With a hit Netflix show and a slew of bestselling books, Marie Kondo quickly made herself a household name as a master organizer. Her philosophy of throwing out what doesn’t spark joy became iconic because of its relevance not just to tidying but in other areas of life such as relationships. Kondo’s methods are formulas to better mental wellbeing. Tidying and redecorating, for instance, are both beneficial to our mental health. These are things we need to hold onto during these uncertain times.
Throw out what doesn’t spark joy
Besides her eccentric personality, part of what made Kondo famous is her method — known as the KonMari method — of tidying up. This method is partly based on sentiment: keep what sparks joy and throw out what doesn’t. If decluttering overwhelms you, one way to simplify the task is to declutter one item per day. The same applies not just to physical objects, but also to your email and desktop.
But the KonMari method isn’t completely based on emotional attachment to one’s belongings. It’s also based on practicality and necessity. Once you are done throwing out the joyless objects, you must then organize what you’ve decided to keep. To do this, Kondo recommends keeping items that are used more often closer at hand. Shirts that you prefer to use for work should be at the top of your pile, neatly folded. Items you don’t need as often can be placed at the bottom of the pile or in storage. This rule applies to anything from clothes to how you store your files.
Kondo also prescribes choosing see-through containers for your storage. That way, you’ll be able to see the contents without rummaging through the container and making a mess.
Design and organize
Design your space so that it sparks joy. It might be hard to think of work as sparking joy, but designing a workspace that’s conducive to productivity and creativity is as close as you can get to that. Fill your workspace with things that make you want to be there and work.
Start with color. Decorate your workspace with your favorite color so that some of the happiness attached to it will bleed onto your work. You can also make use of colors that are associated with productivity such as blue. Bright and warm colors such as red and yellow can also help to boost your energy levels. Green is suited to those who work in stressful situations because of its calming effect.
Regarding what kind of furniture is ideal, a study showed that people responded more positively to round furniture. Researchers showed a group of people pictures of two different workspaces — one with straight-edged furniture and the other with round furniture. Respondents said that the room with round-edged furniture looked more inviting and even expressed a desire to spend time in such a room. Of course, you can’t be too relaxed in your workspace, so be careful not to overdo it with round furniture.
When it comes to lighting, warmer hues favor those who are looking to relax and unwind, while cooler hues are suited to those who want to get work done. The placement or positioning of the light — whether natural or otherwise — matters, too. The best way to work with natural light is to have it shine on you from the side. The light that’s ahead of you might blind you and will require you to up the brightness on your computer screen, increasing your risk of eye strain. Light coming from behind you can also trap you into eye strain because of the glare it produces on your screen — invest in an anti-glare screen protector.
Lastly, add something that sparks joy when you look at it. It could be a picture of you with your loved ones or a pot of fresh flowers. Plants are good for our mental and physical health. Plus, having one near to you as you work might give you a good reason to take a break and water it.
It could also be something that motivates you. This could be a motivational quote, a certificate or trophy you’ve been awarded, or even a photo of a city you want to visit one day.
Peace of mind at work can start with decluttering, organizing, and redecorating. Following in the footsteps of Marie Kondo, start by throwing out what doesn’t “spark joy.” Then, organize your belongings according to how often you reach for them. Lastly, decorate your space by filling it with elements and items that motivate you and make you happy.
“The Exact Color to Paint Your Office to Become the Most Productive.” A Life of Productivity, March 6, 2017. https://alifeofproductivity.com/angela-wright-interview/.
“Why You Should Fill Your Rooms with Rounded, Curvy Furniture.” BPS Research Digest. Accessed March 23, 2021. http://bps-research-digest.blogspot.com/2011/04/why-you-should-fill-your-rooms-with.html.
Biggs, Caroline. “The Easiest Way to a Decluttered Home: The Power of One.” Apartment Therapy. Apartment Therapy, LLC., May 3, 2019. https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/the-easiest-decluttering-plan-the-power-of-one-248028.
Hedge, Alan. “How to Prevent Back Pain While Working From Home.” Time. Time, April 15, 2020. https://time.com/5821252/back-pain-work-from-home-tips/.
Levesley, David, and Esat Dedezade. “Marie Kondo Advises on How to Organise Your Home Office.” British GQ, April 25, 2020. https://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/lifestyle/article/marie-kondo-joy-at-work.