I’ve been on a bit of a digital cleaning frenzy this week. I had over 1200 (yes, 1200!) photos to sort through from the recent retreat (keep an eye out for some gems soon!), and then spent this morning organizing all the posts I’ve “saved” on the ‘gram. Furthermore - as I mentioned last week - I’ve been signing up for more newsletters and lists, and I legitimately want to receive the things that they have to share, but there’s one thing all this digital decluttering has reminded me of:
If there’s just too much stuff, even the gems get lost in the pile.
The millions of photos I’ve taken over the years, most of which I never get to use or even see because they’re buried under so many out-takes.
The great content I’ve saved on IG, which was so unorganized I never really went back to read/watch/explore whatever it was being shared. (Now I have folders for meditations I want to try, sequencing ideas, workout routines, design inspiration, and other miscellaneous gems.)
The ZILLIONS of emails I receive, burying the ones I actually want to read so much that I ignore my “promo” tab almost completely.
Like just about everything else in life (calendar appointments, relationships, projects, physical belongings), when there’s too much clutter, everything gets drowned out and watered down. You’re left with quantity but can’t find the quality.
It can be just as anxiety-producing and crazy-making as feeling bogged down by physical stuff around you; if your digital life is a mess, you’re making things harder than they need to be.
Email I like to wipe the “promo” tab in my inbox clean, and then every new email that comes in I can either read, or unsubscribe. It’s still hard to keep up with, but I do it every now and then and am often reminded of some things I really want to read, and obviously find lots that I do not.
Of course the primary inbox takes a little more precision, but I use folders for anything I want to save (receipts, client communications, anything related to specific projects) and keep my inbox full of only the things I’ll be responding to/doing something with in the near future.
Insta Time to unfollow some peeps! Notice if there’s any accounts that make you feel less than good about yourself or just don’t really provide any value; declutter your feed so you can actually see the things you want to see! I like to think of IG as your own personal magazine, what do you want to learn, be inspired by, or just get updated on when you log on?
Phone I have a bad habit of leaving tabs open on my phone - drives my bf crazy when he sees how many! But I think one real key to all of the content that you’ve saved somewhere, be it in your inbox or IG or just a webpage you’re keeping open, is that you have to actually make time to sit and read/watch/whatever. I really struggle with that part, even though there’s so much great stuff I want to take in. So I’ve been using quiet moments at coffee shops when I don’t have a book or a laptop around to make my way through those articles and videos I was “saving for later.”
Organize! I love putting anything into folders - photos on your phone or computer, cleaning up the desktop, organizing apps, and even those IG saved posts that I want to come back to. I find SO MUCH good stuff when I sort through the things I’ve saved, and perhaps more satisfying than the organizing them in the first place, is the going to look for something and finding it immediately. (sidenote: I use dropbox for just about everything I need to store, and love that I can access it right on my phone.)
Delete. Apps you don’t use, files that are outdated or just no longer needed, the 8th version of that same exact photo, and that thing you downloaded 3 months ago - let ‘em go.
Notifications I’m actually baffled by the amount that some people’s phones ding at them. We don’t need to know every single “like” or “follow” or even update from the news. Spend some time filtering your notifications and I promise you’ll feel more sane.
Like anything, don’t try to do it all at once and don’t get overwhelmed by how much there is to sort! Chip away by choosing one area to focus on for now, and just start! If it’s a larger project, try setting a timer and doing what you can in that amount of time.
How do you like to declutter your digital life? Share your tips below!