Minimal digitalism: Clearing digital space

So for the end of this year I’ve been doing a digital declutter.
Just like in the summer, I tried to go through all my physical possessions and sort out only what I need, in the right place, for the right purpose, everything else can go, to simplify my life.
And now I’m doing the same thing with my digital world.
And I had planned to finish it by the end of the year.
That would have been great, just to, you know, completely clear the table, completely clean the workshop and have a completely clear digital life to start the new year.
But it’s gonna take a few more days, because it’s amazing just how much is accumulated over the years.
It’s easy to forget about it, because you can just kind of turn off your phone and computer, and you can just not see the piles of stuff.
Whereas with the physical objects, you know, they’re actually taking up space in your home.
You get them in your face.
You can’t just pretend they’re not there.
Digital objects don’t take up any significant space, and you could easily, you know, just buy another tiny little hard drive and have a huge new collection.
It would hardly add any new physical space at all.
But it’s in the mental space, the space that it takes up in our thoughts.
Because, you know, for most people, myself included, living in this modern world, doing technically related things, we really spend so much of our time on computers and phones, dealing with digital objects.
I never really thought of them that way before.
They really are like objects.
They are just like you would have boxes full of junk and, you know, piles of things in the corner of your room, you can have the same kind of thing with digital objects.
All these files that are hanging around, all these different accounts to different online services, and all these loose ends hanging everywhere.
I can’t really figure out exactly what it is, because it isn’t like with a physical object, you clear space, and it’s obvious that having clear, open space is good.
But with the digital space, it’s not really about space so much, because these things don’t take up space.
Why do I need to delete all these things? Why can’t I just forget about them, and just they will never bother me again, to just leave them there, ignored? But it seems to me like there’s something- they still take a certain drain on us.
Even these things that we don’t think about, that we forget: they can still be a drain.
They can still be this little bit of mental clutter, that every time we happen to, you know, look through our hard drive and see some bunch of files, or every time we use a web browser and see these other accounts pop up, I mean, any time we just happen to come across these things, old messages that we see every time we log in: these things, every time that we see one of these things, it’s I think the same kind of effect as seeing that pile of clutter, and just sort of adding extra weight to our thoughts and extra distraction to our day.
So clearing that away is like making this open space.
So how do we make this open digital space? It is a slow process for me, going through years of- first, working through all my files.
And it takes too long to individually organize every little bit, but at least start by putting everything into these major categories, everything that OK, I can know it’s more or less here.
If I’m using it it goes in one of these useful folders that I can access, and if it’s purely for souvenir, it goes to a souvenir folder, just like putting old sentimental clutter items into a souvenir trunk.
And just sort of knowing where everything is, and then keeping my active folders where I’m working as clear as possible, with just a few folders of things that I can access usefully.
So I did that, and then the online stuff: this is what seems to be taking so long, going through all these accounts that I have somehow accumulated over the years and deleting stuff that I don’t need.
So it can be a slow process, but I think it’s going to have the same kind of results that I have been getting from clearing my physical space: feeling this greater openness, freedom, and ease, to go through my day without hitting obstacle after obstacle of clutter.
Just like the feeling of working in a completely clean and clear workshop, instead of a pile of stuff.
Like working on a completely empty and clean desk.
Cooking in an empty and clean kitchen, and a well-organized kitchen.
And so this is my project for this new year time.
I want to clear everything down, everything that is unnecessary and unneeded, clear it down to the basic, bare table and be able to work from there.
So I’d be curious to hear if any of you have done anything similar, and what’s your experience with this idea of clearing digital space?

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