Practical Magic: Konmari at Home with Christine Dychiao



Christine Dychiao is bringing Marie Kondo’s magic to Manila

WORDS Andrea Lam
PHOTOS Ed Simon of Studio 100
HAIR & MAKEUP Jaresa Felipe of Maquillage Professionel

She looked around and the mess was everywhere. Christine Dychiao was living in the United States with her husband and her new addition to the family began her life filled with clutter. “As soon as my daughter came along, her stuff took over the apartment.” The pack and plays were in the living room, the toys were scattered around, and soon enough, the mess multiplied by three. 

“I didn’t know how to manage a family’s belongings and I felt up to my neck with stuff.” She was looking for a solution and ended up reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. 

“It was strange at first, but at that point I was willing to try anything, because hindi ko na masara closets ko,” Christine jokes. After reading and trying, she finally felt a difference when she put it into practice. “When we say tidy, it usually means organizing when it should mean decluttering or letting go. I felt myself getting lighter from the burden of owning things and the ease of letting go.”

Her friends eventually caught wind of her new passion and, as fellow mothers who also had young kids, they wanted to know more about Christine’s methods. “I had a friend who told me to do a workshop, but sabi ko ‘I’m not even certified!’” She eventually found out about a certification program by Marie Kondo herself. “It filled up so fast, I got waitlisted. Then suddenly, two weeks before it started, I got in!” She frantically prepared for a trip to New York—but getting there was only half the journey.

Christine put in the hours; she worked with clients, got referrals, sent progress reports, faced interviews, and aced exams. Not everyone was so lucky as Christine shared that among her tablemates, only 2 of them succeeded. It was a five-year journey that led to where she is now—and it’s been a year since she got certified.

ON INTRODUCING KONMARI TO THE HOUSEHOLD

With the KonMari method, you cannot force others. You really have to start with yourself. Marie Kondo says that you will learn to live with other people’s clutter. If you’re looking at other people’s clutter, it means you haven’t sorted out the clutter in your own life because you’re merely distracting yourself. It’s psychological, spiritual, and mental. It’s a technique as much it is a mindset.

ON HER FAMILY

I’ve already gotten the first two on board, but the youngest is having issues with letting go of his toys, so I’m just waiting for him to be ready. You cannot throw things away for others because you shouldn’t touch other people’s things. It’s a source of conflict.

ON KEEPING MEMENTOS

That’s part of the ‘sentimental’ category and it’s really the hardest. It’s why you have to tidy in order because if you start with sentimental, you’re still very attached and won’t be able to move forward. I suggest asking your kids which ones to keep. As a parent we’re always so attached but we also have to take the kids
into consideration.

KONCHRISTINE

You have to commit to it. When I was doing it half-heartedly, parang walang effect. Hindi puwedeng I’ll try, it has to be “I’ll do it.”

Visualize. As with everything, visualize the end goal. See what you want to do with everything and give yourself an idea of what you want to get from decluttering.

You have to do it by category. Clothes, books, papers, komono or miscellaneous, and sentimental. You have to follow the right order and it has to spark joy. 

Let go, then organize.You can only organize once you’ve discarded everything. It helps you take everything into account.