The Minimalism Experiment W3 : Clearing the Digital Clutter
This week for my Minimalism Experiment I have taken a deeper look at the concept of digital clutter. This type of clutter consists of the files, apps, and photos that take up space on your digital devices. Many people may not see the concept of digital hoarding as a problem as it does not take up any additional physical space, but it can ultimately be a barrier to a more stress-free and productive life.
We all spend so much time on our phones, iPads, and laptops that the digital world could almost be known as our second home. By allowing this space to be cluttered as well as the space you physically live in, it creates an environment for stress and stalls productivity. Have you ever seen someone’s desktop background just absolutely filled with files that take up every inch of the screen with no sense of organization and felt a profound amount of anxiety? This goes to show that we not only experience this type of feeling in our physical lives but also digitally.
This week, I chose to focus on my Macbook, my iPhone, and my external hard drive. For my MacBook, which is my only computer, I went through my entire Finder and deleted any files pertaining to school, my blog, my Etsy shop, and work that no longer serve any sort of purpose. While doing this, I experienced the same kind of sentimental feeling as I did when I was getting rid of physical items from my room last week. This was a really strange experience to feel an emotional attachment and a sense of need for a word document or a Photoshop file. But again, the same concept from last week applies. These files may be the first projects that I worked on while learning some of my favourite programs, but they too simply sit in random folders, never to be touched and used again, taking up space on my computer.
I again had the same experience when clearing out my external hard drive. I mainly use this hard drive for storing all of my school work from previous years, as well as design files from other long-gone projects. While it is an extremely useful tool to have and I recommend that everyone buys one, it can also become another space for digital hoarding. I decided that when going through this drive that I would only keep work (aside from my school work) that would be good, and relevant enough to put in a portfolio for future job interviews. By doing this, I was able to eliminate a ton of files and clear up an extra quarter of space on the hard drive.
Lastly, I went through my iPhone and deleted all of the apps I never use, and the thousands of screen-shots and photos that are now useless to me. This included games that I no longer play, productivity apps that do nothing for me and other miscellaneous items. I also moved all of my social media apps to the second page of my home screen in preparation for next week’s journey into being more present.
Overall, this experience was much easier than last week’s, but it still provided some challenges. Digital tools are supposed to be things that make our lives easier and provide us with entertainment. They are not meant to be places to hoard to the point of anxiety and clearing them out is a great way to start a Minimalist journey!