You’ve probably seen me talk about the benefits of minimalism by now. Perhaps you’ve even started adopting it yourself. But have you considered these not-so obvious items that may be cluttering your life?
You might have cleaned out the garage, tidied up the study or even played The Minimalism Game. Maybe you’ve pared down your wardrobe, eliminated those “just in case” items or even created your own form of daily uniform.
Don’t get me wrong, this already puts you far ahead of the majority of the population, but unless you’ve considered the items in this article, you still have some work to do.
Minimalism is about far more than how clean your house is or how many items of clothing you own.
Around mid-2016, I decided to go teach English in South Korea while I grew my business online. One of my personal requirements for the trip was to be able to pack everything I own into a carry-on only.
Having been a keen minimalist already, I was surprised to discover just how much stuff I still owned, apart from household goods and clothing.
Don’t get me wrong. On the outside, these may not have been obvious or even visible to other people, but the mental stress of clutter was still present.
After enjoying the benefits of decluttering these smaller items, I decided to share some of them with you to take your minimalism game to the next level.
Without further ado, here are some common things that may be cluttering your life.
5 SMALL THINGS THAT ARE CLUTTERING YOUR LIFE
“There’s an app for that”, but that doesn’t mean you need it. You’ll be amazed by how freeing it feels to see only the apps you actually use regularly. What’s more, doing so allows you to see all your go-to apps on your home screen, without having to scroll left and right in order to find what you’re looking for.
Start going through your phone and ask yourself when last you used a particular app. If it’s more than a month ago, it may be time to delete. Plus, if you ever really needed it, you could simply download it again and delete after using it.
2. PUSH NOTIFICATIONS
While we’re on the topic of devices, let’s talk about all those annoying notifications that keep popping up. I’ve found disabling all push notifications to be one of the most liberating things I’ve done. What’s more, it’s a lot easier to stay productive when I’m not constantly bombarded by alerts and pings.
Rather than constantly being on high alert, give yourself a dedicated time of day to check social media, emails, text messages, etc. This way, we get to focus our time and attention on the present and what’s really important to us.
Maintaining inbox zero will go a long way to preserving your peace of mind. The dangerous thing about email inboxes is that just a little neglect can lead to seemingly insurmountable results. I often cringe when I hear about people with hundreds of unread messages in their inboxes!
Fortunately, there are several tools to help here. One of my favorites is Unroll.me, which analyzes all of the newsletters you’re signed up for and allows you to perform three actions: keep them in your inbox, unsubscribe or add to a “rollup”. I also like to use a “Read Later” folder in which I save all non-urgent emails I want to read at the end of the week. And the latest addition to my email arsenal is Inbox Pause, a Chrome extension that allows email to only enter my inbox at set times.
4. DESKTOP ICONS AND FOLDERS
Just as our phones seem to somehow collect apps, our laptops and desktop computers seem to be a magnet for icons, shortcuts and folders. I’m sure you’ve seen those people (or perhaps you’re one of them) whose entire home screen is covered in folders and shortcuts. I’ve never quite understood how they find anything.
Just as before, go through each one and ask yourself if you really need a shortcut to a particular folder right there on the home screen. These could easily be replaced with keystrokes or macros, while at the same time allowing more of your tropical island wallpaper to shine through.
Another area I realized needed some attention was my wallet. I’d love to tell you that it was fat from all the cash spilling out of it, but no. Rather, I’d managed to collect business cards, receipts and small change which didn’t really need to be carried around everywhere I went.
This one was pretty simple to manage. I saved the details from the business cards digitally, threw away any receipts I didn’t need, used the small change for small purchases or donations and began using my card/Snapscan wherever possible. In fact, I now carry only a money clip with my most important cards.
So how did I do?
After going through all of the items above (as well as my household goods and wardrobe), I was left with one box of sentimental goods and my golf clubs. Everything else (apart from my carry-on) was either donated, dumped, sold or recycled.
Ironically, I ended up not taking that job abroad, but don’t regret removing all that clutter at all. I’m now way more intentional about what I bring into my home and don’t feel controlled by my stuff.
Remember, minimalism is not about getting rid of everything, but rather just those things which don’t add value. In other words, if you don’t want to get rid of that photo album, nobody is forcing you to do so.
In the end, this is the beauty of minimalism. It is a unique journey for each of us to discover more freedom, peace and calm in our own lives.
OVER TO YOU…
I’d love to hear your thoughts: What other items could you simplify? Which small things are cluttering your life? Shoot me a tweet @BryanTeare and lemme know!