Minimalism is one topic that is important to me right now. And has been for quite some time. What I want to focus on today though is digital minimalism. This is the form of minimalism I have always been (without really realising it or knowing the term) inclined with.
What is digital minimalism
Well, that is a hard question to answer because the term minimalism means so many different things to different people.
What is most of the time boils down to is getting rid of things, clutter & everything else that does NOT give you value or make you feel positive while on the other hand keeping and giving more value to the things, experiences, people & everything else that does.
I think this is a pretty good description of the core aspects of minimalism. But how does this translate to digital minimalism, to our digital life which is getting more and more important in most people’s lives.
Core ideas of digital minimalism
To me digital minimalism means 3 major categories:
Getting all your personal and other (like work related) devices, accessories, services, and so on in order, sorted out, and reduced to a minimum… more precisely to THAT minimum that suits your life best while not making you feel uncomfortable or overwhelmed.
That is part of 1 of what I define as digital minimalism for me.
Accounts & services
Part 2 is trying to get an overview, a good grip of all the accounts, services, websites, etc., that you use (or NOT use). Which is incredibly difficult because in most cases (including me) we don’t even remember all the accounts we have created in our lives, the services we registered for, the websites we have a log-in for, and so on. So this task is a big one. But an important one as well, because ideally I want to know where all my personal data is.
It is a form of digital spring cleaning if you will. Find all your accounts, services and log-ins and reduce them to those you really need and use.
I, for one, was really surprised how many accounts I deleted, but also how many I needed to keep. And at the same time how many I probably forgot and will never remember again…
The 3rd part is the one that has actually drawn me into digital minimalism in the first place: files/documents. In our increasingly digital and mobile (internet driven) world it is rather strange to have some of the most important information on good old paper lying around in your house or (hopefully) carefully organised in big old folders in your office.
Well, it wasn’t really like this for me, of course. But as I went through papers and papers and more papers a few years back, I realised: Now that I am already doing this, sorting these files and storing them correctly, why not at the same time digitise them. Meaning make a scan of all documents while sorting through them.
So that’s what I did. Now I have only really important documents on paper at home. Which only take up one single folder.
All other files are safely stored in the cloud, as well as backed up to two hard drives for safety reasons. One of those should be an external SSD drive IMO, like this one which I really like. The other could be just a normal external HD drive like this.
I’ll close this first post on digital minimalism with this:
For me starting with a digital form of minimalism was actually the easier way to go. I’ve always liked my digital life organised, may it be the files on my laptop, the infos on my social networks, or my work stuff.
So it came naturally to me to sort my files, scan and organise them, and use them digitally afterwards.
So the the thing that is most important is: Just start! Start with the things you want to start with. The things you like to do, you like to organise. It will make it easier to get to the other things, the NOT so fun things as well.