Digital Decluttering – Bookmarks

"Blue Sky Coming" Cedar Park, 2018
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 23mm, f/4, 1/340 sec, ISO200
“Blue Sky Coming” Cedar Park, 2018

こんばんは。How’s it going?

For the past few years, I’ve been simplifying my life in many different areas, both large and small, for instance, my camera gear, decluttering my closet, book collection, and tidying up my home workspace. But another area that I enjoy simplifying is my digital life. There are many areas of our digital lives that have gotten so cluttered and complicated, and I’m going to write about the ones I’ve identified and worked on. For tonight I’ll start with bookmarks.

I’ve been online since the early 90s, and I’ve been saving, organizing, and filing away bookmarks ever since I started using NCSA Mosaic. That’s a couple decades worth of bookmarks! Of course, I don’t keep everything, but I’d say that my collection of bookmarks has hovered at around 3 year’s worth, growing and shrinking as I find time to delete obsolete ones.

But just this past week or so I’ve been going through them and ruthlessly decluttering. First, if I look at a link and don’t know what it is by name alone, I’ll delete it. It’s obviously not important enough to keep if I don’t even know what its name is referring to. I won’t even check to see if the link is active.

For the second pass, I spend a few moments thinking about if I’ve clicked on the link within the past few months. If not, I delete. This clears out a ton of links to old hobbies that I am no longer interested in, DIY repair links to things that I’ve already fixed, shopping research for things I’ve already bought, etc.

After that, my bookmarks collection is really streamlined!

But what is the benefit of having a stripped-down collection of bookmarks since keeping them doesn’t cost anything? Well, I believe that even if a bookmark is in a hidden away in a folder, it still occupies a bit of space in my brain. But by consciously deleting the link, it frees up that space and gives a bit of closure – I know that the bookmarks folders don’t have anything obsolete or useless in them. No loose ends!

I also think that when I know I’ve streamlined the bookmarks, I’ve simplified my life and jettisoned those things that aren’t essential to me. It’s sort of a digital representation of letting go of real things that are not useful to me any longer. When I look at the folders that are lined across my bookmarks toolbar, I can see right away what’s important to me, and it kind of keeps my priorities in line. For instance, my folders are Blogging, Music, 日本語, Work, Art, Fun, Photo, Kids, Wellness, and Finances. And some subfolders are Travel, Reading, and Motorbike.

And a little technical bonus: because Chrome bookmarks sync across my entire account, when I clean up on one browser, the rest of my devices get cleaned up too. It’s like magic. Cloud magic! 😄


Today’s photo is of the clouds breaking up to reveal clear evening skies.

I hope you had a nice hump-day!


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