Brian X. Chen is the lead consumer technology reporter for The New York Times.
Many of us are looking for ways to simplify our lives, getting rid of things that we no longer need at home, thanks to the beginning of the new year and after watching the Netflix series “To order with Marie Kondo!”, In which the Japanese guru He teaches how best to organize.
But what about those things and things that are not at first glance?
Think about all the shit that we store in our digital devices, for example, thousands of photos on our phones or the accumulation of files on our computers' hard drives: old work presentations, expense receipts and screenshots that we don’t have open in years.
In addition to digital clutter, hardware contributes to the accumulation of objects and garbage, which does not cause joy in our lives. Of course, you also have a box full of old cell phones, tangled cables, and headphones that are never used … and the cables used, such as chargers scattered throughout the house, are unsightly.
Why do we cope so poorly with technological accumulation? Carey Fortin, a professional organizer of New Minimalism, put it this way: “We don’t think much about the cost of attachment to things, but we think how much it will cost to get rid of them, if we ever need them, and we have more not".
Do not worry. I am a technology critic who tests dozens of devices a year, so every day I have to deal with an extraordinary amount of technology products and accessories – in 2018 I took home nine mobile phones, two tablets, four intelligent speakers and fourteen external batteries. consider them and then try to organize them around me.
These are my recommendations so that you can organize your physical and digital technologies, as well as the advice of professional organizers.
The main culprits of technological disorder in all homes, according to professional organizers, are shippers. Part of the problem is that we usually need different types of cables for different products, such as smartphones, batteries, cameras and personal computers. They accumulate and form a terrible tangle.
Here is how you can eliminate extra chargers with a few steps:
• collect them all and get rid of those you do not need
This is easier said than done, but there is a general rule. “If you don’t know what it is for, get rid of it,” said Marissa Hagmeier, organization consultant and co-owner of the Neat Method home organization. He added that if you have additional cables or duplicates, such as micro USB cables, just leave two.
During this process, you can get rid of the cable that you will need later, but this will not stop you. “You can buy a new one if you really need it later,” Fortin said. This is better than wasting space on what you might need.
Use the same approach to other technological devices, such as outdated cell phones, that you keep around: if you have not used it for six months, get rid of it. You can responsibly dispose of technological accessories and devices that you no longer need; Look for donation centers or electronic recycling programs.
• Mark a place for accessories
Choose a place in your home where there can be all cables, such as a closet, cabinet or drawer. There classify cables and place them in different compartments. I share the various cables I have — headphones, phone chargers, USB cables for various uses, and computer chargers — on Ziploc bags and stick labels on them. All bags are in a drawer in the furniture of my TV.
There are different approaches to organizing your downloaders. Families may think that each member has his own compartment. For example, an iPhone charger, laptop, and your son Juan’s headphones might be in a Ziploc bag labeled “Juan Cables.”
This step is required.
“If you don’t have a special place for your objects, you lose time every time you look for them,” says Keith Bartholomew, a professional organizer of Zen Habitat.
• Hide scattered cables
Even if you find a place for storing loose cables, some of them may stay connected all day. There are ways to hide cables or at least remove them from the floor.
Bartolomei recommends using rubber bands or ties to fasten cables to your furniture; on the legs of desks, for example. There are also products for grouping and hiding cables, such as fabric sleeves or boxes that cover overload protection devices. To keep the cables out of the ground, I use a magnetic organizer, which I put on a metal side table.
Maybe you think that you should not organize your digital devices, because your files are not visible in the real world. However, by clinging to all this data, they occupy valuable space on your devices and make it difficult to find important files. Professionals recommend debugging and marking of what's left.
• Clean up files you don’t need anymore.
This is a simple process if you do it on a computer: open the folder and classify the files according to the date they were last opened. Thus, you can immediately delete files that you have not opened for many years.
Remove unnecessary apps that take up space on your mobile. Apple offers an iPhone and iPad tool to view saved content that shows a list of applications that take up more space and the date they were last used. On Android devices, Google offers a similar tool in the configuration menu. From there you can take care of the space occupied and remove applications that you have not opened for several months.
• Manage your huge photo gallery
Professional organizers consulted with a unanimous opinion: deleting photos is the most difficult process, because the idea of deleting your memories can be painful. However, the photos refer to the files that contain the greatest amount of data, so continuous maintenance of galleries is extremely necessary.
Start getting rid of the most simple: duplicate photos, blurry images and old screenshots.
Then continue with the most difficult part. Remove decent pictures, but they are not your favorites. Bartholomew of Zen Habitat recommends looking at each photo and asking yourself: “Is this what you want to see again? Does that make you happy? Do you want to spend more time with this image in the future? “If you answer no to any of these questions, move the photo to the recycling bin.
What I do to manage digital images is to clear everything without any organization. I use Google Photos, which automatically creates a backup of each photo in the cloud, collects images in albums and includes a tool for deleting photos that already exist on your device. (In addition, I back up all my images on an external drive, in case I don’t like Google Photos one day). Then I delete all my iPhone images every six months and pay Google $ 2 per month to manage thousands of my high-resolution photos.
No matter what approach you use, dedicate yourself to organizing your digital data. Although they do not occupy physical space, the disorder can be harmful.
"They occupy a lot of mental space and cause the same negative effect: anxiety," says Fortin of New Minimalism. "As we all have our mobile phones in our pockets, we take this mess with us everywhere."
* Copyright: c.2019 New York Times News Service