There’s a popular stereotype out there about the orderliness (or lack thereof) of the male vs. female physical and virtual desktops. It has been said that a man’s desktop background typically looks like this:
while a woman’s desktop background looks like this:
Don’t know how true this is or if the stereotype works in most cases but I happened to be on my way into my outlook inbox today and randomly took a second glance at my desktop background for some unknown reason. I couldn’t help but gasp at how many icons I had gradually accumulated over the course of months & years (see image above – yep, that’s mine!). I don’t think mine is that bad (although I have sporadically in times past done a clean up exercise :p). I proceeded to clean up my desktop today as I’m no longer comfortable with the amount of icons within easy reach, yet constituting clutter. Worse still, many of these icons I have not clicked on for months and years but yet they have comfortably sat on my desktop background, each staking it’s own virtual space and accumulating virtual dust!
It got me thinking about our lives and the amount of “clutter” or “junk” we accumulate over time either intentionally or unintentionally. From the bedroom wardrobe to the kitchen cupboard (even the fridge), I’d be hard-pressed to find anything that hasn’t somehow accumulated clutter status. There seems to be something that compels the human mind to want to store things up just in case it may be required at a later date. And so, the shoe loving obsessed woman accumulates 100 pairs of shoes, many of which remain unworn with their price tags from 2 years ago still attached. Or the occasion dress bought at a discount, for a wedding event that has not yet occurred – in fact the engagement hasn’t even happened but we preempt that we will inevitably be invited to a wedding and will require an outfit for it so we prepare in advance. Perhaps it’s our favourite snack which happens to be on a mega-deal such as buy 1 get 1 free or buy 2 and get the 3rd at half price (a marketing strategy designed to make you spend more) so we buy, buy, buy and store up in drawers, looking forward to when we can feast on them! If you’re anything like me, half the time I never actually get around to eating them sadly. Whenever I’ve taken the time to declutter my life, I’m amazed at the dates of some of the items I find. Particularly intriguing for me is the kitchen cupboard declutter. I’ve found tinned foods with expiry dates of 2 years prior and crisps with 6 months prior expiry dates! See example proof below: my dear Heston Blumenthal chocolate sauce is a year old and counting!
If you can organize your kitchen, you can organize your life. – Louis Parrish
Why is it so hard to get rid of stuff that we’re just not going to use or need anymore if we tell ourselves the honest truth? There’s a TV program I watch from time to time called Hoarders and it’s unbelievable the amount of junk people hoard over the years with the genuine belief that they will need it in the future. I look at these people and I cannot help but feel sorry for them, forgetting that if I really did an assessment of my own possessions, I’ve probably got minuscule traits of a hoarder mentality. I wonder what else in my life I may be hoarding or holding on to that really needs to be given a burial or thrown out either to make space for the new or simply to become more effective with what is already in use? Or maybe getting rid of the wanted creates a prime background for starting afresh? Either way we slice or dice it, decluttering is an essential exercise with much value added benefits, if we take the time to engage in it.
So going back to the desktop analogy, tidying up my desktop has given me a clearer picture of what my essentials and non-essentials are. It has created more virtual space for me to use as I please. I can either choose to leave it as it is, or add new icons which I fear may defeat the purpose of the decluttering process in the first place. I’m learning that the key to having a decluttered desktop is discipline. If it’s not needed, hit the delete key and send it straight to the recycle bin. If it’s needed, categorize it into more manageable folders that still allow ease of access but are visually pleasing to the eyes. But whatever you do, don’t hoard, clutter or junk up what is already on it’s way out. I suppose one can apply this analogy to any area of life – relationships, house, finances etc. Ultimately, integral to the usage of the desktop is deciding what its purpose and relevance is.
By the way, is the male vs. female desktop dichotomy really true?? Spill the beans gents and ladies…what does your desktop look like?