Tidying Up the Workspace - Applying Lessons from Marie Kondo

Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and subsequent Netflix hit show “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” has sparked a revolution in how we organize our lives and how we value our things.

Her KonMari tidying method draws inspiration from Shintoism, which regards cleaning as mental cultivation. Her method has become such a beloved phenomenon that Kondo made the Time list of 100 Most Influential People in 2015.

The team at Apex was excited to learn that Kondo is now working on a new book titled Joy at Work! This book applies her now-infamous methods of home organization to the workspace. In a recent interview with InStyle, Kondo reveals some secrets to decluttering the workspace that we love. Here are some highlights from her interview as well as insights from the Apex team on putting those suggestions into practice.

1. Organize your desk. It’s important to keep as few items as possible on your desk at all times to keep your space clutter-free and thus, distraction-free. Here are a few ways you can keep your desk clean and organized:

  • There will likely be a mix of necessary work-related items and sentimental items/décor on your desk. For each item you have, ask yourself two questions:
    • Does this spark joy?
    • Is this necessary?
      • If the answer to both of those questions is “no,” then donate the item or throw it away! Things like your computer monitor and keyboard are necessary items for work that need to stay on the desk at all times—and that’s fine! As for the necessary items that don’t need to stay on your desks, such as tape, stapler, and books, do your best to organize them into drawers.

Remember: dust and dirt are clutter, too. Don’t forget to wipe down your desk every now and then—get the surface, your chair and armrests, your mouse and keyboard, and anything else that you touch frequently!

2. Dedicate work time to tidying up. Kondo notes one publishing company she worked with dedicated a whole day for employees to clean their workspaces, with quite effective results. Taking just a few minutes at the end of the day to tidy up before you go home will help you start the day with a clear mind as you will come back to the clutter-free desk in the morning.

  • Organize your cords and chargers. While these items do not always spark joy, they are becoming an increasingly common staple in our lives. Unfortunately, they also create a headache trying to untangle them when you need to use them. There are great organizational solutions for wire management:
    • Practice proper wire management under desks: try a wire trough or zip ties to keep too-long cords from unsightly messes.
    • Put cords away when not in use.
    • Apex utilizes Velcro cable ties. They are a reusable and low-cost solution that makes cable management incredibly easy.

3. Tidying up your digital space.

  • Email inbox, desktop folders, Cloud file trees, and even desktop links. What links/shortcuts do you regularly use? Delete those that are cluttering your computer. Additionally, anything you can back up onto a hard drive and delete off your computer is a great way to save your computer’s memory while getting organized and de-cluttering.

4. Use this opportunity to think about spaces that do not bring joy – dark conference rooms, cold/sterile environments; is it time for an office refresh?

  • Small refresh ideas: fresh paint, replace old seating
  • Do you need to revise storage solutions? Open vs closed bookcases & filing, etc.

When you follow Kondo’s simple tips for tidying and organization, the results on productivity include but are not limited to:

  • Increased focus – less distracted by clutter – more and better work accomplished
  • Less wasted time – less time wasted searching for items and documents
  • Less stress – less time focusing on too many things at once
  • Less absenteeism – unclean environments can result in sick employees
  • Improved morale – cleanliness can have an impact on mental health, too
  • Increased productivity leads to increased profitability – it’s good for your bottom line!

We can’t wait to see how the other insights in Marie Kondo’s upcoming book on workspace organization will inspire our workspace design!

If it’s time for a refresh or you would like space planning/storage consultation, get in touch!