Tidy your home office like cleanliness guru Marie Kondo

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Separating work life from your private life is incredibly difficult if you’re working from home all week. That can be especially true if you’re not as naturally organised as you would like or your house tends to lean towards the chaotic. Piles of paper can accumulate all over your home, along with miscellaneous trays and boxes. Before you know it, your home is bursting with random stuff, which does not create an effective working environment. American researchers discovered that clutter increases your levels of cortisol, the well-known stress hormone. Reason enough to take a critical look at the items around you.

Marie Kondo’s tips for decluttering are especially helpful for collector types, who say things like: “maybe these pants will be fashionable again in a few years” and “I’ll keep these old shoes for Glastonbury”. In contrast, Marie Kondo is a firm believer in this rule: only keep the things that you can use in your life at this moment.

1. Papers
Even though many companies have gone digital with their paperwork, most people’s homes still have boxes full of paper. Take a critical look at which papers you need to keep. Remember, you don’t have to keep your records for decades; most official documents have a period of five years. If you have doubts about certain documents, you can always scan them and store them digitally.

2. Pens
Pens can be a strange thing. They enter your house unnoticed and spread everywhere. Start by collecting all of your pens from all over the house. According to Marie Kondo, it’s better to tidy up not by room but by category. Once you’ve collected all your pens, get rid of all of the broken ones. Then, seriously consider how many pens you really need – and avoid obstructive clean-up thoughts like: “I’ll save this pen for when the other three break!”

3. Cords and cables
It’s easy to fill a large drawer with USB cables, phone chargers, internet cables, HDMI cables and other assorted adapters. But, do you really need them all? Using the same idea as pens, collect all of the cables in your house. It is likely that you no longer even know which cable belongs to which device. Be strict again: if you haven’t used a cable in more than a year, you most likely don’t need it now.

4. Books
Your beloved full bookcase should also be subject to a thoughtful review. People often use bookcases as a kind of decorative object, but a full bookcase shouldn’t be a goal in and of itself. Marie Kondo recommends taking all the books off of the shelves. Then ask yourself for each book: does this book make me happy? What feeling does this book give me? Don’t be misled by obstructive clean-up thoughts such as: “I really should read this book because it’s supposed to be important”. That focuses you on what you think you should read and not with on you are truly interested in. You should also say goodbye to cookbooks and textbooks that you haven’t used in more than two years.

5. Junk bins
Junk bins are trays or boxes full of uncategorised items. Make sure you empty all of these bins throughout your house and ask yourself about each item: do I need this at this point in my life? If you do, then you should store the items in a place where they belong.

The above tips work for the entire home, but they’re especially great for the home office. Hopefully, these tips will help you to create more order, so that you can work in a tidy house in good spirits. After all, a clean space is good for the mind.