The Ultimate Digital Detox

Just like decluttering my wardrobe, spending time doing a digital detox always gives me a sense of calm. A digital detox is when you spend time going through some of the accounts you have (social media, email, phone, etc.) and clean out things that no longer support your growth or make you feel good. If you’ve never done a digital detox before, it may seem overwhelming at first. But spending a little time each day or week can add up to big results and lots of digital and mental freedom.

To help you get started with your own digital detox, here are six of my favorite accounts/places to declutter and tips to make decluttering that much easier. Let’s take a closer look at each.

1. Instagram and Facebook

Instagram

The first set of accounts I decluttered were Instagram and Facebook, but really this could include other social media like Twitter and Snapchat. Decluttering social media is one of those things that I always thought about, and I FINALLY took some time to do it. I started my Instagram declutter by unfollowing celebrities from old reality shows I used to watch (Goodbye, former bach nation contestants). Then, I unfollowed companies and products I didn’t believe in or consume anymore.

Facebook

As for Facebook, I started off by unfriending second-degree connections (friend of a friend). Once those easy deletes were done, decluttering also looked like unfollowing friends that I never really was friends with to begin with, or accounts that used to align with my interests, but not with my interests today.

Decluttering both Facebook and Instagram took about 3 months mostly because it takes a lot of time to manually delete friends and accounts. I decreased the number of Instagram accounts I follow by 50% and my Facebook friends by 70%, and wow does it feel AWESOME! But remember, social media decluttering takes time.

Why I like this detox:

There are two reasons I really love this digital detox. The first reason I love this is that now my social media feeds are filled only with posts and content that I care about. The second reason I love this digital detox so much is because I am now much more mindful of the accounts I do follow. I can make a choice to only follow accounts or friend people who inspire me or teach me new things.

Tips:

  1. Spend 5-10 minutes of your daily social media time decluttering. This could be unfollowing 2 meme accounts you’re not into anymore, or unfriending that random conspiracy theorist on Facebook. 
  2. Easy wins: celebrities or famous people you don’t really care about, people you have never talked to, meme accounts, Facebook groups that you don’t relate to anymore, etc.

2. Email Inbox

One of my favorite digital detoxes is unsubscribing from newsletters and company emails. Every time I used to get a Gmail notification, it was usually from Bed Bath and Beyond or Joanns Fabrics. And while I do love a coupon, I rarely shopped at those stores. Decluttering your inbox is so great for so many reasons. One reason is that it’ll reduce that never ending unread inbox number. Another reason is that your inbox will be generally a little cleaner. One of the tools I used to manage my inbox was a Site subscription Manager.

Why I like this detox:

I love this detox because it helps reduce the clutter in my inbox, which in turn reduces the clutter in my brain! I also think an inbox declutter makes me to be more intentional with the newsletters I subscribe to and allow into my inbox.

Tips:

  1.  Use a Site subscription Manager. I personally use Unroll.me to manage my inbox subscriptions and remove myself from any email lists I’m not interested in.
  2. As soon as you get an email from a company you’re not interested in, scroll to the bottom of the email and click unsubscribe. It takes less than 30 seconds!

3. Phone Book/Contacts

One of the more recent declutters I’ve taken part in is the declutter of my phone book. This one has been a long time coming. I had the phone numbers of random friends of friends from high school and restaurants in cities I don’t live in anymore. I also had phone numbers of people I knew I’d never talk to again. It was a weird feeling at first, removing the phone numbers of people who I may have been close with at one point in my life – a friend from middle school camp, a coworker from a few jobs ago. But decluttering my phone book felt freeing. Like I was getting a clearer picture of who I was while acknowledging the people I met along the journey to get there.

Why I love this detox:

I love this detox because it allows me to quickly scroll through my phone book to find a phone number! This is especially helpful because I had contacts with the same first name or contacts with names that made no sense to me now.

Tips:

  1. This is another great declutter to do while watching tv/Netflix/Hulu/Bachelor! It is mindless and if you try to spend 5-10 minutes a week doing it, you’ll see much less clutter in your phone book!
  2. Easy wins: Start off by removing phone numbers/contacts that either contains names you aren’t familiar with, or restaurants in cities you don’t live in anymore.

4. Cell Phone Apps

Another detox I think we all tend to forget about is the decluttering of our phone apps. This type of decluttering can mean two things. The first is that you can start to organize your apps into specific folders i.e. Education folder, Finance folder, Social Media folder, etc. The second is that you can start to delete unused apps altogether! For me personally, I needed to declutter all of my unused apps. Some of the casualties of this declutter were my Dominoes app, some food delivery apps, VSCO, and some games I haven’t played in years (RIP Pokemon GO).

Why I love this detox:

I love this detox because it clears up the amount of icons I see on my phone! My phone had so many apps that I used to use at certain points in my life, but now I never use them! So I love being able to be purposeful about the apps I have on my phone.

Tips:

  1. Start by deleting the obvious apps – the ones you haven’t used in over a year! They can always be downloaded when you need them.
  2. Once you’ve started to declutter, think about creating some folders that you can organize your apps inside!

5. Youtube Channels

I didn’t realize that I even needed to do this declutter until I was looking through my Subscriptions tab on Youtube. There are so many channels I always scroll right past. Some of them were focused around the content I was interested in when I was in my late teens and/or early twenties. I was following teaching channels and college dorm room cooking accounts. Now that I don’t have to cook everything in a small coffee pot or microwave, I realized I didn’t need to follow those channels anymore.

Why I love this detox:

This detox is great because everything in my Youtube subscription tab is something I have an interest in watching. No more weeding through content to find exactly what I’m looking for!

Tips:

  1. Go to your subscription tab and start unfollowing any accounts you don’t click on anymore!
  2. Make sure you are purposeful about who you subscribe to going forward.

6. Podcast Subscriptions

The final declutter I’ve been implementing recently is my podcast subscriptions. I use Spotify to listen to podcasts, and the list of podcasts I’m following has really gotten out of hand. I have a habit of following podcasts that are suggested to me through other podcasts, which has led me to have a bunch of random episodes in my Podcast tab. Also, I had a bunch of episodes from podcasts I used to listen to (Bachelor recaps anyone?) or that I thought I would be interested in listening to at some point. In reality, I only have 5-6 podcasts that I listen to regularly, so I wanted to have them easily accessible and not buried in a giant list.

Why I love this detox:

I love this detox because I know every unlistened to podcast episode is from a podcast I’m currently obsessed with. It also allows me to easily follow and unfollow different podcasts going forward!

Tips:

  1. Start by deleting podcasts you follow but have never listened to!
  2. Then, you can start to unfollow anything that you have no interest in listening to anymore or haven’t listened to in a while!

Conclusion

Doing a digital detox isn’t always a quick and easy thing to do. But it can have huge payoffs in the end! Just spending 5-10 minutes a day can lead to big results, and lots of calm. If you have other accounts/digital places that you like to detox, please comment them below! I’d love to hear your suggestions!

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