When it comes to decluttering and living simply, our electronic devices don’t often come to mind first. But today I’m talking all about digital minimalism and 10 ways to organize our devices, something that can prove to be more useful than you’d think.
I sometimes think about how funny it is that we kind of have two worlds today: our physical lives, and our digital lives. Technology is a strange thing. And I’ve always loved it.
But when I think about keeping my life simple or with decluttering, I often completely forget about my phone or laptop. And yet we can accumulate so much stuff on there! And beyond “stuff”, our digital lives can become really all-consuming.
Let’s chat about some digital minimalism, shall we?
1. Turn Off Notifications
Keeping notifications is really important in my life, and that includes sounds and banner notifications that pop up on your screen. There certainly are times where we want to hear a phone call or text message, but generally speaking, I prefer keeping notifications to a minimum otherwise my attention and focus is stolen from me. In other words, I get so distracted if my phone is constantly beeping and ringing at me. I manually check my emails and apps and it works really well for me.
2. Delete Unused Apps
It’s easy to accumulate apps, but I guarantee you’ve got a few on your phone that you haven’t used in ages. Delete ’em and just stick to the one’s you need and use the most! That way they’re easy to find and navigate to on your home screen.
3. Do Regular “Sweeps”
Do weekly/monthly sweeps of photos, files, and documents (and don’t forget your downloads folder). This can be a large task if you haven’t cleared old files in a long time, but set aside some time to do it and every few weeks if when things begin accumulating again, it’ll be much easier to stay on top of it. Don’t forget to empty the trash afterwards!
4. Use Folders
This is as simple as creating folders with files inside them and naming them appropriately so they’re easy to find and search for. Maybe you see clients and you have a client invoices folder, or a folder for important business documents. Similarly, you can also create photo albums. Categorizing and organizing documents like this is a game-changer and makes locating files 1000x easier.
5. Remove Unused Items from the Dock
You know the bar at the bottom of your computer screen with various icons on it? It’s called a “dock” on Mac, and honestly, I’ve had my MacBook for 4 years and I only just discovered a couple weeks ago that I could remove icons on there that I was never using. Now I just have what I need in that spot, and things are so neat, organized and convenient.
6. Avoid Creating Too Many Accounts
Avoid signing up for too many accounts for various services, this also includes email accounts: just use 1-2 primary email accounts if possible to help streamline the amount of stuff you’re dealing with.
7. Organize your Email Inbox
The fewer unnecessary emails you receive, the better, so try to avoid subscribing to unnecessary mailings lists and unsubscribe from current ones you don’t read. You can also create folders within your inbox to save important emails, and don’t forget to carry out the dreaded task of deleting emails you don’t need to tidy things up.
8. Storage & Backups
Backup or store files on an external hard drive to save space on your computer, if applicable to you. I have a lot of photography and video footage so I use a 1TB external hard drive. You can also utilize cloud storage and delete old backups to create more space if you don’t want to buy extra space on iCloud.
9. Keep It Clean
I’d wager that most people don’t take the time too often to give their phones or laptops a wipe. I’m definitely guilty of this! But be honest – how dirty is your laptop or computer right now? Giving them a good cleaning every once in a while makes them more enjoyable to use, and also helps disinfect these finger-riddled devices.
10. Put It Down
Although I’m sharing many tips about decluttering our devices, when we’re scrolling on social media endlessly, it’s important to know when it’s time to put it down and do something else. Getting outside, being aware of our surroundings, spending time with people and having good conversations, and just being present. Know where to set boundaries for yourself and when to put your phone down or your computer away. You’ll feel good because of it.
What’s one way you like to simplify the devices you use?