When Marie Kondo's new series "Tidying Up With Marie Kondo" first aired on Netflix, memes and massive cleaning ensued. Many people started throwing away clutter from their home, and asking themselves, "Does this spark joy?"
If you didn't know who Kondo was when she became a bestselling author of "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up" in 2011, you may know about her now. Marie Kondo, and her ideology behind keeping clutter at bay and increasing your mental sanity, has helped people realize the power behind minimalism and keeping things simple.
Even though Kondo focuses on homes and decluttering them for the purpose of feeling happier and lighter, her practices can work in your business as well.
Find what sparks joy for you.
In business, no day is ever truly the same. However, if you've made massive shifts in your business model recently, or if you're thinking about going in a different direction, the tools, methods, and ideas that you once used may no longer work for you. It's the same as moving into a new home and realizing your old couch just doesn't work in the space.
In your business, finding what sparks joy means finding the parts of your business that you love working on. Or, deciding to add on new services, projects, and products that you'd prefer working on and delegating the rest to contractors or employees.
Let go of the "extra."
Once you've decided what sparks joy for you in your business, it's time to let go of the extra tasks, resources-- and even people-- that don't. You don't have to throw out every single piece of paper, but now is the time to let go of the dead weight that you don't want to carry in your business moving forward.
Just as you would get rid of your old couch that didn't work in your new space, you need to decide what's not worth keeping in your head space and physical space of your business.
Kondo believes you should thank each piece, task, or person for bringing you joy at one point, and then set it free. It doesn't have to be a dramatic exit, but acknowledge the fact that before, that piece served you well. However, since it won't serve you to the fullest extent later on down the road, you are releasing it to potentially spark joy for someone else.
This process may sound completely absurd to the average business owner, but it is one of the most successful pillars of Kondo's method. Letting go of things without hate, want, or ungratefulness can encourage you to make room for the amazing things to come. It's really about your mindfulness, which is a perk when running a business.
Focus on categories instead of rooms.
When Kondo goes into someone's home and helps them clear out their clutter, they usually take it room by room, piece by piece. In your business, you may not have that freedom, but you can focus on categories.
For example, you could start by focusing on the administrative processes first. Then, switch gears to finances, customer service, and finally marketing. By focusing on categories, you're able to declutter, organize, and systematize your new processes and direction in your business, without having to physically clear out anything, unless your business requires that as well.
If your business involves a warehouse or storage, you can use the traditional Kondo method of focusing on rooms and going through them one at a time.
Do this all at once.
While this may seem daunting, Kondo encourages performing each step of her process at one time.
For Kondo, she says that's been her key to major success with helping her clients' declutter and stay clutter-free forever. For you, it will be an accomplishment and allow you to move forward without extra work in the future.
Keep taking these steps in the future.
To stay on the Kondo path in your business, start asking yourself if anything you're taking on or purchasing sparks joy. Before taking on a new client, ask yourself if they will spark joy in your business. Before purchasing more products or stock, ask that question.
You can even ask that question before moving spaces, bringing on new employees or contractors, or changing your marketing. No matter what it is, you need to make sure you don't fall into the same trap and habits that got you to the point of needing to massively declutter and change.
Kondo has helped many people discover their true joy and focus on having homes that make them feel content and well-rounded-- and her method can be used in your business, too. A startup that can experience growth, little to no clutter or stress, and have content people working in it, can make a massive difference for everyone.