How Going Digital Helped me Declutter
Well, it's officially June! This means that it is time for me to start my biannual decluttering. I started decluttering after realizing that my kid is entirely too spoiled and has way too many things. This made me look at the number of things I have as well. Every year right before his birthday and Christmas, I go through the house and look at everything we own and think about whether or not we really need it. I also think about whether or not we can replace it with something digital, in case we want or need it later down the line. Today I am going to be sharing how I used digital replacements to help me declutter our home.
A couple of years ago, I realized that growing up creative and having a love for reading had caused me to accumulate an extreme amount of "things". I wouldn't say I was a hoarder, but I definitely had more than I needed. I had stacks of magazines and books, and I had boxes and crates of craft materials everywhere. You name it, I tried it at some point.
Once I became an adult, I realized how hard it is to keep things clean when I have so many things. I also realized how hard or embarrassing it is to move all of my things, even more so when my sister could be packed, moved, and unpacked in a matter of hours! I wouldn't say she lives a minimalist lifestyle, she just doesn't accumulate more than she needs. It's just how she is.
Eventually, I realized that I need to let go of things that I thought were sentimental, or that I would use at some point. I started small. I got rid of the clothes I thought I would eventually fit again (let's be real, my post-mom hips will never fit into my teenage jeans). Then I realized that I never read the same book twice, unless it's a classic, like my collection of Poe, Jules Verne, or Homer. I got rid of those and I purchase my books on a Nook. Then I realized that I always buy school or craft supplies and never use them. So I kept a small amount of the things I do use and donated the rest.
Then I made a few rules:
For seasonal items, if I don't touch it for a year, get rid of it
For everyday items, if I don't touch it in six months, get rid of it.
Donate at least three boxes of items right before Christmas and my son's birthday.
I have lived and breathed by these rules. My family is catching on as well, although I have never pushed it on them (except maybe my son, he has a hard time letting go). They know my decluttering schedule and usually try to declutter themselves so we can donate it all in one trip.
Going digital where I can has really helped me to declutter the extra things like movies, games, books, and even my school work. Granted, this usually requires that I have an internet connection, but these days, there’s usually wi-fi everywhere I go. I can also download things I need for the day if I plan on being somewhere without it.
The switch to digital has been pretty easy in some areas, and pretty impossible in others, but that is to be expected. You can’t go digital for everything, and sometimes, what’s easy for some people may not be easy for others. I’m just here to help give some ideas by explaining what I could and couldn’t do. Overall, it was fairly easy for me to go digital with most things in my life, but when I interact with people who have not embraced the digital world, I must be more flexible, and sometimes I revert back to physical when I need to.
Music, movies, video games, and books are the easy ones. It’s been so much easier to buy these items from your device, and I love not having extra cases and books laying around. Plus, CDs have a tendency to get scratched, and books get ripped. I bought the very first Nook and currently have the latest one. It’s great for those books that I want to read, but don’t want to clutter my shelves. I also enjoy being able to rent e-books from libraries. I also started purchasing my movies and some TV shows from VUDU a couple of years ago. I like having all my movies in one place and not having to search through DVD cases because something didn’t get put back where it goes.
Going digital for school was a little bit harder. I am usually able to take all my notes digitally, buy e-textbooks, and submit my work digitally, but every now and then I run into a professor that does not allow electronics, or wants all your work handed to them. These are the moments when I must be flexible and prepared with a notebook and pen. Universities have many more in-person classes than online classes, so that’s another thing I’ve had to work around. I sure was better off than some of my classmates when all the universities shut down and went digital due to Covid-19. Honestly, I was thrilled when all of my classes went digital.
Along with switching my notes to digital for school, I was also able to switch to a digital planner. I love not having to flip through pages, or stickers, or running out of my favorite accessories. Once I made that switch, I started thinking about what other things can be done digitally. Now I am digitally scrapbooking and digitally art journaling, and switching anything I can to the digital world.
Digital memory-keeping has probably saved me the most space. I used to have boxes and boxes of photographs, and shelves full of huge, bulky scrapbooks. After organize my photos digitally, and scanning old photos, I am now able to create digital photo books that save shelf-space, without losing the creative aspect of scrapbook papers and embellishments, because those can be digital too! I also can reuse these creative elements over and over without worrying about running out or cutting something too small.
If you made it this far, thank-you. I know it was a pretty long post. I hope that I've inspired you to not only convert some things in your life to digital, but also think about what unwanted things are taking up space in your home. As we get to the end here, I want to give you guys a few more tips:
Going digital is not "Go Big or Go Home". You are more likely to fail if you try to force yourself, or do too much too soon.
Going digital is not for everyone, and even if you have gone digital in some areas of your life, it doesn't mean you can do it all.
If something truly is sentimental to you, don't think you have to give it up. Keep it, and put it with other special items.
When it comes to photographs, especially old ones, you can scan them to your computer and safely store the original copies out of sight.
If you plan on implementing any of these strategies to declutter your home and go digital, I would love to hear about your journey. Be sure to tag me on Facebook or Instagram @KalioraDigitals.