Digital clutter is different from physical clutter. Yes, it is important to remember that digital clutter actually isn’t as troublesome as physical clutter.
For example: Have you tried to carry a thousand books up a flight of stairs? How about a dozen photo albums? Or maybe a library of DVDs? If you have, then you know it’s much easier to move those possessions when they’re digital: thousands of books fit easily onto an e-reader, photo albums display beautifully in digital frames, and nearly every movie ever made streams effortlessly from the cloud.
That said, digital clutter can still be problematic: unlike the physical world, you’ll never eliminate digital clutter completely, so it’s best to organize our digital world to make it easier to navigate.
Take the Internet as an example: the World Wide Web is infinite, and thus impossible to “declutter.” It is, however, organized with precision through the use of URLs, IP addresses, etc. We can do something similar with our personal computers, smartphones, and other devices.
Here’s a tip: once a month, organize the folders on your computer, delete excess photos on your phones, clear unused bookmarks from your web browsers, and archive any files and emails you haven’t accessed in the past 90 days. With a backed-up archive, you’ll have searchable access to all your files should you need them, but they’ll be out of the way until you do.
Personally, The Minimalists save everything to Dropbox, and then once a month we move unused files and folders into an “Archive” folder. This monthly maintenance ensures our hard drives, desktops, devices, browsers, and inboxes are clear and easy to access.