Does Your Work Space Spark Joy? Marie Kondo Meets Project Management

There are six basic rules to Marie Kondo's international best-seller, "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up."
  1. Commit yourself to tidying up.
  2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle. (What would having an ideal space look/feel like?)
  3. Finish discarding first. (Don't store anything for later. Take it out. Hold it. Decide.)
  4. Tidy by category, not by location.
    • This is an important one. Most of us were taught to tidy by location. Kondo explains that you can't feel the weight of all your options unless they are all staring you in the face at one time.  
  5. Follow the right order.
  6. Ask yourself, "Does this spark joy?"

The method is deceptively simple, but following it can be daunting for anyone accustomed to delaying decisions. Who among us hasn't looked at the umpteenth ballpoint pen and decided to toss it into your desk next to the squeeze balls, five notepads, two tape dispensers and three staplers? Instead, Kondo says that for her method to work, you have to work too. It takes discipline to commit to making hundreds or thousands of decisions about every object within sight within a short time. Some would consider it masochistic.

But despite its popularity and virtues, the method dubbed, KonMari, can be tricky in the workplace. Tracy O'Rourke, managing partner at and a Lean Six Sigma Green Belt instructor at UC San Diego, said we don't have the luxury of being surrounded by only things that "spark joy" in the office.

For instance, you can't discard co-workers or the printer. What you can do is improve your space and how you operate at work. And ultimately, that can improve your mood and performance. It might also improve your relationship with co-workers, too, by reducing your stress and increasing your patience. 

There are 5 steps to the Lean Six Sigma organization and process improvement technique.

  1. Sort.​​
    • Remove all unnecessary items. That means anything unrelated to current tasks.
    • "When in doubt, move it out."
  2. Set in Order
    • Arrange items by frequency, location or point of use.
  3. Shine
    • Clean to make your space look appealing.
  4. Standardize
    • Create a checklist or schedule to revisit your space periodically.
  5. Sustain
    • Leadership is key. Lead by example or recruit your department leaders. If leaders ignore it, employees will too.
Posted: 7/25/2019 10:50:53 AM with 3 comments
Filed under: leadership, lean-six-sigma, process-management

Kamal Chopra
From Commitment to Joy ... i must say a really nice take on the ol' 5S ..., compliments from Kamal Chopra (Author, Founder and CEO - ProSigma)
6/4/2020 11:56:36 PM

You are so welcome Lisa! We are glad you enjoyed it and found the concepts valuable! :)
3/20/2020 5:15:13 PM

Lisa Cassidy
Thank you so much, Tracy & Elisabeth! I have recently transformed my work space and our entire Campus Budget Office's supply room to spark more joy! Thank you for always being fabulously fun as a faciitator & sharing your wisdom, TOR!
11/15/2019 4:32:03 PM

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