“Edit your life frequently and ruthlessly. It’s your masterpiece after all” -Unknown
A lot of people think that minimalism involve just your belongings, but it goes a lot deeper than that. It’s a lifestyle that is meant to adjust your way of thinking in all aspects of your life. By taking a minimalist viewpoint, you can learn to readjust your focus when it comes to every individual piece of life.
Minimalism leaves breathing space. It gives your mind freedom to worry less and dream more. It encourages creativity and creates space for new ideas. When it comes down to it, whether or not we like to admit it, technology is a major part of our day to day life. Even if we try to limit our screen time, it’s a necessary part life that we interact with on a daily basis. Without even realizing it, we’re cluttering our minds with intangible junk. Clutter comes into play even in a nebulous world. We avoid our inboxes because they are bursting with junk mail and is disorganized chaos. Our social media is no longer inspiring because we’ve hit “follow” too many times. If you give it some thought, you probably avoid these things more than you think you do. I know that I did.
I finally sat down and came terms with the fact that since I had purged my entire home, it was time to apply the same principles to other areas of my life. So one afternoon while extremely pregnant and needing to just sit and prop up my feet, I grabbed my laptop and started the technology purge. Once I started, I couldn’t stop.
Here is everything I went through and organized:
- Inbox– I went through my entire Gmail folder that pulls mail from several addresses. I made a tabs on the side where I organized smaller folders. Once I had these, it was much easier to go through my entire inbox and organize while throwing away mail I no longer needed.
- Spam mail– Over time, I’ve signed up for hundreds of mailing lists and I was being flooded with emails every day. It was overwhelming and caused me to want to avoid checking me mail in addition to cluttering up my inbox. So I went through the mail that I had and began to unsubscribe from all the mailing lists I no longer wanted to receive. Since then, it’s become easier to click “unsubscribe” at the top or bottom of the email when they come in immediately freeing up even more space.
- Instagram account– This took a bit more time, but I went through every account that I was following and if I didn’t know the person personally, frequently purchase from the shop or gain inspiration from, then I clicked “unfollow”. After the process, I had deleted nearly 300 accounts and my feed suddenly became a lot more enjoyable to scroll through.
- Facebook– This is rough for those social butterflies out there. I went through and anyone whose name or photos I don’t recognize become “unfriended”. That seems harsh, but if I don’t know the person well enough to know that they have been married and changed her name, I don’t need them following my day to day life.
- Pinterest– This is a phase that isn’t necessary if you aren’t on Pinterest a lot, but I enjoy it so I wanted to go through my boards, delete obsolete ones and edit the remaining. This is definitely a hang out in front of the TV activity, but again, if it’s a media source you use, it’s a helpful task.
- Netflix– People. Don’t keep junk in your Queue that you’re never going to watch again. So go through, pick your true favorites and get rid of the rest.
- Hard Drive– This is probably the biggest one. Go through your computer and delete all those useless file, photos and music that’s been clogging your iTunes since 1999. Get rid of it. And organize the rest in neat folders that makes everything easy to find. And if you need to, rename your files with identifiers that make sense when you’re on the hunt.
- Photos- If you store photos on your computer, you need to back those up on an external hard drive. So pick one up and gets all your photos separated into folders by topic or date. That way you won’t lose them and it will be easy for you to access photos when you need them.
- Keep all of your logins straight– If you’ve changed your email address over the years and still use logins with an old email, take the thirty seconds required to change it to your new address. Keep track of all of your passwords on carefully stored list or trusted app.
- Phone– Go through and delete all of those apps you don’t use. Scroll through your photos and delete the blurry selfies and screenshots you don’t need. Edit, edit, edit. Anything you no longer need, delete. And be sure to make folders to keep the remaining apps organized and easily accessible.
Those are all things that I spent a decent chunk of time purging and have kept clean ever since. As with anything else, this is going to require refreshing. So I try to keep up with it regularly, but if I feel like my feeds are getting bogged down again, I’ll go through everything again. It’s a process that gets easier with time and may take an hour or two at first but will come down to minutes once you get in the habit.
What clearing my technology has accomplished in my life:
- Made checking in faster. I can login to my email and get to the important information without having to sort through all the junk mail. If I’m getting sale notifications, it’s something I’m actually interested in and the rest should be legitimate correspondence that I need to read and follow up on.
- Made social media more enjoyable. My feeds became a lot more aesthetically pleasing and my screen time was a lot more enjoyable without so much spam.
- Allowed me to feel more organized. All of those folders has made it easier to quickly search and file away photos and documents. It’s allowed me to stay consistently organized and relaxed while on my computer or phone.
- Free unseen clutter in my mind. This type of clutter accumulates without us even noticing. When you cut your followed pages down to just the ones you truly enjoy, it means a lot less time scrolling and scrolling until you see something interesting. It means less screen time that is also more profitable.
- Free up time. Now that I no longer scramble to find documents and emails, I’ve found that I spend a lot less time on my computer and phone which makes a whole lot more time for better parts of life like reading, cooking and family time.
Every part of your life deserves to be clutter free. Every aspect should be inspiring and breathing life into your day. This includes your electronic inbox and social media feeds. What’s the point of having entertainment sources if they just end up stressing you out? Keep things neat. Keep things bare minimum.
Until next time!