Marie Kondo is the author of the extremely popular book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. The popularity of this book has even been turned into a Netflix series called “Tidying Up”. In both the book and the series, this world-renowned organizational consultant, helps people declutter and find organization and balance in their homes and hopefully by extension their lives.
The show focuses primarily on tidying one’s home and it has made phrases like “sparking joy” go viral. However, Kondo’s signature technique – the KonMari Method™ — could be applied in many different ways, including to your office, lab space, or work station.
According to the KonMari website, there are six basic rules for organizing:
- Commit yourself to tidying up.
- Imagine your ideal lifestyle.
- Finish discarding first.
- Tidy by category, not by location.
- Kondo recommends organizing by clothing, books, papers, miscellaneous items, sentimental items
- Follow the right order.
- Ask yourself if it sparks joy.
Kondo maintains, “When your office space is organized, it will result in increased efficiency because your use of time becomes much more productive. You’ll be comfortable in your office space, and that contributes to your overall performance and your creativity.”
It is unlikely that you have clothing at work (although some people keep blazers or shoes in a drawer, just in case). So, you will likely want to focus on the other categories of organization, namely books, papers, and miscellaneous items. Papers, outdated periodicals, old notes from meetings tend to be the most common items that clutter a workspace.
One of the biggest differences between organizing at work versus as home is Kondo’s signature question, “Does this spark joy?” Many items at work might not spark joy for you, but are essential for you to keep. Instead of focusing on the joy an item brings, pay attention to whether it is contributing to your productivity and performance at work. Maybe you have robust paper files which should be scanned and made into a digital folder instead? Perhaps you have a drawer full of office supplies that no longer function properly (i.e. pens that have run out of ink or paper clips everywhere).
Assess your space carefully and imagine how it could be situated in order to help you not only be more productive but also to feel calmer and more in control of your setting. When organizing your work space, Kondo encourages you to ask yourself, “Does this contribute to me feeling more positive and also does it contribute to my efficiency?”