6 Steps to Digital Minimalism
When we think of minimalism most of us conjure up an image of a white room or a neutral palette-ed wardrobe, but minimalism extends to every corner of life and somewhere that I find needs a bit more attention is the digital side of minimalism. This means decluttering your online space so that you can focus more on what's important whether that's writing an essay, spending more time on your blog, constructing an inspiration board or whatever it is you want to spend more of your precious time dedicated to.
So here are some areas of your digital life to declutter for good:
We all hate spam and marketing emails and yet we keep inviting them into our inboxes. Instead of changing our email preferences or unsubscribing altogether we find ourselves clicking delete until the next one comes along. But that means another interruption, another 3 minutes wasted opening it up and deleting it again, and another chance for someone to sell their stuff to us. So next time you get an email you don't want, scroll to the bottom, click unsubscribe and be done with it once and for all. It takes the same amount of time to unsubscribe as it does to open the email in the first place so don't let time be your excuse because you'll be saving yourself a lot of it in the long run. Do this with every unwanted email and soon you wont have to anymore. Something that takes seconds will save you a lot of time in the future.
Browser bookmarks are great to keep track of things you want to visit time and time again like recipes, blogs, news feeds or work folders. However, they can quickly become cluttered with saved items that no longer hold value like out of date articles, old social media channels or anything you find you don't gravitate towards anymore. Spend a little time going through your bookmarks and sift through what you really need. If you click on something once a week or more – keep it. If not – get rid! You'll find that once you've paired down what's really important it'll be more manageable, you'll be able to see more clearly what you're looking for and your browser will look a lot cleaner and ready for use.
It's easy to get carried away with applications and they can easily clog up your home screen. I like to keep the applications I use on a daily basis in my applications bar, any applications I use on a weekly or monthly basis are kept away from my daily visual in the applications folder and anything I usee less than that gets uninstalled and deleted. These not only take up visual space but valuable drive space, too, which means your computer will slower and become clogged with all sorts of old and unused applications. Go through, think about what you need and use on an often enough basis and delete the rest. Chances are you don't need every application that comes with your computer or that you've downloaded through the years. Things get updated, new applications emerge, and we stop using the things we use to rely on. So update your computer as you would your wardrobe – discard what isn't used any longer and keep what is important for every day use.
If you're a 'what if I need this in the future' type of person, documents may be hard for you to let go of. Chances are, however, if you've not needed something within the past 12 months you'll never need it. Of course important files like birth certificates, in date legal documents and contracts are an exception here, but using your judgement you can easily see what can be discarded – old tenancy agreements, backlogs of bank statements, air travel tickets, and anything out of date. Gut them out of your digital space and make room for only what is current.
Music, movies and TV shows are great entertainment but if you have songs you don't listen to anymore and movies and shows you've already watched, they only exist to take up space and clutter your digital world. Delete what you no longer gravitate towards (or create an online music account so you don't have to download anything) and keep the rest on an external drive. This way your computer is freed up, running faster and will no longer be your digital 'junk drawer'.
Photographs are one of the most difficult things to organise for a lot of people because of their sentimental and emotional value. now we live in an age where most photographs are online. This is great as we no longer need to store them in boxes and hide them away, taking up valuable space in our homes and collecting dust just to be cleaned later. This also means, however, that more and more photos are being kept. We know we can just shove them (metaphorically of course) into a folder until later. But usually later doesn't come, and if it does we are them met with a sea of photographs that all look mostly the same and we feel a sink in our stomach as we imagine sifting through all of them to find the one picture we're looking for. So instead, delete the photo that looks just like the next one, get rid of the ones that you don't want reminding of or better yet – stop taking so many!