3 steps to apply Marie Kondo’s ‘art of tidying up’ to your smartphone.

Between her best-selling books and Netflix show, Marie Kondo has become famous for her “art of tidying.” If you follow her KonMari method, she promises you’ll end up feeling calmer, inspired and more joyful. Admittedly, when I read her books a couple of years ago, I found them super useful. I applied her method to our condo and I think we’ve enjoyed a tidier, more peaceful home overall.

The funny thing is that I never considered applying her method to my digital devices. But, given how much time we spend on them, I recently decided to give it a try on my iPhone. And the results were well worth it! I’m now more relaxed when using my phone and yes, even a little more joyful. So, I did the same exercise with my iPad.

If you’d like to see what tidying up your smartphone can do for you, follow these steps.

#1 – First, declutter your phone. 

Start by unlocking your smartphone and closing all your apps. Then start working your way through each and every app.

Open one at a time.

Notice how you feel when it opens.

If it doesn’t bring you joy, then remove that app.

You might be thinking, “what the heck do you mean by does it bring me joy?” Well, maybe an app helps you do something that makes you feel good, like Facetime with someone special, track your favourite workout or cook up something new. But if you notice that opening a particular app starts to cause some negative feelings, then remove it. Think about it this way—the goal of step 1 is more about deciding which apps you really want to keep, not which ones you should get rid of.

Decluttering your cellphone can lead to many benefits. We often use up more space on our digital devices than necessary, which slows them down. Storing more than we need or use can also make it hard to find what we’re looking for. And, most of all, it can be distracting and make us feel overwhelmed. There’s a lot of truth to the expression, "less is more."

#2 – Then, tidy your apps. 

Once you’re done decluttering your phone, review what’s left and tidy it up. Start organizing your apps into categories according to their purpose (ex. work, health, tools, entertainment, connections). You can put anything you wanted to get rid of but couldn’t (because of the operating system) into a separate category, call it something like ‘ignore’ or ‘unused,’ and move that to the last page/screen on your phone so it’s out of sight, out of mind.

#3 – Lastly, optimize your screens.

Think of how often you glance at the images on your cellphone screen. It may not seem like much but the average person picks up their smartphone 76 times a day, so it quickly adds up.

The image you see on your smartphone when it’s locked should be one that brings you joy. And the image on your homescreen should be something simple and serene, since it sits in the background behind your apps. If it’s complex and fussy, it contributes to a cluttered digital environment. Keeping this in mind, review the images on your cellphone and decide if you need to change them so they can help you achieve a happier and more peaceful experience.

Hopefully this process can help you see more clearly what you need in life and what you don’t, even when it comes to your digital devices. 

Did you notice any difference after decluttering and tidying up your phone? I’d love to hear if you found this exercise helpful.


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