KonMari for Local Government

Posted on February 15, 2019

Does it Spark Joy

Morning Buzz with Jordan Rae Hillman, Deputy Director of City Planning for the city of Jackson, Mississippi

Netflix released Tidying Up with Marie Kondo early this year. Now everyone is talking about decluttering, tidying, and organizing. Marie Kondo teaches that if you properly simplify and organize your home (and life) once, you’ll never have to do it again. If you do it well, magic will happen.

The KonMari method teaches you to work through a six-step process to remove items in the home that do not spark joy. Once you have eliminated, you then organize the items that spark joy in a manner that is easy to manage for the future. Kondo teaches mindfulness through thanking the items we are discarding for their service.

“KonMari encourages us to identify our ideal lives and to focus on the present. The past is processed, accepted, and appreciated for its lessons, and the future is approached with hope.” – Jenny Nin

I read Kondo’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and began practicing some of the ideas when we moved in 2015. I have had a minimalist approach to our family’s home since then. Until the show, I didn’t fully appreciate Kondo’s process in its entirety.

My husband actually encouraged me to go all the way. Since we binge-watched the show he has gradually started tidying our home. This, in turn, has simplified our life greatly.   We had long been in the habit of owning enough clothes to allow us to not do laundry for weeks. This has been a frustrating part of our lives for years- when we do finally do the laundry it is overwhelming. We would do 6-8 loads of laundry in a day and inevitably get behind on folding or putting the items up.

After he started using the KonMari method we very quickly realized the obvious, we had too much. We purged, folded, and organized both our clothes and our son’s. Then the “magic” people speak of happened. We realized doing a small load of laundry as it accumulated was manageable. The folding was even somewhat enjoyable. With everything having a place- putting the clothes up was easy. Kondo did not directly tell us to do our laundry in this manner.  The effect of tidiness in our closets and drawers led us to simplify how we run our household.

We have been living like this for over a month now. I have kept up with doing small loads of laundry and putting things up as we go. We have continued to tidy as we find problem areas and work through the categories.

At this point, you might be wondering exactly how I am going to relate this to local government work. I won’t.

I will relate this to life balance, stress reduction, and improved productivity. Each of these has helped my performance at work. I find it empowering now that my home environment is tidy. I am mentally more available to handle other things instead. I have produced more in the past month during normal hours than at points in my career when I took work home at night.

The positive effects have caused me to reconsider the types of professional development I encourage.  Technical and job-specific skills have always been a high priority for me. Second priority has been the type of training offered by most Human Resource departments covering things like leadership, sexual harassment, and management.

If we want to think about the whole employee and the overall success they have with our organization, we may consider life balance type training that empowers them outside of work. We know that the home environment impacts elementary children’s ability to perform at school. Does the same not apply to us as adults?

The KonMari Method may not be magic for everyone, but supporting employees in their home environments seems like a worthwhile effort. I’m not saying we should send all employees to KonMari boot camp, but giving them opportunities to build soft life skills that improve their lives outside the office may be helpful to building stable, well- balanced employees.

  • What I’m listening to –  Mardi Gras Pandora Channel
  • What I’m watching – Bosch
  • What I’m reading – The Color of Compromise: The Truth about the American Church’s Complicity in Racism by Jamar Tisby
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