Meet Ireland's first certified 'de-cluttering' consultant, Cork woman Vera Keohane

Cork woman Vera Keohane is now Ireland’s first certified Konmari consultant. She tells Caroline Delaney why Marie Kondo’s clear-outs make sense.

A birthday getaway to New York wouldn’t normally involve booking into a course on tidying — but that’s exactly what Corkwoman Vera Keohane did.

The course run by Marie Kondo, the internationally renowned organising guru, so inspired Vera that she actually qualified as Ireland’s first certified Konmari consultant and is now devoting a good chunk of her time to helping others swamped by clutter achieve calm and order.

I read Marie Kondo’s book and, while I was inspired, I was initially sceptical that it would actually work. I started small — organising things like socks and underwear and was delighted with the satisfaction it gave me

"Then I had planned a trip to New York as a 50th birthday treat and found out that she was going to be giving a seminar.”

Sounds a bit kooky right? Well, they’ve been together for 30 years but Vera didn’t even tell her husband about her holiday plans until she was nearly on the plane. But her family are fully on board with her new status as a ‘queen of clean’ now.

“I was so inspired to meet her and other like-minded people, I even took on my first client right there in New York,” laughs Vera.

Vera sat exams in the Konmari method and built up the required number of clients and is now in high demand thanks to the Marie Kondo show becoming a Netflix hit here this month. Though, that’s not to say that her whole house was transformed overnight: “I was always organised to a degree but there were problem areas such as the utility room and attic. And, for a while, you’d have to put your bum against the hotpress door to close it!”

View this post on Instagram

I am Vera, I am the first and only Konmari Consultant in Ireland. Kondo's mission is to tidy the world. She alone cannot achieve this and has personally trained over 206 konmari consultants worldwide. Her Netflix series has inspired many to declutter and get organised as we head into 2019. As consultants we work with clients at their pace, in a nonjudgemental fashion, imparting our knowledge of this unique method giving them the skills to maintain order and contentment in their lives. 💗🏡🌎 . . . #magicoftidying #sparkjoy #personalorganiser #konmariconsultant #declutter #organisedlife #lessismore #tidyspace #loveyourhome #mariekondo#konmari #gratitude#findjoyineachday #enjoyyourhome

A post shared by Vera Keohane (@enjoy_your_home_) on

Now though, the mum of five is enjoying the calm and extra time she’s gained from being so organised. Her children are young adults now, but at one stage she had five children under the age of six so she’s well aware of the pandemonium involved in getting everyone out of the house in the mornings while finding lunchboxes, socks and hats.

A key part of the Konmari method is keeping only items which spark joy, or are functional.

So a toilet brush or phone charger doesn’t exactly spark joy in me — or indeed most people — but because they are functional they can stay. But the six other chargers for outmoded phones and the tatty tracksuits and pretty much the entire contents of that junk drawer every house has — all that has to go.

“All that stuff is replaceable if you really need it,” explains Vera.

And don’t go hanging onto basic clothes which you haven’t worn in ages either — if it’s so nice you should be wearing it and if it doesn’t fit then get rid of it, Vera urges.

If you have a shirt you haven’t worn in two years but you’re telling me that you really like it then I’m asking you why you’re not wearing it. You really like your husband or wife but you wouldn’t ignore them for two years, would you?

You can keep some items for sentimental reasons — but Vera queries if the memories of the occasion you wore that dress or if photographs of that important day would suffice.

She says she hasn’t militantly imposed the Konmari method on her family, instead she worked on the living areas and her own bedroom. “But it’s contagious. They did ask to be shown how to organise their own things.” There are a few things to note about the Netflix show, says Vera. “It’s not an interiors show so the real transformation is in the person themselves. Also, it is a very gentle method so there isn’t a dramatic change in a room or house.”

If you hire a Konmari consultant they don’t pop on a hazmat suit and start filling up a skip outside your house. Instead they help you recognise what you don’t need so you can appreciate and deal with the things you do need.

The process begins with a one-hour home consultantion and then follows up with five-hour sessions.

Vera has brought her organisational skills to work with her too. She’s a nurse in a health centre and has rearranged the medical supplies in the store cupboards there, making it easier to reach what is needed and to see what needs to be replaced.

Vera can be contacted on Facebook and Instagram on enjoy_your_home_

More in this Section

GameTech: ‘World War Z’ revives ‘Left 4 Dead’

Stories from a seanachaí at Cork World Book Fest

Hats off to Dali: Exhibition shows largest collection of artist's work in Ireland

The Skin Nerd: Avoid running into skin trouble on marathon day


Latest Showbiz

The perfect goodbye? Avengers: Endgame reviewed

Maisie Williams admits embarrassment over Game Of Thrones sex scene

Diddy opens up about death of former girlfriend Kim Porter

Avengers immortalised in cement at Hollywood’s Chinese Theatre

More From The Irish Examiner