Simplifying & Editing aka "What's on My iPad"

by Yvonne N. Levesque in


Have you ever dreamed of scaling back, living in a smaller space, even a small beach shack or an RV?  I have.  I really think this is becoming an option since I've been able to replace so much "stuff" and simplified my life by replacing the "stuff" with digital versions on a combination of an iPad and an iPhone and a PC for work. Here are some examples of things I've replaced:

The paper calendar: Thanks to Google Calendar, I now carry multiple color coded calendars for all the various roles I play in my life. I also share some of those calendars with others to make scheduling easier.

To do lists, reminder notes, strings tied around my fingers: 
I use IOS Reminders and share task lists with important co-workers.

Address book: Thanks again to Google and IOS, I always have an updated address book. Bonus: no eraser or white-out needed.

Legal pad & note book: Notes are shareable and filed automatically using Evernote on my PC and IOS devices with Apps and I dictate to Siri into IOS Memos for quick notes (like where I left my car - Goofy Red Lot Row 354). 

Planner Book or "Day-timer": I do like to have all my notes, calendars, tasks, and contacts in one place, so I've recently added the Pocket Informant app that combines and syncs all these things together. Yes, I was the girl who carried around the book with all the post-it notes and receipts sticking out of it!

Books, Manuals, Bibles: This is a big one. I carry any book I want, as many as I'm reading, without any extra weight.  Audio and regular digital versions of many books and magazines are available through my libraries (Apple, Nook, Kindle, Audible, and the Public Library). Olive Tree bible app has replaced two translations of the bibles that would be big books to carry. The YouVersion App helps me keep track of bible reading plans and it has a great audio feature.

Magazines: I'm currently reading three magazines and I no longer have a dusty pile of old magazines on my end table.  I love that my local public library gives me free access to audio books and Zinio magazines FREE!

Games: I don't play many games often, but on vacation I'll sometimes play Words with Friends.  I also store a few kid friendly games on my iPhone for long awaits or long drives.

Recipe Books & Boxes: This is one thing I use every day. I'm big on prepping meals and I love The RecipeBook app with it's color photos, web import option, and grocery list that syncs with my iPhone.  This suggestion came from my twin. She's a genius.

GPS: No longer do I have to tote with extra gadget.  I use Google maps and IOS for maps that update themselves and are pretty darn accurate. 

TV, DVDs, CDs, TiVo, home movie projector, cable box, & FM radio: This is a big one!  We now watch Netflix, Hulu Plus, and our home movies on YouTube.  I don't even think I own a CD of music anymore.  It's all in my iTunes.  We do still choose the have two TV sets, but they are thin and one hangs over my dresser. It's only component is a small Bluray (that we never use) and an Apple TV box, so no cable or dish needed, just an antenna for local channels(it's small and hangs in the attic). iTunes Radio and Pandora on our devices has replaced our radio at home.

Business Cards: LinkedIn

Bulletin board: One word - Pinterest (harps play and clouds part). This is an organized, DIY crazy, researcher/planner's dream!

Check book, spread sheets, paper checks: All nearly eliminated by online banking, an ATM card, and the iBank app.

Keychain full of loyalty cards: Card Bank app replaces them all.

Travel Documents: TripIt App and website. I love Tripit.

Photo albums: My old family albums are stored online on Shutterfly and my professional photos are on Shootproof what fire and water can't destroy them. I also have a Fine Art America online gallery so I don't have to store canvases or framed prints in my studio. My clients can buy my art and have it framed on demand.

Documents, file folders, and entire filing cabinet: Dropbox is a great storage site for all sorts of former paper.  Just scan in the paper using a scanner or the Scanner Pro app.

Thermometer, newspaper, and weather radio: I have apps that simply replace these an include live weather maps and emergency alerts.  I've replaced the hurricane tracking map with a digital version (important here in Florida).  Speaking of disasters, I do keep a hard copy book of important papers in a safe place.

Notes left around the house for hubby: Text is more immediate and don't get lost like those notes. Reminders are notes I leave for myself.

Lists: I've replaced the grocery list, packing lists, and Christmas list with digital versions.

Closet: My Closet. This has actually helped me to decide what is closet-worthy and what can be set free!  I buy fewer pieces of clothing and know what items I need to replace or purchase just by looking at what I already own.

Newspapers, sale flyers, and Coupons: I get news when I want it, only the sale flyers I want, and digital coupons and Groupons are more available in our area, so we've begun the use them.

User Manuals: I download the manuals in PDF and save them on Dropbox or in my Apple Books.

Journals: Some of my favorite apps are fitness journals like Map My Hike and My Fitness Pal, and Striv. I also like the Everyday Me app that creates a journal out of your social media posts.

Lost phone tracking device (remember the gadgets that beeped if you whistles or clapped you hands?): I now use the Find My Phone app.

House phone (land line), answering machine: Our cell phones have taken over these roles.

Boxes of paper and stationary:  I do still mail thank you notes, Christmas gifts and Birthday cards. I think this only makes snail mail more special.

Junk mail: I've stopped a lot of this by using the Paper Karma app.

Phone books: Why do I hate them so? I use Yelp and Google. Phone books have been banished from my house.

Wall clock, alarm clock, and nightlight:  Either iPad or iPhone can accomplish all of these. I do still wear a watch that I can imagine will be replaced with a Pebble style device in the future.

Small digital camera, video camera: For all but professional photos, I always have these with me in iPhone form.  As Chase Jarvis said "The best camera is the one you have with you".

In the near future - Camping and watersports gear: GearCommons nuff said.

Inspiration: Check out the LifeEdited site for all sorts of simplifying advice.

I'm looking forward to an affordable digital replacement for all the keys on my keychain and truly waterproof cases for my devices. Now, if I could get digital replacements for all that laundry...

Have you used technology for another use that's helped you to downsize?