Tidy Your Cell Phone
If you're anything like me, you keep people in your phone long past the point of ever contacting them. I've found parents of children I tutored 10 years ago and students who lived on the same floor as me in college. If you're going to take the time to clean out your contacts, do it in small chunks. It's not a thrilling task. I do it for short spurts, like when I'm waiting for my food at Sonic. I've also found that doing it multiple times lends to deleting more unnecessary contacts, because after debating if I should keep this number for the third time, I'm ready to delete it and be done. The easiest way I decide to keep or delete is just ask myself- would it be strange to text or get a text from this person? Do I have any reason to contact them anymore? (Proooobably not!)
PS: Save your contacts. Don't be like past me. My uber-patient dad has never once fussed when I texted him four times asking for a roofer's contact information. Or sometimes I'll get that vague text from someone who obviously knows me, but I never saved their number. Nothing more awkward than that 'Who is this?' text to someone whose number you should have saved.
PPS: Along with that- Be kind to your future self. Your phone is for YOU. When you've got someone saved for a specific purpose, add that in their contact name. When we were looking for a sitter for our daughter, I had several trusted suggestions. One babysitter had a full roster but anticipated losing some of her charges, so I'd check in with her every so often as it got closer to going back to school and needing full-time childcare. Finding her contact information was a lot easier when it was under "Sarah Smith- Betty's babysitter" instead of trying to remember her name, or text my friend again to ask for the contact information.
Office fans- remember the very last episode of the series? (How could you not?) Michael tells Pam he has two phones with two phone numbers, just to store all the photos of his kids. Sometimes that's how I feel. I want to keep allllll the photos. So I do!
Go ahead and create some folders for those suckers. You know all those inspiration photos you saved from Instagram and Pinterest? Save them in a 'Dream Home' folder, so when you want to see those ideas again, you're not slowly scrolling through all your photos to find them.
Pick a place to store your photos. There's lots of options to digitally store them. I use both Google photos and Amazon photos. I also pay for extra cloud storage. My brain memory is junk. I have a terrible time remembering past events, so I depend on photos to keep those memories. Paying a small fee to ensure they're stored safely is invaluable to me. Once you've digitally stored them, decide if you're ready to delete them from your phone. All of a sudden you'll have a lot more storage space if you need it! On my to-do list is getting an external hard drive to physically store our photos in a fireproof safe.
I highly suggest physically storing photos as well. Every few months I print some of my favorite photos to display in our frames around the house. It brings immeasurable joy to see those memories every day. We use Shutterfly to make photo books. We've got them for big events and trips. Another item on my to-do list is work on photos books for each year since we got married. These books are precious. Our 15 month-old daughter loves to pull them off the shelf and flip through them. If our house caught on fire, our photo books are one of those things I'd grab on the way out. Love. Them.
I'm an iPhone gal, so bear with me for this part, Android users. iPhone users- you know those apps that are still on your screen but need to be redownloaded? It's a sign. You probably *don't* need that app. Delete it and free up space on your phone. It's one less icon to sift through. One less app's settings to worry about.
If you haven't already, make the app folders. It's infinitely easier to find apps when they're grouped together. It's easier to decide which to keep and which to delete. Best of all, those little folders take up less space on your screen. I love my folders for the simple fact that I can see the photo I put on my background. You loved that photo enough to decide it was THE photo you wanted to look at every time you unlock your phone. Why block that beautiful landscape or your family's faces with tiny little icons?
Speaking of technology clutter, don't let apps clutter your time or mental health. Social media is a powerful tool to keep in touch with others, read the news, and learn almost anything. But we also see how powerful it can also be in sucking up your time and focus, along with bringing a sense of guilt that you're not as good as everyone else. During the last election season I deleted Instagram for a while when many posts began to impact my mental health. Set those screen time limits and hold yourself accountable. Even just turning off notifications for apps can release you from feeling like you need to open it every time a little red dot appears in the corner.
Tidy Your Computer
But really. Make the folders. In college I had a folder for each semester, with a subfolder for each class. I can't begin to tell you how easy that made it to find whatever I was looking for. Name your documents so you can find them later, not with some obscure title.
Your photos? Put them in folders! Sort them by month, event, location, whatever helps YOU find them, and don't forget the date!
And again, set those limits. I know I could spend hours online window shopping, or scrolling through my Pinterest feed. Decide how much time you feel comfortable with spending on the computer (beyond work), and divide that time between mindless entertainment (scrolling for fun) and constructive activities (checking your online banking, finding new recipes, making those photo books). We monitor the amount of time our children spend on screens, so love yourself enough to hold yourself to similar standards.
Making your technology work for you helps you take control of your life and avoid excessive mental clutter. Be kind to yourself!