Mini Mission Monday ~ Digital Declutter

Mini Mission Monday is about finding ten minutes a day to declutter. To make it easy for you, each Monday I set seven declutter missions, one for each day of the week for you to follow. It takes the guess work out of decluttering and makes it easy and “fun” for you to achieve some quick decluttering.

This week we are going to do some digital decluttering. Some purely digital some in a more tangible form. You will understand what I mean as you read the daily missions.

Monday – Today declutter any DVDs that you no long enjoy to watch or really don’t watch enough to warrant keeping. Perhaps also ones your children have grown out of. This would be an example of tangible digital clutter.

Tuesday – Today declutter something purely digital, your email inbox, sent box and your email trash folder.

Wednesday – Declutter CDs that you no longer listen to and perhaps are even embarrassed you ever owned.

Thursday – Take a look at your photo folders and delete poor quality pics or multiples of the same thing. One of them must be the best and there is not need to keep the rest.

Friday – Declutter old computer games that your children have grown to old for.

Saturday – Have a look through the folders on your computer that hold text documents. I bet there are many that are no longer relevant.

Sunday – Do a clean up of your cell phone. Old numbers that are not longer relevant, silly photos and notes can all be decluttered.

Good luck and happy decluttering

Today’s Declutter Item

Here is something digital that I decluttered last week. Bought it about six years ago, used it once or twice at most and never for the reason I acquired it in the first place. It sold for $16.00 on ebay. Hopefully the new owner will put it to better use.

Digital Voice Recorder

Something I Am Grateful For Today

I am grateful for the book I am reading at present. It really gets me thinking. Too much so at times and I find myself having to re-read the pages because my mind has gone off on its own little tangent on a point previously read. The book is called selfish society and I dare say it will inspire some of my posts over the next week or two.

It matters not how fast I go, I hurry faster when I’m slow

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About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.


  1. uh yeah. I am ahead again!

    The DVDs: I made a list for “use it or/and lose it” and there are a few DVDs that I will first see and then get rid of.

    The CDs: Thats my daily declutter items at the moment. today I got two out, turned them into digital and they went straight to the departure point. Fascinating how I slowly but surely get the hang of the sentimental attachment (Its music, not the CD, that gives me good memories…)

    Photos: been there done that – will come after the next holiday again

    documents: I guess I will allow myself some cluttering up in that manner, and as soon as I handed in my final thesis, I will declutter that particular folder.

    Cellphone: new since december, not cluttered yet.

    Computer-games: I have 2 left from my teenage years. they still run on modern computers, and once in a while I like to look at crappy graphics…

    now email trash folder? got me. I am off to go and do that right now!

  2. This is a very timely post for me too. My DH and I are currently working our way through the CD collection, transferring stuff into digital format and slowly getting rid of what we don’t want to listen to any more. We don’t own more than a handful of DVDs, so that’s not really a problem.

    I’ve just spent the past week sorting out photos and getting rid of all the rubbish ones; I have now managed to send 2 empty photo albums to the charity shop and hopefully will be able to get rid of another 2 when I condense and reorganise the photos that are left.

    I’ve also just bought a new phone (upgraded to a smartphone) and my previous basic phone will be sent to be recycled this week.

    Over Christmas, I gave my PC a good clearout, including getting rid of DH’s stuff off it (he now has a laptop and never uses the PC) and I did my email program as well (although that could do with another check through).

    Now, if I can just persuade DH that we really don’t need the TV/DVR/DVD player and we can manage with the laptop, I’ll be a happy woman 😉

    • Well done Karen V,
      like Lena you are almost up to date with the digital clutter. I am not sure you will ever win the argument over the DVR/DVD player especially if you have a big flat screen TV.

      • Luckily, we have an old-fashioned style TV, no flat screens here! I think he’s about 90% convinced that we should do it, so I’m going to be patient.

  3. Cd’s are gone and DVD’s mostly gone (and the ones we have are not because of me).. But digital clutter on my computer flourishes. Ack. New photos I de-clutter somewhat as I download them into my computer.. and I have deleted some old photos too but there are still lots and lots of old photos we really don’t need to keep.

    • Like you Cat’sMeow, CDs and DVDs aren’t my area of clutter either. Deleting photos is something I leave up to my hubby a they are mostly on his computer which I rarely use. I will check through my email files though. I do try to keep up with this on a regular basis though mostly deleting as I go.

  4. I have a bag of CD’s I don’t listen to already culled from my collection. But this is where I get hung up – actually getting rid of them. I think I should take them to a store and trade them in, but I never get around to it! Am I embarrassed by them? Do I think I’ll feel bad if the store rejects them? I don’t know.

    I should realize the money I paid to buy them is gone, and just donate them as a gift back to the universe.

    Colleen, I’m looking forward to your posts inspired by the book you are reading.

    • Dont know if that helps you but:
      if its about money, check online what those CDs are worth. You might be surprised what you can actually get. I am currently trying to sell CDs and books at amazon, its cheap and easy and no hassle to take the offer out, if I can sell them somewhere else. but it requires long-term-planning, because thats not gone tomorrow 😉

      Second: Do NOT underestimate other peoples bad taste in music. ones trash – another ones treasure. simple as that. selling, or giving them away for free will always make someone happy (I try to push the fact away that my clutter turns into someone elses clutter)

      third: giving your CDs away for free is doable in many ways. simple and easy: big box, sign saying ‘for free’ and placed in a busy street somewhere. its gone after an hour max. Or donation to the local thrift store. Or actually just asking friends, if they might want to have one (thats a long-term-method, but its working fine with me as well)

      I know these phases of the decluttering. first you identify an object as clutter, it goes to the departure point. there it can lay for AGES, because somehow you are reluctant to deal with it again. I figure sometimes I dont make an effort to sell those items immediatly because of sentimental attachment, or simply I dont feel like dealing with it just now.
      procrastinating on something else can give you a real boost though. like I should write on my thesis, I managed 3 amazon-offers, 2 freecycle-offers and then finally one page 😉 good outcome!

    • and sorry for the long one!

    • Hi Northmoon,
      I understand your dilemma as it is the same sort of feelings I get when opting to sell stuff on ebay. I also feel these pangs at times with other items especially really useful things I just have too many off. My advice is to just get them the heck out of there one way or another. And never feel embarrassed about your choice of music, anyone who is judgemental about that needs to rethink their overinflated opinion of their own judgement.

      One thing about music these days is that it is so accessible on-line. The quality may not always be brilliant but it’s always good enough for a fun trip down memory lane.

  5. Only $16, that’s sad, but better than nothing. I should follow in your footsteps!

    I think this week’s mini missions should be a snack. I have no DVDs (other than hired and a box set on loan). But I will take my one VCR from mum, lest it burden her (hahaha) Actually there’s a small CD folio on one shelf at home that’s mine too – I should take that to my house too..

    I like the photo one – I was looking through wedding photos (the day after), and taking out the blurred ones. Mum’s like, you can’t do that, it’s not your decision, and I was like, why should I leave the few dodgy ones in there, for everyone else to flick through? I mean, they were really bad photos, and out of a HUGE stack, why keep them when the next photo was clearer/no thumb in it, etc?

    • You are so right about those photos Snosie, why keep the bad quality shots when there are probably plenty of similar ones of the same thing. I would even narrow down all the good similar shots unless there was something uniquely different about them worth saving.

  6. Ouch, Colleen,
    …got me! =( =(
    I think I’m going to be busy this week, if I stick with your schedule!
    I have decluttered the computer several times, but this is one area where I just seem to reclutter with new stuff just as fast (or faster).

  7. Hi Colleen and everyone at 365,

    I am way ahead with the missions: I found storage folders that hold up to 50 discs so I have decided to go with that, I bought 3 of them and put all the movies I want to hang onto for a while and all the Dance discs and I managed to put my cds in one so I have filled them and they fit into the space of 12 cd cases. 148 discs in an ‘itty bitty living space’! I will upload quite a few to the computer and I-Pod eventually but right now I’m loving the ‘LESS’
    Thanks again to everyone that gave me suggestions in this area.

    E-mail boxes and folders DONE
    CD’s as above
    Digital Photos – got rid of another 720 pics
    Computer Games – 9 games gone (off computer and the Discs as well)
    Text Documents – got rid of over 100 documents between us all
    Phone clean-up Done
    Bonus points for decluttering 3 TOXIC PEOPLE from my life!! Sad in a way but that passed quickly, I am really over selfish, hurtful, life sucking people. Sorry for the rant but hey I feel so much better. To celebrate my achievements I am going to have afternoon tea with the beautiful people in my life.

    House up-date, went and saw 2 more properties and they are both bigger than my current home and I really liked the feel of both, going back for another look, also had my home photographed for the “For Sale’ ad. Feeling really good about moving now, I’ll have less to move and I have no desire to fill my new home with anything more than a new bed suite for my walking ‘Karri Tree’, a dining suite because here we have a breakfast bar type set-up and a whole lot of love 🙂 🙂 🙂 Looking forward to sitting around a table again instead of along a bench hahaha.

    Have a great day everyone 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Hi Dizzy,
      well down with all the digital decluttering. It may not all take up any physical space but it is still clutter that weighs you down. You must be feeling quite light right now.
      As for decluttering toxic people, that is something that just has to be done occasionally. Surrounding yourself with bad energy isn’t good no matter what form it comes in.

  8. Oh I also passed on 22 books and 7 ‘Home Design’ magazines, I aquired the mags from??? have no idea hahaha and the books are now residing in the local library for other book lovers to enjoy. I will be re-visiting my shelves again this week because the ‘shelves themselves’ are starting to irk me AGAIN. I also made and donated 60 cards to a primary school for their fundraiser and in the process got rid of another box of ‘scrap bits and pcs’. Now I’m done. Sorry for the space I’ve taken up I shall de-clutter me now heehee!

    Ciao bella’s 🙂

  9. And representing the dinosaurs… don’t have a cell phone, don’t have video games. My project at the moment is cassette tapes. You read that right – cassette tapes! I have the old player set up next to the exercise bike in the basement and I’m listening for good music for dance/exercise. Which means I’ll have a good excuse to get rid of the Beethoven!

    • that is amazing, Wendy B, I really hope your good old player is keeping you company for the exercises for a long time. 😉
      just last year I got a couple of tapes from my friend for free. I gave them to my mum for her car, as she liked the music, and thats the only place where we can listen to tape. She was super happy. Sadly, the player broke, and obviously its easier to get a spacecraft into a car than a “new” tape deck. So its probably good-bye to the cassette tape for our family.

      • When we bought our used truck a year ago we didn’t know that there was a CD stuck in the player. The only fix is to get an auto wrecker to sell us a replacement, and the replacement has both CD and cassette player. So we could actually still listen to the cassettes in the truck (though, with both CD player and satellite radio, what are the chances we will actually do that!?!) Mozart and Beethoven are hardly pickup truck music, so out they go!

        • I find classical music very soothing when driving no matter what sort of vehicle I am in. But there are so many classical music stations so there is no need to have your own supplies so I would be inclined to get rid of them too Wendy.

    • Who said dinosaurs were extinct. 😆 Good for you managing to escape the lure of the late 20th century Wendy. To be honest it isn’t all it is cracked up to be. You didn’t escape it altogether though since we are here chatting on computers.

      I thought of you yesterday when the kids and I were out riding. We came across some Superb Fairy Wrens and I thought you would enjoy seeing them.

      • WOW!!!!! Hang onto ’em. We’ll be on the next plane to Australia!!!
        Actually, if Ian has a good recovery from his back surgery, we’ll be off to India next winter but he’s always wanted to go to Australia so maybe you’ll be next. I was there in ’88, before I was a Birdnut, so it will be interesting to visit again with a new set of eyes.

        Thanks for thinking of us!

  10. Sabrina from Italy

    My biggest problem in the digital realm is with photos. I went digital in 2004 and since then I never (never!!) got rid of even one photo. At start I took a normal amount of pictures, but since it has become more and more of a hobby – I even took a couple of courses – I tend to take dozens of photos of the same thing changing only a detail (exposure, framing etc). This happens especially when I’m travelling, and I travel fairly often, so now I have literally more than 100 thousands photos. Just during my one-month honeymoon trip I took more than 10 thousands! I am in the slow process of selecting a few photos for each trip, fix them (exposure, sharpness etc) and upload them on my Facebook page, and this simple act is taking forever. I almost finished 2010 year photos, but there is all 2011 to do. Only after I finish all this, I want to start over from 2004 photos and delete some. Maybe in 2013 I’ll be finished, but in the meantime we are planning 3 more long trips for this year!!!!
    This is starting to become quite a problem for me, every evening after I go home from office I think “I should sit at the pc and work on my photos”. I don’t do it every night in the end, but just the thought is stressful, especially when my job requires me to stay at a pc 8 hours a day and at home all I want to do is NOT to stay at the pc! Once I even thought “I’ll just delete all of them so I don’t have to think about them anymore and I’ll have my evening free time back!” Of course I don’t want to do that for real but it’s really stressful. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Sabrina,

      I want to tell you to just not worry so much about it – that sounds too simple, but in a way, it really is the best suggestion I have. If you aren’t enjoying working with the photos, and are even dreading it, it’s just not worth it. Maybe you enjoy taking photographs a ton more than having them – that’s ok! Take them, and then don’t upload them. I think with digitalization and facebook it’s tempting to think documenting our lives, especially in photos, is easy and something we ‘should’ do. But it’s so much more important, and fun, to just live our lives. Go enjoy those 3 trips you have coming up! Don’t let these photograph projects ruin your trips, and don’t let them ruin your evenings either! Life is too worth living for worries like that.

      I actually used to have books worth of print photos, but then I got rid of them all. I started to scan the pictures, but then decided to just get rid of those too. I don’t miss them – the ones I liked most I can still remember in my mind, and the other ones were honestly just attempts to preserve my memories in a physical format. I feel freer just having my memories – the memories make me much happier than worrying about storing and organizing my pictures did!

      I don’t know if that helps at all, but I hope you find something that works so you can have your evenings back to yourself! 😀

      • Hi Kristen,
        you are showing up as a new commenter and if that is true please allow me to extend to you a warm welcome to 365 Less Things. That is really good advice and thank you for sharing it with Sabrina. I tend to agree with you, cameras can sometimes just become a real burden. This coming from a family of photography enthusiasts, my son is majoring in photography for his fine arts degree, my husband loves the camera as does our daughter. This is fine so long as the camera doesn’t detract from enjoying the experience and especially if the insane volume of photos doesn’t them add a burden to life like it has for Sabrina.

        I think one needs to be more selective about what they are photographing and be diligent about deleting the excess and not so good shots once they are uploaded and viewed for the first time. One should keep in ming the task awaiting them while they are taking the shots in the first place. It is all very well and good to document your life’s history but not to the point where when you get home you are just overwhelmed with the sheer quantity of history you have amassed.

        My husband and I went to Italy for a month in 2010 and I don’t think I have ever looked at any of the photos. The memories are all in my mind and I am content with that. I will leave my husband in charge of the hard drive since he is the one who takes most of the photos. That is one area of clutter I am not wasting any time thinking about.

        • Thank you Colleen! I’m a long time reader, first time commenter. 🙂 I completely agree with you – photography can be a lot of fun, helping you discover new perspectives, but it should be a part of the experience, not something that detracts from it. I agree too about being selective. The photos you do decide to keep will have more value when they aren’t competing with a mountain of other photos. More practical advice, if you don’t want to delete them all in one fell-swoop, Sabrina, might be to stop taking new pictures for a while. Make one of your three trips a photography-vacation. Then at least it won’t continue accumulating. And I second what Colleen suggests below – do a run through only deleting poor quality photos without editing any. Once you cull back, you’ll probably feel less stressed about editing the ones you want to edit, and maybe it will be something you look forward to in the evenings!

          Good luck!

          • I like the idea of a photography free holiday. I must suggest that to Steve sometime. Maybe even just a day off photography during our next holiday would be a good way to break into the idea.

    • Will your spouse help? And do you trust him? In our house, this is the way it works. He takes millions of photographs and then I go through and do major deleting. It removes the emotion from the process. It also helps to let some time pass because you often find that you have a more recent photo which replaces an older one.

      That said, I still have to go through all my old travel slides (another Dinosaur Project) and scan them, delete the ones that are no longer meaningful, and then throw a big celebration when I can toss slides, carousels and the dreaded slide projector. I’ll make it into the 21st Century yet!

    • Hi Sabrina,
      aside from the advice I added in response to Kristen’s comments and would just like to add this. Digital photo clutter is no different to any other clutter. Slowly but surely reducing it and stemming the tide of it coming in is the only way to stay on top of it. Worrying about it and feeling over whelmed isn’t going to help the situation one little bit. It is only space on a hard drive after all and can be dealt with all in good time.

      Perhaps you should simplify the process by just eliminating the poorer photos and not editing the rest for the time being. If it is such a chore then it adds no value to your life and how much does it matter anyway. How much documentation do you need in order to prove you have been there and done that.

      Go easy on yourself my friend and take a break from it for a while. Stop and analyse your whole photo taking experience before you next adventure and set limits that you are able to manage.

      • Sabrina from Italy

        Thanks everyone for you great comments and advices!
        My husband is even more photo-addicted than I am, and he has his own camera (actually 2 of them + various lenses), his own computer + 3 external HDs where he keeps his photos (3 copies, to be sure) and his own fair share of nights spent selecting and editing. He is better than me in deleting though 😛 We are both very passionate about photos, he likes to participate in contests, he’s member of a Nature Photographers association and sometimes does presentations and exhibitions. So this is a serious matter, and NOT taking photos during trips is completely out of the question, it would make me suffer more 🙂
        Anyway I agree with all of you, I need to be more careful when I take them and avoid to take a photo “just for memory’s sake”. Also I need to have a look at the photos when they are still in my camera, ideally every night during a trip and delete the ones that are obviously useless. As for the main problem (existing photos) I have decided some months ago that I don’t want to feel bad about something that I’m doing for fun, so I stopped pushing myself into working on photos every evening. I also need to stop thinking about them every evening. 😛 I actually work on them maybe once or twice a week now. A bit at a time and I’ll get there, in the end. And I have already decided that new photos (2012) will be processed immediately so that they don’t accumulate more. Slowly the number will decrease…
        Sometimes I think I should take some days off to do just that!! LOL 🙂

  11. Thanks for the reminder. For some reason at this time of year I seem to get out of my habit of deleting once a week. I think it is because so much happens this time of year–tax return completion, new health insurance year, etc. So I sat myself down and got it done today.

    Photos. I’m a scrapbooker and at first I thought I was going to go nuts with all the photos. Then I realized that I don’t need 20 poses of ____ or photos from various angles of buildings, landscapes, etc. So I started taking pictures then going home and letting the camera sit a day or two.
    Then I review them before uploading. Once I start to scrapbook an event or something I find myself doing further culling because I see what ones really stand out and make me think of what I am scrapping about. Once it is in a scrapbook I delete it unless it is something that I think I might need more than one copy of. I’ve paired down the amount of files by a large amount.

    • Well done Deb J. Digital clutter can so easily get out of hand. Just when I set these tasks this week I keep getting emails that requite more attention than I have time for right now. So my inbox in uncharacteristically fuller than I would like.