Rearrange the apps on your smartphone, so to group similar applications together. Do you have multiple apps that do the same thing? Are there shopping apps that make it a bit too easy to buy things you don’t need but buy in a moment of boredom? If there are apps that you no longer use, uninstall them. (If you want them back in the future, you can reinstall them.)
Also, go through your download folder and see if you have downloaded documents that you no longer need or that should be transferred to cloud storage.
If you haven’t responded to an email in a month, chances are that you won’t. I’ve heard of people who just delete everything from their inbox. I don’t know if I could be that brave, but then, nothing that bad would happen if I did.
Today, declutter, if not clear, your email inbox.
If you have emails that you want to hold onto for reference, move them into folders and then review your folders weekly or at least once a month. Put this review on your calendar, which will both remind you of this task as well as prompt you into action.
You may not be ready to go on a shopping ban, where you only purchase essentials and planned expenses over the course of a month (or year), but you can consider which expenses you could cut down or eliminate.
You don’t have to stop spending money on all these things, today you just want to notice where you could limit or eliminate spending. If you are stumped, look at your bank statement or credit card statement for frequent expenses.
Consider eliminating one expense this week
Is there something on your calendar that you aren’t excited about and that, honestly, you could step away from? It may be awkward to say to someone, “it turns out that I won’t be able to attend. Thanks so much for thinking of me.” Or, this could be some self-imposed event – even decluttering your closet or kitchen cabinets this weekend.
If you can clear the time, what will you do?
Before walking into work, take a quick peek at your glove box. Is there anything in there that doesn’t belong?
Only if this doesn’t apply to you: Eliminate a snack that you are eating only because you are bored, or you need a break
Last month, you gathered together print photos, so you could more clearly see how many photos you have to sort through. You also considered why you were saving photos. Do you want to share photos with family members? Do you want to sell or give as gifts some of your best photos?
You can scan photos that you want to keep but don’t feel the need to hold onto physical photos. Photo organizers recommend backing up photos in three ways – a print, saved to your computer, or saves on an external hard drive, flash drive, or different cloud services. If you have photos that are important to you, plan to back-up these images.
Toss the food item that has expired or donate the item that you bought for a specialty diet you no longer follow or an ingredient for a dish you planned on preparing for a party or event (but never made).
Although one excess item may not seem to be a big deal, it is easy for that one item to become two, three, or an entire shelf of items you won’t use.
Is there something that you keep on your nightstand that you never use? Maybe you wanted to keep a one-sentence journal and thought that your bedside table was a great place to prompt your memory … but that hasn’t worked out.
During the winter, I keep hand cream on my nightstand because my hands get chapped. Applying hand cream seems like it would be a wonderful way to calmly end the day … but the hand cream sits there, and I never use it.
Look for the item that sits there, unused, and remove it. A bedside table can be small, so consider if you can clean off the entire piece but for the few most important items.
When you open the closet door, what is the first item that you eye lands on that you realize you don’t need? Toss the item or put it in your donation box. If you find a few items, more power to you! Unless you have the time, limit yourself to ten minutes of decluttering and then five minutes to boxing the items.
If this task doesn’t apply to you – Remove one item from any closet.
Susan Caplan McCarthy
I'm Susan, a writer and teacher developing a second career as a Decluttering Coach.