My iPhone is my lifeblood. I'm going to guess that yours is, too.
Our phones add so much convenience to our lives. From GPS directions to capturing every movement my kids make or Googling an answer to digitally sending cash, they can turn a task that once took hours into mere seconds.
But have we become too dependent on them? For me, it was. My phone was taking up a huge chunk of my day without me even realizing it. It took me awhile to realize that I wasn't present with my family because I was deep in my phone doing something unimportant. And I regretted that. So I made a decision. All the clutter - even digital clutter - had to go.
De-cluttering my house was just the beginning. Once my home was tidy and everything had its place, I was ready to focus on all the other clutter in my life, like my phone. It was full of apps, emails, to-do lists, music, pictures and movies that I barely, rarely or ever, looked at. So I knew it was time for a digital de-clutter.
After de-cluttering my phone, I've found that it is much easier to be more present with my family because the latest game isn't taking away my attention or the most recent celebrity news story isn't pushed to my notifications. Plus, I'm getting fewer technology headaches. If you're ready to simplify your phone, dump the digital drain and get back to living, try these surefire tips that I know will leave you feeling oh so good!
1. Delete Unused Apps
Naturally, the more apps you have stored on your phone, the less space there is available for other programs or data. Think about how many apps you really need on your phone. Consider your profession, lifestyle and current preferences. And most importantly, be honest in what you know you will use!
2. Delete Music That Does NOT Bring You Joy
Bye-bye U2! How did this even get on my phone?
3. Delete Movies
Between streaming services like Netflix, Hulu or Chromecast, why save a library's worth of movies on your phone? I left three of my favorite feel-good movies (You've Got Mail, The Other Woman and Just Go With It) for those times in need with zero-WiFi access. I also left one episode of Paw Patrol for the kiddos, just in case.
4. Delete Old Photos
I upload my photos to Google Photos first so I don't lose anything or accidentally delete something (and to avoid any heartbreak later should I lose something). This tactic may take the most time, but it is also the best way to free up A LOT of space (mentally and figuratively). Before you have to make any emotional decisions about the photos that stay or go, clear out duplicates, blurry pics, screen shots, coupons, bursts and irrelevant photos. Then, go into the Recently Deleted album in your photos and delete them again to permanently get them off your phone.
5. Delete Sent, Draft, Junk, Spam and Deleted Emails
Afterwards, unsubscribe from any email lists! This can be tedious, and you may not even remember what you signed up for until the email hits your inbox, but technology is on your side. There are several apps that help you automatically download from these mass-email lists. I use Unroll Me and in the past 6 months, I have unsubscribed from 241 emails! At first, it was an adjustment getting fewer emails since I would check nearly every 20 minutes, but it quickly hit me how many of my emails were just junk. Most of these emails were just sales promos, essentially undermining all my hard-won de-cluttering efforts! The last thing I need to do is tempt myself to buy more unnecessary stuff. No, thank you.
6. Delete Old Contacts
You haven't contacted them for a reason. If they are no longer in your life, delete their info and reclaim that data for your own!
7. Turn Off Alerts
We spend so much of our day checking our phone for social media, email and app alerts than actually looking at these messages! Believe it or not, this is major source of clutter. De-clutter your life of that useless screen time by simplifying your phone and be present in the activities that bring you joy, whether it's time with your family, exercising, cooking, reading, etc. These push notifications are also adding an additional digital drain on both your battery life and data. If you're an iPhone user like me, turn off your alerts by selecting Settings > Notifications > (activity) and "off."