In my quest for minimalism so far I have focussed on the physical; items that no longer serve a purpose, old books I have no intention of reading, mountain upon mountain of clothes and that’s given me a great sense of purpose and achievement.
Recently though I have a growing sense of need to declutter in a more virtual, digital way. The increasing use of social media, and cloud software means that nothing needs to be thrown away anymore, and that person you wouldn’t have spoken to twice now has access to all your intimate moments via Facebook or Twitter. Social media can be a really positive connecting tool, linking you to those you love who are far away, recording memorable moments, following your favourite haunts and places to go.
The opposite though which I have found is the creeping virtual dust that drifts over the 4000 people you follow on Twitter, the friend of a friend that you met on a hen do 10 years ago that winds you up with their negative posts on Facebook, the 400 pictures of someone’s cat doing something cute that you sit and look at instead of having a proper conversation ( OK I admit I quite like those).
I found myself recently becoming really angry with complete strangers on a post on Facebook. I didn’t know these people, I didn’t have any vested interest in the post, yet I had let it get under my skin. It was a real wake up call…I am a social media hoarder…I have followed and liked more pages than I keep up with, I get notifications in the dozens, and I am the equivalent of one of the worst hoarders with the digital equivalent of carrier bag upon carrier bag of posts and pins.
On top of this I probably have about 10,000 photo’s on my Dropbox folder. This includes the same shot I have taken four or five times over as a throwback from film camera days when you never knew if a photo would come out or not. I also hold all those photos I have taken on my phone of the floor, my thumb and a selfie where I only get half of my head in the shot.
So what can we do to become digital minimalists? Firstly I have de-activated my Facebook account for a couple of weeks to take a step back from what I miss, the people I want to be connected to, and the things I want to follow.
I have removed the app from my phone as well, so the temptation to ‘just have a look at 10 minutes’ which ends up in an hour of gazing at a screen is minimised.
I have started going through my photos and deleting the duplicates, the landscape pictures I took 10 years ago of places I can’t even remember, the blurry shots of which there are many and those photos which don’t mean anything. It’s a big job, but I feel my head is clearer and I feel more in control.
I am undertaking a promise to myself to only pin onto my Pinterest boards what I really love, and to delete boards I don’t look at again.
Does this ring bells with you? What digital clutter can you lose?