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Marie Kondo for Lawyers: Tidying Up Your Desk

By George Khoury, Esq. | Last updated on

Keeping tidy and organized is important for lawyers. So if you’ve been keeping up with our recent series on how to apply the KonMari method to your legal practice, you may have already organized your desk.

But, if you’re anything like most lawyers, finding the time to do your whole office, or even just your client list, can be daunting, and costly. Fortunately, you can start small with just your desk, and below, you can find a few tips on how to apply the Marie Kondo method to tidying up your desk.

Gather Categories of Items From Your Desk

The first step, as Marie Kondo teaches, is to envision what you want your desk or space to look like. Basically, what you envision should be a desk that has only the things that “spark joy” and/or are what you need to accomplish your job. No clutter.

To start, you need to gather up every item and assign it a category, then pile everything up in their respective categories. Categories can include things like books, technology, papers, office supplies, sentimental items, and a miscellaneous category.

Once everything is in their respective category piles, you need to go through each pile, item by item, making sure to touch each item as you evaluate it. Holding the item in your hands is critical for discovering whether an item “sparks joy.” The concept of an item sparking joy is indeed a bit awkward to grasp, but in short, if you have a positive emotional reaction when you touch an item, that’s a good sign, but there’s definitely more to it.

If an item doesn’t spark joy, or isn’t a necessity of your job that needs to live on your desk, it should be discarded, recycled, donated, or, minimally, put in the correct place in the office.

What’s Next?

After you’ve gone through each pile, Kondo explains that cleaning up the desk’s surfaces is an important part of getting that fresh start

Then, putting your items back onto and in your desk thoughtfully is the next part of the process. This entails finding an appropriate place for everything. For example, a desk drawer shouldn’t be a dumping ground. Drawers should be organized with small open top boxes, or drawer partitions. The idea is that you want all your items in and on your desk to be displayed and stored in the clearest way possible, as freeing your space from clutter can do the same for your mind.

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