If you haven’t heard of Marie Kondo before, but love organization, then you need to check out the best selling author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing. Kondo also has a Netflix series called Tidying Up With Marie Kondo. I found the book a lot more appealing than the show, but, hey, whatever works for you!
I’m a completely unorganized person when it comes to dealing with my own computer and digital files. I seem to post everything on my desktop to deal with later. I backup my photos on my phone into one large folder and then never seem to get around to looking at those photos. I save links I want to read later into my Gmail’s drafts folder.
All these files in all these places leaves my headspace unorganized. I can never really grasp what I need because I haven’t created a system for me to easily access it. And it was the power of becoming organized that gets me back on track. I harnessed the power of the KonMari Method to tidy up my digital life.
Does it spark joy?
The biggest takeaway for me is her question, “Does it spark joy?” And if that doesn’t make your brain scatter about, then this may not be the article for you. This isn’t an article about organizing your home, this one is about cleaning up your digital life.
As an enneagram type four, I have a hard time learning to let go of feelings from the past. And having a computer full of files that are seemingly random and discombobulated most-of-the-time can stir up negative energy. When that happens, I want to shut my computer off and do a full 180 (which is why I can never seem to keep myself on a writing schedule).
What is the KonMari Method?
The KonMari Method is a minimalist-inspired approach to tackling your personal belongings by category. Following the six steps below will help you transform your home and life, room-by-room.
1. Commit yourself to tidying up.
2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle.
3. Finish discarding first. Before getting rid of items, sincerely thank each item for serving its purpose.
4. Tidy by category, not location.
5. Follow the right order.
6. Ask yourself it it sparks joy.
Now that you’re tuned into the KonMari method, let’s apply these practices to your digital life. Here are some of my best practices to keeping an organized computer.
Trying to sort through and organize things can be time-consuming, yes, but so is every other project. Step one is to commit yourself to tidying up. By planning time to go through one category, you are allowing yourself to focus.
Keep your desktop clear
The worst feeling for me is turning my computer on and seeing all these random images, folders and documents. Why? Because it’s the default place for me to visually see something that I am working on, collecting inspiration for, or want “to get around to it” later. You can see my home office tour where I finally did clean off my desk.
The problem with this is that I have to keep opening the folder to review what I put inside of it – instead of taking the time to name the files something appropriate that I can recognize later. To get myself started, I created a couple folders to begin to make a path for all the files.
Create a Folder Hierarchy
Your files will be different, of course, but this is the beginning. You have to start thinking about creating a structure that allows you to easily find and use your documents.
I created a “To Do” and “To Read”. Anything that I wanted to buy, contact customer service, start a project on went into my To Do folder. I subsequently labeled each individual file to begin with “project”, “contact”, or “idea” to give myself the call-to-action on the file.
With my To Read folder, I put any downloaded PDF living on my desktop or in my downloads folder. Anything that had to do with work, I separated out and removed from my personal computer. Work-Life balance needs to be better separately with working from home.
Back Up Your Files
If you’re investing so much time into organizing your files, then you should out-smart yourself and find a way to backup your files so you don’t lose anything.
For my phone, I use Dropbox to backup all the pictures I take. This leaves me with one massive folders of unorganized images, but at least I have them in two places. Again, I have to commit myself to tidying the photos by category, but I can discard any photos that didn’t turn out or that don’t bring joy.
I like to keep backups of Financials, such as tax returns or student loan documents, because those types of files are more important than unflattering pictures of my cat. Again, ask yourself if the photo sparks joy, before dismissing it from your life.
KonMari allows you the capacity to breathe by regarding the value of the item in question. With digital files, its easy to let them collect because you have a large harddrive and cloud storage is easily available for backups. But when you end up with a monthly charge to save hundreds of photos that don’t value to your life, why are you paying for that?
I love a good organization session. Whether I clear out a drawer in my closet, a basket in the pantry, or a folder on my desktop. Whatever it is, it allows me to see what has been weighing on me or an idea that I forgot about because it’s been lurking in the hidden folder, un-named and un-tagged.
Have you tried the KonMari method? Tell me your experience in the comments below.