Organizing with Kelley: An Interview with a Licensed KonMari Home Organizer | South Wake Raleigh Moms

Mar 27, 2019 | Around Town

We had the privilege to interview Kelley Jonkoff, a Raleigh area professional home organizer and KonMari Consultant-in-Training. Kelley is the founder of Organize with Kelley, a successful business she runs to help people tidy up. Kelley will soon be one of only a couple hundred certified KonMari home organizers in the US. Check out the spotlight Walter Magazine recently published on Kelley and check back in with us in a few weeks to hear about an organizing session Kelley helps us with. We can’t wait!


Tell us about yourself…how long have you lived in the Raleigh area? What do you enjoy doing for fun?


I’ve lived in Raleigh for almost a year now!  My now husband and I moved down to Raleigh from Washington, DC last March.  We had both spent the last 7+ years in the District and, as a former military kid, I spent a lot of my childhood moving in and out of the DC area. We loved our time there, but ultimately realized that our busy DC lives no longer sparked joy.  My husband is from Eastern NC, and we have always loved the Triangle. We especially love that Raleigh is so much closer to our families!

I am both a tidy nerd and a movement nerd!  My brain works well for spatial and mechanical thinking, and I drop right into a flow state when it comes to creative problem solving, especially when I’m working with my hands.  This helps me as a professional organizer, but also when I’m cooking, crafting, or reading about yoga and many other movement modalities. I completed my yoga teacher training in 2017, which only increased my fascination with all the marvelous ways our bodies work and move!  My husband and I have plant-based/vegan lifestyles and we love food, so we have a lot of fun trying new recipes in the kitchen and scoping out the Triangle’s vegan restaurants. My specialty is pulling together delicious sauces and salad dressings out of the most neglected of condiments!


That’s great! We also moved down from Washington, DC. What was your motivation for starting your own business?


I spent much of my post-college adult life preoccupied with finding traditional employment that I felt passionate about.  All that time, I should have been asking myself, “Does this really spark joy?” I finally realized one day that the “dream” I’d been chasing was making me miserable.  I did not enjoy my outwardly prestigious job, the office politics, the commute, the meetings, etc. Deep down, I knew I wanted to work for myself, but I lacked the confidence to do it.  I also had no idea what I would do! Shuffling between institutions, agencies, and contractors in DC left me feeling like I had nothing special to offer, beyond killer Excel skills. Enter Marie Kondo.

When I did the KonMari Method™ in my home, it opened my heart and my mind to the possibilities I could create.  It may sound like a stretch, but I know that getting in touch with what sparked joy in my home helped me recognize the contrast between work that did make me come alive and work that left me feeling empty. Understanding that helped me to know what I really wanted and to find the confidence to make the change from secure office work to striking out on my own!  When I left my job, I started exploring my options. I tried part-time jobs in different industries I was interested in. I read tons of books to help me brainstorm about what my skills were and what I liked doing. I interviewed people about their jobs and industries.

One person I spoke with was Jenny Albertini, DC’s first and only Certified KonMari Consultant.  Before meeting Jenny, I had no idea that KonMari Consultants were even a thing! We hit it off and I apprenticed under Jenny for the better part of a year.  Working with Jenny and her clients, I saw my own potential, my own ideal life, to become a KonMari Consultant who helps others find clarity and calm just like I had. This experience and my own work with clients since have shown me what truly sparks joy for me – helping people free themselves from the burdens they’ve been dealing with in their homes, so they can truly start living their best life by finding their joy.


The KonMari method is everywhere these days! What services do you offer? How can you help local moms save time through organization?


Many of my clients are parents of little kids, who only have so much spare energy on hand and would understandably rather spend it with their kids than their clutter!  When you don’t have to search all over for a misplaced backpack, wade through dozens of shirts to get to the one you want, or run out to the store because all the cold meds you had were expired, you get more time for self-care, hanging with your kids, and quality time with your partner.  

I offer KonMari Method™ organizing sessions to help moms tackle their clutter to tidy up once and for all.  A traditional KonMari session is five hours long, however, I offer a three-hour session to accommodate busy schedules!  My best deal is a discounted Full Home Transformation package of five, five-hour sessions to fully banish the clutter! I encourage all clients to follow the KonMari Method™ of tidying in order by category to create a truly lasting change in their lives.


What was it like training with Marie Kondo? What did you learn?


Marie Kondo has an amazing presence.  She stepped into our training seminar radiating enthusiasm and belief in us.  She looked every single one of us (more than 80 people!) in the eye to acknowledge our commitment to learning her method. It was a wonderful way to start off those three days!  In addition to Marie, we learned from her right-hand woman, Nozomi – the first person Marie ever trained to be a KonMari Method™ consultant! We also heard from the first class of consultants trained outside of Japan, including my mentor Jenny Albertini of Declutter DC. Each of the women teaching us brought a different perspective and basket of knowledge to the table.  We learned how to listen, to eliminate judgement, and how to support clients as they learn what “joy” looks like for them. 

Can you tell us more about the KonMari method and why it’s getting so much attention these days?

Marie’s new Netflix show, Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, has generated a ton of buzz since it dropped on New Year’s Day.  It’s amazing to see enthusiasm growing for all things KonMari! People are drawn to this method because it is so much more than just making drawers look pretty and accessible.  The KonMari Method™ looks at the whole person, not just their environment. Consultants are a bit of a hybrid between professional organizer and coach.  With KonMari, we emphasize checking in with ourselves to recognize what we truly value in life.  This is why we joy-check items and thank those items we decide to let go of. By acknowledging our belongings for their service, we are better able to notice and express gratitude for all that we experience. When we have honed our sense of joy, we draw more of it to us.  That’s what makes this method so transformative. We’re not just changing the space, we’re creating space for us to be who we are now and to appreciate all that we have.


What are some simple/quick tips you can provide to get someone started down this path of organization? 


The most important step of this method is the first step: imagine your ideal life.   If you’re having trouble keeping your home tidy, it helps to first look at why you want to tidy, what it is you are working toward.  If you don’t know your destination, it becomes much harder to get there! For example, say you’re expecting another child and would like your house to be tidy so you don’t have to spend what little (and soon to be less!) time and energy you have dealing with your clutter instead of your new baby.  Doing the work of tidying becomes much easier when you can keep that image of why this work is important to you in your mind.

One simple, practical tip? Start keeping all of your like items together!  Put all the medicines in the same cabinet, all the craft supplies in one spot, all of your workout clothes in the same drawer.  Keeping like with like helps you always know where things are and lets you know how much (or how little!) you have.


What is giving you the most joy these days?


Working with my clients!  I love what I do and I love being able to help people free themselves from their visual “to-do” lists aka clutter!  I recently worked with a mom of two, with her third on the way, in downtown Raleigh.  She wrote about it for Walter Magazine and it made me so happy to read!  To have even a small part in helping someone feel liberated from their clutter, more comfortable in their home, and like they understand themselves even better – that’s what sparks joy for me!


To book a consultation with Kelley, visit her website:

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