How are you all? 😃 It’s the beginning of Chinese new year on the 28th! In the year of the rooster I wish you happiness, health, luck and prosperity. ❤️ (In Chinese: 祝你新年快樂，萬事如意，身體健康，生活常樂。 ❤️)
I want to talk about digital decluttering this week – I recently got a new micro SD card for my phone (a long needed upgrade from an 8GB external SD card to a 32GB. I know.) and I’ve taken some time to organise and delete a lot of things in my phone. When it comes to a minimalist approach in lifestyle, I really believe virtual space is just as important as the physical one. In fact, your phone or other digital device is the ‘space’ you stare at throughout the day where ever you go, so putting priority in decluttering them probably makes more sense.
Whilst objects lying around your room are always visible, you might not be aware of how much junk and unnecessary files you have been saving up. Your phone is just like your wardrobe – when items are constantly hidden from sight you won’t be inclined to tidy up. The ease of downloading files & apps, taking photos & videos, and capturing screenshots can lead to piling up of bloatware, slowing down of your phone, and worse, more time and effort taken when you want to look for a particular file.
Here are 8 quick and easy ways to declutter your smartphone
(We’ll focus on decluterring smartphones in this post, but of course some of the tips can be easily applied to other platforms like your PC / tablet! )
1. Organise you desktop / app drawer by colours – This is a trick I learned from my friend in university – though I think her intention stemmed from aesthetic reasons, it’s actually much more efficient to organise your apps according to the colours. (Android users – this is of course only applicable if you don’t use an icon theme.) This is because icons (colours) are processed quicker than names (words) of apps. Another tip is to organise it in the order of the rainbow – you’re more likely to recognise your app whilst looking through your drawer or desktop when it’s already in a visual order you’re familiar with.
2. Go through your phone RIGHT NOW and delete apps that you never use – This is an obvious one but tell me, how often do you look through your drawer and look at how many apps you’ve installed? (Especially for those who have a smartphone with a lot of internal memory space) There are tons of cleaner apps that show you a list of all your installed apps in a usage frequency order – uninstall all those apps that you haven’t opened since months and delete all the bloatware you never touch in one go.
3. Tailor and organise your desktop pages according to purpose – This is how I personally set up my phone desktop : the first page has nothing but a dock (Email, Facebook messenger, Gallery, Whatsapp); 2nd page with all my every day apps I always go to (ordered according to icon colour); a page for business / work / study purposes (e.g. Slack, shortcuts to blogs, VSCO), a page for productive procrastination (apps I go to when I don’t feel like working / studying. Medium, TED, feedly, Khan…) and finally a page with my calendar widget. By organising it this way, I also find having the work page before leisure page to be better for my productivity. Sidenote, adding a heading to each page (*android* text widgets) can help with even better organisation.
4. Don’t over-use folders – Just like a physical folder, too many of them and stuffing too much in one will slowly turn into more time looking through each folder and ‘hoarding’ of apps. Don’t lie to yourself with another ‘new folder’ and start clearing them up.
5. Keep widgets to minimum – This one is simple. They bloat up memory space and slow down your phone. Trust me, chances are you won’t be checking your battery level, WiFi signal strength, CPU, weather and 2 world clocks every time you unlock your screen.
6. Clean up your IM media – IM chat folders like Whatsapp can store up a lot of files you send and receive just for that one single conversation – those short 3 second audio messages of you saying hi, that picture of a road sign when you showed your friends where you were, pictures of your freshly painted nails, screenshots of your chat with someone else (that you really shouldn’t have shown anyone else)… go through those IM apps and scan through the horrid mess, delete all those one-use snapshots & audio messages that you’ve already forgotten right after you sent them!
7. Screenshots – Ditto: just stop taking screenshots of everything.
8. Organise your photos and do your back-up – Clean up your photo gallery regularly by organising them either by time or location. Personally I tend to create a new folder for photos and videos whenever I go travelling or when I go back from Denmark to my home country in the summer. This is also a good chance for you to do a back-up – move your filesto the cloud or a physical HD to clear up some memory space.
Do you tend to clutter up your digital space? It’s time to do a clean up and don’t wait till you get a new phone! I hope you find this post useful and at least some of the tips will hopefully kickstart your digital decluttering plan.