by Susan Caplan McCarthy
A Year of Decluttering: June - Digital Decluttering
Have you ever taken a book off a shelf and found a bookmark tucked between the pages? Did you experience a moment wondering when you’d started reading the book? Or, maybe, you even wondered when, or why, you were interested enough in the topic to purchase the book (or, if you’re like me, several books).
I have the same experience when scrolling through the list of bookmarked webpages on my phone and computer. Hmmm… I apparently spent part of an afternoon looking up non-stew recipes for stew meat. And cookie recipes using pie crust. Oh, and more bookmarked pages on bullet journals, organizing books, developing habits, productivity, a sculpture art exhibit I’d like to visit this summer, a photographer who sells packages were she takes vintage-look images of her subjects, countless yarn-based crafts for a kids’ art class I’m teaching this summer, recipes for aioli, optical illusions, and a handful of pages related to websites mentioned in articles I’d read.
Obviously, when looking up a topic, I save multiple pages, apparently assuming I’ll compare my options later (sometimes, yes; oftentimes, no).
Decluttering bookmarked webpages are a low-effort/low-attention project. When you find yourself waiting – in a line, at a doctor’s office, at the mechanic, scroll through your saved bookmarked pages on your smartphone or tablet. (Go through pages on your computer while watching television or take the computer with you someplace you know you’ll be waiting for a while.)
Many bookmarks you’ll be able to delete without going to the page. For some, you’ll want to see what you saved.
In most cases, these pages reflect a momentary interest, something you figured you’d investigate later. If enough time has passed, you may realize that your interest has dwindled. Delete those casual, passing interests.
And, if you want to keep those bookmarked pages, a create a folder for each distinct topic and sort those pages. One, you’ll streamline the look of your bookmarks, creating less visual clutter. Two, labeling the folders will help you see where your current interests lay. And, three, you’ll have an easier time locating information you’re really interested in accessing.
Decluttering this saved information can be done at any time and is easy to maintain (bookmark a webpage/delete a bookmark (or two).
Why bother doing this? It reminds you that some of your interests are transient. When you’re decluttering physical items from your home, you may find things related to past (or undeveloped) interests. You may feel that you should hold onto these objects in case you decide to return to this interest.
However, reviewing bookmarked webpages reminds you that your interests change. While it can be more challenging to eliminate a physical object related to an interest, bookmarked webpages may help you see that you’ve already moved on from a previous interest.
I help people focus on what's important to them by guiding them through clearing clutter and distractions from their lives. I teach decluttering and organizing skills through articles; books; courses; speaking engagements; as well as virtual coaching sessions.