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Work from Home Like Marie Kondo 


Article by Yuriko Beaman

Photography by Yuriko Beaman

Working from home has become the new normal for many people that I know. Fortunately, you can apply the Marie Kondo's method to your desk and workspace. This will help you to reduce clutter and distractions so you can focus on the work at hand. It will also help to reduce stress, which we all need right about now.

There are a few important things to remember before you start to tidy and declutter your desk/workspace.

Only Tidy Your Own Things

Yes, this means that you don’t start with your partner’s side of the office/workspace.

Focus on tidying up your area first and sparking joy in your workspace. In a time when we don’t have control over much, this is a golden opportunity. Also when your partner/desk-mate see’s your joyful workspace, it might spark them to start tidying their area. Tidying can be contagious too!

Picture Your Ideal Desk/Workspace

Take a moment to close your eyes and think about what would make your workspace perfect. A space that would allow you to tap into your skills and give you the energy you need. It might be a space that sparks creativity. It might be a space that enhances your sense of calm. Really start to picture this space. If you are a more visual person, you might create a vision board or a digital vision board via Pinterest. Personally, I love to journal and write out all the things I want in this space. (Check out Passion Planner’s free download to map our your desk game changer. )

Only Keep Items That Spark Joy

“When something sparks joy, you should feel a little thrill, as if the cells in your body are slowly rising. When you hold something that doesn’t bring you joy, however, you will notice that your body feels heavier.” ~ Marie Kondo

Some joy sparking questions?

  • Does this item brighten my day?
  • When was the last time I used this item?
  • When did I purchase it? 

Tidy by Category

The KonMari™ method gives some focus here so you don’t get overwhelmed. Also, the categories are arranged from easiest to hardest. Choose what to keep first and then think about storage.

  1. Clothes - many of my clients have obligatory work shirts. If they spark joy, determine the best place to store them. (Personal note: Many of my work shirts did not spark joy. I took them to my office at work or donated them. In the time of COVID-19 taking something to work isn’t an option but hopefully you can take the shirt to work later.)
  2. Books - If you have books related to work, determine which of these spark joy. Take them off the shelves or out of their spot and hold each one. How do you feel? If you don’t feel lighter knowing that you have this book, let it go with gratitude.
  3. Paper - This is the big one. We have a large quantity of paper. Gather all the work related paper in one or a few piles. (Maybe take a picture so you can post your before and afters.) You will determine to keep each piece or set of papers based on how you feel. If you feel lighter, keep it. If you know that these stapled papers help you in your work, keep it. If the extra handouts from 2006 are not bringing you joy, let them go. (Personal note: I had a large pile of handouts from the classes I taught.)
  4. Konmono - Miscellaneous - Gather like with like and keep the items that spark joy and help you to craft your ideal desk. It's best to divide these up into sub-categories like pens, technology, cords, etc.
  5. Sentimental - This is the last and hardest category. You might have pictures, journals, and other meaningful items in this space. If you have already completed the KonMari tidying method in your house, you are ready to tidy this category. Choose what to keep based on it’s joy factor. If you haven’t completed your KonMari™ tidying festival , keep sentimental items on your desk that will give you joyful energy as you work. For the other sentimental items, store like with like.

Plan on spending no more than four hours tidying your workspace at a time. Remember to take breaks. Enjoy a cup of tea and your favorite snack. Once you’re through all the categories, notice the shifts in your energy and space.

If you have questions or get stuck, contact me at any stage of this tidying process for a virtual tidying session. Schedule a virtual tidying/coaching session today or contact me at