Minimalism or Maximalism?

I was recently a guest on “The Catalyst Conversation Podcast” with host Jennifer Maggiore, Founder of Catalyst Branding & Business Consulting. Reviewing some of the sections of the podcast gives me the opportunity to share highlights with you, and to take a deeper dive here and there.

You can find my episode, “Mindful Organization, Marie Kondo-mania, and Productivity with Ellia Harris” and other interesting episodes! at

Part 1… Marie Kondo-mania!

JM: Are you familiar with Marie Kondo?

EH: Oh, absolutely.

JM: I’m curious what you think about that show. On one hand I think we are this very consumerist culture sometimes, and I think there is more awareness around minimalism and upcycling and recycling and purchasing things used instead of new. But I wonder sometimes if that isn’t too extreme a philosophy. Do you strive for minimalism with your clients? How do you help somebody decide when they have too much? And then when is that thinning out process done?

EH: You know, everybody is different. Some clients are definitely aspiring minimalists. Others are simply overwhelmed by their possessions, but can’t go into minimalist territory. Since all the people I work with are committed to making a change in their environment, we begin thinning out in our very first session. They’re excited to finally be able to do something about their situation, and they dive right in.

It’s interesting that Marie Kondo comes from Japan. Because you’re looking through the lens of a culture where people live in much smaller spaces than they do here in the US. Our homes are so much bigger, even in modest terms, compared to some cultures and Japanese homes are very small – they don’t have space for a lot of clutter – so that’s the background to this North American love affair with Marie Kondo. I think that we have a natural tipping point, each of us, for what is enough and what is too much. The concept that she uses of what sparks joy is one approach to how to decide what to keep and what to discard.

Every organizer works in a different way. I ask questions like, “Does it still fulfill a purpose for you? If you didn’t have it, how difficult would it be to replace it?” It’s also about what people prefer about their environment. For example, people are either an innie or an outie. What I mean by this is that: if you’re an innie, you prefer not to see the visual clutter – you want everything behind doors, in drawers, you don’t want to see it out. An outie, on the other hand, needs to see things so that they’re reminded they have to take their medication, return a library book, or do this project. They need those visual cues.

JM: That is totally me. It’s so funny, I’m a little bit of both!

Thanks, Jenn – had a blast!

What can you take from this?

·      Think about who are the ‘innies’ and who are the ‘outies’ in your household.

·      Think about minimalism, and whether it could work for you.

·      If you want a partner in making change, we can talk.

You can get more posts like this in my bi-weekly newsletter: sign up here

Photo by Sarah Dorweiler on Unsplash

Photo by Sarah Dorweiler on Unsplash


- Messy home, smothered by clutter?
- A never-ending to-do list?
- Scatterbrained and trouble focusing?

Let me help you be more organized and productive!
My clients are organized at heart, but they have difficulty clearing the clutter in their home or their head. If you, too, are ready to get organized, be more productive, and improve the quality of your life, I can help you.

Virtual Coaching - 1 hour video call for organizing or productivity issues, anywhere
Onsite Coaching - 3 hour session for organizing and productivity issues, in the Seattle area
Packages - 6 or 12 discounted sessions, either Virtual or Onsite

Not sure which option is best for you? Contact me to arrange a free, 20-minute phone consultation: Ellia@MindfulOrganizing.NET or Click here to learn about my organizing and productivity coaching services.