Monday, 30th October 2017

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Tips to declutter your digital life

You need to go through all your files and ask yourself do you really need them

  • Published 17.02.19, 4:34 PM
  • Updated 17.02.19, 4:34 PM
  • 3 mins read
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Just get rid of anything you don’t really need. Put the rest in folders where they belong (Shutterstock)

Given the clutter in and around our life, it is no wonder people are turning more and more towards organisation gurus like Marie Kondo, Peter Walsh, Christina Scalise, Joshua Becker and others. These professional organisers are spreading the mantra of decluttering your life and getting peace and joy in the process.

Marie Kondo shot into fame with her Konmari method of tidying up and this has become a fad. She also has her very own popular Netflix serial Tidying up with Marie Kondo. Decluttering your digital life is another way of getting your life back.

Let’s begin with Twitter. Your Twitter account can be a mess with all those people who are following you and all the people you are following. Turns out that help is on the way. You can apply the Tokimeki Unfollow tool and keep the number of people you follow on Twitter to a manageably low number. It is the brainchild of Julius Tarng, a former product designer at Facebook, who applied the Konmari method to declutter Twitter feeds. This is an application for Twitter that helps to scrub your feed clean. Tokimeki is the Japanese word for “spark joy”, the leitmotif of Marie Kondo.

Tokimeki Unfollow is an open source tool. To use the app go to https://tokimeki-unfollow.glitch.me. Log in with your Twitter account and authorise the app to see whom you follow. It pulls up the accounts you follow in one of the three orders: oldest, newest, or random. There are other options like the ability to show bios or to save progress. You are advised to keep bios off and to use tweets only as a way to determine whether they stay or go. This forces you to take a decision on whether you are inspired or “filled with joy” by these tweets or following them because you feel obligated to. The process is time-consuming but once you do it, believe me, you will get your life back.

There are other apps that can do the same spring-cleaning for you. Be warned that the tool uses cookies and your browser’s local storage to save progress. It saves your “keep” and “unfollow” progress on the Glitch servers, where Tokimeki is hosted, securely.

While you are on spring-cleaning mode, you should apply the Konmari method to clean out your hard drive as well. It is quite likely that your hard drive is full of downloads, photos and file copies. As another organisation guru, Christina Scalise says, “Clutter is the physical manifestation of unmade decisions fuelled by procrastination”.

First, clear the duplicate files. There are many third-party apps for doing so. You can clean out duplicate music on iTunes if you have the latest version of iTunes. Select File—Library—Show Duplicate Items. Select the duplicate item you want to delete. From the menu bar, go to Song—Delete. Decide whether you need to keep all that music on your hard drive. After all, there are some pretty good streaming apps that will allow you to listen to them whenever you want.

For clearing other types of duplicate files, for Mac, make for the App Store. Type Duplicate Cleaner in the search bar. You will get a number of options. Duplicate Cleaner for iPhoto is very efficient in hunting down duplicates even if they have been edited. For Windows, you can use NirSoft’s SearchMyFiles (https://www.nirsoft.net/ utils/search_my_files.html). The paid app Duplicate Cleaner is a good app to use too. Next, go through your photos and decide which ones you really wish to keep. Which ones bring you that spark of joy? While you are about it, clear your hard disk of the temporary files too.

If you wish to apply the Konmari method you must remember that “less is more”. You need to go through all your files and ask yourself do you really need them. If not, just trash them. Then organise the rest of them. The files you cannot get rid of, move them to an external hard disk. Create a folder for really important files. Another folder should be for your work-related files. Keep a third folder for miscellaneous files.

Go through your downloads as well and ask the same questions: Are they necessary? Do you need them anymore? Just get rid of anything you don’t really need. Put the rest in folders where they belong.

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