It's 2019, a new year, a fresh beginning, a clean slate and a renewed drive to clear up, clean out and simplify. Netflix sensation Marie Kondō has created a decluttering revolution with her addictive series, reminding us to focus only on those things that bring us joy in life. This concept resonates with me, and I believe it can be applied in a much wider sense too.

"Achieve more by doing less, better" – this is the baseline for a Marie Kondo-esque approach to 2019. We can all achieve more in our days through focusing our energies on the things that really matter, the things that bring us happiness or, in Marie's words, "spark joy". In a work/productivity sense, this is also relevant advice. Less distraction, less white noise in our work spaces, allowing for more productivity and less scattered energy. Get more done, enjoy your work, and leave energy for those things that bring happiness to your life.

Organizing consultant and author Marie Kondo has created a decluttering revolution with her addictive series. Photo/Getty Images
Organizing consultant and author Marie Kondo has created a decluttering revolution with her addictive series. Photo/Getty Images

In a community environment, the KonMari method can be translated into treasuring our local environment and being in touch with those areas or features of our District that spark joy in you. It's a physical reminder of why you choose to live here, what makes you proud to be a Northlander. There will be a flow on effect of awakening to our surrounds in this way, I believe it will lead to a greater level of care for our environment and a renewed respect for the special places in our District.

There are a number of places in Whangārei District that spark joy for me. I always enjoy them, but through the lens of Marie Kondo's philosophy, I will now make more of a conscious effort to recognise them as I'm enjoying them, to appreciate their value to both the area as a whole, and to me personally.

That first view of Te Whara, Bream Head as you crest the Brynderwyns, for example. It's a genuinely stunning sight, but it's also an emotional touchstone, a sense of homecoming. These are our treasures, and for me, this is where the focus belongs.

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Our community is another of my joys; seeing people enjoy the local environment – natural and designed – brings me a huge amount of pleasure. Watching people take ownership of our surroundings, which can be as small as cleaning up after their dogs or as big as organising a clean-up day, gives me a sense of pleasure that must be equal to Marie Kondō's rolled sock and rainbow drawer happiness.

I started 2019 with a clear vision to add purpose and value to my career and my life. I started by cleaning and rearranging my office, and followed that by getting in touch with treasured places and people, reconfirming the love I hold for Whangārei District. I invite you all to do the same.

Here's to an uncluttered, refocused, and absolutely joyful year ahead!