If you are like most of America, you’ve fallen in love with Marie Kondo, author of the book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up and start of Netflix’s new popular show, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo.”
Marie Kondo has made her #KonMari method of de-cluttering and tidying up go mainstream.
It’s a simple but strategic organizing system that promises to improve and streamline your entire life, from clothing to papers to sentimental items.
At the basis of the KonMari method is to take all of your worldly possessions, hold them one by one in your hands, and ask yourself if they “spark joy.” If they don’t, toss ‘em.
The problem is that in our work life and career, we can’t always get rid of things because they don’t spark joy.
So another way you can look at it is to ask: Is this needed or useful in my work?
What I like most about the KonMari method is that it is a step-by-step system that needs to be followed in order – going through clothing first, then books, then papers and documents, then miscellaneous and emotional items.
There is a good reason for this specific order.
How can we apply the KonMari method to our digital mess and clutter?
We will apply this methodology to tidying up our digital lives in 5 areas: apps, digital bookmarks, email, documents/photos, social media
First we start by greeting the phone or laptop or computer – whatever digital device you are de-cluttering.
Marie starts every project with greeting the house and setting her intention.
1) Mobile apps first.
If you are like me you download apps and use them for a particular purpose then forget to remove them
Don’t cling to things just because you think one day you “might need”. In the digital world it’s even easier to get it back later.
If you haven’t used an application in the last 2 months, remove it – you can always get it back.
Be sure, in true KonMari fashion, to thank the app when you delete it.
Keep your apps out in the open but do organize them by screen.
My home screen has all of the apps I use in the morning, pretty much in order of use: MindBody, weather, Podcast Addict, social media.
Next screen is work stuff – Asana, Google Drive, graphic design apps, video editing apps.
Third screen is for stuff my kids use, entertainment, coupon, shopping.
The bottom tray are the things I turn to constantly: messaging, mail, and camera.
2) Get rid of bookmarks and things you have PDFed and been meaning to read (hint: you won’t get to it).
Go through Pocket, Evernote, Google Keep, whatever you use to save articles to read later and see how old they are and if they are still relevant.
For me, I bookmark a lot of social media and technology articles that are out of date if I don’t read them in just a few days or weeks.
I create Pinterest boards to save articles to help me when I write my books.
I also PRINT OUT articles that require note-taking and careful thought, then recycle them when I am done jotting down my ideas.
3) Go folder by folder in your computer and your laptop and clear out old files and applications.
This includes Dropbox and Google Drive.
Go to your Control Panel or your Applications folder and remove applications that you no longer need.
On desktops and laptops, choose a clean-looking, inspiring wallpaper image.
Then create folders by category.
Desktop clutter slows down the operating system and looks messy.
It can inhibit creativity and distract you when you go to work.
Tons of ebooks? Use free ebook manager Calibre to help you manage and synchronize ebooks with your devices (or read on your laptop/desktop if you don’t have an e-reader).
Go through your digital photos and videos and delete copies or duplicates.
Start by trimming out the easy ones: duplicate photos, blurry shots and old screenshots.
Upload your best ones to cloud storage like Google Photos or iCloud.
I organize my photos by year and month so I can easily find what I’m looking for when creating a photo book or calendar, or making a collage for a friend.
You can also sort them by person if you have Google Photos, which allows you to organize and search by person in the photo.
Do a clear-out of the newsletters you subscribe to.
Do they still spark joy?
Or have they just become another unwelcome intrusion into your digital space?
Use a free service like Unroll. me to instantly see a list of all your subscription emails.
Unsubscribe easily from whatever you don’t want to receive anymore (remember if you miss it, you can always go back and re-subscribe).
5) Social media.
Use the #KonMari ideology of sparking joy.
Which platforms do you like best?
Facebook lets you unfollow people without unfriending them.
This way they don’t show up in your News Feed but you don’t have to actually “de-friend” them.
Use ManageFlitter to clean up your Twitter feed.
Delete old Pinterest boards from events, parties, house projects, etc. that have come and gone.
Break up with social media sites that you no longer use and that no longer make you happy.
If you are feeling inspired, you can then tackel digital “komono” – miscellaneous. This includes Spotify playlists, Amazon wish lists that you haven’t updated in forever, Goodreads book lists, and more.
How are you planning on using the KonMari method to de-clutter your digital life?
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