How the Marie Kondo Method Can Make Your Business Better

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Do you want to have more focus, more time, and more clarity about your business? The KonMari method could be the answer. KonMari is the decluttering method created by Marie Kondo, a Japanese organizational expert whose Netflix show Tidying Up With Marie Kondo has become a surprise hit.

Kondo is the author of the bestselling book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. While her book and television show focus on how to clear the clutter from your home, the KonMari Method can work wonders for your business, too.

Much decluttering advice focuses on organizing your possessions, but Kondo’s method is meant to get rid of what you don’t like and don’t use so that you’re surrounded only with objects you love and use. At first glance, KonMari is about getting your house in order. However, practitioners say the tactic also helps get their mental house in order by streamlining their lives and reducing stress and chaos.

Marie Kondo’s six steps

There are six basic principles of the KonMari method.

1. Be committed

It’s important to dedicate yourself wholeheartedly to KonMari. Kondo recommends completing the whole process over a weekend or consecutive series of days. That’s not always realistic for a business; however, you can commit to finishing the project.

Kondo advises decluttering each category completely before you stop so you maintain your momentum. For instance, you could plan for one weekend to focus on files and documents so you can everything done in one fell swoop. If the whole company is going to be involved, you can treat the process like an offsite planning meeting and block out time to do it.

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2. Imagine your ideal life before you start

Don’t lift a finger until you take some time to think about what you want your business and life to look like when the process is finished. What do you hope to gain by decluttering? Perhaps you want your business to be more successful, more efficient, more fun for you to run, or a happier place for employees. The Marie Kondo method emphasizes being mindful, introspective and forward-looking. By identifying your goals, you’ll be better able to focus when you start decluttering.

3. Tidy by category, not location

Most of us organize and declutter based on location—for example, cleaning out your desk or a file cabinet. Instead, KonMari asks you to declutter each category at once.  At home, this means piling all your clothing on the bed—whether you normally keep it in the hall closet, the bedroom closet, the garage, or what have you. For a business, it could mean going through all your office equipment first, then all your paper documents, etc.

4. Discard before you reorganize

In the middle of decluttering, you may get inspired to set up a new organizational system. However, you should wait until the whole decluttering process is done to organize what’s left.

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5. Start with the easiest category

Begin decluttering with a category that’s easy for you to make decisions about. For example, at home Kondo says to declutter clothes first and sentimental items (the hardest to let go of) last. In your business, decide what’s easiest for you to start with (such as paper documents) before you tackle more challenging areas such as business processes. This will get you used to the method, let you move faster, and give you a sense of accomplishment.

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6. Keep what sparks joy

To declutter, KonMari instructs, hold each item in your hands and ask yourself, “Does this spark joy?” Don’t overthink it—you’ll know what your first instinct is. Not everything in the average office will spark joy (for instance, your stapler or file folders). For such items, ask yourself whether the item is necessary to help you accomplish a task. Even if it’s necessary, don’t keep more than you need. If your drawer is crammed with file folders, keep those that spark joy, like the colorful ones, and get rid of those that don’t, like the old, worn-out brown ones.

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