How I De-cluttered My Life in the New Year

I like simplicity. I’m not the type of person who needs tons of stuff and things in my life. Clutter makes me feel anxious. And I’m not just talking about physical clutter; mental clutter is also a big anxiety-provoker for me. So when the calendar changed to 2014, I decided to take time to de-clutter my life a bit.

I am constantly getting rid of old clothes and books (I have a donation bag in the car at all times so if I see a drop-off location, I dump the stuff). So I focused my efforts on the “lesser-known” things that cause clutter, digital clutter being a big one. Some of the changes I made are easy things, but make a world of difference. I thought I’d share my techniques with you in case you’re feeling the need to simplify your life too.

Recipe Files – Many of the recipes I use are now pinned to my Pinterest boards or stored on this blog’s Recipe page. But before the days of everything being online, I kept my recipes in a big recipe binder or I used cookbooks. I took out the VERY big recipe binder and started tossing all the recipes I didn’t like or realistically will never make. It was a lot of paper! Now the binder is better organized with the recipes I actually use. I also donated a lot of cookbooks I don’t use. I hated to do it, but there’s no point in keeping one cookbook if you only use one recipe in it. Either tear out the recipe page and keep that, or find the recipe online.

Internet Bookmarks – It was ridiculous how many sites I bookmarked. I went through the sites and did three things. First, I deleted the sites I no longer needed. Second, for the articles I wanted to keep (because I may use them for reference for future writing), I added them to my Delicious feed. Delicious is a great way to store articles (and post your own). Third, I reorganized the bookmarks I did keep and my toolbar so I can better find what I need.

Delete Blogs – I read a lot of blogs. Like a lot – more than 200. I have them all in my Feedly account, which is like the now-debunked Google Reader. As I was reading the blogs, there were always those that I would only skim or skip altogether. So one day (while watching TV is a great time to do this), I went through all of the blogs and deleted the ones I don’t read. It was liberating! And now when I go to read my blogs over the weekend, my stream of posts isn’t as overwhelming.

Facebook and Email Clutter – I don’t know about all of you, but I’m getting so sick and tired of what’s showing up on my Facebook feed. I used to love Facebook to connect with people, see pictures, and have conversations. Now it seems like it’s just Buzzfeed articles and memes. I have no time for this crap! So I went through an un-liked so many pages. And if you don’t want to unlike pages, you can also go to the page and select “hide from newsfeed.” I also unsubscribed from a slew of email newsletters to keep my email inbox less overwhelming.

Cell Phone, Cable and Phone – I HIGHLY encourage you to review your bills often because chances are, those sneaky bastard cable and service companies are charging you way more than what you need. I found out that I was being charged for the option to call internationally and all these fancy features on my landline. I reduced the phone plan to the bare minimum since the landline is rarely used (in fact, we are thinking of dumping it altogether).

The cell phone is another BIG one. We were being charged for this ridiculous amount of data that we’ve never even come close to using. I downsized the data plan, which saved us a big chunk of money. And honestly, we don’t even use the current allotment.

Finally, we are making the move to dump the cable, which will save an obscene amount of money. We opted for a Roku with Netflix and HuluPlus subscriptions. I am SO excited for this change!

Pantry, Fridge and Freezer – I tossed a lot of old food. It was so nice to go through the kitchen and get rid of stuff taking up space. And I’m not talking about rotten apples. I mean the condiment jars that are beyond the expiration date. Or the boxes upon boxes of teas I will never use (I give this stuff to my sister who loves tea). The stuff that I froze thinking one day I will use it, and now is way passed it’s prime.

Computer Documents – I finally emptied the trash on my MacBook, and either archived all documents or deleted them entirely. I also transferred a lot of stuff to Google Drive in order to free up hard drive space and keep documents safe that I didn’t want to lose.

So that’s what I’ve done so far and it feels SO liberating! I need to do other things – like go through old photo albums, organize pictures, and organize my hard files. But I’m happy with the work I’ve done so far and feel like 2014 is off to a great start!

How do you de-clutter your life? Did you get rid of any unwanted stuff lately?

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