Being able to store everything away in 'the cloud' - something completely intangible that we can't ever see, touch or feel, often gives us the false sense of storage, and security, when really we are just hiding things away. Out of sight, out of mind.
And therein lies the problem.
More often than not, you are storing just because you can. Because it's automatic. Because you don't even think about it. Because you don't even know. You may not even aware of what you're digitally hoarding. Or of how unsafe most data storage actually is. (Eeek.)
Here are some easy steps you can take to minimize your digital clutter.
Are you more inclined to store away 10 magazines just because you can? Or 100 movies? Or 1000 photos?
Are you storing data just because you have the gigabytes to do it? Using up your allowance? Getting your money's worth?
For media files, would you keep them if they were actual physical objects like dvds, books, magazines, photos?
If you lost all your data, how detrimental would it be to your life? What if someone steals your laptop or hacks your cloud?
And the ultimate minimalist test: Do you need it? Do you love it? Does it make you money? If not, get rid of it!
"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication."
leonardo da vinci more minimalist travel quotes
Check the desktop of your laptop. Check your iPad. Check your iPod. Check your phone. Check your apps. Check everything.
Look into these top 20 culprits and see what they're hiding away: bookmarks, books, calendar, contacts, desktop, documents, email, files, magazines, movies, music, newspapers, notes, photos, podcasts, radio stations, reading lists, reminders, subscriptions, tv shows.
"Truth is ever to be found in simplicity, and not in the multiplicity and confusion of things." Isaac Newton
I recommend resetting to zero. Clear everything completely out, if you can, or at least clear out the unnecessary junk and only keep what's absolutely essential. Re-assess. Re-prioritize. Can you stand to do some de-cluttering? Get a little safer and a little leaner?
Zero out your mailbox. Your messages. Watch the movies and then delete them. Listen to the podcasts and then delete them. Contacts of people you don't talk to? Delete. Old photos? Do something with them and then delete them. You can't see them if they're in the cloud anyways. Grocery lists? Delete. Instead, use your brain to remember things.
Storing so much information is actually hurting your brain because you're not actively remembering things anymore, so you're not creating new neural pathways. Do you even know anyone's phone number anymore? It's the age of digital amnesia.
Digital reliance is not healthy. The devices themselves are not healthy. But since they are a necessary evil in modern life, we can at least be cognizant of our usage and limit their control of our lives. And maybe help our brains actually be smart instead of stupid.
The more you know.
"We have lost contact with reality, the simplicity of life."