Decluttering Tips to Simplify your Digital Life
I mentioned over on Instagram this week that I’ve been in a bit of a blogging rut. About a month ago now, I moved out to Monroe, Georgia, where my family has a little house and some land that’s been in the family for many years. This little house in the woods is the most peaceful, relaxing spot, and you’d think it would be the perfect place to work on exciting new blog posts for you guys! It wasn’t until a few days ago I realized that although I am surrounded by nature in the most beautiful place, when I sit down to get to work on my computer, I sit down to a cluttered uncomfortable mess.
I know you’re wondering, “What does this have to do with zero waste?” Although not directly related, in my opinion when striving to live zero waste that includes zero wasting of time. When your electronic life is simplified, you’re able to spend time focusing more on what’s important rather than wasting time sifting through emails, thousands of photos, and apps.
I recommend taking five minutes each day to work on some of these decluttering tips. Just as decluttering your entire house in a day is a massive obstacle so would be decluttering your digital life in a day. When I organize my house, I like to work in categories or by room. In the same way, you can use these categories to organize a little each day.
Clean up your email inbox. Yes, go through those 200 unread emails, and delete the ones you know are not important and respond to those that are. Organizing your inbox into folders will also help simplify things and make it easier to respond more readily to important emails. Once you’ve decluttered your inbox, try to keep it that way!! Answer/delete emails daily so they don’t pile up and overwhelm you.
2. Old Documents
This one may not seem as important to you, but trust me, going through old documents not only speeds up your computer but also makes it a lot easier to find files that you do need when you’ve eliminated the unnecessary. Once you’ve streamlined your files, put them into to folders that you will be able to navigate more easily.
Going through old photos will take more than five minutes, but try taking just five minutes per day for a week to start to hack at this big project! I have not only thousands of photos on my phone but also plenty more on my computer. What I’ve learned is, I don’t really need 100 photos of that concert from 5 years ago or 50 sunset photos… Deleting duplicates and photos that didn’t turn out great will free up a lot of space on your device.
After going through and deleting the not so great photos, I like to organize my photos into folders as well. It’s a huge project I know, but definitely worth it. After you’ve decluttered old photos, PRINT some of the ones you love! Printing is my favorite part, because now you can actually enjoy the photos that you do have and love by seeing them regularly around your home.
4. Streamline Social Media
Streamlining social media was really important for my own digital decluttering project, because I find myself wasting a lot of time on social media, time which could be better spent doing something productive. Streamlining social media to me meant deleting platforms I don’t use regularly and leaving a whole lot of Facebook groups. I was in at least 60 different Facebook groups and decided to leave ones that I either wasn’t active in or found myself wasting time scrolling in.
5. Unfollow/Unfriend on Social Media
This decluttering tip goes along with the previous one about social media, mostly because it’s so easy to wind up wasting time on it regularly. Take a few minutes to go through your “friends” lists and unfriend people who let’s face it, aren’t really your friends. It is way too easy to find yourself scrolling through photos of your best friend’s cousin’s kid’s school play… Also, unfollow social media accounts that don’t provide value to you personally. Your interests change and that’s great. You don’t have to clog your news feed with accounts that interested you years ago. Move on!
6. Phone Apps
You’ve cleared a lot of space on your phone after deleting old pictures, but another great way to free up space on your phone is to delete unused/rarely used apps on your phone. Plus it’s so much easier to find what you’re looking for on your phone when you don’t have to hunt through unused apps.
7. Delete Bookmarks
I, for one, had hundreds of bookmarks on my laptop before starting my digital declutter. It was really helpful for me to go through these booksmarks and delete the ones that I didn’t find useful, print and/or archive articles that did interest me, and actually USE the information from these tabs.
This decluttering tip is something you’ll have to work on a little each day, but it has totally changed my inbox organization. Before, my inbox was about 60% advertisements and 40% important emails that needed responding to. Now, whenever an email pops in my inbox for something I’m no longer interested in, I go ahead an unsubscribe immediately. This will simplify your inbox enormously, but it’s definitely something you have to keep up with regularly. Making a habit of unsubscribing immediately when an unwanted email arrives will make it easier.
Having an organized and simplified digital life is a lot like a decluttered home. It makes it so much easier to be productive in your work space! Have you had a digital declutter recently?? What are your best tips for others just starting out?