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Decluttering toolkit: How your iPhone can help you tidy and reorganize your life

Fancy a spring clean that lasts throughout the year? Try these tips, apps and accessories

Spring has sprung – at least meteorological spring (in the northern hemisphere). Hence many folks starting to talk about spring cleans. But we think the lift you get from decluttering should extend all year round – and that your iPhone can help.

Our guide is packed with tips, apps and accessories to get you started decluttering physical and digital spaces, which will bring you a little more joy – and a lot less stress.

Get started


Declutter your digital life too.

Make a plan: Order rarely arrives from chaos, so don’t add to disorder. Instead, figure out what you want to achieve, and break jobs down into manageable tasks. Then get started.

Work at your own pace: Unless you thrive on blitzing big jobs over a weekend, think little and often to avoid overwhelming yourself. One object dealt with or ten minutes decluttering per day adds up – to 365 items or 60 hours over a year.

Declutter digital: Many modern spaces aren’t physical. If you find yourself stressed when using devices, prioritize sorting them. Prune photo albums. Arrange files. Finally tackle your inbox of doom.

Scan and recycle: Chances are you don’t need most paper. Scan anything important and recycle anything you don’t need to keep for legal reasons. Even consider ditching manuals. Replace them with PDFs – they take up no physical space and can be searched.

Consider media: You might be tempted to give away physical media. But be mindful digital media lacks permanence – unless you have DRM-free files, you don’t really own the content. And streaming content is gone when you stop subscribing.

Record your progress: What most gives you a boost when you get something done? Checkmarks in a list? Before and after photos? Whatever it is, do that thing, and regularly prove to yourself that you’re making headway.

Download these apps

Classifier app

Classifier helps you log any set of items, from clothes to collectables.

Classifier (free + IAP): When you need to take stock of collections – no matter what they are – Classifier has your back. Through photos and tags, you can quickly get everything into your phone, ready for perusal and organizing.

Todoist (free): Apple’s Reminders app is good for task management, but Todoist has a richer feature set and cross-device support – meaning household members with Android phones can collaborate on your decluttering project.

Adobe Scan (free): While you can scan documents into Notes, Adobe’s dedicated scanning app is better. It’s fast and efficient, able to combine PDFs into single files, and automatically creates documents you can copy/paste text from.

eBay (free): Sell unwanted things by placing them in front of millions. The iPhone app helps you quickly take photos and list items – and also search existing listings to see whether something’s worth selling in the first place.

Facebook (free): An alternative to eBay, Facebook integrates a marketplace geared more toward local listings. Many communities also have ‘freebay’ groups, where you can give away items, thereby doing a good deed and lowering waste.

Photos Flashback (free): This app shows all iCloud Photo Library photos taken on the current date throughout previous years. Drop by daily for a few minutes to delete unwanted snaps and your entire library will be cleaned up within a year.

Connect this hardware

AirPods Pro

Entertain yourself while tidying with the help of some headphones.

Apple AirPods Pro ($249/£229): Tidying can be satisfying, but also dull. Keep yourself entertained during decluttering sessions by pumping tunes and podcasts into your ears – and also blocking out the grumbling of anyone around you roped in to help.

Samsung T7 (from $94.99/£80): If you own an iPhone 15, you’ll have USB-C, which means it’s now possible to directly connect an SSD and backup your files – a good idea before you set about organizing and deleting a bunch of them.

Brother laser printer (about $130/£130): Models change so regularly we won’t suggest a specific one. They’re all fine, and you only need one for eBay labels and such anyway. Just make sure the one you buy is wireless (look for ‘W’ in the name), so you can print from your iPhone.

Duclus 16in light box ($64.99/£59.99): Or similar. This is for taking better photos of things you’re planning to sell. It’s powered by USB, has internal lighting, and can be folded flat when not in use.