Marie Kondo’s Tips For Making Your Home Workspace More Joyful

When we care for the things we choose to keep, they give back positive energy. Many years of experience have convinced me that any place where things are treated with respect and gratitude, whether a home or an office, becomes a relaxing and energizing power spot.

The key is to maintain a state of gratitude throughout the day, starting first thing in the morning by being grateful for everything that makes your work go smoothly. If this doesn’t come naturally, however, it’s fine to practice thankfulness whenever you remember. One of my clients had a great idea. She wrote “Thank you always!” on a strip of pretty tape and stuck it to the edge of her computer display to remind herself to be grateful for the tools that helped her do her job.

Believe me, the effect of cherishing your things like this is limitless. Why not transform your workspace into a power spot, too?

The many ways to add more joy to your workspace.

“Don’t think of it as tidying. Tell yourself it’s interior designing.” That’s what my friend’s mother once told her when she was balking at the idea of tidying up. What a great way to describe it. When we tell ourselves that we have to do something, it feels like a chore. But when we see tidying as a creative endeavor that will spark joy in our workspace, we’re happy to do it.

So when you tackle your workspace, don’t think of it as “tidying.” Tell yourself that you’re designing a joyful place to work. After all, it really is like decorating, especially when you’ve finished tidying and are choosing your favorite accents. As you tidy, keep your ideal work life in mind and look at what you can do to make this space set your heart dancing.

Take pens, for example. It’s only when my clients start tidying that many of them realize they have been using nothing but giveaways. This is your chance to start choosing pens that spark joy for you. And not just pens. When choosing any items you need for daily work, such as your penholder, scissors, or tape, make sure they are ones that you love. Although it may seem ideal to replace everything right away with more attractive items, the best approach is to take your time. Rather than rushing out and buying a bunch of new things that are merely satisfactory, I encourage you to keep looking until you find things that truly spark joy when you just look at or touch them.

In addition, be sure to choose a few things that simply add a touch of joy even though you don’t need them for your work. I call this practice “joy plus.” You can add anything that lifts your spirits, such as a photo, postcard, or plant you particularly like. As for me, I place a crystal on my desk. Not only does it sparkle, adding beauty, but I find that it also cleanses the atmosphere, making inspiration spring more easily into my mind.

Perhaps the most unusual example of “joy plus” I have encountered in my consulting career was a toothbrush set. This belonged to a company president who kept it displayed on his desk. I have seen many things as a tidying consultant, but this one seemed so strange, I had to ask why. “Even though I’m sitting at my desk, no one will come over to talk if they see me brushing my teeth,” he explained. “It’s very convenient when I want to concentrate because no one will interrupt me.” Just seeing it on his desk brought him joy and a sense of security.

The point is to decorate your desk with whatever sparks joy for you, no matter what that may be.Article continues below

Here are some more things you can do to spark joy at your desk:

  1. Decide on a theme color for coordinating items on your desk.
  2. Choose a favorite movie or story as a theme for decorating your workspace.
  3. Find photos online to decorate your desk area.
  4. Place a small potted plant on your desk.
  5. Display a photo that brings back joyful memories.
  6. Add something sparkly, such as a crystal or glass paperweight.
  7. Keep a small aroma item on your desk that will give just your space a special fragrance.
  8. Place a beautiful candle on your desk as a decoration.
  9. Choose a favorite coaster for your drink.
  10. Change the background on your desktop computer to reflect each season.

This article was co-written with Scott Sonenshein, Ph.D.


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