Friday, June 10, 2011

Cleaning House--Going Digital

It's that time of year again.  I find myself inexplicably drawn to emptying closets, throwing out piles of paper and hauling car-loads of stuff to Good Will.

Maybe is the warm,weather.  Maybe it's because there's more hours of day-light so I'm more aware of the clutter.   But, for whatever reason, I feel compelled to de-clutter my life.

This year the big clean up was going digital.   Believe it or not, until last week, I still was using a FiloFax to schedule all my appointments and keep names and addresses.   For those of you who don't know a FiloFax is an organizer and way back in the 1980's it was considered, the chicest, most up to date, way to keep all your contacts, appointments and other information.   Instead of buying Apps on-line at the Apple Store, you would go to stationary store and buy inserts for your FiloFax.  I once had a NYC Subway map and a ruler inserts in my FiloFax.

I also had a couple of Rolodexes strewn around the house.  One Rolodex originally dated back to my first legal job out of law school.   Often, e-mail addresses where on the computer, phone numbers in one Rolodex, and addresses in the FiloFax.  I even had some phone numbers on my cell phone that weren't written down anywhere.

But, two weeks ago, I got an iPhone, and I resolved to finally move all my appointments and contacts to iPhone and Computer. 

I went through my address book and sadly noted the friends that had moved and I no longer had contact with, yet there they were in my book listed with a phone number and address that no longer applied to them. 

Then, there were the relatives that died but their information lived on in my address book.   I went through my address book page by page, and only entered the contacts that still existed in my life into my computer.   In a way it was sad to leave those old names behind.

Then I went through the Rolodexes.   The Rolodex in my office had contacts that I hadn't contacted in over 20 years, and trade and business organizations that either were no longer in existence or which had long merged out of existence.   The New York City shop where I bought my son's layette 17 years ago was in another Rolodex, even though I remember noting it going out of business over 10 years ago.   Business cards stuck into the Rolodexes were gone through and discarded if not current or listed businesses never used and unlikely to be used.

It was a pretty laborious process and took hours upon hours to complete.

But now its done, and, in its own way, cleansing.

It feels good to see clean spaces were unseemly looking Rolodexes once sat.   I also no longer have sticky notes everywhere noting down those phone numbers that for some reason never made it into the address book or Rolodex.

It's also more efficient.  I know longer have to remember to bring my "book" with me to make appointments or else have to make follow up phone calls since I always have my calendar with me on my iPhone.   I also don't have to always hope I remember to call "so and so" once I get home because all my numbers are now on my iPhone.   I can call someone and schedule and appointment as I sit in the car dealership waiting for them to change the oil in the car.

Doing a cleanse is kind of the same thing.  I just wrapped up another short cleanse this week, and, in a way, it's similar to cleaning the house.   It's work, and maybe takes some extra time, but, in the end, I always feel that it was worth the effort. 


  1. Technology is a godsend for things like this. I've been purging lots in my 50's. I can't see my kids having to go through piles and piles of meaningless junk, like my husband and I had to go through when the family transitioned his mother into a residence, or when we pass on altogether... another great tip that I learned from an organizer is to photograph those lovely mementos of your kids that you have saved forever! Take a pic, with your iPhone and file it on your computer under 'Keepsakes', then get rid!! It's an enormous relief to keep the memory without having the 'thing' taking up space in your life!

  2. I can't wait to get an Iphone (got a couple of months left on my existing contract) and then I can ditch my filofax and all the bits of paper!!!

  3. Great thinking. Now just make sure you keep copies.

  4. Part of my career was spent acquiring media content and creating applications for wireless devices before it became the everyday norm to use your phone to get info. Although I spent 6 years in this industry, I still love, love, love my paper calendar.

    Yup. I know, I'm old. :-)