With spring around the corner, I decided for this month’s daily habit challenge, it would be a good time to do some technology decluttering. Specifically my phone, since that is what I use the most. I’ve been noticing, for awhile now, that there are some things about my phone usage that impact me negatively on a regular, if not daily basis, so these are the things I focused on changing and why. It seems like an especially good time to make sure that I am getting as much positivity when scrolling through my phone as possible.
-Unsubscribing from email lists: I usually wake up to dozens of emails on my phone and most of them are from various email lists that I subscribe to. Most are from the usual: clothing brands, beauty brands, a couple of random restaurants and home good stores. Along with having to go through and delete them everyday, I noticed I was actually missing a couple of important emails. I also feel like I just don’t keep up with all the subscriptions. I kept from unsubscribing for so long because I was always tempted by the idea of getting an alert of a sale, or a good coupon, or maybe thinking “I might actually read that one day”. The reality is I just don’t keep up with the emails, I don’t read them, and clearly most of them are being deleted anyway, so cutting out that step and unsubscribing seemed like the easier thing to do. Plus, now I look much more forward to getting and actually reading through emails from brands and websites that I love or regularly use/order from.
-Unfollowing accounts on social media: There are just some accounts that, for whatever reason, cause a little surge of negativity or anxiety when I’m scrolling through social media. I realized that it’s just unnecessary to feel that way and there are a couple very easy solutions: mute and unfollow.
Turning off notifications: There are very few apps that I care to get notifications from so I turned most of them off.
-Cleaning out my camera roll: When I want to take a picture of something I tend to take what seems like 100 pictures to make sure I get the best photo. I might end up deleting maybe half, but I usually leave quite a few on my camera roll, even though there’s not much use for the 49 pictures that are left. I find myself doing this a lot, and I’m sure many people can relate. Doing this has taken up a lot of storage on my phone, so I’m slowly but surely going through and deleting photos.
-Deleting apps I don’t use: This is pretty self explanatory. I found that some apps I wasn’t using were taking up space on my phone and my home screen, so deleting them made it much easier to organize everything and get to my most used apps quicker.
-Organizing my apps: By categorizing my apps (e.g., social media, games, photography, health, education, food, travel, etc), I was able to clear up quite a bit of space on my home screen and also find my most used apps much easier.
Questions from Taryn about my monthly habit.
Q. Can you describe what your goal was and what inspired you to do this?
A. My goal in decluttering my phone was mostly for my mental wellbeing. I just felt like there were a lot of things I was attached to, like certain apps or subscriptions that I wasn’t actually getting any use out of, as well as some stuff on social media that sure wasn’t bringing me any positivity.
Q. What were the easiest things to declutter? What took the longest? I keep subscriptions for too long, even when I don’t use them for months. I’ll tell myself I will make time and usually don’t. Did you have something similar that you clung to?
A. I’m the same way with subscriptions! That was one of the more difficult things to declutter, but once I did it, I didn’t end up missing anything I got rid of.
The easiest thing for me was organizing my apps. I just enjoy organizing things, so it was something I was able to do pretty quickly.
Pictures were for sure the most difficult thing for me to declutter. I found it hard to delete even the blurriest, most random photos. I felt that clinginess to every photo, so I have been slowly going through and deleting them, which is also taking longer than anything else.
Q. What task felt the most rewarding/took the biggest weight off your shoulders?
A. Clearing out social media a bit was where I noticed the biggest change. I think it’s easy to get lost in this idealistic world of social media, so taking a step back and only following accounts and people I enjoy keeping up with really helps!
Q. What are your lessons learned from this? Did decluttering your phone actually make you feel better? And do you think this will lead to other projects similar to this?
A. I have noticed a big overall positive difference since I decluttered my phone. It seems like such a simple thing to do, but since most people are on their phones quite a bit, it makes sense to declutter things, even if it’s something really small, like clearing out old blurry pictures or unsubscribing from that email newsletter you never read. I mean, being on my phone is a big part of my day and evenings as well, so I want to make sure what I am reading and scrolling through is useful, fun, and positive! It also made me want to declutter and organize my computer, so that is my next goal!
Q. Did you do any research on tips before starting this or did you just go with your gut? Any tips you picked up along the way?
A. I did a quick google search to get some ideas, but I decided to focus the most on things that affect me the most. I would say, if you’re decluttering your phone, start with the apps you use the most, like if you take a lot of photos, start with that. If you get an excessive amount of emails, start clearing subscriptions. If you notice you scroll through instagram and find yourself skipping a lot of stuff to get to the accounts you actually keep up with, start there.
Q. Everytime I fly, I take time to go through my last month’s worth of photos on my phone and delete duplicates and the ones I don’t need anymore. It’s easy to do without wi-fi and usually burns up about 15 minutes of my flight. Do you have any other suggestions for readers on how to keep up with the clutter?
A. That’s a smart idea! I think going through once a month or so and clearing things out can be a good small task to give yourself. Another thing I’ve been trying to do is take more notice in what I am using most, or what I’m paying attention to and not paying attention to. I have a bad habit of taking a bunch of pictures or having a bunch of safari tabs open, which just leads to things piling up over time, so making adjustments in smaller increments rather than doing a full blown phone clear out helps keep up with the clutter.