Marie Kondo’s method of Tidying Up led Salam Shaban from stay-at-home mum to professional organiser – this is how
“My brother-in-law would always ask me to organise their home like mine, I did their fridge and some of my friend’s wallets, but I never thought it could turn into a business,” says Lebanese American, Salam Shaban. But after Marie Kondo appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2016, the mum of two realised her natural organisational flair had professional potential. “When I saw the segment, I was a bit shocked as I thought that most people were organised – it was just something I did every day!” explains Salam. “She inspired me to realise that this something I could do for others as I had been with my family and friends.”
Feeling a natural affinity with Marie, Salam devoured her book ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying’, “I loved it because there are no rules. It’s more of a method rather than guide, that once embedded, helps you for the rest of your life. I also realised that a lot of the stuff I was already practicing fitted in with the method so that gave me reassurance.”
Finding a holistic benefit from the method, Salam saw it benefit her life in a multitude of ways, “I followed the five steps completely, she taught me what it feels like to connect with an item as if it were a living thing.” Already pretty minimal, the method helped the busy mum to keep clutter down, make more mindful purchases and to keep a firm grip on family life.
Once living in-line with the method, Salam decided to start expanding her horizons. “My kids had gotten a bit older and were at school for longer periods of time. I wanted to take some courses, but I didn’t know in what. I debated doing Pilates but then settled on a general organising course,” she recalls. It was while she was mid-way through the course that the Kon Mari course in London came up. Even though the passionate organiser was busy, “I thought if I don’t take this opportunity now, I’m going to regret it,” says Salam. So she flew to London and took part in the course which was delivered by Marie Kondo herself – with the aid of a translator, as Marie only speaks Japanese. “It was amazing, she has a very calming nature to her.”
After becoming a Kon Mari certified consultant, Salam set-up her company Tidymess where she planned to help residents of Dubai to adopt the method that her changed her life. Soon after setting up her Instagram account and sharing the neat insides of her home, her followers and client enquiries began to sky-rocket. “I did not expect it to grow the way it has done,” explains Salam, “but I am so blessed that is has done!” Soon Salam was spending her days shopping for organisation products at IKEA and implementing new systems in people’s homes.
Going on to credit the process for her success, Salam believes there’s a magic to be found in the philosophy for everyone. “I think the method has the ability to change everybody’s life, but it needs complete dedication. It’s not something you can just dip into,” explains Salam. The book outlines 5 steps of decluttering of which to do in order beginning with clothes, before moving on to books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and, finally, sentimental items. “You need to do it once in entirety first, but then it becomes the little things that you do every day.”
Now, with 145k followers on Instagram, Tidymess has certainly taken off. Starting from one woman passionate about tidying up, to now fully fledged business with five members of staff, Salam’s innate flair for organisation and love of the Kon Mari method has most definitely changed her life. But it’s the connecting with people that she really values, “The thing that keeps me going every day is when people tell me that I’ve inspired them. It’s the reason I do what I do.”
In terms of brands that the organisation influencer likes to use in her client’s homes, IKEA is top of the list. “I love IKEA because of how much they do to work with sustainable sources. “They also have such a wide range to choose from at very affordable prices, which works great for my clients,” Salam explains.
See Salam in action as she organises an entire kitchen using IKEA products