Four Marie Kondo decluttering lessons you can apply to your website

It seems half of the planet is obsessively cleaning out their closets of excess clothes, thanks to organizational expert Marie Kondo.

But did you know the wildly-popular decluttering tactics can just as effectively apply to your website, too? (I’m looking at you, 5-year-old list of speakers from a past conference.)

Marie Kondo holding boxes

Photo credit: Netflix

The essence of Kondo’s cleanse is to first evaluate each item and determine if it brings you joy. If it doesn’t, thank it for its service and get rid of it. Second, when only your most joy-giving belongings remain, put every item in a place where it’s visible, accessible, and easy to grab and then put back.

That’s what a good site refresh or redesign is all about.

With that in mind, here are four lessons from the decluttering bible that you can apply to your website:

Lesson #1: Tackle Categories, Not Rooms

Woman surrounded by stacks of booksKondo’s first rule is to tidy by category—deal with every single one of your books at once, for example, otherwise, they’ll continue to creep from room to room, and you’ll never rein in the clutter.

Same goes for your messaging.

Focus on your content across your site (tone, length, calls-to-action), or your images (are they bold and compelling? Are you using powerful visuals to tell a story?).

If you only tidy up the About Us copy or the Events messaging, you’ve still got clutter across the rest of your site content.

Lesson #2: Respect Your Belongings

messy junk drawerMost of our new clients come to us with websites that resemble junk drawers — homepages and sections that have become catch-alls when you didn’t have a proper location to put content, or worse, when every department thought their content was the most important.

Kondo asks that you consider your clothing’s feelings: Are they happy being balled up in a drawer or crowded onto hangers?

Similarly, are your hardworking communications really thrilled to be squished a long, cluttered page layout? Could your messaging be totally miserable and missing the mark due to dated copy, or small, grainy photos?

Lesson #3: Nostalgia Is the Enemy

old rotary phone

Maybe that well-worn cardigan gives you joy. 

But what about a press release from 2011?

When decluttering, it’s easy to get hung up on what you’ll be left with. Will I have anything to wear to work? Will I have to sacrifice beloved content, all for the sake of decluttering?

This is where hard data can be your guide.

Start by looking at the top content people are actually visiting, or what content you’d like to make shine but is hidden. There should be no sacred cows — thank that old press release and set it free 🙂

Lesson #4: Fall in Love with Your Belongings

Once you’ve cleared away the clutter, you can put your best self forward (whether that’s a chic dress or spectacular infographics).

Organized closetCulling your dull messaging components lets your content see the light of day.

Especially when you tweak your layouts to have a combination of bite-sized messaging (like Buzzfeed-style lists, and slideshows) combined with long-form articles, you create a freshness to your communications and breathing room between pieces.

What are the results of taking a Marie Kondo approach to your website?

  • You’ll identify the true holes in your messaging, which will help all sort of content, imagery, and communications decisions fall into place.
  • Keeping your site up-to-date and tidy is so much easier when you have curated your belongings and assigned clear value to them.
  • Treating your essential content with respect makes them look better.

As always, we’re here to help when you’re ready to dive in. Happy cleaning!


Layla Masri

About Layla Masri

Layla is a co-founder of Bean Creative. She leverages her ad agency background and 15-plus years as a marketing and web copywriter to maximize interactive impact for strategic planning, usability/accessibility, and digital promotion.
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