Over the past week or so, I’ve been contemplating what we were going to declutter this week, since we are visiting family in Florida. We debated working on another portion of the house BEFORE Minimalist Monday, but we decided against it. With the additional chaos of readying ourselves for the flight, on top of our regular everyday busyness, it would have simply been too much.
That being said, we did not want to COMPLETELY SKIP Minimalist Monday, either. Don’t get me wrong, we did put some serious thought into it. But in the end, we didn’t want those who needed the motivation of Minimalist Mondays to lose their reason to work toward minimalism, and we didn’t want to stop the ball on our end either. (KEEP IT MOVING, GUYS!)
This brought us to the final decision of an almost halfway point. I would work on the decluttering, as well as the post, while 40,000ft. above the ground. This decision relieved the stress of posting Minimalist Monday early, or skipping it entirely, as well as relieved the boredom of a 2 hour flight.
Even in the digital world, the guidelines that we’ve suggested in the past apply.
- Pick something small.
- It should take 15-30 minutes from start to end.
- Make 3 separate piles. (Keep, Sell, Donate/Trash)
- Make sure to have a box handy. (You don’t want a pile of stuff that you’d like to donate or sell cluttering some other part of the house!)
- Have fun. Don’t make this a chore.
There were four main areas that seemed in need of decluttering. It is possible that I missed something (VERY possible), but I did what I saw fit. And just as we do with the physical areas, this will need to be maintained and further decluttering will likely be in the future. I’m sure that I’ve rambled enough, so without further ado, my list.
Clearing the desktop
A desktop filled with shortcuts and icons is visual clutter and can clutter the mind the same way that physical clutter would be. I have 5 items pinned to my taskbar, and only the recycle bin on my desktop. It feels great to open the computer and have no distractions.
Bookmarking websites on your browser is one of those things that looked good on paper, however, it can very easily become unruly and ends up with no real value in the end. There are other ways to document and organize the information found across the web.
Programs like OneNote and EverNote work wonders for this type of thing. They allow you to clip information from websites, including type, charts, graphs, and pictures. These programs also allow you to easily type your own documents, make charts, and integrate the information that you found online. They each have their own way of organizing and in most cases, you’ll love one and hate the other. And if you must know, I chose OneNote.
Documents, Photos, and Other Files
Several notes to be made here. First, I would like to recommend that you back up all of your important files in at least one form. There are plenty of ways, from external hard drives, CD’s and flash drives to iCloud and OneDrive.
But before you back up all of your files, I’d like to suggest that you organize and sort through them. Many times, we will download a photo that we like or a PDF that we need for a short period (like that picture of George Clooney that you took to your hairdresser and still didn’t leave looking like George Clooney but you kind of did if you tilted your head and squinted). These tend to linger around even after they are no longer needed. Make sure to remove these as needed.
After sorting through your files and removing that which isn’t necessary, the next step is to give each file a home where it will be easily located. This will help to reduce clutter on the PC as well as the mental clutter caused by the disorganization of the files. A place for everything and everything in it’s place.
There seems to be a plethora of bloatware that comes pre-installed on commercial brand PCs, especially those which are newer. While you may find some of it useful, most of it is highly unnecessary and should be removed.
In addition to the software pre-loaded onto your computer, many people end up downloading and installing even more software to customize it to their own specific needs. More often than not, we end up installing more programs than necessary, or forget to uninstall them when we no longer need them.
These programs can slow your computer down and clutter your screen. Uninstalling programs is pretty self explanatory. However, if you’re looking to remove all possible pieces of bloatware without damaging your computer or accidentally uninstalling software that you use frequently, using a program like Revo or DeCrap can make it an easier and smoother process.
These are the areas that I thought needed work on our computer and that I thought would most benefit those of you looking to declutter your computer. If there are areas or topics that you thought I missed, please let me know, as I’m sure that it would benefit not only myself, but other readers as well.
If this is the area that you decided to declutter, please let us know how it went. The success stories really drive us to keep moving. If you chose somewhere else this Minimalist Monday, let us know where and how you did!