3 Ways to Implement Lessons From The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up in Your Gift Shop

by : 

Megy Karydes

October 12, 2015
Marketing Mondays - Decluttering

I recently bought Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing because, with two full-time professionals working all day and two young children and a dog, our house is rarely ever “clean.”

Few of us have the luxury of returning home after work each day to a clean, well-organized home. It’s easy to accumulate stuff, and it’s often hard to get rid of something that’s still in good shape, even if it no longer brings us joy. The same thing can be true in our businesses, and, while Kondo’s book was written with homeowners in mind, it was very clear to me that her approach isn’t limited to one’s home. Many of her suggestions are spot on for helping independent gift retail and wholesale businesses declutter our way to better sales.

The book is separated into five chapters, each focused on a theme. In it, Kondo guides readers through the psychological barriers to staying organized, explaining how to approach discarding items and storing the things you keep and describing how this process can manifest in other parts of our lives.

The crux of her process is to touch every single item in your business, from the papers in your file drawers to each item on your shelves, and determine whether it brings you joy. It’s really that simple. Whatever no longer brings you joy goes; everything else stays.

There’s obviously more to Kondo’s method than this, so I highly recommend you read the book yourself, focusing particular attention on these points:

  1. Clear out those file folders. Many of us hate using storage space for things that don’t move (e.g., paid bills, instructions for the printer, catalogs, etc.). Here’s the thing: Chances are you probably haven’t looked at about 90 percent of what’s in those file folders since you originally filed it, and much of it can be tossed. So do it. It’s freeing. Most catalogs are available online, so you don’t need physical copies. Instructions for equipment can also be found online, so download the pdfs and let the hard copies go. Once bills are paid and taxes are filed, you no longer need all the paperwork (make sure to check with your accountant on what you do need to keep). You may find you don’t even need space for filing cabinets, which means you can use that precious real estate for product that can be SOLD.
  2. Say goodbye to items that aren’t moving. This is always the hardest for many retailers and wholesalers, because you’ve already invested the time and money to bring it to market. But, here’s the thing: If it’s not selling anymore and it doesn’t bring you joy to see it every day, you’re not going to be able to sell it … which means it will continue to sit until you can’t get anything for it. Let it go. Cut your losses and make room for something new that will re-energize your space, create excitement, and generate SALES. If the items are in good shape, donate them and at least get a tax write-off. The point is to let it go if it’s no longer doing its job.
  3. Keep it up. The name of this retail game, besides developing relationships, is to keep things fresh and exciting. It’s hard to do that when your business is cluttered or features old and tired items. Make it a point to go through your gift shop or wholesale space at the first of the month (or whatever date makes sense as long you stay consistent) and remove anything that doesn’t bring you joy or is no longer needed.

Have you read Kondo’s book yet? If you have, I’d love to hear how you’ve put her ideas into practice. Sent me a tweet @megy and let me know!

Megy Karydes is principal of Karydes Consulting, a boutique marketing and communications firm and freelance writer who often covers retail for various magazines. She likes her calendars, whether digital or on paper, and has her editorial calendar pinned to her board in her office to remind her what day it is! Find her on Twitter at @megy.