By Marie Kondo The life-changing magic of decluttering It is a small book that has changed many lives. Her advice for living a happier life is simple:discard every possession that doesn't bring you joy and make sure the rest is well organized..
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I recently started this process, known as the KonMari method, and it had an amazing impact. The energy in every room of my apartment has changed. It feels like there is more air and more light. My mind is clearer.
As I have been discarding and organizing my physical possessions, I have become more aware of my digital possessions (and the various belongings that go with them). Kondo doesn't address the digital lives of the readers in the book, but I think the same principles apply.
Here's what I've learned, some of the things I've tried, and some suggestions for decluttering your digital existence.
How much time do you spend looking for things on your computer? Or trying to find the correct cable for a device? How long would it take you to find your favorite photo from a couple of years ago?
Cleaning and Organizing Your Computer Creating Order From Chaos:9 Great Ideas for Managing Your Computer Files Creating Order From Chaos:9 Great Ideas for Managing Your Computer Files It's frustrating isn't it when you can't find that File, Archive? When you've searched for every conceivable folder on your computer, and somehow it got lost...or worse, deleted. Now, there are great search tools for Windows that... Read More Getting rid of digital clutter also removes things you no longer need or want.
When you're done, you'll have found things you forgot you had, gotten rid of things you don't need, and made your digital life much more efficient. It may not allow more light or air into your rooms, but it will clear space in your brain. Eliminating clutter is good for you, but why? Eliminating clutter is good for you, but why? Decluttering is a great way to start the year feeling fresh, and it gives you a great sense of accomplishment, but there's more to it than that. This simple habit can improve your life. Read More
Life-Changing Magic recommends that you start the weeding process with clothes and books, as they are easier to sort and prune than other categories. The same applies to your digital decluttering.
I think the downloads folder is a perfect place to start. It's like a clothes closet:there's a ton of stuff in there, and some of it's great, but a lot of it is easy to discard. There are probably a lot of things you don't use or need:installation files, multiple copies of the same documents, GIFs you used once, ZIP files, etc.
Your first pass through the folder should be to delete as much as possible without opening any files. Just get rid of everything that is obviously not needed.
After that, you can look at some files and see if you want to save them. If not, throw them away immediately. Don't move anything out of the folder yet.
While the KonMari method is perfect for your home or apartment, I think digital tidying should be done a little differently. The biggest difference is that discarding and organizing must be done in tandem.
Let's take the downloads folder as an example. After You've Destroyed Everything You Can Get Rid Of 5 Windows Files And Folders You Can Delete To Save Space. 5 Windows files and folders you can delete to save space. Windows contains many files and folders that no one needs. Here are five items you can clean up if you're really struggling for disk space. Read More But how many of them should remain in the downloads folder? (Probably not many, and maybe none at all.)
So once you're left with only Files to save, move them to their correct places. I recommend only putting them in folders close to the top level. For example, put documents in the Documents folder, not in a subfolder. That folder will be easier to organize when you have everything together first.
By now, you may be wondering about the “joy” criteria made famous by Kondo's book.
There are many things on your computer that do not bring you joy. However, if you adjust your thinking, you'll see that this method still works. Neat and well-organized files will save you time when you need to find things, and that prevents frustration. Better access to the things you need or love will make you happier.
Of course, in some cases, you can find things that bring you joy. Photos, sentimental documents, games, music, videos, etc. But when looking at purely practical documents, think more of the joy in organization than discarding.
After your downloads folder, it's time to move on to your important files. Things like copies of leases, tax forms, health records, etc. Again, most of these should be easy. If you have a copy of your eyeglass prescription from five years ago, you can safely dispose of it. Need copies of your old car insurance cards or check stubs from when you were in college?
Almost certainly not. (If you're not sure how long you should keep a specific document, check out Dave Ramsey's tips.)
I recommend creating a folder specifically for important documents and making subfolders by year. But any kind of logical organization will be helpful.
If you're having a hard time getting rid of some documents that you're pretty sure aren't important, remember that you've backed them up. (You do have backups, right?)
If you have a Mac, you can always search Carbonite or Time Machine to find them if you absolutely need them. That knowledge should help make this process much easier. In Windows, File History can create backup copies The Windows Backup and Restore Guide The Windows Backup and Restore Guide Disasters happen. Unless you're willing to lose your data, you need a good Windows backup routine. We'll show you how to prepare backups and restore them. Read more of the selected folders.
When was the last time you looked at your app collection? I use Spotlight search Search more efficiently in Mac OS X With our best Spotlight tips Search more efficiently in Mac OS X With our best Spotlight tips Spotlight has been a Mac feature for Mac for years, since Cupertino regularly teaches Redmond the art of desktop search. Here are some tips to help you find more on your Mac than Read More and Cortana almost exclusively for launching apps, and it's easy to forget what I've downloaded. And that contributes to a cluttered digital space.
You probably have a bunch of apps you don't need. Old games that you won't play again, single-use or no longer needed apps, and default apps can be deleted.
In almost all cases, you can easily re-download these apps if you find that you need them. But you probably won't. So get rid of them. If you think could Use them someday... you probably won't. Garbage.
This will be one of the most difficult parts of your digital organization and ordering. You may have thousands of files in your Documents folder, and it's hard to know where to start. My best advice is to just start at the beginning. Choose the first file or folder in the list, decide if you need to keep it and download it or not.
Then go to the next folder or file. Continue until you have destroyed everything you don't need. And be honest with yourself; Will you want your second grader's report card? Or your resume from 2014?
Going through the Documents folder can take multiple sessions, and that's okay. Just make a note of where you left off and come back to it. However, don't take too long between sessions. You want to be in the right mindset.
Once you've destroyed as much as you can, it's time to get organized. How to organize your Documents folder is up to you; I like to keep the number of top level folders to a minimum, so a system like Personal/Work/Financial might work well for me. Asian Efficiency details a hierarchy system that might be helpful.
Take a few minutes to think about what kinds of documents you need to access most often and what would make them easier to find.
Asian Efficiency and others recommend using a file folder where you store things you're not using right now. Not a bad idea, but I recommend against it. To really declutter your digital space, you want to get rid of as much stuff as possible.
Once again, trust your backups for archiving and deep storage.
Having a large collection of digital music is a lot of fun. But it takes up a lot of space on your computer. If you haven't listened to an album in the last few years, consider deleting it. The stakes are low; If you bought it online, you can probably download it again with one click. And if not, you can pass it on. Spotify Your Music Collection:The end of iTunes. Spotify Your Music Collection:The end of iTunes. Spotify is no longer content to compete with radio, now they compete with the idea of even having music. Read more.
The same goes for movies. If you have a lot of digital movies, chances are you have some you don't like (at least not enough to watch again). What are they still doing on your computer? Get rid of them. Keep the music and movies you love.
These collections can be difficult to sort through, so take your time and ask yourself if the music or movie you're considering really makes you happy.
This is probably the most difficult part of the digital ordering process. If you have thousands or tens of thousands of photos, going through them one by one is going to take a lot of time. So you will need a lot of commitment before you start.
Remember that when you're done, you'll only have photos you love. Which means scrolling through your photos will be a more joyful experience (and more efficient, if you're trying to find something specific). Having a carefully organized and cheerful collection of photos is really delicious. It's worth the work.
You can also save yourself some time by automatically removing duplicate photos before you start. Apps like Duplicate Photo Cleaner can help you with this.
After that, it's simply a matter of going through your photos one by one and deleting the ones that don't bring you joy. You'll find plenty of nearby duplicates, inside-your-pocket accidental shots, screenshots, and other things to delete.
I'll give you an example of my own photo cleanup:I had taken a bunch of photos at a concert a few months ago. He had maybe 25 photos from the show. When I finished, I had seven or eight, but they were the best of the bunch. They do a better job of reminding me how much fun I had on the show. And now I'm much more likely to watch them, because I know they're good.
The best advice I can give on photos is to be honest with yourself. Are you really going to look back at that picture and be joyful? If it simply reminds you of something you enjoyed, do you have others that serve the same purpose? At this stage of the ordination process, you should have a better idea of what you can keep and what can happen.
And once you've cropped your photos, you can choose an organization method. How should you organize your photos? Try one of these 5 methods How should you organize your photos? Try one of these 5 methods How can you keep everything organized so you can find the photos you're looking for? Just use one of these five easy methods! Read More
At this point, you are almost done with your computer! But there are other things to order. Chances are high that your desktop is cluttered with files. 3 better ways to store your files than on the desktop. 3 better ways to store your files than on the desktop. Did you know that storing files directly on your desktop can hurt your productivity? Desktop storage is simple, but it has hidden drawbacks that you may not know about. Could you do it better! Read More You may have additional files that do not fit into those categories. You definitely have browser bookmarks that you no longer need. Your password manager could use an update.
Keep the momentum going and declutter everything you can think of on your computer. It's worth it. Once you've gone through a major cleanup, you'll be more likely to keep everything in order moving forward.
Take a moment to breathe deeply. Doesn't it feel good to have your computer neat and organized? Isn't it easier to find what you need? You've spent a lot of time tidying up, so take a minute to appreciate it!
After that, it's time to move on to your other devices. You probably have a lot of photos on your phone that need to be sorted. Music, podcasts, videos, apps, and other files tend to pile up when you're not looking. It's time for a purge.
Your phone, tablet, MP3 player, game console, even your Kindle How to Organize Your Kindle With Minimal Effort How to Organize Your Kindle With Minimal Effort If you're an avid reader, keeping your Kindle organized can quickly become a chore. In this article we offer some great tips for managing your Kindle. Read More
Don't forget your cloud storage, either! Google Drive, Dropbox, Box and similar services are packed full of useful files temporarily and need to be cleaned as well.
We're focused on digital stuff, but there's also a bit of physical clutter that falls into this category. Mice, keyboards, cables, stickers, tools, phone cases, headphones, and anything else you use with your digital devices should be neat and organized. These things add up quickly, and often in many different places in your home.
Put them all in one room and put them on the floor Go through each item one by one and ask yourself if you really need it. Do you need that seventh USB cable? Or a third mouse you don't use? What about Apple's terrible in-ear headphones? Sound Tip:Are Apple's Free EarPods Really That Bad? Sound Tip:Are Apple's Free EarPods Really That Bad? Apple's free headphones have a reputation for being junk, but are we being too harsh on pearly white fashion accessories? Read more ?
It may seem like it's a waste to get rid of something that could be useful, but remember that if the chances of using it are low, you're just taking up space in your closet and your brain.
The same goes for the devices themselves. Do you ever use your iPod Nano or do you always listen on your iPhone? Do you have an extra camera to point and shoot? Turn those devices into some extra money and space.
I'll be frank with you:these steps are a lot of work. It takes a lot of time and it's not always fun. But in the end, it is absolutely worth it. Using your devices becomes easier. You will only have photos that you like. You will be able to find everything from files to peripherals more easily..
You may not think all of this will make much of a difference in your life, but trust me, you get more than a little extra space on your computer.
Have you done a large-scale digital ordering? Did it make a difference in your life? Share your thoughts in the comments below!