I fell under the spell of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, a 2014 book from Marie Kondo, which lays out a decluttering and organizing system that promises nothing less than improvements in every aspect of your life.
The book urges readers to take all their worldly belongings, put them in a pile, hold up each one and ask themselves if it sparks joy. If it does not, thank the item and get rid of it; if it does, put it away in an orderly fashion.
The process has earned Kondo a cult-like following and a second book, Spark Joy. In it, Kondo explains her tidying principles in more detail, while a companion iOS app, KonMari (her nickname), keeps track of your organizing efforts, connects you with other "Konverts" who are clearing out their clutter and serves as a recruiting tool for KonMari consultants who want to spread the message.
The KonMari method sounds a little woo-woo, but it worked for me. I bought the book as a Christmas gift for my ever-tidying, ever-cleaning mother. As it turns out, I was not the first person to think of her when I saw it and since she already had a copy, I kept the one I got for her. It sat unread on my shelf in a very un-Kondo-like way for a while. But one day I picked it up, and midway through I was swept up in tidying mania and all of my possessions found themselves on my bed.
After many days of purging, my apartment -- which has always been clean and neat -- reached a new level of order, as did my life. Following the principles of the book, I have evaluated life choices consumer and personal and decided about them, at least partly, depending on whether or not they spark joy.
Though smartphones don't take up much space, they do create emotional clutter. Social media fights and memories that fill up the memory on our gadgets can hold us back. Luckily, Kondo has some advice for tech addicts, too. Read on for that and a few thoughts of my own to KonMari your digital life.