belongings, one category at a time (clothing, books, paper, komono or miscellaneous items, and sentimental), and then keeping only those things that "spark joy." Her entire goal is to inspire you to really look at what you have, be grateful, but also allow things that no longer serve you to go on their way.

Watching her show was the perfect catalyst to tackle a project that has been weighing on my shoulders for almost a decade - finally making the time to extreme declutter my childhood bedroom!

When we started this decluttering project we had no idea that we would be embarking on a spiritual journey of our own, dealing with objects embodied with emotion from decades ago, with our own at times embarrassing mountains of consumption, with relics to a life we had moved away from spatially, but not yet made our peace with.

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One of the aspects of the KonMari method I found the most fascinating is that once you fully understand how to apply her techniques to your home, you may find that her concept of "Spark Joy" starts overflowing into other aspects of your life from the people you surround yourself with to your current job or even the type of exercise you do.

Choosing things that make you feel fulfilled and whole is not always an option, or at least not always the easiest option. But I've found that it is definitely something worth aspiring towards because it feels incredible to look around and know that everything in my life is there intentionally.

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I would love to hear what you thought of the Tidying Up show and if you’ve attempted to KonMari your house or apartment? Leave a comment below or comment on our Youtube video of the process :)

How Meditating Daily Has Changed My Life by Dana Roberts

Two and half years ago Lou and I started meditating while living in Berlin thanks to the help of our teacher, Eddie Vero. For at least a year before we got trained in Vedic meditation, we would mention every now and again how we thought we should pick up meditation. I had read about all the benefits, was battling anxiety, and looking for a holistic way to handle life’s ups and downs.

I will be forever grateful to our friend Bridget for introducing us to Eddie because creating a twice-daily meditation habit has completely transformed our lives. It’s funny when I went to write this post I decided to research the benefits of meditation just to see what the scientists are saying… and I was blown away. Better self-awareness, anti-aging effects, more empathy and compassion, lower stress levels, increase body acceptance, improve sleep quality, reduce blood pressure, improved immune system, and better attention span. Meditation can also help with addiction, social anxiety, depression, chronic pain disorders, IBS and other gut-related diseases, rheumatoid arthritis and a host of other issues.

There are so many resources available online that talk about the benefits of meditation:

But I thought some personal reflections on how meditation has changed my life could be relevant to you as well.

The two main benefits I’ve enjoyed from this daily meditation practice are:

  1. Space between what is happening around me and how I react

This is the most profound change in how I experience the world around me. Before I started meditating I was very reactive. Little things could make me feel embarrassed, angry, sad, regretful, etc. And while meditating definitely has not made me an unemotional person, it has helped me control and connect to my emotions. If something is happening around me - let’s say someone yells at me or I don’t get a job I applied to… before those things would sit with me long after the actual experience. I might ruminate on them and struggle to let the pain go. But meditating has given me a way to feel space between things happening and how I want to react to them. In the case someone yells at me, maybe I can see in the moment that this doesn't have to do with me. Maybe they’re having a bad day? Or something I said was misinterpreted because of a previous situation that they had been in. But it’s not just a great tool for bad situations when things are wonderful meditation has allowed me to be more present and recognize how I want to interact with the people around me.

  1. Ability to start every day with a form of self-care leading me to want to take care of myself the rest of the day

This might not seem like a big thing, but for me starting out each day with a few moments of quiet just for myself has been extremely grounding. Instead of feeling scatterbrained from looking at email or anxious about my to-do list, carving out the 20 minutes before anything to transition from sleeping to waking has been so helpful in treating myself kindly the rest of the day. I think meditation was actually the first key in beginning a self-care practice that now consists largely of making sure any chatter in my head is kind, making sure I get enough sleep and listening to what my body needs whether that is a huge salad or a vegan cookie, a long phone call with my mom or a quiet walk on my own. Meditation has helped me quiet my mind and hear what I actually need to feel fulfilled.


And of course, this doesn’t mean that meditation has solved all my problems. I still get anxious and sad at times. I still get overwhelmed. But I know that having a daily practice that I can always turn to when I need to feel grounded has made hard times in life much easier for me and the good times even more exceptional.

Oh, and when I asked Lou how mediation has affected him these past few years and he said confidently that he has 1000 times less stress in his life. And when I asked him how this happened, he just said, “Magic!”

If you’re interested in learning more about meditation check out this video we made with our teacher Eddie: