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2 unexpected benefits of technology

By Gretchen Rubin 1 min read

You probably never thought your smartphone could do this.

1. Allow technology to clear clutter

Often we hang on to possessions that have been replaced by technology.

Do you consult the print manuals for your devices or appliances—or do you just look up the information online? Do you maintain a library of books, DVDs or CDs even though you don’t use them anymore?

Do you have a fax machine, even though you never send or receive faxes?

Maybe you still need an alarm clock, calculator, scanner, dictionary, thesaurus, etiquette guide, maps or copier—but perhaps you use a tech solution instead, so you don’t need to keep those things.

If you have the current version of an item, don’t keep the outdated version. Unless you actually use these items, there’s no need to hang on to them any longer. (Though it does seem like a sacrilege not to own a physical copy of a dictionary.)

2. Create outer order on your smartphone

Clear away the visual clutter on your smartphone.

Keep only the most essential apps on your first screen and move the others to later screens. Regularly delete apps you don’t use.

To create even more space, use folders. For instance, by putting my travel-related apps in a travel folder, I opened up a lot of empty space.

For even more visual order, arrange your apps by colour to make your display more pleasing to the eye or arrange your apps by function to make it more efficient.

Adjust the notifications and sounds on your smartphone as well. When I turned off all sounds and when I cut back on my notifications, my phone became a much less intrusive tool.


This is an extract from Outer Order, Inner Calm by Gretchen Rubin, published by Hachette Australia, RRP $27.99.

Outer Order, Inner Calm: A review

If you’ve decided that Marie Kondo’s philosophy in life has sparked joy, this is a great book to get you started in a practical way. There are more than 200 tips on how you can begin to clear the clutter from your life, making way for order, which in turn will create some sense of calm, if not happiness. The tips—some of them philosophical—are easy to implement and when you think about it, just make so much sense.

Gretchen Rubin is one of the most influential writers on the linked subjects of habits, happiness and human nature. Gretchenrubin.com