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How to declutter your digital space, according to a Marie Kondo master

With there no immediate end to lockdowns in sight, there might be a little more time to get your life in order. We spoke to Australia’s first certified Marie Kondo expert on how to do that digitally.

There’s an upside and downside to storing our lives in ‘the cloud’. On the one hand, we don’t have boxes of photographs taking up valuable space in the living room cupboards, but on the other, they still occupy mental room, not to mention the time it takes to go through them.

The gravity of photography has changed, too, arguably depleting in sentimentality. What was once reserved purely for life milestones, like birthdays, weddings, and first steps are now benign documentation of our everyday life, like that Instagrammable brunch spot. Not just for ourselves, either, but more as proof to others that we’re cool and we do fun things.

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Australia’s first certified master of the Marie Kondo method, Gemma Quinn, believes that much like our wardrobes and attics, we need to streamline these memories. Quinn—who needed to fulfill 1,500, tidying hours and guide two clients through a tidying ‘festival’ which can take several weeks each—subscribes to Kondo’s teaching in that we should only hold onto possessions that ‘spark joy’—if they don’t, send ‘em packing. The idea is that we should always be appreciative of and look after our belongings. If we don’t, it’s firstly disrespectful, but secondly, what’s the point in having them? And that goes for your digital storage, too.

Curate, curate, curate

When you’ve gone on holidays, for example, it’s likely you’ve taken hundreds, maybe even thousands of snaps. But in the long-term, you’re never going to look back on every single one. So, Quinn advises culling it down to a few ones that will bring back the strongest, most special memories. Or, in the language of the KonMari method: Whichever ones spark joy. Be deliberate, be considered.

“I recommend only kind of keeping five to 10 photos max, I refer to a ‘keeper’… Every single one of those makes my heart melt,” says Quinn.

Her favourite tool is GoProQuik, an app that’s easy to use and organises all her photos in collections of memories or events. She can add music, apply filters, edit videos, and share with family and friends without losing image or video quality.

When can I find time for all this? You’d be surprised. How often are you sitting and doing nothing on public transport, or waiting for your kid’s swim class to wrap up? (Pre-COVID times, obviously).

“In these moments, it’s nice to know no-one is going to bother or interrupt you because they’re off doing something else,” she says.

Here’s a thought: Instead of mindlessly scrolling through social media in bed, while watching Netflix, or on the loo (it may not be the most hygienic but surely we ALL are guilty of it?), why not mindfully scroll through your own photos on your phone’s storage and start decluttering? You never know how much it could improve your happiness.