Does my smartphone spark joy?
I’m one of those people who will always look through the newest apps on my phone, in case there is a better app to do things, but this also includes finding better games to kill time while I’m waiting at the DMV. So I have a whole mess of apps on my iPhone and the operative word is “Mess.” I sometimes scroll through 5 different sections just to get to the app that I need
The fact that it took me about than 40 minutes to organize my apps is kind of embarrassing. And yes, like Marie Kondo, I had to stare at my phone and guess if this app “sparked joy.” But in reality, when I have to keep an app because it’s the main form of communication among my relatives, while it is joy, it is also a necessity.
However, I did take a couple of her techniques and apply it to my smartphone. I wasn’t super faithful to all the tenets because if you want the whole Marie Kondo experience, you should support her works and checking out her book that started it all: “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing”
If you’re like me, I prefer something with pictures in it so I’m glad there is a manga form (cartoon form) where the book illustrates the examples Ms. Kondo is making. It’s a super quick read and called “The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up: A Magical Story”
So what tenets were inspired by Ms. Kondo when it came to decluttering my smartphone?
1. “Does this spark joy?”
This trademark question by Marie Kondo should be essential even when you look down at your phone at any app. Do you look at your app and think “I NEED this” to the point that you also feel something? Then that definitely stays on your smartphone. Do you look at your app and think “I love using this?” to the point you feel something? Then it there is something else to consider…
2. Do you keep your app because there is an emotional connection but you never use it?
A few of us are guilty of having an app or two that we’ve kept on our phone because our friend introduced us to it and it was enjoyable when we were using it at the time. For example, I have a tarot card reading app, but I already know how to read tarot cards, but I was very enthusiastic when a friend of mine was excited to show me the app so I downloaded it.
Or you were on a workout kick and so you downloaded every free yoga app on the market. You’ve never used them but to get rid of them is to admit defeat that you’ve never laid down that yoga mat.
So in the effort to clean up your smartphone and not be constantly reminded of the things that you haven’t done, it’s best to delete these apps from your phone.
3. How do you organize and clean up these apps?
Think about the five main reasons why you use your smartphone. Here are mine:
- Calling people
- Checking the time
- Communicating with people on social media
- Putting things into my calendar
- Taking pictures
Based on these things, I make sure that any apps related to these functions are immediately accessible when I first open my smartphone after my screen unlocks.
Then think about all the other reasons why you use your smartphone. Again, here are mine:
- Check on my finances
- Record audio
- Access my Google Drive or Dropbox
- Use it as a flashlight when there’s no other source of light
- Playing games
Based on this, all these apps are in other sections of the phone that I can access at the swiftness of a swipe but they don’t have to be immediately right there when I open up my phone.
4. Deleting apps is not removing them forever
Surprisingly, one of the biggest recommendations in Marie Kondo’s decluttering system is to release books that “you plan to read someday” but in reality, you never get to read them. She also says that if you want to pick up that book in the future, you can find it then.
This is the same with apps, but apps on a smartphone are even more forgiving. For many phone systems, if you delete an app, you can go back to the app store and reload it with the convenience of a touch. And if you have paid for it, you are not generally paying for the app a second time after the initial purchase.
Just a cautionary note: If it is an app that is utilitarian that you are deleting, double check in the app store if the smartphone system still supports the app; some apps no longer receive support if they have been on the market long enough, but other versions of these functions may be available on other existing apps.
After cleaning up my smartphone, I went from 120 apps (which is a ridiculous number) to about 60 apps. 60 apps seem like a high number but when you account for the different functions of the smartphone and the different varieties of similar apps (for example I like listening to music, so I have Spotify, Pandora, and iTunes), that’s a reasonable number.
Simplifying your smartphone is more than an exercise in minimalism and decluttering. It’s to give you access to things a lot quicker so that you aren’t spending your time searching for things you want to do and spend more time enjoying them.
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