Digital Konmari: how to tidy up your computer

Nina Mehta
Jan 30, 2016 · 5 min read

You can apply Marie Kondo’s ideas from The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up to your digital life. Since we can’t hold a computer interface to see if it sparks joy I’ll help you reduce visual clutter from your computer to make it a more peaceful and comfortable space.

A year after practicing methods from her book I started my digital Konmari with a brand new Macbook. Even new computers come with clutter! I’m sharing my findings four months after my digital Konmari. I had no serious relapses is a signal of success. Your computer is a very personal place, so please take care when discarding files.

Menu Bar

You can also download Mac Bartender that helps you hide certain taskbar items behind an icon. This is counter to Konmari’s philosophy to have everything at surface level. But there really are some apps I only need once and a while.

Dock

I recommend removing everything from your dock and decide which apps to keep during your daily computing.

Now that you have so few apps in the doc, you won’t need to access it as often. I recommend hiding the doc. Keeping it minimal will help you know when unneeded apps are running.

Desktop

  • Use ⌘+spacebar to search for files across your computer.
  • Change your chrome settings to download to the desktop. Once your file lands on the desktop immediately drop it into its proper home that clicks.
Chrome Browser advanced settings

Finder

There’s a lot of clutter here by default
  • Left Panel: remove everything except the essentials by right clicking on the list items and choosing “Remove item” or simply drag it out of the window . I recommend access to your applications, desktop, and the single folder where you keep all your files. Ease your eyes by hovering over the devices and tags categories and click Hide if they’re not useful for you.
  • Toolbar: Choose View>Customize toolbar to remove all the features here that don’t serve you. I recommend removing everything and adding in only what you need. You can always re-drag the full set back in if you make a mistake.
  • Hide the Tab Bar, Path Bar, Status Bar, Side Bar or Preview from the View toolbar dropdown. Here’s what worked for me:
  • In Finder Preferences you can change your settings to only search the current folder. I find this feature particularly nice since I use the ⌘+ spacebar to search my entire computer.

Chrome

In your bookmark toolbar you can also remove the title of the saved link. Since most favorite websites have recognizable icons, you probably don’t need the helper text anyway. Right click on the icon, choose edit and simply delete the title of the bookmark. You will be left with just the icon.

Files

To sort my files, I created a new folder and transferred everything I wanted to keep in the new place and discarded everything I don’t love or need in the old folder. I boldly (and safely) recycled old hard drives and computers that I haven’t been able to access in nearly a decade. This is a very advanced task that should be practiced with care.

Digital Life

Thank you Mary Baldwin for the computer gif.

Nina Mehta

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designer, writer, artist / ninamehta.com