This Is Marie Kondo’s Secret to “Digital Decluttering” (It’s Shockingly Easy)

published May 3, 2024
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Marie Kondo has done a lot in the decade since her decluttering technique, the KonMari Method, went viral — including releasing 10-plus books, mainly about the “magic” of organizing and decluttering, putting out her Netflix show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, and so much more. I recently got the chance to sit down with Kondo to discuss all things organizing and decluttering, and how she prioritizes family over cleaning. And as you’d imagine, she had all the answers I was looking for. 

Aside from welcoming three children to her family, the modern world has also affected how Kondo helps others tidy up. One of the questions she gets often as devices and social media have taken up more and more space in the digital age: How can I declutter my life digitally? In the overwhelming era of constant pings, connection requests, and alerts, of course, Kondo has just the solution.

“I think a lot of people struggle with digital clutter, and people often ask how to tidy my digital space, whether that be sorting emails or apps, things like that,” Kondo said. “But not only that — I also found that the way we spend time with our phone, our attachment to our phone is very significant.”

To combat this issue, Kondo collaborated with Belgian tech company Stolp to create the simplest solution to digital clutter: a Faraday box, essentially. Available to order now, the KonMari® x Stolp® Phone Box is a simple but game-changing invention. You simply put your phone in the box, shut it closed, and it’ll “press pause on all digital noise,” blocking all phone signals and, therefore, notifications.

Kondo likes to use her Stolp phone box during dinner to stay off her phone, as it helps her to be more present with her family or her beloved teatime, the things that bring her joy — a key tenet of her decluttering method. “I found that not being able to see your phone itself is very effective in creating that distance that we need,” Kondo said. “I felt that putting your phone away really becomes a ritual for yourself that gives you the calm and peace that you need in your headspace and your heart as well.”

The box comes in both sand and a deep brown color, and you can also keep the box slightly ajar so that your phone still gets signal and notifications, but it’s still out of sight (and out of mind!). It’s a visually stunning reminder of the importance of focusing on what matters most — and it ties in perfectly with her tidying theory.

“Fortunately, the [KonMari] method can be applied in either physical or nonphysical spaces, and this includes something as small as apps in our phone,” Kondo said. “The principles of the KonMari method are that you tidy by category, and you always choose what sparks joy for you. These two rules can be applied to the apps that dominate our phones as well. You’ll be able to realize what you actually need in your life and tell what no longer serves you.”

Kondo said that as she’s gone through different phases of life, from becoming a first-time mom to raising toddlers, she’s had to remind herself to reassess what’s most important to her at that time and allow herself plenty of grace. However you find the time to identify what sparks the most joy to you (and, equally as important, what doesn’t) — there’s always space for more cheer, and less pressure.