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February 26th, 2019 at 2:00 pm

digital-detox-declutter

Since the start of 2019, one of the hottest home improvement trends has been taking the time to audit your personal belongings and participating in some intensive “tidying up” to declutter your home, and even some aspects of your life.

If you have already tackled the very popular KonMari Method of decluttering and organizing your physical belongings, you may be ready for the next step: decluttering your digital life.

With all the new phones, computers, and digital gadgets, it’s no surprise that most of us spend large portions of our days and lives looking at screens. From working all day on the computer to checking your smartphones and scrolling through your tablets, the majority of our waking hours are often spent with some sort of digital device.

Have you ever paused to think about how you can declutter and streamline your digital life to cut a bit of stress from your life? If you’re not sure where to begin, these tips are sure to help you organize your digital devices so they match your freshly decluttered home.

  1. Unsubscribe from unwanted email subscription lists. You know those subscription emails that you don’t even open and automatically delete? Start unsubscribing from those lists each time an unwanted email solicitation comes through. Slowly but surely you will end up with an inbox that is much smaller and easier to maintain.
  2. Create a second email for registrations. Once you clean up your main inbox, we recommend creating a second email to filter any new email subscriptions to. Sometimes you are forced to provide an email address for online shopping checkouts or to receive a discount with purchase. Use your secondary email for these types of non-urgent email uses and keep your main account clear for the important messages.
  3. Organize your phone apps. Take a quick audit of the apps you have on your phone and delete the ones you no longer need or use. Next, organize your apps in a way that makes sense to you, whether it be by color coding or grouping similar apps in folders.
  4. Audit your address book. Once a year or so, scroll through your digital address book and make sure your contacts are up-to-date. Keep track of new phone numbers and changes of address as they come through, but also delete the contacts who are no longer relevant.
  5. Declutter your social media accounts. The KonMari Method of keeping only the items that “spark joy” easily translates to your social media feed as well. Take a look at the accounts you follow and remove any accounts that don’t make you feel good when you see them. There’s no need to continue following people who you don’t know well or don’t want to keep up with, or any accounts that don’t add value to your daily life.
  6. Clean up your desktop. You may not realize how much peace-of-mind comes from having a clear, organized desktop until you take the leap to organize things a bit. Be sure to create folders and categorize like items together so that you can still easily access files without them cluttering your entire screen. Make it a habit to assess your files once a week or so and delete anything that no longer has a purpose. Looking for a little extra motivation to keep your desktop tidy? Regularly switch out your computer background to an image you love or an inspirational quote that brings you joy.
  7. Back up your photos. With the ease of snapping photos on our smartphones, we all tend to accumulate photos at a rapid rate. Set a reminder for yourself to upload your photos to your computer at least once a month. Be sure to audit your photos and delete duplicates or blurry shots that you don’t want or need. Organize your photos by date or topic and store them in corresponding folders so you can easily access them when needed. We also recommend taking it a step further and backing them up on a web-based program, such as Google Photos or Dropbox, for extra security.
  8. Check for and install updates. It’s easy to keep pushing “remind me later” when a computer or phone update pops up, but be sure to approve those updates and let them run their course as they come through. Not only will this save you time in the long run, but it will also ensure your device is optimized to run quickly and efficiently.
  9. Audit your digital media. Be sure to delete podcasts, music, and ebooks that you have already completed and will not be using again. These small files all add up on your devices.
  10. Empty the trash. Be sure to periodically empty your digital trash can to open up more memory on your device and ensure quicker operation. Deleting files is only half of the battle because until you empty your trash, they will still be taking up memory on your devices.

Now that your devices are decluttered, you might want to take the next step and remove some of the digital temptations from your personal life.

  1. Remove most, if not all, technology from your bedroom. This might seem hard at first, but avoiding screens the hour after you wake up and before you go to sleep just might be the escape you need. Instead of scrolling through Instagram and Twitter before you go to bed, try reading a book, having thoughtful conversations, or meditating.
  2. Schedule weekly or monthly social media detoxes. For a full 24 hours, avoid all social media. Delete your apps, leave your phone at home or stored away for emergencies, do whatever you have to do to avoid the temptations. Take it a step further by avoiding social media on weekends or weekdays, whatever makes you feel best.
  3. Moderate your intake. Instead of binge-watching that new Netflix series, limit yourself to 1-2 episodes a week. You’ll be surprised by what creative and fun activities you can come up with when you’re not zeroed in on your television screen.
  4. Pick up a new or old hobby. Fill your newfound extra time with an activity you’ve always wanted to try or have been passionate about. Whether it’s painting, biking, or cooking, your mind will enjoy the new challenge.
  5. Invest in some blue light-blocking computer glasses. When you absolutely have to be staring at a digital screen, we suggest that you protect your eyeballs! Do some research to find the right glasses for your needs.

With our digital devices being such a constant part of our lives, it can be hard to step back and notice the clutter until it has gone too far. By using these tips to tidy up your digital life, you will realize how much more efficiently you can use your devices and even notice decreased levels of stress in your daily routine.

Do you have any other digital decluttering tips you swear by? Be sure to let us know in the comments. 

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