How an organized, thoughtful home can provide a sense of wellbeing
Organized clutter is still clutter. So says LYDIA FIELDS, owner of Seaside Styling & Organizing, a Wilmington business focused on helping people love their homes.
After reading Marie Kondo’s bestseller, “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” Fields and her husband Dylan applied the KonMari criteria of keeping only things that spark joy, not only in their home but in their lives.
Oftentimes, unorganized and cluttered homes can make one feel overwhelmed and exhausted. For Fields, an organized home provides more than temporary satisfaction, it provides balance and wellbeing.
They spent the next two years looking for a place on the East Coast that matched their newfound vision. In 2017, Wilmington became home where Fields worked as a middle school language arts teacher for the next year utilizing her undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Oregon and Southern Oregon University near Grants Pass, Oregon, her hometown.
But her passion for styling and organizing, cultivated as a young child, took over. Fields’ father was a custom home builder, her mother a property manager.
“I grew up in a world of hardware stores and carpet samples. My dad built dream homes. My mom managed short-term rental spaces. But they both had the same goal,” Fields says. “Creating a home, a place for families to feel comfortable and welcome.”
To this day, Fields treasures a purple folder with the words “Lydia’s Home Plan” written on the front in her 13-year-old handwriting. Inside are magazine articles about styling and organizing including “Styling a Tray,” “A Place for Anything and Everything,” and a Thanksgiving meal planner.
“Even as a child I was fascinated with organizing,” she recalls. The folder also contains cookie recipes. “I still like cookies. That hasn’t changed either!”
Fields moved nearly every 18 months when she first married giving her lots of practice setting up welcoming and cozy homes. Every move required packing and purging.
“I enjoyed the creative process of setting up a new home. I found new ways to use what I already owned, turning not so great places into something cute. I liked the challenge and I was good at it.”
In the fall of 2018, with the assistance of SCORE, the nation’s largest network of volunteer expert business mentors, Fields launched Seaside Styling & Organizing.
She says, “I was motivated by others who turned their passion into a business. I have passion and skill. And there is a need. With that combination, I knew I could make my business work.”
Named after the seaside, she says, “I like the calm, peaceful restorative nature of the ocean. That’s how every home should be.”
While being organized can save time, money, and energy, Fields believes that personal well-being is also influenced.
“Well-being usually conjures thoughts of exercise, diet, and social-emotional health. We overlook the impact that environment can have on everyday life,” she says. “Organizing is simply another tool you can use to craft a well-balanced life. And home is an important part of that equation.”
Fields coaches her clients in the KonMari Method of organizing that encourages tidying by category, not by location. She admits, like most people, that it was not always easy to let go of things.
“The method provides great strategies and new ways of thinking about your belongings. It’s incredibly useful,” she says. “You can use it from wherever you are on the spectrum of organization.”
Fields attended Kondo’s training program in 2019 in Los Angeles, California, becoming the only trained consultant in Wilmington.
“I had the opportunity to meet Marie and 120 trainees from 13 countries. Everyone was there because they believed in the process. To me, that was proof of the method’s transformative power.”
She shared her knowledge with the community at the Virtual Health and Fitness Fair hosted by the City of Wilmington earlier this month.
Fields recently worked side-by-side with a client through the entire KonMari Method from start to finish, in all categories including clothes; books; paper; komono (miscellaneous items); and sentimental items.
“Seeing the transformation, not just in her home, but in her confidence and ability to discern what sparks joy, and what does not, has been incredible,” Fields says. “Every room in her home has been curated and organized to meet the needs of her family. And in my mind, that’s what it’s all about.”
To view more of photographer Michael Cline Spencer’s work, go to michaelclinephoto.com.
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