Entrepreneurs

Marie Kondo: How to organize your workspace to be happier and more productive

Marie Kondo is as perfectly put together as you would expect. Her hair falls just past her shoulders, curling gently at the ends. Her clothes are simple and elegant. Her makeup is flawless. Her voice is soothing.

She is the embodiment of the movement she started: Tidying as a way of life.

Kondo, now 32, has spent her life putting things in their proper places. She became infatuated with tidying when she was 5, she says. She would read lifestyle magazines and stay inside to organize school bookshelves during recess when her classmates were outside playing.

Tidying guru Marie Kondo
Tidying guru Marie Kondo

Kondo started her professional career as an organizing consultant when she was 19, she tells CNBC Make It through a Japanese translator. The first time she was paid for her expertise, she went to the home of a female CEO and helped her organize her clothes closets, she says.

What started as a personal hobby quickly grew into a business. Kondo has published four books: "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up," "Spark Joy," "Life-Changing Magic: A Journal," and "The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up: A Magical Story." They have sold 7 million copies around the world in over 40 languages, according to Kondo's website. There's also an app to guide you through the process of tidying according to her methods. And she hosts seminars that cost $2,000 each and trains consultants to be ambassadors for her method.

There's a primary rule for decluttering the way Kondo does, which she calls the KonMari method: Only keep items around you that "spark joy."

Selecting flowers for my hotel room during my stay for SXSW for a little more #joy #wholefoods

A post shared by Marie "KonMari" Kondo (@mariekondo) on

"Joy" in this context requires a full consideration of what role an object plays in your life. Take, for example, socks, the ultimate quotidian accessory.

"If you shift your perspective, you'll understand that socks help you wear your shoes very smoothly so you will gain a new appreciation — you may think that it doesn't spark joy, but just a simple shift of perspective will allow you to see the value in them," Kondo says.

Followers rave about the success of her tidying techniques. Getting your physical space in order makes it easier to get things done. This goes for your home as well as at work.

"When your office space is organized, it will result in increased efficiency because your use of time becomes much more productive," she says. Also, "You'll be much more comfortable in your office space and that contributes to your overall performance and your creativity — that's some of the feedback I get from people that have implemented the KonMari method in their workspace."

Offices are regularly littered with things like excess paper that are no longer necessary — hard copies of documents that could be digitized, for example. "They have already finished their duty for you, so you can let them go," she says.

Keep in mind, "What sparks joy for you personally may be different from what sparks joy for you at work," she says. "What that means is that your sense of value shifts for work." One CEO client she worked with decided to only keep things in the office that make money.

"Of course, the important thing is to feel each object in your hands and ask yourself, 'Does this contribute to me feeling more positive and also does it contribute to my efficiency?'"

Before discarding an object, Kondo advises thanking the object for the role it has played in your life.

Ultimately, tidying your desk with the KonMari method requires a comprehensive review of your priorities. And therein lies the magic.

"By organizing, you hone your sensitivity to joy and you also clarify your sense of value," she says. "You can use that knowledge and ability to better enhance decision making skills to your own career, and really you'll be able to better answer questions such as, 'What am I looking for in my looking for in my career what makes me comfortable?'

"So in that way it creates real transformation in your career as well."

See also:

Malcolm Gladwell: Here's why you should slow down and do less

The counterintuitive advice best-selling author Cheryl Strayed gave Tim Ferriss about achieving greatness

One trick can make you happier immediately, says a man who has lost and regained millions

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