Spring Cleaning: The Benefits of Decluttering Your Office the ‘KonMari’ Way

April 1, 2019

More people are removing clutter from their lives, with supporters promising improvements to health and work. As Knowledge@Wharton recently reported, Japanese organizing expert Marie Kondo — host of a popular Netflix show and author of best-selling books — says people should only keep possessions that “spark joy.” The vision behind her “KonMari” approach is not just neatness, but a restart to life.

Tidy up all at once and aim for perfection, Kondo urges. She recommended decluttering clothes, books, papers, miscellaneous items and mementos, in that order. (If you start with mementos, then you’ll reminisce and get distracted.)

At work, a cluttered desk wastes time and “forces our brain to constantly reassess what we need to do,” says Amanda Jefferson, owner of Indigo Organizing and a certified KonMari consultant. “Clutter in paper form is usually just delayed decision-making,” she says, and clearing out mental and physical clutter “opens up enormous space and clarity.”

Jefferson recommends setting aside a day in the office for the cleanup. To start, she suggests putting each item through the “spark joy” test. “Give people time to decide if all those desk tchotchkes, stale reports and books they never got around to reading really deserve a home in their space,” she says.

Advocates of the trend also advise purging emails and other digital clutter. “You can reduce your stress level, improve your mental focus, and reduce the time it takes you to find what you need by removing, recycling, shredding or donating old books, files, papers, and even deleting lesser-used apps and removing old digital files to an external hard drive,” says Erin Owen, an executive coach at the Wharton School. — Greg Beaubien


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