The Great Declutter

The Great Declutter

~5 minute reading time.

The Minimalism Game

We started on 2022 January 16. The goal is to through away one thing on Day 1, two things on Day 2, three things on Day 3, etc. and see who can last the longest. Below I have recorded everything I got rid of.

Day:

  1. Broken Xbox Headset
  2. 2 old flannels that didn’t fit
  3. Casper lights and charger
  4. Duplicate kids books: <> for Babies
  5. Old plain t-shirts
  6. Rubber spatula, mis-threaded lug nut, old keychain, pencil sleeve, floaty pen, hand cream
  7. 5½ pairs of socks and a too-big long sleeve mines shirt
  8. 1 pair of old socks, a sticker, a baby shower caddy, a set of sherwin William paint chips, a broken hanger, packaging from Lokai bracelets, a shower scrub
  9. Momma’s least favorite onesie, baby lotion, baby electric nose sucker, broken sunglasses, 3 bags of expired calming cat treats, 2 expired cat calming sprays
  10. 3 pairs of gym shorts that don’t fit, 1 gym pant with holes in it, 1 shirt that’s too big, 1 hat (I have two identical), 1 shirt that reminds me of working at Best Buy, 1 pair of underwear, 1 book I don’t like, 1 suitcase we don’t use.
  11. Broken gen 1 Apple Pencil, FitBit charging cable, 6 little USB-A charging bricks, 3 big USB-A charging bricks
  12. 10 ethernet cables, 1 angled wireless phone charger, 1 ethernet hub thingy
  13. 13 assorted cables (mini usb, HDMI, aux, usb-a to usb-c)
  14. Lightning headphones, international power adaptors, lightning to usb-a cables
  15. An old monitor, an HDMI cable, 2 grey cloth shoe boxes, an old key, a pen, a pencil, a broken HVAC dial from my car, an old pair of AirPods, surge protector, micro-usb cable, usb-c cable, usb-b cable, usb-a to usb-c cable, lighting cable
  16. A bunch of work items (text books, notebooks, and training manuals)
  17. 15 year old Motorola Razr, old toothbrushes, toothpaste, and dental picks, old speaker magnets, a Halo “collectible”, a partially used notebook, a pie server, some paperwork
  18. 2 scarves, 1 pair of dress shoes, 2 long sleeves, a tie, a mask, 4 books, 6 pens, a label from a notebook I got >6 months ago.
  19. 2 pairs of gloves, a bunch of paperwork, some mugs
  20. A bunch of clothes that don’t fit. Some will need to be replaced by clothes that do fit, but most won’t be.
  21. A bunch of old gift bags that were no longer giftable.
  22. Old gift bag, old socks, baby socks, old shirts that don’t fit, some random papers, old tennis racket
  23. A bunch of old eating utensils including 1½ pairs of chopsticks, and chopstick teaching device, and some hangers.
  24. 2 old suitcases, 2 laptop bags, 5 t-shirts, 7 ties that don’t match my one suit, some cables, SIM cards, stickers, and containers
  25. Old boots, more hangers, a rain jacket that doesn’t stay dry, cat food the cats won’t eat, cables we don’t use for our sound system, a bathrobe, a bunch of hair clipper guides I don’t use.
  26. A bunch of old certificates/awards from high school
  27. More certificates from high school, elementary school, math competitions, camp, and more.
  28. A box full of miscellany that we moved from apartment to apartment to apartment to house to house for no obvious reason.
  29. Another box.
  30. An original xbox, a broken xbox 360, an xbox 360, a broken xbox one, and a bunch of controllers and games for all of the above.
  31. More old files! More old electronics! A bunch of random pens!

The Digital Declutter

Photos

I use iCloud Photo Library because it’s built in and easy to share with my family. I started with over 5,000 photos and videos totaling nearly 50GB. I used the app Gemini Photo on my iPhone to reduce that down to <2,500 photos and videos for <20GB. So far. There is more to go.
The app sorts photos into categories and lets you sort through each category. I started with duplicates for an easy win, then did blurry photos. Then I went through similar photos (oldest to newest) and videos (largest to smallest). Finally I am went through all remaining photos from oldest to newest. Lots of photos got deleted, some got saved in my “memories” folder as files, and some got saved as notes.

Music

I use Apple Music. I started with 1,825 songs totaling 16GB on my phone. After sorting through and figuring out what music actually means to me, it is down to ~900 songs and 9.5GB. The songs broadly fall into thirds: Soundtracks I like, albums I listen to whole, and loose songs that I shuffle together. I will probably delete more as I listen, but this is a huge improvement. Also, curiously enough, the final library falls into just a handful of genres whereas I used to have something from every genre you could think of.
For the next step, I have reset the skip count of all remaining songs using the following AppleScript, slightly modified from here. In a week or two I will start to look back at skip counts and delete prune accordingly.

tell application "iTunes"
    set allTracks to every track
    repeat with i from 1 to count of allTracks
        set thisItem to item i of allTracks
        tell thisItem
            try
                set its skipped count to 0 -- Enter Your Desired Number     
            end try
        end tell
    end repeat
end tell

Files

I use iCloud for sync between devices and sharing with my family. I didn’t really record where I started because I was too excited to get going. But I am down to 10GB stored on the cloud. I have more work to go but this feels significantly better

Apps

iCloud stores data for a surprising number of apps, especially if you’re like me and have a history of downloading new apps to try them. I went through and deleted data for dozens of apps. No big wins (nothing more than a few MB), but it added up to a few GB and drastically reduced the amount of stuff I had to look at in the management view.

Email

I have historically used multiple email addresses, so I needed to simplify that down. In iCloud, I already had a folder with all emails from before 2021, so I exported a local copy of that and saved it on my backup drive. Then I deleted it from iCloud. I deleted the trash and simplified the UI on my Mac (inspired by Carl Barenburg and Manuel Moreale. The overall data reduction was from 1.5GB to <500MB. There is still more to go, but it’s a good start.

The Mental Declutter

Social Media

Clarifying Device Uses