'I'm not sure the pants I spent $500 on deserve space in my home'


Melbourne-based Sally Flower is a wellness coach and the founder of Home Sanctuary. She studied under the decluttering expert Marie Kondo to become an accredited KonMari consultant.

She now flies around Australia helping clients clear their homes while bringing together her passions of sustainability and mindful practices around the home.

Before turning to her current life, Flower was living in New York and working in futures on Wall Street. She met Kondo there - it was the right place and time for Flower and soon after she got her licence and moved full-time into consulting.

sally flower australian consultant for marie kondo

What was your first job?

I was a checkout chick in a supermarket after school and on the weekends. When I was 12 I sorted mail in a country town for $5 an hour before school but they fired me because I took too many holidays.

What's the best money advice you've received?

Most recently it would be investing in index products. You definitely can't judge the market and Vanguard indexing is the best product out there. Before that I was investing in blue chips - classic Australian bank shares, reliable and stable - but they're not fun and don't give a good breadth of the market. Now for $5000 I can buy something and let the market do its thing and don't need to worry about what single blue chips are doing.

What's the best investment decision you've made?

Right now my best investment is my education. I'm doing a master's degree in environment and sustainability at Melbourne University. It's really exciting to see the potential changes that can happen in carbon pricing and the international trading of emissions and carbon storage. I think that will be a predominant feature in our global economy in next 10 to 20 years. It's probably the most expensive uni but I feel that if I'm doing something I love it's going to make me money, grow my career and allow me to have an awesome life. I spent too long in a job I didn't love.

What's the worst investment decision you've made?

Purchasing luxury items - they're just ridiculous. Living in New York and thinking it's okay to spend $500 on a pair of pants - that's just crazy. Coming from a KonMari context, the product has to give you joy for a long time for me to give it retail space in my home. I'm not confident that the pants I spent $500 on three years ago deserve a space in my own home.

What is your favourite thing to splurge on?

Organic food. I'm definitely that person who is okay buying an expensive jar of sauerkraut because it's organic and consumable and is supporting green businesses.

If you had $10,000 where would you invest it?

I'd put it in ethical indexing shares. I honestly think the future of our economy will be those products and investing in those is the best way for me to go ethically and financially.

What would you do if you had only $50 left in the bank?

Freak out. And then I'd try and sell some of my clothes and stuff on Gumtree. I'm all about the secondhand market. I tell my clients to do it all the time so I'd do it myself.

Do you intend to leave an inheritance?

Yes I do, but I also intend to leave a really light footprint. I?intend to leave financials but also a world that I'm living in now. I want to make sure my children and grandchildren can enjoy the lifestyle I have so I want to make sure the world they live in is as wonderful as the one I live in now.

How has lockdown impacted your business?

As a keynote speaker I haven't been able to do those events. I had two events of more than 500 people booked that I had to do virtually. I've had to learn a whole new skill of presenting to a computer screen. As a keynote speaker you play off your audience, and I can't go into people's homes to declutter them, so I've taken a really big hit. Your home has to help you, it has to nurture you, and it can't be a place that stresses you out. It needs to be a sanctuary where you recharge, and people are seeing the importance of that. More than that, it's that people don't have to escape home. We've had this constant focus that the only way to unwind is to go to Byron Bay or Europe or skiing, but there are so many things to do in your home to unwind. You don't have to spend money to be happy.

Finish this sentence: money makes ...

... people do crazy things. From a KonMari process, I see thousands of dollars discarded weekly into landfill. Money is precious - we should spend it on things that give us joy and on community or environment.

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Julia Newbould was editor-at-large and later managing editor of Money from November 2019 to February 2022. She was previously editor of Financial Planning and Super Review magazines; managing editor at InvestorInfo and at Morningstar Australia. Julia co-authored The Joy of Money, a book on women and personal finance. She holds a Bachelor of Economics from the University of Sydney where she serves on the alumni council.
Cara Edwards
September 19, 2020 8.44am

Great article Julia

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