Chapter 4: Digital and Physical

The digital world is an often neglected aspect in the life of a minimalist. It's not uncommon to see people with thousands of unopened messages in their inboxes, countless unread notifications, and dozen of updates waiting to be installed. And don't even get me started on the number of apps installed on your phone. But why is that? I guess that since none of those occupies physical space in the real world, people don't tend to consider them clutter. But a pile of unread emails in your virtual inbox is no different than a pile of unread mail in your physical one. You'd never allow that to happen so why let it happen in your digital world? Think about that for a second.

Digital space is very much physical. The "cloud" is a lie. There's SSDs and Hard-Drives getting filled, swapped, trashed and recycled constantly to allow you to store an ungodly amount of crappy emails you'll never read.

If you don't plan to read that newsletter, don't just ignore it. Take a second to unsubscribe and delete it. It costs nothing and it's not hard. As for all those notifications, those are clutter. Those are a distraction. Take the time to go in the setting on your phone and turn off the notifications you don't find useful. Again, it only takes a minute.

I already wrote about my phone and how much I hate it so I'm not going to ramble again on the subject but please, take the time to go through it and delete the apps you don't use. You probably don't need 15 pages of apps on your iPhone.

Start thinking about digital life as an extension of your physical one. Don't let the crap accumulate in every corner, don't let the empty space of your screen be filled with obnoxious icons. Try to keep your technological space clean. I'll guarantee you that it will make a difference.


This is Chapter 4 of the Manu's Guide To Minimalism. Links to the other chapters are down below.