It’s the minimalist’s dream to remove of superfluous life clutter from their minds, let alone the physical space in which they inhabit. From bills and receipts to calendars, calculators, cameras and clocks, the digital age and its associated devices has led to a profound reduction of all our clutter into a single hand-held device. You can take control of your life’s clutter, storing it securely in one place, by updating your technology with the most useful apps and features, digitizing the items that detract from your minimalist vision when in the physical form. This article introduces some of the ways to achieve this state of decluttered bliss.
We’ve been operating on email, as a global society, for two decades now, yet we’re still familiar with the never-ending flow of post that is deposited through our doors every week. The trick in reducing this down – removing the ubiquitous papers from desks and tables throughout your home – is to digitize as much as possible. Simply check every letter you’re sent for the option to ‘go paperless’ – a planet-saving initiative for your mail to be sent via email – and head online to set up the service.
For those letters that lack this option, you’ll nevertheless be able to create a digital file from your physical letter simply by using the camera on your phone or tablet. A vast array of helpful apps are available, often for free, to help you organize this mail into folders that you’ll be able to access on the move so that bulky folders of papers slowly become a thing of the past. Once you’ve taken a photo or scanned letters, you’ll be able to recycle them – nifty minimalists might even have a paper bin right by their door for quick-scanned mail.
The digital revolution has quickly disposed of the need to keep physical copies of the media you consume in your home. Gone are the stacks of CDs and records that line the walls of music enthusiasts, with streaming services offering the highest-quality tunes for incredibly affordable rates. Netflix and other on-demand TV and film providers have spelled an end to the amassment of DVDs and cassettes that was a common feature of homes only five years ago, while the rise of the Kindle and other reading devices has made bookshelves an archaic nod to a bygone paper era.
If your home contains any of the above, it might be time to shift them by offering them on to charity stores, or by selling or exchanging them online, freeing up some shelf and storage space in the process. If you’re a sentimental type, you’ll still be able to retain those CDs, records, DVDs and books that mean the most to you in a bespoke shelf of media that is more of an ornamental touch to your home than a necessary storage area for all the media you’ve consumed in your life. Be brutal, though, as everything you own in the physical world is almost certainly available digitally.
Digital electronics are becoming ever-more streamlined, with companies fighting it out to produce the best-value products with combined features that were once performed by a number of different household devices. The king here is the smartphone – a device taken for granted for its incredible capacity to reduce so many electronic functions down into your pocket. Calculators and clocks existed even on the more primitive incarnations of the mobile phone, but now there would seem little point in owning an expensive camera, unless you’re enthusiast, given the wonderful pictures rendered from the latest phones on the market.
Then there’s the desktop home computer – once a lumbering and cumbersome permanent addition to a desk that’s now completely portable thanks to the development of ever-more slim and high-functioning tablets and laptops. Such devices even call into question the necessity of owning a television set, given the quality of the image they produce. If you’re looking to trim down your own array of electronic goods, take a look around your home and consider what you’ll be able to cover with a laptop, tablet or phone: you may find yourself happy to shift quite a few items on, decluttering your home.
More of a mental declutter than a physical one, though you’ll be able to dispose of all those spreadsheets, calendars, budgets, bills, invoices and receipts that blight your surfaces, is the rise of the digital banking world. Bonsai Finance provide a useful breakdown of the myriad ways in which online, data-driven banking, presented helpfully on a smartphone app, can cut corners in terms of the financial responsibilities that once presented individuals with a disorganized flurry of papers and worries.
There’s a lot to be gained from research in this area. A centralization of one’s financial life into a digital device and app that tracks your spending, sets budget targets, enables quick and easy loans, and provides all the other services offered by traditional banks in a streamlined model that allows you to get straight to the point without waiting on hold for an hour over the phone. There’s something satisfying about doing away with all the files and stacks of paper associated with managing one’s finances, so do consider making the digital shift where money matter are concerned.
Above and beyond the merits and multiple uses of the smartphone and the laptop, there’s still a plethora of ways in which digital technology can help us declutter our homes, leaving bare surfaces, blank walls and tidy tables in the place of outdated technology and household items. From tiny and hidden digital speakers through to digital photo frames cycling through your memories, there’s probably a device upon which you’ll be able to store your life’s clutter that performs the job more efficiently than its physical predecessor.
Think wisely when it comes to digitizing your life and you’ll achieve a paradise of simplicity and clutter-free existence by storing what was once a mark on your manliest dream in your portable devices, leaving your home space blissfully free of clutter.
James Daniels is a freelance writer, business enthusiast, a bit of a tech buff, and an overall geek. He is also an avid reader, who can while away hours reading and knowing about the latest gadgets and tech, whilst offering views and opinions on these topics.