Income taxes got the ball rolling. Searching for information to fill in forms is frustrating and I just knew there must be an easier way. Every year after taxes, I’m the one who gets into files and purges last year’s flotsam so I know It’d be easier to find stuff if there was less of it. Delete, delete, delete!

Like most people I know, files, photos and emails get ignored until memory is jammed with clutter old information I’m never going to look at again. I had files that had been there for decades. The trouble is you have to open every single one to see if it’s still relevant, and sometimes that’s not obvious. It was hard to decide what I “might” need, but cutting down the volume is making it easier to find the one I need. Delete, delete, delete.

Deleting Computer Clutter Clears the Deck, and Your Desktop

I started writing my first book 20 years ago but it did not sell well. So why was I keeping the dozens of files pertaining to that? And why would I keep the 18 rejections I got before that final phone call to publish. As someone who has an actual dictionary on her desk, I’m still partial to paper evidence, but if all this information were on pieces of paper, my file cabinet would explode.

On to emails. The main question to remember was “Will I ever look at this again?” Emails from old business contacts and Amazon deliveries, gone. Exchanges with old friends I haven’t seen in 10 years, gone. Treasured words from my children, NEVER! I used to get a newsletter every week full of marketing tips when I first started writing. But I got behind in reading because I was busy writing. Each week they got dragged into a mailbox with the intent of “catching up”. Ha. Three years later the pile-up was hanging over me like a sword, but it’s never going to happen. Delete, delete, delete.

Moving on to the big one, photos. There’s something sacred I guess about keeping every single shot, and I know because I’ve seen the photo arrays people carry around in their pocket. Mostly as they’re scrolling around to find that certain one to show me. Do you really need to keep photos of Spot looking to the right, looking to the left and every angle in between?

I’m pretty ruthless when it comes to clutter in general and who knows where that comes from. But think about it. The more photos you keep, the harder it is to find the one you really want to see or to show. This basic idea applies to every aspect in life, by the way, everything is harder to find when “stuff” is in the way. I know my tolerance for frustration is extremely low, so I do lots of things to try and make life easier.

Purging Computer Files Sets You Free

The relief I feel after each purging session has been surprising. The hardest part, of course, was starting, but a little bit every week is getting me there. Headway is all that counts. Paring it all down will make everything easier in the end, whether it’s irrelevant computer files and photos, or the sad clothes hanging in my closet that I’ll never wear again. It’s harder to find your favorite pair of socks in a drawer full of 25 pairs instead of 10.

Weeded out this week: Irrelevance. I strive to live more in the moment than in the past. Besides, I want to stay relevant so I need to get rid of things in front of me that aren’t. Unnecessary clutter of any kind might bog me down and keep me from moving forward.