I’m super excited about this guest post today because it’s written by Lydia of Make Your Life Beautiful , another fellow minimalist. As you know, I’ve talked about the importance of decluttering your digital space so to hear someone else’s perspective on the matter will be VERY enlightening. Hope you all enjoy the read & follow Lydia’s blog.
As someone who has decluttered an entire home in under a year, I like to think that I have successfully embraced the minimalist lifestyle. And you might think so too if you were to visit my home. We don’t have a lot of visible “stuff” and what we do have either brings us joy or has a purpose. But if you were to open my laptop or look through my phone, you might be surprised. At least, I thought I had you fooled!
Enter digital clutter… This is the area I have the hardest time minimizing. I think that’s because you can’t SEE it. Digital cluttertakes place in the form of things like desktop icons on your laptop and screenshots on your phone. They are there but for the most part they are well hidden. But digital clutter is very real and can cause anxious feelings, sort of like you’re not organized and in control. It can be a bit unsettling when it gets out of hand. And that’s without mentioning the dreaded “Storage Full” message that appears when you have a rare photo op! I’ve been there, but I was getting a bit tired of living that way – so I put together a list of ways to get in control, and I hope it will also help you get your digital clutter back under control, too!
1. Empty your computer’s recycling bin. Your computer’s recycling bin is a hot bed of digital clutter. First make sure you don’t have anything important in it. The easiest way to empty your recycling bin is by clicking the “Empty Recycling Bin” icon in the top bar when you click the Recycling Bin icon on your desktop.
2. Remove old desktop files. This is another place where digital clutter can build up really quickly. Many times if you are saving something to upload or send you might store it on your desktop so it’s easy to find. But then 3 weeks later it’s still there and has no use for you. Form a habit to remove any unnecessary files from your desktop on a regular basis.
3. Take 15 mins to delete images from your phone that are similar. You were trying to get the perfect shot of your kids all posing together, which resulted in multiple attempts and equally as many photos. It happens a lot! Go through your phone and delete any images that are blurry or duplicates to reduce the number of pictures stored in your Camera Roll.
4. Spend the first 30 minutes of your day social media and phone free. Oh, how easy it is to pick up your phone and open your favourite social media app within seconds of waking up. I try to have some quiet time with my coffee and devotions before I start scrolling – the longer I wait, the better I feel. It’s going to be there when I’m ready!
5. Delete texts, voicemails and recent calls. Do you have a backlog of voicemails that you’ve listened to from months ago and don’t need anymore? Make it a weekly practice to delete old messages and voicemails – your storage will thank you, and it’s like having a blank slate each new week
.6. Spend 15 mins deleting old email messages. If you aren’t applying the inbox zero philosophy to your email accounts, you might have an overwhelming number of old emails that you no longer need. To stay organized and keep your inbox from becoming cluttered, spend 15 minutes each day getting rid of old emails. Once you’ve managed to get your inbox under control, you can start aiming for inbox zero – where you end each day with zero – yes ZERO – emails in your inbox. They’re either archived, deleted or put into an appropriate folder.
7. Delete active web pages on your phone. Get rid of all of those Google searches and recipe pages! I know they’re still active on your phone right now…
8. Spend 15 mins a day organizing files and folders on your computer. Take baby steps toward getting your computer files organized and come up with a good system going forward to keep all of your digital information and files organized.
9. Remove old contacts from your phone. Do you still have friends from high school in your phone’s contacts? Or an old colleague from work you haven’t talked to in years? It might be time to go through your contacts and remove those you aren’t regularly in touch with anymore.
10. Put all photos and videos on your computer or other storage devices (after deleting any similar images). If you aren’t on board with storing your photos on your device’s cloud platform, the other option is to upload and store your photos and videos on your computer – if the hard drive is large enough – or on an external hard drive. This way your photos are safe and you can access them when needed, but they aren’t sucking up storage space.
11. Unjoin Facebook groups you don’t find useful. Were you looking for child care for your daughter who’s now in kindergarten? You can probably unjoin that Daycare Providers group you’re a part of, then! Along with any others that no longer serve you your lifestyle.
12. Turn off notifications for social media and/or take a 24 hour digital fast. Turning off your social media notifications is a very impactful way to reduce how much time you spend on social media, and taking a 24 hour “time-out” is a nice way to spend the weekend and can allow you to be more present with your friends and family.
When I’m decluttering a space in my home, I usually follow this rule: if it doesn’t serve a purpose or make me happy it needs to go. You can use this same rule when it comes to digital clutter. Some of the above tips can be done daily and others are things that only need to be managed occasionally. The key is to stay intentional with how much time and space you allow digital clutter to have.
How do you stay intentional with your digital devices and social media?