While many of us have switched onto the power of a decluttered home, even the most organised of us could do with a digital declutter.
There was even an awareness day on 12 February, called “Clear out your computer day” dedicated to cleaning out your computer. The aim is to encourage people to give their PC both a digital and physical clean. One day, however, is as good as any other to at least make a start on this.
Decluttering expert Jo Cooke from Tapioca Tidy agrees. She works with families that need a little bit of help and motivation when it comes to staying organised. Her work also brings into contact with hoarders, and she has co-founded a Community Interest Company called Hoarding Disorders UK. She is noticing that digital clutter is becoming more and more prevalent.
She says: “Clutter is not just physical but it is mental and digital too. We can become just as overwhelmed by a virtual clutter as we can with our physical surroundings. With a need to absorb and collect information – be it from newspapers, TV, but also from emails – we have become a nation of information hoarders. Not only do we cut out recipes from Sunday newspapers, we buy cookery books and also scan them too.
“We have access to electronic information from the internet 24 hours a day and the temptation of information to download, photos to scan, PDF documents to save, then lead to needing more online storage. Many people hoard information – and now there is also a way of storing it digitally. This often lead so difficulties with so much on it, the overloaded computer slows down or fails to function as it should more computers, laptops, iPads and further electronic space are purchased. The same applies to mobile phones. With new applications being made constantly available for maps, restaurants, on line banking, diets and so on – phones slow down and some people are unable to use their phone for its intended purpose because of the sheer amount of information stored.”
Jo has written a book called “Understanding Hoarding” includes these tips for managing digital clutter:
Unsubscribe to blogs that lead you to distraction and clog up your inbox. Avoid the temptation to put them in a folder to read later. Choose your favourite and don’t feel as if you are missing out. Most emails allow you the options of unsubscribing or you can use Unroll.me
Just as a cluttered room can lead to feeling of stress, a cluttered desktop can have the same impact. Create a folder if need be to keep documents you are working on in one place and delete as many icons as you can.
- Turn off notifications
Turn off notifications and you will feel less burdened by the need to read, react and respond. Review who you follow on social media and unfollow. Allocate time during your day to look at social media and be mindful of your social media use.
- Remember to empty
We quite often forget that we need to permanently delete items from the recycling bin. It is worth doing this regularly just in the same way as it to delete your downloads folder and this is quite often overlooked. Downloads can take up a great deal of digital space.
- Switch off
Be mindful as to how much time you spend on your phone and try to spend quality time with friends and family- physically, not virtually. Take a walk and disconnect from the digital world. Learn to switch off and you’ll feel so much better and so less stressed and overwhelmed by digital overload.