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  • Tara R.

HAPPY PHONE, HAPPY HOME. I mean, really, is this text sparking joy?

2019 is here! The year is anew; and so are you! This is your year to declutter, to purge, to create joy. But, when heaping hordes of junk star piling up like withering teepees in the middle of your living room, and organizational ennui settles in, you might consider starting smaller. Like, waaaay smaller. Cue the constant, chiming chatter of your frisky phone. Like any good edit, this one starts by knowing what to keep, and what to toss. How not to get lost in the vast, voiceless vacuum so you can get back to properly folding your socks? Fear not, help is here to unleash the unique magic of a tidy phone:

1. The Constant-Confirmation. Hey, are we good for lunch next Monday? Still on? I'm just double-checking. I'll triple-check tomorrow. And we can touch base over the weekend. Stop, just stop. Any text confirming a plan that is more than 24 hours away should be summarily swiped left. It may take two to confirm, but it only takes one to cancel. Verdict: TOSS IT

2. The Overshare. I had the wackiest dream last night. We were dressed in Devo hats running though Wawa throwing cheezits at the Dalai Lama. WTF?! Had to share! Hmmmm...any text, to any person, that details what happened in a sleeping state, no matter how cute, crazy or whimsical said sleeper thinks this may be, should be expunged from existence. No one cares about your dreams. Not even your conscious self. Verdict: TOSS IT

3. The Oldie-But-Goodie. OMG! Look what I found! Is that Bonnie with the unibrow in the CBH crop top sporting a side pony? And Fiery Red Ted in the Spuds Mackenzie tee? Is that a bong or a lava lamp? Oh, what to do with a group text full of humiliating and/or incriminating old photos that date back to the era that conceived of the wine cooler? You may think it's a classic, but that doesn't mean Tracy wants to relive the year she brought her doorman to the Prom, or the perm-that-went-awry, with 25 old classmates, mostly unfamiliar phone numbers, hurling en masse platitudes about the crazy '80s. The nice thing to do, of course, is to put these in the trash pile, but... Verdict: KEEP IT (just in case...)

4. The Hangover Comparison. Omg, you think you are hurting? I literally just woke up!! I slept through Jasper's Kids-n-Sports ceremony! You think that's bad? I ate four slices of pizza! Oh yeah? That's nothing! I amazon-primed a new TV... to my in-laws! I bought a Peloton! I slept with my Uber driver! I donated a kidney! Verdict: TOSS IT (...there will be others.)

5. The I'm Too-Busy-To-Slow Down. It reads somefug wike tis. That's right --I'm typing so fast and so furious that not even autocorrect can stop me. I may be crossing a major two-way avenue clutching a dog, a small child and a scalding Venti Pike, or at the salon with my head awkwardly cranked back in a sudsy sink, but I won't stop texting, no way. Ain't nothing gonna break my stride. Verdict: If the quality is shabby, TOSS IT.

6. The Midnight-Snack. Omg, I've been up since 2 am. Hey, I may need you to fill in for me at the Parents-in-Action meeting as I think I need emergency root canal?!? Once the clock strikes twelve, it's not really an appropriate time to be eating -- or texting favors. Maybe a little nibble is fine, but don't come at me at 3 a.m. with requests to trade safety-patrol shifts next month. Anything we text about post-midnight automatically gets passed on to someone else. Verdict: DONATE

7. The Passive-Aggressive. Call me!! I need to talk to you! Seriously, though, call me now!! I can't call you because I'm too busy texting you to tell you that you have to call me! Because I have to talk to you! For the love of g-d, people, have you ever heard of time-management?! This type of chatter does nothing but clutter your phone and your soul. Thank it for everything it has brought to your life -- and then discard it. Verdict: TOSS IT

8. The Artist Smiley face, wink, wink, fist pump, shoulder shrug, rainbow, rainbow, pot of gold, clover, clover, horse, swimming pool, tennis racquet, heart, heart, thumbs up, kissy lips, surfboard.... These artful, bulky beauties usually start pouring in when the youngest member of any family hooks up with a device. Parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles are all subject to a rush of emoticons coming in so rapidly that their phone may start to spasm. Most will feel compelled to search the endless train for hidden meaning, and then reply to the smiley stream-of-consciousness in kind. These masterpieces are priceless in the eye of the beholder, but worthless to just about everybody else. Sometimes you just gotta throw out the baby with the bathwater. Verdict: MAYBE PILE (I mean, are you made of stone?!...)

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