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Digital Clutter

Adopting the Minimalist Lifestyle: 5 Ways to Drop the Digital Clutter

June 29, 2015


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A minimalist lifestyle is about more than just parting with material things.

My desire to have a minimalist lifestyle sparked my quest to halve it all by the end of they year.

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.

Decluttering 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.

1. Pinterest Pins

I love Pinterest as much as the next person.

In fact, I love it so much 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. Sometimes, 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.

2. Facebook

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.

3. Computer Files

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. (This is the one I’m dreaming of!)

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, just like a computer with too many files.

4. Pictures

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 pretty scrapbook, I’m letting it go. I have about 15,000 pictures yet to go through, so wish me luck.

5. Contact List

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.

The Problem With Digital Clutter

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. But, cutting out the unnecessary, doesn’t happen over-night.

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?

Organize, declutter, and minimalize your life: 5 ways to cut the digital clutter so you can truly have a minimalist lifestyle.
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Kristi Muse

Kristi Muse is a freelance writer, blogger, police officer’s wife, and millennial mom to two beautiful children. She loves homeschooling, organic gardening, sustainable living, and cooking from scratch. To hire Kristi as a freelance writer or to read more about how she lives a balanced life, visit her website moderatemuse.com or follow her on twitter @moderatemuse.

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14 responses to “Adopting the Minimalist Lifestyle: 5 Ways to Drop the Digital Clutter

  1. LOVE THIS LIST!!! I’m working on many of the same things. Thanks for the encouragement. And good luck with the pictures. I’m the same way — and my kids are 21, 18 and 11. Can you imagine how many photos that is in the past 10 years alone? :-/

  2. I not only clean company’s from facebook, but always people. Some were people I had connect on linkedin or on twitter and didn’t need the multiple social media connections, others just bring the drama and I don’t have time for that, so sometimes it’s good to de-clutter those people too. 🙂

    1. That’s a great point! Twitter is another good place to de-clutter. It’s good to go through and delete people who never have any interaction with you at all. Too right! Nobody needs the drama causers.

  3. And today, I’m decluttering in one of the best – and most tempting! – ways I know how… by unsubscribing from all the retailer spam email I receive each day!

  4. Digital clutter is so hard because it seems to have little babies every day! I am working on Inbox ZERO and that has been an interesting challenge to work on. I never even thought of all of my pins. There’s too much to keep track off. Sigh!

  5. Oh, the pictures! After my first was born I literally had 4k within two months. I’ve slowed down a little, but organizing and deleting the blurry ones does take up way too much of my time… not to mention hard drive!

  6. I’ve already done one run through of the photos and I think I’m almost ready to transfer them to a portable drive. I don’t need them clogging up my hard drive.

    The area I have REAL problems with is my email inbox. Uugghhh… there are now over 200 unread messages – yes, UNREAD – in my inbox. I am so very tempted to just delete the lot! Tempted, but not crazy enough to do it. Yet.

    Did you know Pinterest exists in a different time/space continuum? A place where 5 mins suddenly becomes an hour and half! At least, it does for me. 🙂

  7. I was just thinking about this the other day as a “to-do” project that I need to make time for. So this is perfect timing for me! And I had thought about the countless photos and files on my hard drive, but great points about pinterest, facebook and your phone contacts as well. Looks like I better get cracking! 🙂

  8. I’m starting this as well and I can say that adopting a minimalist lifestyle really helps in making me feel less stressed and more organized.

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