You finally get a hold of your physical clutter and your time clutter yet, you can’t settle down. There’s still something you can’t quite manage sitting right in your pocket like a cozy chaos machine. There’s the emails you have to remember to reply to, the texts that come in no matter what you’re in the middle of doing, there’s hundreds, maybe thousands of pictures where your kid was doing something cute and then stopped as soon as you got the camera ready. All that digital clutter is taunting your brain, daring it to take charge and manage it.
I’d say our phone may be the number one thing we all can’t leave the house without. It holds a lot of our digital clutter that we can’t forget because it’s attached to our butt everywhere we go (I’m a phone in the back pocket gal). I don’t know about you, but I feel a little sense of panic anytime I have to find something on my phone. I know it’s probably somewhere I can find it, but all the junk I have to go through is what keeps my stress levels high.
Its time to get control. Don’t let your phone rule you. It’s time to for you to rule your phone, clear the digital clutter, and organize it in a way that is manageable to maintain.
MAINTIANING DIGITAL CLUTTER
Apps don’t accumulate as quickly which makes them much easier to organize. The best way to maintain them is to organize your device in a way that will make any new apps stick out like a sore thumb.
- Go through your apps and delete any you know you don’t use.
- Move the apps you know you use to the front page of your device. If there are any apps that are in a similar category, make a folder for them if possible.
- Any apps you need but not very often, move them to the second page. Again, if there are any that are very similar, put them in a folder.
- With any apps you never use but can’t delete because your phone won’t let you, put them all in a folder on the very last page.
- If you have any “not sure” apps, move them to the front page for now.
- Wait a month. If you don’t use them, delete them and if you do use them, move them to the proper location (either frequent use or infrequent use).
- Do steps 5-6 with any new apps you download so you don’t forget about them.
Once you have your system set up you’ll be able to manage your apps and prevent future buildup.
There are so many different texts we receive: the frequent conversation, the occasional conversation, the group text, the verification code, and the notification. The conversations that end up forgotten that take up space on our phones and add to our mental clutter. They sit on our phones, getting in the way of accessing the truly valuable conversations. So here’s how to handle each conversation type to prevent that build up of text clutter.
The Frequent Conversation – These are the digital clutter that actually add value. They are texts you want to easily access to talk to the people you love (or have to) all the time. Deleting them would wind up being a bigger stress than just letting them sit on your phone. Embrace your frequent conversations.
The Occasional Conversation – I like to delete these when the conversation ends. Sure, I may have to start the conversation again, but who knows when that’ll happen. No matter what, I have the contact so why do I need to save a conversation? Unless this person adds conversation you don’t want to forget, why let it clutter your phone?
The Group Text – These conversations fall under the first two categories but can often get out of hand. A typical group text can blossom into a full family tree: The whole group and any groups that branch off from there. Don’t let the group text take over your phone. Just cut it off when you’re done with it. If you need to talk to a specific group of people again, you know how to make a new group text.
The Verification Code – Either you sign up for something or forget your password or log into a new device and all of a sudden you have a new text taking up space. These are the texts we receive that have a follow up action to them. Typically going to where ever the verification code is supposed to be used. Because of this, it’s easy to forget about them and move on; leaving them uselessly sitting in our text app. So just delete them after you enter the code. You’ll never be able to use it again, so why keep it?
The Notification – Just turn off those text notifications. Save your text messages for things that are absolutely necessary. You’re time is way too valuable to be interrupted by someone liking your photo on instagram. In fact, I encourage you to turn off all notifications for social media. If you want to know what’s going on, go on the app when you’re think about it. Don’t interrupt your time with what other people are doing. I promise you’re not missing a thing.
This is more of a yearly maintenance. Maybe monthly depending on how often you have to add contacts to your phone. Either way, set a frequency and date to go through your contacts and make a calendar alarm. Anytime that alarm goes off, it’s time to go through your contacts and delete anyone you haven’t talked to in the last year. If you really need to get a hold of them later, I’m sure you’ll be able to find them on social media or through a friend.
I turn to my notes app often to quickly jot down something and hope I understand it later. The problem is, later never comes. Too often I’ve writing something in my notes and it becomes as forgot as it would if I had just relied on memory alone. So I came up with two ways to not only manage my notes, but also to prevent my thoughts from getting lost in a sea of notes.
Categorize – The first line of every note is what appears as the title. I have taken advantage of this and created notes with categories like Grocery, Post Ideas, etc. This helps me to keep only a few notes where I can easily find a thought by looking in the most relevant category.
Follow Up – Once a week, set a time to go through your notes and create action items from them. Whether it’s a simple to-do or a creative idea, most notes can be turned into a task. You made a point to remember this thing for a reason so you owe it to yourself to follow up and make it happen one way or another. Once you’ve made a to-do, delete it from the note to make room for more.
Photos are the easiest digital clutter to accumulate. Managing this clutter honestly seems like an impossible task at times, but I’m here to tell you it’s possible.
The first step to taking control of this digital clutter is to find some kind of cloud. Mine is Google Photos, but there are a lot of option out there. Then, go create different folders (or albums) for all the categories you think you’d need for sorting your photos. When you’re sorting, feel free to create any new albums you may need. Be as specific or broad as you’d like. Once all your existing photos have been organized (deleting what you don’t want and categorizing what you do), follow the steps below to keep your photos maintained without having to do a bunch of work all at once.
- Take your photo(s).
- Delete the photos you don’t want as you scroll through looking for the money shot.
- When you find the money shot, if you’re not going to edit it, move it to a folder to organize it into a relevant category.
- If you do edit your photo, move the edited version to a relevant folder and delete original.
- If you want to keep both the edited and original, move both to their relevant folder(s).
The world of streaming is a beautiful place. You don’t really need to own any digital media anymore because you can basically stream anything. So just start streaming these two things. Don’t add to your digital clutter with tons of apps for streaming, but there are apps that are an all in one, like Spotify! If there is anything you absolutely love but can’t find through streaming, that can be the exception. Otherwise, just stream it.