Social media and technology have rapidly integrated itself into our lives. In just the last 20 years we have gone from “give it all to me” to wanting to digitally declutter our lives because we just don’t have space- mentally or physically- to handle it all. Take this for example:

On shaky legs, your baby is on the cusp of her first big milestone as she starts to take that first step, and luckily, you have your phone in your pocket. You whip it out and blindly find the camera icon so you don’t miss the real thing. Just as she is toddling toward you, you press the record button. Whew, just in time!

Except, not. Because an alert comes up declaring you don’t have enough storage space, and as you’re looking down in panic, your baby is squealing in delight as she falls to the floor five steps from where you last saw her.


Phones are a wonderful tool to keep us connected, capture memorable moments and inspire imagination. However, they can also detract from living in the moments the world around us has to offer. Including the first steps. Or catching a shooting star. 

In order to soak up the life we know you love so much, here are suggestions to digitally declutter your life. Bonus: you just might even free up storage space on your device.

Digitaldeclutter Dolan Unsplash

Digitally Declutter Step 1: Marie Kondo Your Apps

Open your phone. If you have to swipe to see more icons, you might consider reevaluating the apps you need. Take a page from Marie Kondo — look at each app icon and ask two things: when was the last time you opened it? And, does it bring you joy (or productivity)? Weed out dated or useless apps taking up data storage on your device to make room for more data for the apps you do find important.

Depending on the design of your device, there may be an option in Settings to automatically remove the data of an app after it hasn’t been used for a set period, but not delete the app from the phone. This allows for the app to remain on the phone, but it releases stored data and will quickly allow you to reinstall the app when you decide you want to use it again. This saves space for other apps that are frequently used instead.

Digitaldeclutter Dolan Unsplash

Digitally Declutter Step 2: App Limits

Now that you’ve weeded out the apps you don’t utilize, consider how long you spend on each one. Chances are you won’t honestly be able to answer how many hours a day you spend on your phone, but luckily (and ashamedly) for us, smartphones can now keep track. Check out the screen time settings on your device to determine which apps you spend the most time on. If you are surprised by the numbers, good! Many of us are unaware of how those quick checks throughout the day add up rapidly, and you can’t fix what you don’t know.

Within these settings, most updated phones offer App Limits. You can manually select when to receive a reminder after you’ve spent an allotted amount of time on a particular app, keeping your time in check instead of idly swiping without even realizing it’s been half an hour… or more.

Think of it as a digital kick to the pants to get back to life happening in front of you, instead of lurking at strangers on a screen.

Related: 8 Ways to Recover from Your Phone Addiction

Digitaldeclutter Dolan Unsplash

Digitally Declutter Step 3: Digital Detox

Perhaps you’ve read through these suggestions and think, “I don’t have a problem with managing my time.” That’s wonderful!

But we also want to encourage anyone to try a digital detox for a day. Think of it as a factory reset for our digitally over-stimulated minds. Choose a day when you can go 24 hours without needing to access your phone. Obviously emergencies are exempt, but try to live an entire day resisting the urge to pull out your phone, tablet, or laptop.

Be in the present moment, plan a day out with family, take a scenic drive with a group of friends, or get lost in a museum for an afternoon. We guarantee you won’t be disappointed with the memories you’ll make! And while you may not have recorded them digitally, you’ll have the satisfaction of living them out IRL.

WANT MORE WAYS TO ENJOY LIFE?
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Digitally Declutter Your Life

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A journalist and teller of stories by day and introvert by night, Renee lives her life always trying to find a balance between the two. In the middle, she is a sports enthusiast, social media guru, lover of candid snapshots and daily dazzled by both her charming husband and always-entertaining baby boy. With her sense of adventure satisfied through her marriage to a Marine Corps aviator, she has enjoyed living in multiple cities but is currently rooted in San Diego, California, spending weekends with the dolphins and sea lions on her paddleboard, circled around a beach bonfire with her church community group,or cozied upon the couch with her little family, a Redbox movie and pizza. You can discover more of her journey as a military spouse on her blog, Chasing Proverbs. Instagram: @redeemed36 www.theproverbialchase.wordpress.com www.facebook.com/reneedolanphotography/

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