Taking The Cleaning Plunge

Earlier this week I took the plunge to clean. Normally this would be in reference to some home related task, but this time I’m talking about cleaning up digital clutter.

One thing is certain, clutter builds and it comes in many forms. Although I was only using 30% of my available space on my Gmail account, the folders I had filled with e-mails were old, generally useless and adding to clutter. So I forced myself to go through them and delete all the old stuff that didn’t have a place or purpose in my archives in preparation for a new year. I kept the family e-mails, a few important ones for reference but by in large I deleted folder after folder of e-mails. Some from e-mail groups I take part in, others that just seemed to build over time. It was like an invisible weight was lifted! Which, come to think of it, shouldn’t be a surprise given how many thousands of e-mails went into the great deletion void.

The reason I share this is because it’s been a progressive battle for me to let go of little things. I’m an organizer by nature. Years past you’d find a neat little (okay make that big) stash of perfectly labeled and filed old bills, photos, etc., etc., etc. I would never in a million years have considered clearing old e-mails because with the typical pack rat attitude I’d have countered that you just never know when you’ll need one! *giggle* Over the years I’ve had no problem moving to a thrifty storage mentality of all things physical. I go through closets, toy bins and cupboards on a regular basis removing items and clutter not used, keeping only what is needed and current. But I had some sort of block when it came to digital clutter. Three computer moves have helped me with it a little but this year was a giant leap for me. This year instead of having a dozen or so folders for organizing e-mails, I’ve got ONE titled “Misc. to keep” and only a few more for things like school and family. Instead of keeping and sorting e-mails as they come in, I’m reading and then deleting most of them. Sounds simple, but for me this is a big step forward.

I’m learning to let go, be more practical and get more done. I heard it said once that if you want new and good things to come to you there is a need to make room for them. So I’m starting 2009 with a bang of making room.

Anyone else got big plans for the coming year?

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2 comments on “Taking The Cleaning Plunge

  1. Great minds do indeed think alike. I have been downsizing my email accounts and am now down to just my hotmail. I recently sorted through and organized all my digital photos (inspired by you of course)…all that’s left of that is to get 2008 downloaded onto CDs. Then that leaves all my digital files…most of which I have decluttered, organized and labeled except for all those email folders. I am positive I have ‘receipts’ from when I first started my hotmail account several years ago!!! 😉 Thanks as always for being such an ispiration. I enjoyed your response to the my education post!!

    Always a pleasure to be surrounded by great company!

  2. Good for you to tackle that digital overload. I’m totally overwhelmed by the prospect, even though I was really an organized person a decade ago. After kids, I switched my paper filing to a very lame catchall titles like “2008 Personal” “2008 Corporate”, a catchall box of all school papers, and a My Documents digital file titled, “stuff.” That was loads of fun when my computer crashed last year. My computer guy asked me which files he should really dig for in my junk harddrive and I was like, “Everything is in ‘Stuff’ or ‘Stuff 2′”

    Yeah, I could use a personal assistant;)

    Hee hee – stuff one or two…kind of like thing one or thing two? LOL

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