How to "Marie Kondo" Your Workspace

Marie Kondo’s rise to fame speaks not only to the usefulness of her KonMari organization method but modern society’s troubling relationship with clutter. While Kondo focuses on the home, our offices are just as disheveled. Here’s how to adapt the KonMari method for your workspace.

marie kondo workspace

Marie Kondo’s philosophy

Kondo’s philosophy centers on mindfulness and appreciation. Organization in our environments creates serenity, providing mental wellbeing and daily respite. Conversely, clutter distracts from life’s joys and causes undo stress.

To declutter, Kondo asks us to examine each item we own and ask, “Does this spark joy?” If yes, keep it. If not, we should thank it for its service and let it go. Kept items are then put in places where they can be accessed and are aesthetically pleasing.

It's that simple.

Does this spark joy?

But not everything in a workspace sparks joy. Does a stapler spark joy? No, but it’s necessary to keep documents together.

So, let’s redefine “joy” for the office setting. If an item is necessary and makes your life easier, then enjoy its presence. A stapler may not send your heart a flutter, but not having to search for missing pages is certainly a delight.

Marie Kondo and your workspace

Start your journey by imagining your perfect workspace. What type of environment spurs your productivity and makes you feel comfortable? That mental image is your goal. To help you reach it, here are some KonMari-inspired tips:

Organize by category. Don’t tackle everything at once. Do paperwork first. Office supplies next. Then computer stuff and so on. This method helps you stay focused and keeps the task manageable.

Discard before straightening. Create a pile for the current category. Sort through it, keeping only what you need. Be objective. If an item was useful but hasn’t left the drawer in months, thank it for its service.

Limit redundancies. You don’t need a pen holder overstuffed with pens. A handful of high-quality ones will do the same job. Also, outdated technology should be recycled when you update.

A home for everything. Straighten remaining items to have specific homes. Items used frequently should be easy to reach and easy to put back. Be sure to leave plenty of clean, workable space.

Use containers and files. Use containers to keep small items from scattering. Make sure files are labeled clearly and papers filed neatly.

Corral wires. Keep wires organized and out of sight. We recommend investing in cord-management sleeves.

Don’t go full spartan. Have family pictures, decorative items, and an office plant or two. Just place them in a manner that doesn’t add to the clutter or distract from work.

Tidy up. It’s a good habit to do a quick clean at the end of each day. Schedule deeper cleans at the end of the week or biweekly.

Decluttering your digital spaceLike your desk, your computer setup should promote simplicity to increase focus and productivity while decreasing distractions. After creating a new file, you should be able to file it away quickly and efficiently. When you need a file, you should be able to get to it just as fast.

A few extra tips:

Keep everything in its place. Delete folders, pictures, and files you don’t need. Files that are important should be saved, stored, and backed-up regularly.

Maintain a clean desktop. Have no more than a handful icons on your desktop; pin the same amount to your toolbar. These should be programs you use frequently. Files and folders should be stored elsewhere.

Organize your email inbox. You don’t need to reach zero messages, but do aim for a tidy and clean inbox.

Practice digital minimalism. Delete apps you don’t need or are redundant. Only keep those you use for work. If one app can do the work of two, use one.

The joys of simplicity

Marie Kondo’s organization method reminds us to be mindful of our relationship with our environments. By adopting the principle of serenity through simplicity, we can tackle clutter head on, improving not only the look of our workspaces but the way we work in those spaces.

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