Small Business

What can my business learn from Marie Kondo?

June 13, 2024

The queen of decluttering Marie Kondo, author of the bestselling The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, takes funerals a bit further in the KonMari Method: simplify, organize and declutter your living space to transform your life and enjoy a more joyful lifestyle.

Ultimately her ideas can be applied to various areas, including inventory management, bringing a spark of joy and transforming it.

Lessons from Marie Kondo for Your Business

Let's go by main principles from Marie Kondo:

Commit to Tidying Up

From the standpoint of inventory management this can be seen as committing to regularly organizing and updating your inventory, making sure that all the team members understand the importance of maintaining an accurate and tidy inventory.

Conduct regular audits of each inventory category. This helps you identify excess stock, outdated items, and opportunities for improvement without getting bogged down by the sheer volume of inventory.

Imagine Your Ideal Lifestyle

Before starting the process of organizing the inventory, think of the ideal inventory you want to create and how it will benefit you once it is organized, easily accessible and efficiently tracked. This vision will serve as a goal and motivation throughout the process. For example, having a streamlined process where you can quickly locate items and have real-time data on stock levels.

Finish Discarding First

"Before organizing items, focus on discarding those that no longer bring joy or serve a purpose" - for inventory management this may be seen as identifying and removing damaged items, moving surplus items to a dedicated location during the inventory audit. This will help in reducing clutter and ensure that inventory is not filled with unnecessary items.

Tidy by Category, Not by Location

Marie suggests organizing items by category rather than by location (e.g. clothes, books, papers etc), and this is exactly what inventory management is about! Get items categorized and group alike items in the same location (e.g. all electronics, all clothes, all paints etc), this will help understand the total quantity of each category and make search in the physical storage easier for your team members, making inventory more manageable. Conduct regular audits to identify excess stock, outdated items, and opportunities for improvement without getting bogged down by the sheer volume of inventory.

Follow the Right Order

KonMarie method recommends a specific order for tidying categories: clothes, books, papers, komono, and then sentimental items.

Although we can not use this principle directly, we can develop a logical order for the inventory audit:

  • Start with identifying items to discard
  • Break down the remaining items into logical categories
  • Organize items within each category
  • Label the items (barcode, qr code) and enter the items into inventory tracking system
  • Implement regular audits to keep your inventory organized!

Another good example of keeping things in order is, First-Out (FIFO) system to ensure older stock is used or sold before newer stock. This prevents waste and keeps your inventory fresh.

Ask Yourself if It Sparks Joy

"Hold each item and assess whether it brings you happiness. If it doesn't, thank it for its service and let it go" - this can be interpreted as assessing the value of each item. Keep the items that bring joy to your customers, are more popular and contribute positively to your operations. Discard the items that are damaged, and consider discontinuing or discarding what is not adding value.

To summarize, what can my business learn from Marie Kondo, for the inventory management perspective?

A tidy inventory is faster and more accurate, so your team can work smarter and more efficiently. Excess and obsolete stock cuts down on your holding costs and frees up capital to be invested elsewhere. Better visibility into your stock and performance allows you to make better decisions about purchasing, production and sales strategies. Of course, a tidy, well-organized inventory helps employees do their jobs better, boosting morale and productivity as you and your team spend less time searching for things and more time on value-adding activities – which is pretty much the ultimate goal of tidying up your inventory in the first place.

Following Marie Kondo's advice as it relates to your inventory, might just make your company a happier and more productive one as a whole. Who knew that the path to business success could be paved with a little tidying magic?

Feel free to share your own tidying success stories or ask questions. Happy organizing!