From the last two posts, we know why it is a good idea to declutter right now and where to start decluttering to see immediate benefits. It is now time to delve a little deeper into each of the target areas to derive the maximum benefit from the entire decluttering exercise.
The first place that I recommend starting to declutter is your laptop/computer/phone. I have suffered immensely for the lack of space on my phone and desktop and have even deleted some precious data out of frustration of not being able to sort out the vast volume of data. Even though newer laptops come with sufficient in-built hard-disk space and newer phones have ample internal storage, it is still likely to get filled up if we don’t keep the unnecessary stuff out and do regular clean-up. Below I will take the most common electronic devices that we all use to suggest some simple cleanup techniques.
#1 Phone – Or should I say, lifeline. We are more likely to encounter people on the street who’ve probably forgotten to put on their underwear, but no one forgets to carry their phone. Period. With instant access to easily downloadable applications that bring the world into our palms, there is no dearth of possibilities that this phone, the size of a soap bar, holds for us. Yet, no matter how smart the phone is, we need to be smarter in order to keep it functioning to its capacity.
(I) Applications – A lot of times, even if you extend the storage by inserting a memory card, you may still not be able to clear the internal storage as all the applications tend to get installed there. I recently faced the same issue where even after deleting large volumes of data in terms of videos and pictures, I still couldn’t free up my internal storage space. The easiest way to figure out where the issue is, simply go to settings->storage -> internal storage ->used space and see the actual usage by categories (Apps/Pictures and Videos/Audio). Chances are that you would realise that a huge chunk of your space was getting used by the Apps, many of which you have used just once or would not really need in the future. I prefer deleting all the online shopping apps for a simple reason – it prevents me from getting tempted to compulsively buy stuff online, what with the push notifications etc.
(II) Pictures and Videos (clicked) – This is a major issue for me, since I am a mother of a toddler, and I tend to capture moments a lot. I mean a lot. Every silly antic, every crooked drawing attempt, every joyful baking experiment gets documented on my phone multiple times so that I can preserve and cherish the best shot of the moment, forever. The irony is that as memory cards fill with more and more pictures, the time available to actually savour those continues to go down day by day, year on year. Regardless, a mother needs to click. The simplest way to clean up your gallery is to mark a day in your weekly calendar to clean out the multiple versions of a click. Delete away all the hazy pictures and poor quality videos and keep only the stuff you need. Better still, if you have access to free cloud space, back-up all your media on it weekly or set it on auto-backup mode.
(III) Pictures and Videos (shared) – I love whatsapp. I do. But for someone like me who doesn’t promptly delete viewed data, whatsapp can be a nightmare. I have had to literally beg my husband to sort through the whatsapp media and clear all the images to bring my precious space back. The best way to handle forwarded media is to simply click on Group Media for the group (or Media for a person), keep only what is absolutely necessary and delete the rest. But do it then and there, because forwarded media can add up very quickly.
#2 Computer/Laptop space– Whether it is the desktop or all your data on the drive, there is only one way to organise – compartmentalise! Folder in a folder in a folder may be an annoying task when you do it, but trust me the long-term benefits hugely outweigh the little discomfort caused by organising. The simple rule of organising on a desktop is that if you are looking for something, you should be easily able to find it, but not immediately. Easy, but not immediate. Try to back-up data on a flash drive or even on the cloud often to keep your immediate space clutter free. One general rule that I follow, especially for my desktop is to try and keep 2/3rd of the desktop space free. The rest of the items on the desktop are mostly folders (which may have more folders inside) but it gets you in the habit of clearing the desktop space often.
#3 Web Browser space – This one is probably the hardest for me to follow and stick to, but I try and close my browser now after every session of using my computer. It is mentally draining to see 20 pages open in the browser and it simply leads to unproductive use of time, simply going form one task to the other. I specifically remind myself to focus on the task at hand till completion and stop the urge to browse mindlessly. For any reminders, simply write on a post-it note or maintain a diary.
Try these amazingly simple tricks to get started on your decluttering journey. More to follow soon.