5 ways to tidy up your Android phone, inspired by Marie Kondo

If you’ve been watching Marie Kondo’s Netflix show, Tidying Up, you’ve no doubt caught the cleaning bug. Kondo’s organization method breaks down your clutter into five key areas: clothing, books, paper, komono (miscellaneous things) and sentimental items. Her mission is to “spark joy in the world through cleaning,” by throwing out anything that doesn’t make you happy. 

But while Kondo’s method may help keep your closets and cupboards clean, what about your phone? With six-inch screens and storage both on and off your device, it’s easy to fill up every digital nook and cranny with things you don’t need, don’t use, and just plain don’t remember.

If you transfer Kondo’s concepts to an Android phone and think of clothing as apps, books as downloaded videos and songs, and so on, you can begin to apply her wisdom to your mobile life. Here’s how we think Marie Kondo would clean a smartphone. (For more tips, check out our earlier story on “10 quick ways to clear space on an overstuffed Android Phone.”)

Apps (Clothing)

Just like it’s easy to fill your closets and drawers with shirts dating back to the grunge era, it’s easy to fill up our phones with apps we haven’t opened in years. Some might not even work anymore—backups can bring over apps that we downloaded years ago for phones that are long gone.

tidying up appsIDG

The apps inside your drawer can be shown and organized in any number of ways, depending on your phone.

Take some time to go through your app drawer. Deleting ancient and unused apps is a good start, but equally important is organizing the apps you have so you can find them easily. Most phones let you sort by name or another method of your choosing, and some let you sort by date installed. Try tapping the menu button next to the search bar to see which options you have.

Folders are also important. Nearly every phone lets you create folders within your app drawer, so you can group similar apps for easy reference. Even just creating a “Google” folder will cut down on your clutter, as you probably have a dozen or so apps from that company in your drawer. It’s easy: Just tap and hold an app and drag it on top of another app in your drawer to create a new folder. Then name it and add as many as you’d like to it.

Media (Books)

Next to apps, the most cluttersome items on our phones are media files: books, movies, songs, videos, and the like. Not only do they take up the most space, but they can also be the hardest to mind, as they’re often tucked away inside hidden folders that you can’t access outside of their respective apps. 

tidying up mediaIDG

Downloaded media files can be tricky to find.

Start by checking inside any apps that might have allowed downloads, such as Spotify, Netflix, and Google Play Movies. Depending on the app, you may have to delete each file individually or clear the cache inside settings. Then check the places where large downloads are most likely to live: your external SD card, and your cloud drives. There’s a reason why Google and Dropbox offer so much storage, because it’s easy to upload something and forget about it. A little digital cleaning will help—and it might even save you some money in the process.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *