Would You #KonMari Your Workplace?

11 March 2019

If the name ‘Marie Kondo’ doesn’t mean anything to you, then there is only one explanation. You have been living under a rock.

Just in case you don’t have Netflix (or a family member whose account you can tether off), let me give you the basics. Tidying Up with Marie Kondo is the latest Netflix original to captivate a global audience. Kondo’s followers have soared; she often finds herself the subject of a trending topic and receives thousands of posts from people who wish to share their own attempts at her method, KonMari.

Kondo is a Japanese organising consultant and author. ‘KonMari’ is the name of her method, but in its purest sense, she enters people’s homes and tidies up. But it’s more than your average spring clean.

KonMari has 5 main components: clothes, books, papers, komono (miscellaneous items), and, sentimental items. Kondo guides participants to keep only those things that speak to the heart, and discard items that no longer spark joy. (Yes, this is why you’re seeing ‘spark joy’ all over social media!) Finally, you thank the items for their ‘service’ and let them go.

Stay with me here. It hit me recently that, as well as our homes, each of these categories can be found in the workplace. Perhaps not so much clothes, but I do bet you have a few extra layers stuffed in your drawers for the cold weather, or a pair of smarter shoes for client meetings.

So here is the question: would you #KonMari your workplace?

Here’s how it might play out for us here at Speakers Corner.

1. Clothes

Admittedly, we won’t spend too much time here. We will however be asking Nick  which of his shirts on our office rail spark joy for him. We also feel certain that Helena, Payal, and Ela will hold onto their cuddly slippers. We can’t see Emilie parting with her cosy cardigan yet, either.

2. Books

This is the big one for us! Books. Where to start?! You can imagine, that after more than 20 years, we have accumulated lots and lots of books. So many of our speakers are also authors, and we have recently become a bookshop because we don’t think there’s a much better event momento than taking home a book. Marie Kondo recommends cutting down your bookshelf to just 30 books… but if you look at our current supply, we don’t think this will quite work for us!

Perhaps our approach to this one will be to keep sharing our favourite reads, those that truly spark joy. Office favourites include Sam Conniff’s Be More Pirate, Dolly Alderton’s Everything I Know About Love, and Benjamin Mee's We Bought A Zoo.

3. Papers

We think every workplace could listen to this one. Papers. Unavoidable! Yet, there are innovative and conservative ways to keep them in order. Whether you have filing methods that work for you, or draw-by-draw rules, organising papers is a crucial part of keeping your workplace healthy!

At Speakers Corner, we are trying to keep our desks clearer, and also reduce our over all paper usage. Our #GoGreenFor2019  initiatives are teaching us to think twice about printing, and this simple act sparks joy in itself!

4. Komono (miscellaneous)

That 2-week old bag of popcorn. The flyer you picked up as you walked out of the tube station. A 5-way highlighter pen from an exhibition. Last week’s Evening Standard, with a half-completed crossword. And yes, that is a Slush-Puppie maker on top of our shelves.

Do these items really spark joy? We think this is a great area to reassess and organise, and one that will open up physical and metaphorical space for new ideas moving forward.

5. Sentimental items

On Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, this can be one of the trickiest categories. Sentimental items are sentimental for a reason, so the thought of parting with them can often evoke separation anxiety rather than joy.

That being said, there is a way of drawing healthy boundaries with these items. It might be tidying them away neatly into a little keepsake box, rather than allowing them to gather dust all year round. There could also be space to pass items down, or compartmentalise parts of your life by clearing out.

In the workplace, there is space for sentimental items and we know that everyone has a different approach to this! Since there is no hard and fast rule for this category, we would encourage everyone to reflect on a personal basis before making any big decisions.

So, there you have it! This tidying up craze can extend beyond your home. And, who knows, it may elicit coworker bonding rather than tiffs with your housemate or partner!

We would love to know if you would try the #KonMari method at home or in the workplace! Tweet us @Speakers_Corner 

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Speakers Corner (London) Ltd,
Ground and Lower Ground Floor,
5-6 Mallow Street,