Digital Decluttering

Let’s take a trip in the way-back machine. A few years back, I just painted my room, removing the stained white wall and replacing it with a lovely green and copper. Yet, I was still in the process of decluttering the mess teenage me left few-years ago me. Including the dreaded drawers underneath my bed, filled with junk. Somehow, digital media drew me into the rabbit hole of minimalism. Pretty soon, I threw garbage bags filled with junk away every once a while, till my room was, and still is, reasonably not filled with junk. Every once in a while, that process starts over again, not with garbage bags maybe, but just with throwing away small things you don’t have use for. 

Last week, hearing people’s struggles with the swamp of digital media, I could relate way too much. I realised that I shouldn’t keep this process limited to the real world. So, literally while class was going on, I started the process of digital decluttering, beginning with weeding out my youtube subscriptions.

So how do we do that? Empty our digital spaces so as to have more room, and by proxy, more time? Consciousness is one important key. In real life this means being conscious of what you really use, and what is just meaningless clutter, so that you can bring the things around you to the bare minimum. In the digital, this means curating our time down to the things that we really care about. 

During class, I immediately went to YouTube, considering I spend most of my time there, and started trimming down the bushes of my endless list of subscriptions. Some things I really don’t want to throw away. There are some Youtubers who make interesting video essays of 40 min every once in a while that are great to watch on an evening like one would do with a movie. So I kept those, but I removed many others I don’t care about.

Maybe irresponsible of me, but the creator Contrapoints makes really entertaining video essays on contemporary issues that border on being performance pieces themselves.

Another thing is phone usage. Video and streaming platforms such as twitch or youtube are some of my greatest nemesis, being time wasters that can keep my attention for hours. However, As one of the few people who owned a Nokia smartphone (with windows software, no less) I know how to make do without having many applications besides WhatsApp and the internet. Therefore my phone usage on my inherited Iphone whatever-edition also has fairly similar usage, there are no games on it, and although instagram is a fun new thing (and thus a potential pitfall i need to be conscious of) I mostly manage communication apps like WhatsApp and Discord on it, or use it as a walkman with Spotify and the Podcast app that came with it.

Returning to the real world, consider keeping a bullet journal. As a blank slate, it not only allows to be used as a diary, but you can manage many other things in there too. A daily planner, task manager to set reasonable daily task, but above all it allows to manage you projects with much more ease. Although homework may seem daunting right now, reducing it to its smaller components and distributing them throughout the work saves on overworked in a short period.

A monthly tracker is a great way to manage things that are important to you, though keep in mind that not keeping track of things 100% is also fine.

Above all, it is what you do outside digital media which dictates the way you interact with digital media.

If you truly want to harness your energy, figure out ways into easing yourself into staying away from digital media when you don’t want/need to be on them, and instead focusing on work. For me, that means wearing my tweed blanket like I’m an 18th century opera visitor, lighting candles (especially during the growing darkness of the winter), putting on some good tunes on my cheap bluetooth speaker (lo-fi, so to speak) which conveniently allows me to stay away from my second greatest nemesis, my headphones. So, find out what draws out your best side, and what keeps you away from achieving your goals, perhaps while keeping track of the way use your time and how you want to use it. And then, if we make the good things our habits rather than the bad things, we can get a little closer from gaining independence from digital media and towards the things we actually want in life.

It’s kinda cliché, but I do enjoy listening to “lofi beats to relax/study to” as background music.

Sources:

Contrapoints, Oppulence: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jD-PbF3ywGo

Boho Berry, My Bullet Journal Planning Routine: https://www.bohoberry.com/planning-routine/

ChilledCow, Lofi hip hop radio, beats to relax/study to: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qap5aO4i9A

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3 Comments

  • Jacqerina
    Posted September 21, 2020 at 10:27 am 0Likes

    Your post in itself induced some state of calmness in me (reading about decluttering seems to be calming for me). I agree with your post. I also believe that if you declutter your media, be it subscriptions, or pictures, anything, it also helps with choosing and filtering what you see on your feed, and this can help with the impact on mental health. I also like how simple, yet meaningful your blog post is.

  • JanessaV
    Posted September 22, 2020 at 3:16 pm 0Likes

    Welp, I am reading all of your blogs while listening to “lofi hip hop radio”. You made a good point, make things easier for yourself by getting rid of the stuff you don’t need. (I’ll never again buy a Nokia phone though, that was an example of minimalism taken too far)

  • heloisebellouard
    Posted September 27, 2020 at 2:50 pm 0Likes

    The comparison of digital decluttering with decluttering something more concrete like a room is certainly very interesting. There is a certain sense of relief once you’ve finally cleared out your room of ‘junk’ and made it a more personal space, and the same can be said about our digital lives too. Every once and a while I need to clear the photos out of my phone, see which ones I keep and store on a harddrive and which ones I can delete. I would say that the satisfaction of having sorted out about 2,000 photos is certainly on par with cleaning out a closet though.

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