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Learn How the KonMari Method Can Help Your Professional Life


It seems that KonMari is all the rage these days, mainly due to the wildly popular program “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo” television series on Netflix.

I went back into my archives to pull up a LinkedIn article I wrote back on August 31, 2017, about my personal KonMari story. I thought that it is worth resharing given how topical the subject of tidying up is today.

Learn How the KonMari Method Can Help Your Professional Life

Published on August 31, 2017

Here is my KonMari story:

Last week I made a major lifestyle transition as my wife and I downsized our home and reduced our square footage by almost 50%. What became immediately apparent was how much we had accumulated over the years.

We thought that we had fully prepared for the downsizing. We held a five-day estate sale and sold over 900 items, and we loaded up a 15-foot U-Haul of junk that we took to the local landfill. The net result?

We now have a garage full of stuff that will not fit into the house AND a 10’ x 10’ storage space for all of the remaining items that cannot fit into the garage.

We did not exactly get a passing grade for downsizing so far.

The anxiety brought on by all of the excess clutter led me to begin reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo. Her book has been a best seller for some time now because it resonates with people in my place in life.

The philosophy that Marie writes about in her book has now taken the form of a movement and way of thinking called KonMari. One of the most interesting tenets of KonMari is that Marie recommends doing one massive cleaning rather than doing things step by step. The process of letting go will, in her words, “spark joy.”  

Kondo’s method of organizing consists of gathering together all of one’s belongings, one category at a time, and then keeping only those things that “spark joy” (tokimeku, the word in Japanese means “flutter, throb, palpitate”), and choosing a place for everything from then on. Source: Wikipedia

I can safely report that I am sparking up some big-time joy at home as we march on through our purge of the unwanted and unneeded. I then decided – why stop at home? I next turned my attention to my work life to see how KonMari could bring some joy to my work life.

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Here are some of my KonMari actions items that I have for my office and files. See if any of these sound familiar to you.

  • Throw away all of the magazines I still collect and pile up in my office. There is no reason why I need three years of Harvard Business Reviews piling up in my office when I can access any of the articles online.
  • Create a more thorough and complete set of folders in My Documents, and then organize my electronic documents into the new folders. BUT ... not before I do a heavy purge and delete of all of the saved files that have no future use.
  • Apply the same purge and delete to my paper files and use the three-year rule for deciding on whether to retain the document.
  • Rethink how I use my desk drawers and stop using them as a repository for Post-it Note reminders, receipts, business cards, empty Altoid tins, napkins, pens that I will never use, chargers that were for electronics that I have replaced, and coins for the vending machine that I never use.
  • Quit thinking of my office as a museum where I collect and display as many books and pictures as can fit into my space. I just hope that the authors of all the books that I have in my bookcase have not put small “Gotcha” notes inside the books to determine if the book has been read. I heard that Thomas Piketty, the author of the massive book, Capital, did just that. I have to admit to owning the book and not getting even close to reading the entire 696 pages (I think I may have made it through 20 pages).
  • Tackle the beast that is called my briefcase and remove all of the frequent flyer cards, empty breath mint cases, unneeded chargers, pens, pencils, excess business cards, and outdated Delta Airlines free drink vouchers (they do not accept them – I tried).
  • Create a more streamlined time-management system. I have to admit that I still use the Franklin Planner paper system because I found that it helped me keep my notes better organized and provided better tracking of my daily actions items. That said, I do not need to carry three months of paper files of all of my key business metrics, contact information, and enough blank paper to write my own 696-page version of Capital. Shrinking this down will bring me a more clutter-free life and less back-and-shoulder strain.

I look forward to my new path toward simplicity and freedom from clutter. I also hope that all of you either watch Marie Kondo’s Netflix series or read her book. The process of “tidying up” can be quite liberating.

By the way, I am proud to say that I have been living and loving the KonMari way of life. I cannot tell you what a sense of control and joy I get by having order in my life.