If you think getting rid of your physical stuff is tough, wait until you try decluttering the “soft” stuff. I’m pertaining to the documents in your laptop, apps in your phone, photos and movies in your hard drive, mp3s in your iPod – basically, all your files. What makes these hard to delete is because of its non-physical property. Just because there’s no hard evidence that it’s there does not mean it’s not taking up space.
I’m guilty of being a hoarder of the soft stuff, especially when it comes to my mp3s. I’ve been holding on to songs and albums in my iPod that I haven’t listened to for years now. Up until this day, I find those hard to delete because of “just-in-case” days when I suddenly feel like playing my #TBT/#FBF tunes. Anyway, I’ll write about my mp3 player in a separate post as I feel this will be a huge life-changer for me. But for today, I’ll focus on decluttering another EDC: our phone.
People who have tinkered with my phone have consistently described it as very organized. To give you an idea, here’s how my homescreen looks like:
Since I started using a smartphone, I’ve always hated flipping through countless screens just to look for an app. Smartphones are supposed to make our lives easier, but it has been doing the opposite. Our cluttered devices prevent us from becoming more effective because it is full of apps that distract us from what we intend to do. Instead of making us feel more in control, we’re more out of it because we have access to all this digital freedom which, sad to say, is used irresponsibly.
This realization has enabled me to create a system that will make my smartphone more value-adding. Here are the things I keep in mind whenever I organize my phone stuff:
- Starting with my wallpaper, I make sure the background is simple (design- and color-wise) so the app labels are readable even when I’m mobile. I try to avoid using bright-colored images as it is too distracting especially when I use my phone at night.
- After choosing the wallpaper, I create folders that are aligned with my daily activities (finance, health, messaging, navigation, productivity, social media), and interests (music, photography). All the apps installed in my phone are classified based on these categories
- For the contents of each folder, I make sure I only retained those oftenly used. I shortlisted this by going to Settings > General > Usage > Battery Usage. From here, I uninstalled apps that do not consume my battery life aka unused apps. It all boiled down to the Pre-Installed apps.
- We have this tendency to keep useless apps especially those connected to our hobbies/interests. In my case, this will be music and photography. To make sure I’m not wasting storage space, I only install 1-2 apps per hobby/interest.
I only have Spotify installed in my laptop. I do not have it in my phone as my iPod has more than enough songs for me to enjoy. This also helps me manage my phone bill, enabling me to spend less on data as what I originally budgeted. I kept Songkick because I want to real-time updates on gigs/concerts happening nearby.
As for my photography apps, VSCO is the only thing installed as it’s the one recommended by my #LifePeg, Ta-Ku (hahahaha). I also kept Google Photos as it automatically backs up the photos I take, allowing me to delete photos saved in my phone. This gives me more space again to take photos.
I hear a lot of complaints about the 16GB iPhone, mostly revolving around its small storage space. To be clear, my phone is the exact same model. But despite all these negative reviews, I’m over the moon satisfied with it.
I still have 3.2GB worth of free space, which I feel is more than enough for me to get by day to day. With less apps installed in my phone, I get to manage both my phone memory and data charges.
My phone is no longer a distraction. Instead, it enhances my real-life interactions – I pay attention to the people I’m with and the happenings around me as I don’t get sucked in the Bermuda Triangle of videos, memes, and newsfeeds in my device. If I do use it, I only whip it out to capture moments I want to remember forever.
My phone declutter has significantly improved my daily routines. By simplifying my digital life, it has helped me worked smarter – exactly what it’s purpose in our life is supposed to be.