Gini Dietrich

Four Things to Consistently Declutter to Stay Sane

By: Gini Dietrich | January 29, 2019 | 
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declutterLast week, I was outside shoveling our walks and our next door neighbor came over to help.

When I told him how nice he was being, but that it wasn’t necessary, he said:

PLEASE let me help! My wife is inside Marie Kondo-ing our kitchen and I really don’t care which coffee mug brings us the most joy.

By all means, then. Shovel my sidewalks. If it’s for your sanity, let me help.

But there is a very good reason Marie Kondo is taking the world by storm.

We all function much better as humans when our lives are decluttered—both physically and emotionally.

It’s why I do the Great Purge of our entire house every other year. It’s a thing!

(I’m also a little obsessive compulsive and anal retentive.)

But to prove the point, a couple of weeks ago, Laura Petrolino took decluttering to another level and suggested you get rid of all the junk at work—from email and social media to your keywords and data.

You don’t even need to have a Great Purge if you keep things on the work front up-to-date consistently. One thing in. One thing out.

(My poor child doesn’t understand why she has to donate a lovie every time she gets a new one.)

Good intentions and good planning just don’t take the place of consistent work and regular check-ins.

So let’s start with one of the biggest and baddest place to declutter our lives: email.

Declutter Your Email

It feels like email subscriptions breed in our inboxes.

You unsubscribe from one, and a dozen more start arriving every day. It’s like rabbits! And it’s infuriating.

But there are solutions.

We love Sanebox. I mean, it’s the greatest invention since sliced bread.

It helps you organize and filter your email, so you only have to see things that are actually important.

And it learns your behavior over time and will bring things to your attention when it thinks it’s important.

It is AMAZING.

If you’re not ready for a helpful robot looking at your email and making choices about it, then you can do some manual sorting, organizing, and filtering.

Gmail has pretty awesome options for taking control of the madness, and it’s good practice to regularly unsubscribe from any newsletters you don’t actually read or care about.

Just like Marie Kondo says, if you see a sender in your inbox that doesn’t spark some level of joy—don’t let it into your main inbox.

Unless, of course, it’s clients, suppliers, or colleagues. If your clients, suppliers, or colleagues don’t spark joy…well, that’s a topic for another day.

One trick is to set a filter in the Google settings to move emails with an “unsubscribe” link in them to a folder called “Optional.”

The trick originally came from the book Less Doing More Living, and it’s an inbox saver.

Declutter Your Social Media

Now that we have your inbox decluttered, let’s look at social media.

This doesn’t have to be a huge chore, but open your different profile pages and do a quick check to make sure that all of your information is accurate and up-to-date, and that any “pinned” content is current.

Make sure you have a current photo (not one that is several years old) and that your bio is updated.

Several years ago, I spoke at BlogWorld (which no longer exists, but it was a huge thing back in the day).

Danny Brown and I were standing in our breakout session room when a woman came up to introduce herself.

Even though she gave us her name and company, neither one of us could place her.

It took several hours before we realized it was someone we DID know, but the photo she used on social media was at least 20 years old.

I’ve always remembered that interaction because it’s so off-putting and, while you may really like your photo from 20 years ago—or even a year ago—it doesn’t do you any favors today.

Declutter Your Data and Analytics

With email and social handled, let’s talk about your data and analytics.

A lot of communicators track data for the sake of tracking data (come on, you know it’s true!) so making sure that you are actually getting what you want out of your tracking data by asking two questions courtesy of our friends at Trust Insights:

  1. Is this information you can take action on?
  2. Is the information helping you reach your goal?

Ask yourself if every metric you’re tracking either something that allows you to change your behavior effectively or bring you closer to your goals.

You may know, based on your analytics, that most of your users come from major metropolitan areas, but is that information useful when it comes to serving your clients, creating your content and developing your products and services?

The answer may be yes or no, but the point is to have the answer so any information you have on your dashboard or monthly report is useful.

Taking the example a step further, if one of your company goals is to increase your readership in major metropolitan areas, that becomes critical knowledge.

But if the location of your readers doesn’t matter to any of your goals, it doesn’t need to be closely tracked—or tracked at all.

Decisions about decluttering your analytics will probably require a meeting or two, but a clean, simple dashboard, and minimal, but hyper-useful reports make it VERY worthwhile.

Declutter Your Credit

Finally: credit cards. I love this one.

Or rather, I loved this one after I kick myself for not doing it earlier.

It’s really easy to sign up for things.

Google even remembers your payment information, which makes it far too easy to buy things, especially from your phone.

There are free trials, services you no longer use, services you thought you would use, and the list goes on.

So, next time you’re at your desk and have a spare few minutes, open your most recent credit card statement and review all of the charges.

(People who do this every month—I salute you! Most of us are not you.)

Are you still actively using everything that you are paying for? I’ll bet you’re not, and there are some recurring fees you can live without.

Go through the process and cancel your old out-of-date, and unneeded subscriptions and be amazed at how much money you’ll save.

Also, one more little trick.

If you are a Hulu and Spotify user, you can bundle them both and pay one fee versus two.

Find other instances like that and save yourself some cash every month.

As I like to say around here:

Get rid of it! Mama needs some new shoes!

How Do You Declutter?

And now it’s your turn. I want you to brag about your decluttering.

Let’s hear it! 

Photo by tamara garcevic on Unsplash

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She also has run, built, and grown an agency for the past 14 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.