Now that it’s spring cleaning season, don’t forget to tidy up your workspace to give your productivity a boost.
If you’re not sure where to start, follow Marie Kondo’s lead, who’s taught the art of decluttering through her book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up,” and more recently her Netflix series, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.”
Kondo’s way of organizing, known as the KonMari Method, involves gathering together one’s belongings, one category at a time, and then keeping only the things that “spark joy.”
Professional organizer Michell Domke, of Columbus, breaks down this process when applied to your workspace. Domke is the first certified KonMari Consultant in the state.
1. Conceptualize how you want your space to look and feel
Before you start removing piles from your desk, take a moment to pause.
"Sit in your space, close your eyes, and think about how you want your space to feel,” Domke said.
As you ponder that, bear in mind the main aspects of your job and your work responsibilities.
“If you want it to feel cozy and warm, can you bring in a lamp, for example?” she said.
Jot down whatever ideas comes to mind.
2. Put things into piles
Separate items by category and place them into piles.
Domke suggests starting with work essentials, like files and office and supplies, and then move onto decorative and sentimental pieces.
You may want to sub-categorize items as you work through this process; for instance, you could create a pile of active files, which are used in daily operations, and then make a pile of inactive files, which are no longer referenced on a regular basis.
3. Do the “joy-check”
Granted not everything on your desk may “spark joy,” but that doesn’t and shouldn’t give you license to toss items integral to your work.
“The spark joy question isn’t just, ‘Does this make me happy?’” Domke said. It’s also a matter of determining whether or not the item is relevant and useful.
“Ask yourself: ‘Are you hanging onto a paper just to hang on to it because it's already printed, or is it useful?’” Domke said.
If you’re scratching your head, wondering if you’ll need a particular document down the road, consider making a digital copy, if possible. That way you can still clear the clutter from your desk without having to worry if you pitched something you’ll need later on.
As you work through this process, think about step one: how you want your space to look and feel. Consider whether the volume of items you wish to keep aligns with that goal.
Once you feel confident with your decisions, donate/recycle/discard whatever you determined is no longer needed.
If you’ve accumulated a vast amount of office supplies, see if your coworkers need any, or put them with the rest of the shared supplies in the office. You could also drop certain items off at the local Goodwill.
Take this opportunity to get all the guck and grime out of your workspace with a nice cleaning. Wipe down your desk and items that have collected dust. Be sure to get all the nooks and crannies.
5. Organize/find a place for everything
Now that your workspace is squeaky clean, it’s time to organize. Decide where you want to put things and how you’d like to store them.
For example, depending on the quantity of documents you have, you could use a vertical desktop file sorter for easy access (which is especially useful for active files), or you may want to use a file cabinet.
Using drawer organizers can be handy for storing office supplies. There are also countless styles of containers you could use — from mason jars to fabric storage bins. Peruse Pinterest for five minutes and you’ll walk away with hundreds of ideas.
Again, just make sure you’re organizing according to how you imagined your space looking and feeling.
“Calm to one person can look and feel differently than calm to another person,” Domke said. “Sometimes calm to one person means having a ton of different things around that they love, and to another person it means not having a lot of things.
“There's not a right or wrong for the amount of things that you have in your space. It's just what feels right to you.”