Day 10: Journey to Minimalism

Today I switched gears a bit and focused on digital cleansing. I went through all of my documents from back in 9th grade, through now and deleted everything I didn’t need anymore. It was really hard because I found myself second guessing whether I’d need a paper I wrote sometime in the future.

I started with folders on my computer that I’d rarely clicked on like the one titled, “Printing/ IT Help.” Honestly, I didn’t even remember I made a folder for that, so that was easier to delete.

I found myself going down memory lane with each document I opened up. It started with a Family History Q and A for Health Class from 10th grade. Then I came across a song I wrote in 10th grade… and the critiques that came with it from class… I was only 4 documents in. I didn’t expect to get sentimental about school papers from years ago but I guess everything brings back specific memories.

I have this fear that giving away an item or deleting a paper from high school means I’m forgetting memories, but that’s not really how it works, is it?

I’m finding it hard to delete folders at a time, so I’ve resorted to deleting individual documents and narrowing down the documents on my computer rather than mindlessly wiping my computer clean (even though I haven’t looked at these documents for years).

As I kept finding old essays, I remembered why I wanted to keep them. I didn’t want to forget all the hard work I’d put in. I guess I had this idea that once I deleted a document or threw out papers, then the memories would go along with them. I’m finding this is not the case.

In my experience, digital cleansing, if you will, is liberating in a different way than cleaning out my closet or dresser. I am finding that it’s quicker and less impactful for me, yet still crucial to opening up space in my mind for new experiences because I hold onto the past more than is beneficial. I never realized this until I started going through my computer and cleaning it out.

It’s definitely a process for me to go through all my school documents. I haven’t let all of them go. I almost deleted a few papers and then moved them out of the “trash” folder because I wasn’t ready to part with them, even though I hadn’t looked at them for years. It’s interesting how we grow such a strong attachment to some of the things we forget about and live freely without — until we come across them again.

I decided to remove all of my school documents from my computer and put them on a backup hard drive. I was going to delete everything but because I’m a writer, I kept a lot of my old school documents in case I need or want to reference them in the future. I guess I’d file these under “necessary” items for me, just because of the type of lifestyle I’m creating for myself (which will hopefully heavily involve writing).

I also went through my email accounts and deleted a bunch of old emails or chat conversations that I no longer need. It was weird to read old conversations because memories would flood back with each one (yep- memories coming back to me. I’m definitely sensing a pattern here…)…

It was really good to clean out my inboxes. I felt almost… relieved… in a sense. Less weight on me, less stress. Feeling lighter. It’s good, and long overdue.

I’m going to continue this digital cleansing process and will also definitely be more aware about what I choose to save on my electronic devices, along with trying to monitor how much time I spend on them. I guess that’s my next big challenge to take on… investing less time in technology, so I can spend more time living in the present moment and engaging with the world.

I’ve found that people in my life seem to be more worried that I will regret giving away my things, and making such a drastic life change — but I can feel it. I know this is a good thing for me. You have to make your own guidelines and adjust to what you see fits. I’m 100% invested in transforming my lifestyle, so I want to go at a faster pace… but everyone will be different, and that’s something you’d have to determine for yourself.

And once you do… stick to it (or adjust for yourself,) and don’t let anybody tell you you’re doing it wrong. I don’t think there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to become a Minimalist. There’s just a way that works for you… and I’m learning about opening up and allowing changes to come and go throughout this process… I’ll just have to see what shape Minimalism takes on in my life…

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