Adopting the Minimalist Lifestyle: Drop the Digital Clutter
A Minimalist Lifestyle is More Than Just Dropping Material Things
My desire to have a minimalist lifestyle sparked my quest to halve it all by the end of 2015. Although I struggle with letting things go, I am making pretty good progress. I now have empty drawers in my kitchen! Believe me when I say that this is progress. Now that I am making headway with our physical objects, I have been giving myself time to get rid of non-material things that are cluttering up my life as well.
De-cluttering isn’t always about getting rid of that extra flower vase. Clutter comes in so many different forms, and it sneaks in where you least expect it. Digital clutter especially takes away from your ability to truly have a minimalist lifestyle. Here are 5 ways you can cut the digital clutter from your life:
I love Pinterest as much as the next person. I love it so much, in fact, that I use pinning as a method of procrastination, and I end up spending too much time not really being productive. I also pin too many things that I will never look at or use again. I find myself pinning outfits I can’t afford, amazing vacation destinations I can’t yet go to, and beautiful home décor that isn’t within our budget. I recently went through and deleted almost one thousand pins that were useless, no longer relevant, or giving me that itch to keep up with the Joneses. Pinterest is an amazing tool for both business and personal use, but if you’re not careful, it could end up becoming a source of dissatisfaction in your life. Make sure you use Pinterest as a tool for good. Go through your Pinterest boards and only keep the pins that are helpful, inspiring, or useful.
Facebook can quickly become a source of frustration if you don’t regularly go through and clean things up a bit. Your news feed gets cluttered with advertisements from companies you “liked” once. You see statuses that make you cringe from people you don’t really care for, but you feel obligated to stay in touch with them. You get invites and notifications from groups you no longer stay involved with, and each now comment or discussion shows up as that annoying red “1” on your phone’s Facebook app. If you are anything like me, you try to keep all red numbers cleared from your phone constantly….meaning, you are constantly clearing notifications from your phone.
Every month or so you should go through and remove yourself from groups that no longer help or inspire you. Go ahead and unfollow your friend’s friend who you met once. “Unlike” companies who spam your feed with constant advertisements. Cutting people and groups takes a little bit of time, but I promise that you’ll feel less stressed if you take a minute to streamline your Facebook page content.
If I had a nickel for every useless, outdated computer file cluttering up my storage and slowing down my system, I could buy a new computer. I am trying really hard to go through and delete the unnecessary files, documents, and downloads. I love how computers are a perfect comparison to real life. When you are over-burdened with too much stuff, you get bogged down, sluggish, and you don’t operate the way you were meant to.
Pictures are my nemesis. I want to hang on to every single moment of my kids’ lives. I probably take a minimum of ten pictures a day. Let’s not mention holidays and special occasions when I take at least one hundred pictures or so. I also have the really terrible habit of downloading every last picture ever taken…including the accidental ones of the floor or the inside of my pocket. I have started to make the monumental effort to delete photos that aren’t truly special. If I wouldn’t put it in a frame or in a scrapbook, I’m letting it go. I have about 15,000 pictures yet to go through, though, so wish me luck.
I have people’s contact information in my phone with absolutely no recollection of where/how I know that person. Every so often it’s a good idea to go through your phone’s contact list and delete numbers that are no longer relevant. Not only will it clear up some space on your phone, but you will have to spend less time scrolling through to find the right contact that you’re looking for.
I am amazed at how clutter has the ability to creep into our lives in hidden and sneaky ways. Digital clutter can be just as distracting and unnecessary to a simpler lifestyle as the material things. Cutting out the unnecessary, doesn’t happen over-night though. Take a few minutes every day and discard a few things that bog down your life or distract you from the things that truly matter. Each deleted pin, picture, file, and old contact will help you feel less stressed and more organized. Achieving a minimalist lifestyle rarely happens quickly. It’s definitely a process with a learning curve. Give yourself some grace as you learn to let things go.
Do you have the same problems with digital clutter? Are there other immaterial things that you regularly get rid of?