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I am a pro at minimizing physical clutter. While minimalism is a journey that I will always be on, I feel like my material possessions are pretty much at minimal. I could find a few things to declutter in most rooms, but there is no way I have enough stuff to participate in decluttering challenges at this point. Now that I don’t need to focus on my physical possessions as much, my attention has turned towards my digital life.
There have been a few digital areas that I have intended to declutter for quite a while. Having 6,000 photos on my phone was not only overwhelming, it was starting to slow my phone down. I decided I was going to print out the important photos so I could delete everything off my phone, but once I waded into my Shutterfly account I found even more digital clutter. Today I finally had enough. I sat down and organized my Shutterfly account, went through the photos on my phone, and sent in an order to print out the 500 most-important photos of the bunch.
I sat down and wrote up a list of all the areas in my life that I need to declutter. Digital clutter may not mess up my home, but it does cause stress and overwhelms me. Whether you have 10,000 unread emails, or your phone has 0 unseen notifications, you probably have digital clutter. Here are 5 areas you probably need to take a look at.
5 Areas To Minimize Clutter
We have moved from the age of shoeboxes full of photographs we don’t know what to do with, to phones with 6,000 photos on them or external hard drives that are such a mess of unorganized photos we don’t even want to look at them. The places i keep photos that need decluttered are;
- my phone
- Google Photos
- Memory Cards
- External Hard Drive
I’m already done with my phone and Shutterfly. I went through the photos, determined which ones I wanted to print, then deleted the rest. I ended up with about 500 I wanted to print just from those two sources, and I immediately ordered those prints. Side note – I intended to make photo books before I realized how dang many photos I needed to be printed. It would have cost me hundreds and hundreds of dollars for photo books, so I opted just to do prints. AS SOON as I get these I am going to put them into albums. I don’t want to exchange digital clutter for more shoeboxes of photos.
I plan to systematically work my way through these photos and decide what to do with them. There is some question about the longevity to digital storage, so that is why I am printing out the more important ones. My kids love to flip through photo albums, so storing all of these albums is a minimalist faux pas that I am willing to make. Someday they may want the albums for themselves.
Another huge source of digital clutter is social media. I have known for quite a while that social media tends to be a negative in my life, but I haven’t applied my minimalistic beliefs to social media, by and large. There are several areas of social media I plan to declutter like:
- Facebook friends
- Instagram follows
Some people are better at managing social media’s role in their life than I am, so it may not be as big of a negative. But, i recognize that I am NOT great at managing the “noise” so I am going to minimize it. As a blogger and content creator social media is somewhat of a necessary evil. Many brands and sponsors require you to post on certain social media outlets, and many connect with bloggers on social media. I have been afraid to minimize social media because I didn’t want to jeopardize what little income I make from this blog. I finally decided that it’s not worth exchanging my peace for, and that I need to live according to my beliefs in every area of my life. Even if that offends people I unfriend, or costs me blog income.
Minimizing books can be hard, especially for a book lover. I have successfully downsized my physical book collection, but my Kindle library is a hot mess. I am going to go through my library both on my Kindle and on Amazon and organize it as much as I can, and delete books that I just don’t need to keep. I rarely buy books anymore as I get most from the library, but all of those library books still show up in my Amazon account even though I can no longer access them. So annoying! And it’s way past time that I dealt with it.
I am a zero inbox person. Every night I get my inbox down to zero. The problem with that is that I liberally save things in various folders so I can get them out of my inbox. There are folders that are outdated, or I put emails in categories that I don’t match because it isn’t easy to create folders on my phone. I need to delete all those old emails that are no longer relevant, clean up my categories, and declutter the whole system. I can’t wait to get this one done!
My MacBook was running a little slow a few weeks ago so I decided to clean up my files. I was stunned at just how much crap I had saved to my computer. I completely cleaned out my download file, and the files that I needed to keep on my computer are now neatly organized into folders on my desktop.
My external hard drive also falls into this category. I save all of my blog images and YouTube videos in folders by month then transfer them to my external hard drive. That is, NOW I organize them by monthly folder. I have about 2 years’ worth of completely unorganized photos, videos, and God knows what else. This is going to be a huge project and I am dreading it (I don’t even want to know how many duplicate photos are on there) but it will be a good job done.
How To Keep Things Decluttered
It’s great to get your digital life decluttered, but it is quite another matter to keep things that way. Moving forward I plan to be more intentional with things. I plan to go through the photos in my phone weekly or monthly and delete what isn’t necessary, and print what I want to keep. I am going to be more intentional with my Facebook friends, groups I join and things I like. From now on I am only going to keep things in my Instagram feed that I actually enjoy seeing. I’m done following people because I don’t want them to unfollow me!
The whole of decluttering really boils down to one thing – being intentional. Life is too short to stress yourself out with things that don’t matter, whether they are physical or digital. What are some digital areas of your life that you need to declutter?