The benefits of de-cluttering and digital minimalism

De-cluttering cartoon

This is a bit of a different post this time. Not something directly related to money, but something that can help influence positive and intentional behaviour which can then be applied to your financial life.


We humans love stuff. We are constantly being told to “buy buy buy”…

You have a 3 year old phone? Chuck out that fossil and spend half your monthly salary on one that provides no more realbenefit except in being an ‘nth’ faster.

Still wearing that t-shirt you bought back in college [that still fits and has no holes in it]? Peasant! No one will take you seriously unless you buy this season’s new fast fashion fad.

We love to collect and hoard items that we end up only using once but insist it may come in use 27 years down the line. This ultimately leads to the thinking that we should probably keep it where it ends up taking up unnecessary space, waiting for the illusive date when it becomes useful again.

I use something I call the 6 month rule. If I haven’t used, worn or benefitted from something, in some way, in the last 6 months, I get rid of it. I’ve become a [semi] minimalist…and I love it.

This rule has some exceptions with sentimental pieces I own, important documents such as passports, or ornamental pieces that don’t explicitly get ‘used’, but I see as having a peripheral use that contribute in other ways to my life.

Applying this rule, and other methods of de-cluttering to your everyday life, serve as the gateway to a more stress free, and intentional, life.

Once we allow ourselves to get rid of the things that don’t serve us any real purpose, we can alter our thinking around the traditional notions of success and be content and happy in what we already have.

It allows us to realise that there isn’t just one path to life: upgrade car, upgrade house, upgrade phone, strive for BIGGER, BETTER, FASTER, MORE, MORE, MORE…

We seem to be forever accumulating new things to prove to other people that we are successful, “spending money we don’t have, to buy things we don’t need, to impress people we don’t even know”.

By allowing us to be happy in the moment, rather than relying on our happiness to be guided by the things we own, we shift our attitude from our need to get ahead to just appreciating the moment we currently exist in.

Once we have de-cluttered our minds and our homes, we can offer more mental energy to the important things in our lives.

Clearing our home helps pave the way for a clearer mind and gives us a good base to make a positive change to other areas of our lives, knowing that, no matter how shit a day you’ve just had, we can come home to a tidy, organised little space of our own.

This is why I never leave the house without making my bed. It’s a small, and seemingly insignificant little routine, but one that serves to begin my day in the best way possible, setting myself an example for the rest of the day.

De-cluttering our homes gives us clarity of mind and forces us to be intentional with the things we purchase, if not for ourselves, then for the ever more pressing threat of environmental degradation; this should be more than enough motivation to get your things in order.

Digital minimalism

Minimalism, or at least the practice of de-cluttering, can extend outside of the real world.

Digital minimalism takes the concepts from conventional minimalism and applies them to your phone, laptop and any other electronic device you may use.

I’ve always tended to adopt my real world, [semi] minimalist mind-set, into my digital life anyway, but since watching Matt D’Avella’s video on minimalism, I came to appreciate the practice even more.

With our lives ever revolving around our mobile devices, it’s important that we make these little bits of tech as efficient – in time and ease of use – as possible.

Just like our homes, we are our most organised when each thing we own has its own place and purpose for being there. This allows us to de-clutter our mind of all the uselessness and spend time focusing on what’s important.

Digital minimalism strips our phones and tech of the useless apps we’ve only ever used once. It allows us to delete the multitudes of duplicate images we’ve taken and have, for some reason, kept, and it compartmentalises our device’s features to maximise usefulness and efficiency and minimise clutter.

We’ve all been there. Excited by a new device and eager to put what it promises to the test; we’ve download the apps and tried the camera features over and over. But what we’re left with is a lot of digital clutter.

So give it a try. Once you’ve finished reading this article, take an hour to go through your device, use the 6 month rule to determine if these apps truly bring a purpose to your life, and get de-cluttering today.

3 thoughts on “The benefits of de-cluttering and digital minimalism

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