January 29, 2020
How to Declutter Your Digital Life
It’s the last week of The Clutter Challenge (hooray!) and we’re going to finish up with paper clutter, office clutter, and digital clutter. Don’t worry if you aren’t at this point yet – it isn’t a race – do your best and finish strong, even if it takes you a little longer.
If you haven’t printed out the Declutter Order Checklist, make sure you keep reading and do that. Before you do anything this week, it might be helpful for you to figure out when you’re going to do the tasks. I use my Homekeeping Planner but you can write it on the checklist, in a calendar, on a scratch sheet fo paper. I find it really helpful to block out when I’m going to do specific tasks. This helps me break it down into manageable tasks and steps and so I don’t get overwhelmed.
Throughout the month of January we will be following this free printable – Clean Mama’s Declutter Order (also found in The Clutter Handbook) as our guide. I’ll be posting on Mondays with a couple bonus posts for the week ahead. Make sure you’re following me on Instagram for behind the scenes progress in our home!
If you’re ready for decluttering but not quite sure where to start, I have a simple method to make a lot of progress in a short period of time. Ready?
Here are your steps to a decluttered entertainment and kid stuff:
First things first, make sure your declutter station is nearby and go through everything if you can.
KEEP – Love it, need it, or use it
TOSS – Recycle or trash
DONATE – Don’t love it, need it or use it but someone else could
RELOCATE – Still love it, use it or need it, but it doesn’t belong here
Work in this order and assess what you have – clear what you can and declutter ruthlessly to find your way to a decluttered home. As you are doing this portion of decluttering, challenge yourself (and your kids if you have them) to keep what you/they use and love. It’s refreshing to have and use less.
ZERO OUT EMAIL INBOX(S)
If your’e starting at 30 unread emails or 30,000, this can be a huge roadblock in digital clutter. Set aside time to finally start zeroing out your inbox. If you have a lot of emails that you know you don’t need, filter those out and delete them all at once instead of going one by one. As far as emails, I try to zero out my inboxes daily or at least on Friday before I shut it down for the weekend. If you are feeling overwhelmed by how addictive digital clutter can be, you might need a little break or some time away.
SET UP EMAIL FOLDERS TO SAVE EMAILS
As you’re going through your inbox and deleting, set up folders for any emails that you need to save. Going forward put emails in folders instead of leaving them in the inbox.
PUT IMPORTANT DIGITAL FILES IN FOLDERS
If you have important digital files that need to be saved, set up folders on your desktop for those files. They can be by year, by type, like 2019 TAXES or whatever makes sense for your purposes.
SEPARATE PHOTOS BY YEARS + BACK-UP/SAVE TO CLOUD
If you didn’t do the Clean Up Your Photos Challenge with me and Miss Freddy last fall, check out the posts from the series. This has been so incredibly helpful for me – everything gets backed up to Amazon and I don’t have to worry about losing anything.
As you work through decluttering, this is a great time to decide if a system is or isn’t working. Adjust if necessary and come up with a system for the items you are KEEPING.
Here is a digital clutter system that has worked really well for our family. We do have a couple rules in the house around devices – no devices upstairs in bedrooms and everyone has designated screen time. To keep the EMF radiation at a minimum, I recommend not using wifi when you can and if you are using a device with wifi, keep it away from your body. I go into a lot of detail in my book, Clean Mama’s Guide to a Healthy Home if you are interested – grab it here on Amazon. This device organizer holds the kids’ school computers, iPads, and our family’s cell phones. I love that it’s compact and keeps the cords at a minimum. We also use holders when we’re using the iPads or cell phones for viewing or listening.
If you feel like your phone is taking over your life, here are a couple ideas for limiting your phone usage:
- Unfollow social media accounts that make you feel ungrateful for what you have.
- Unfriend friends that aren’t really your friends.
- Have some looming emails to respond to? Take care of those.
- Turn off phone notifications. I only have notifications on email, text, and phone calls on my cell phone. Keeping any other notifications OFF eliminates any unnecessary scrolling and distractions.
- Stop checking your phone. Keep your phone in a charging station when you aren’t using it. Lock it up in the glovebox or keep it stashed in your purse when you’re in your car. We still have a landline so if I am using my phone it’s more for business, taking pics, texting, and Instagram. If you want to surf the web or your Instagram feed, set a specific time during the day just for that and don’t be afraid to set a timer for yourself if you have to.
- Set a timer. Use a timer on your stove, clock, phone and set it for your specific task. Ten to fifteen minute increments is a great place to start. Set the timer – focus on the task at hand until the timer goes off. Repeat the process as needed and until the task is completed. While working at home I set a timer for about 60 minutes for a focused work task and then I get up and do something home-related. It might be switching out laundry, prepping dinner, or taking a break.
- Limit your apps. The only social media app that I have on my iPhone is Instagram – because you kind of have to have that on a phone for it to work. I don’t have FB or messenger, Twitter, etc. on my phone. I only use my laptop for social media and I find that that distinction helps me drastically limit my time on social media.
I talk about this extensively in my Jumpstart Your Routine course – check that out here if you are interested.
Phew! Can you believe this is it? I’m so excited for you to have a decluttered home!
Here’s what you can expect on the blog for the month of January:
January 1 – INTRO – Join the Challenge!
January 2 – Decluttering Quick Start + Cleaning Supplies / Laundry Area
January 6 – Kitchen
January 13 – Bathrooms
January 20 – Clothing + Bedrooms
January 22 – Entertainment + Kids
January 27 – Office Space + Paper Clutter
January 29 – Digital Clutter
Find all the posts from the Clean Mama Clutter Challenge here.
What will you GAIN when you declutter? TIME, LESS STRESS, A CALM + COZY HOME you are excited to come home to!
please note: the Clean Mama Clutter Challenge is free – it is not necessary to purchase the handbook to take part in the challenge but the handbook will definitely help! Grab it now while it’s on sale!
Ready to clear the clutter? I’m SO excited to share The Clutter Handbook with you! It’s updated and ready to help you take on your clutter in a fresh, new way for 2020. The FREE Clean Mama Clutter Challenge through the month of January will be on the blog, Instagram, and in a new private Facebook group (purchase The Clutter Handbook to be in the Facebook group). Grab The Clutter Handbook to take you even more in depth through the challenge!
The Clutter Handbook is a 47-page pdf guide designed to take the guesswork out of decluttering your home. If you’re starting from a room you can’t walk into or just a couple clutter piles, this guide is designed to take you from clutter to decluttered in simple, manageable steps.
The problem with decluttering is not knowing where to start. If you’re just happening on this post, go here first. I have 4 steps to give you a quick start on your decluttering. You’ll gain momentum and be motivated to continue – that’s the best kind of decluttering. Getting rid of the clutter quickly, easily, and while seeing almost instant progress in the early stages.