Organize & Clean

7 Ways Your Phone Can Help You Declutter

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Tamara Gavin)

In the post-Marie Kondo era, clutter has become the enemy. Excessive documents, old T-shirts, and unread books are some of the offending items we see everyday that definitely don’t spark joy. While I’m the first to agree that Kondo’s folding techniques and organizational tricks are genius, there are other ways (besides purging all your worldly belongings) to get your home—and your life—feeling orderly once again.

The key is probably in your hands right now: It’s your iPhone. Using smart apps and even basic smartphone functions, you can keep your place tidy without going KonMari on everything.

Here are seven of our favorite hacks:

1. Keep track of your stuff.

One of the easiest ways that you lose track of your belongings is forgetting what things you own. The app Sortly can help you catalog your belongings, and is especially useful when you have an upcoming move thanks to labeling and tagging capabilities. Once you’re all settled, take inventory of items like jewelry and wine so you know what you have at a quick glance.

2. Gamify your chores.

Did you wash your sheets this week, or last? If keeping track of your tidiness is proving to be difficult, an app like Tody monitors the cleanliness of your home based on timelines created by you, so you’ll always know when the last time you cleaned the bathroom was.

3. Go ahead, get rid of it.

So once you’ve decided that your DVD player is going in the discard pile, you might still be held back by the idea that it’s gotta be worth something to someone, right? Instead of Craigslist, try using resale apps like Letgo to sell your stuff locally. Plus, it boasts a much more phone-friendly interface.

4. Turn the sentimental digital.

We all tend to hang onto things like birthday cards, kids’ art projects, and past wedding invitations, but how often do you actually take these things out and look at them? Try storing them as digital files: Snap a photo on your phone and send them to the cloud, and poof! You just sifted through a whole mess of paper clutter.

5. Take note(s).

Are you a serial Post-It note writer? Keep your musings organized with Evernote, an app where you can jot down to-do lists and literally anything you might bookmark on your computer’s web browser (like the recipe you’ve been eyeing for dinner tonight). You can also store images and important documents.

6. Keep your kitchen clear.

Stockpiling coupons and store flyers? Stop. Make your weekly list on the app Grocery Pal, and it will compare the prices of each item at nearby stores, including sales. Bonus: Making regular lists will keep you from buying multiples of the same item (we’re looking at you, second jar of mayo).

7. Actually use your Passbook.

You’ve probably uploaded concert tickets or airplane boarding passes to your iPhone’s Passbook, but did you know it can also keep track of your loyalty cards for places like CVS and Starbucks? Finally, you can stop carrying them around stuffed in a card case or worse, on your keychain.

How has technology replaced some of the clutter in your life?