Even before she enrolled at Chapman four decades ago, Tricia Fidler ’79 was on a cycle of four-year experiences. She grew up in a military family that moved just about every four years, so Fidler got good at packing and unpacking. Without knowing it, she had started preparing for the tidy professional role she now serves in the lives of others.
These days Fidler spreads the joy of household order as a Gold Level certified consultant in the KonMari method. That means she has conducted more than 200 closet-clearing sessions using the methodology rooted in the bestseller “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” by Marie Kondo.
The KonMari Journey
Fidler is a KonMari high achiever and a key contributor to the Netflix series “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.”
“My approach is facilitative, transparent, genuine and joyful,” Fidler says on the website for her San Diego-based consulting business, Heywood Park Collective – @heywoodpark collective. “I love this work and truly enjoy guiding others through the steps to sparking more joy!”
“I help clients sort through their challenges and better understand where they are in their lives. That comes straight from my coursework at Chapman.”
Though she has amassed decades worth of professional and personal life experiences since her Chapman years, Fidler says she still applies lessons she learned on the way to a degree in social work.
“A major part of the KonMari method is active listening – having a nonjudgmental ear and reflecting back what is being shared,” Fidler says. “I help clients sort through their challenges and better understand where they are in their lives. That comes straight from my coursework at Chapman.”
“The performance aspect wasn’t totally foreign to me,” she says. “It takes some finesse skills to provide support that helps everyone meet a production schedule.”
Recently, Fidler brought those skills to her alma mater for a demonstration in one of the residence halls:
Before she launched her consulting business, Fidler had been sorting through changes in her own life. In 2012, her parents passed away within six weeks of each other, and she joined her siblings in considering what to do with all her mom and dad had accumulated. It was an emotional time, and Fidler felt overwhelmed.
Her parents lived in San Francisco, and Fidler remembers finding Kondo’s book in a store on Filmore Street. Almost immediately, she started bringing order to the project as family members attached sticky notes to items that brought them joy. The stress eased, and Fidler felt like she had found a path forward.
She and her husband had recently become empty-nesters, so they also used the KonMari method to downsize their household.
“It was life-changing,” she says. “I have always liked to know where things are, and I do have an appreciation for a well-organized drawer, but my approach was more willy-nilly.”
To identify the truly important things in her life did indeed provoke joy, Fidler says. At the same time, letting go of unimportant possessions brought “a great relief.”
‘Tidying Up’ the Chaos
It was a turning point in a working life that has included stints in organizational development, as a human resources professional and as an entrepreneur. Fidler says she thinks some clients choose her as a consultant expressly because she has a deep professional background and has experienced loss.
“The joy for me is watching the transformation of a family or a person when they feel really balanced in their home,” she says. “It’s like going from chaos to calm. Watching people really connect and say, ‘What do I want for myself now, and who do I want to be moving forward?’ It’s just a gift for me to watch that transformation.”