Alexander Fufaev
My name is Alexander FufaeV and here I write about:

My Road to Digital Minimalism

December 23, 2022. It was the day before Christmas Eve. Hanna and Claudia had traveled to their families. On this day, after visiting a new café called "" on E-Damm, I was at home with Kater Mo. Outside, it was cold, and the rain was falling incessantly. Mo rested on my windowsill while I, lying on the bed at times, on the floor at others, in the kitchen, and at the desk, immersed myself in numerous YouTube videos from various minimalists and read dozens of articles on the subject. Minimalism had somehow captivated me. It was fascinating to see how some minimalists managed with so little. One minimalist simply decided to sleep with her family on a mattress directly on the floor, similar to what I had done for a while with Galja and Gogi. Another minimalist had almost no accessories and only a very limited wardrobe. One of them was even so radical as to not own a smartphone at all. Although all of this seemed difficult to imagine in my life, my research inspired me to think about how I could make my home a bit more minimalist to experience the benefits of this lifestyle that all minimalists preached about.

First, I dedicated myself to digital minimalism. I sat down at the computer and began deleting all accounts I no longer used. These included old forum accounts, inactive Twitter and Facebook profiles, long-forgotten dating platforms, and various other websites. For some, I could delete the account directly on the site, for others, I had to send an email to request deletion. I also canceled my cashback membership card, which ultimately only incited increased consumption.

I hadn't realized how many accounts I had accumulated over time. There were already over fifty! After a short break, I went back to the PC and deleted all programs I hadn't used in ages. Then I continued on the tablet, laptop, and subsequently on the phone by deleting all apps I hadn't used for a long time.

While the potatoes, which were to become fried potatoes, were boiling on the stove, I used the time to browse through the settings on my smartphone. I deactivated all features I no longer needed, both within the system settings and within the apps I regularly used. With WhatsApp, I turned off the backup function and automatic media download to avoid cluttering my storage with all the junk from WhatsApp groups. I did the same with all other apps on my phone and tablet.

After peeling and slicing the potatoes, I threw them into the hot frying pan with oil. While they sizzled, I took out my smartphone and deactivated all sound effects, tones, and vibrations – except for the phone app, in case someone called me, because no one called me without a good reason. I also turned off all notifications, including those from the banking app, dating app, and email app. Turning off notifications should give me the power to decide when to focus on new messages and not my digital device.

After the fried potatoes were ready, and I enjoyed my meal in my room at the table, I watched a YouTube video that showed me further minimalist adjustments for my devices. I immediately implemented what I learned by setting a black chat background image on WhatsApp as well as black wallpapers on my PC, laptop, tablet, and smartphone. I wanted to improve my focus and extend battery life. Additionally, I deleted all shortcuts on my home screens and started using the search function to find apps or programs. This should prevent me from habitually tapping on a neighboring app just to peek in (really just a peek).

After deactivating unnecessary features in the video editing programs and internet browser and hiding unnecessary elements, I, of course, also turned off all notifications on my PC, tablet, and laptop.

The variety of options for decluttering digital devices really surprised me. Next, I tackled the most time-consuming task: reviewing all the photos on my smartphone that had accumulated over the years. Photos of flowers, random houses, a rabbit in the Borsum field, countless selfie attempts, photographed notes, countless WhatsApp images – almost everything was deleted.

Although it was already late, I wanted to take care of one last thing. I dedicated myself to decluttering my chat and text messages as well as my contacts. In WhatsApp, I deleted old chats and spam messages, including SMS with login codes for various websites. Then I opened my contacts app and removed those people with whom I either no longer had contact or did not want to have – old classmates, Jana, Mara, Clara, and many others. Only those remained in my contacts who were actively present in my life and enriched it. When I came to Jules' contact, I hesitated briefly before deleting and ultimately decided to keep her in my contacts.

It was already half past eleven at night, and I realized that I had forgotten dinner. Just before going to bed, I had two toasts with baked beans and two with chocolate spread, brushed my teeth, and went to bed to unsubscribe from dozens of YouTube channels on my laptop that I either no longer watched or no longer wanted to watch. Before falling asleep, I swiped a few profiles to the right, started a podcast about minimalism, and shortly thereafter dozed off.

Life Upgrades:
  1. I deleted all unused accounts, including Facebook, Instagram, Telegram, Twitter, various dating accounts, shopping accounts, gaming accounts, email accounts, and many many others. You will find out why it's important to delete unused accounts later in the story.
  2. I canceled all customer cards or membership cards (e.g., cashback or Deutschlandcard) aimed at collecting my customer data and promoting consumption.
  3. I also deleted all programs on my PC and apps on my phone and tablet that I hadn't used in a long time. This mainly gained me storage space. If I ever need the app again, I can reinstall it anytime.
  4. Within the programs and apps I regularly use, I deactivated and hid all features I don't need. This creates better focus when working within these apps and programs.
  5. I use a black wallpaper on all my devices to increase my focus and slightly improve battery life.
  6. I don't place entertainment apps on the desktop or home screens of my devices to reduce the temptation to click or touch them. Instead, I use the built-in search function on the device.
  7. I have reduced the number of my subscriptions, for example, on YouTube to three selected channels. In my case, these are YouTube channels that I enjoy watching and that enrich my life. For all other content, I use the search function.
  8. I have limited my browser bookmarks to ten, arranged them in a meaningful order, and given them sensible names. If I want to add a new bookmark, I first delete an old one to keep their number constant and thus avoid digital clutter and confusion.
  9. I have deactivated all notifications on all devices, including email, WhatsApp, and banking app notifications. I also turned off vibrations and tones. I only kept a quietly set ringtone for calls in case someone wants to reach me by phone. This way, I was able to significantly increase my concentration when working and reduce my time on my phone by about 20%.
  10. I have checked all system settings on my devices and turned off everything I don't need. This allowed me to reduce the use of mobile data, free up storage space, and improve my data privacy.
  11. I deleted useless pictures on my smartphone, including screenshots, camera shots, and pictures sent to me in WhatsApp chats. I now always take a moment before taking a photo to consider if it's really necessary. For example, I don't take photos of sights, nature, or animals unless it's necessary for work reasons. This frees up a lot of storage space, and I enjoy the present moment more.
  12. I deleted all contact information of people from my phone with whom I no longer have contact or do not want to have future contact. Why should I then keep their data in my phone?
  13. I deleted old chat histories, including messenger messages, SMS, and emails, to keep my chats and email inbox tidy at all times. I remove the SMS and emails directly when I no longer need them.

We're No Longer Together

December 24, 2022. At half past two, I took the train to Borsum. Before that, I was at Backfactory and had a cappuccino with a cream cheese pretzel while reading "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind" by Yuval Noah Harari. Jule had lent me the book when I met her at the karate course.

During the train journey, I was already thinking about what I could declutter next. On the digital level, everything seemed to be done, so after Christmas Eve, I wanted to focus on my material possessions.

In Harsum, my mom picked me up.

"Hello, Sash," she greeted me as I opened the car door.

"Hi, Mom. That's quite a big shopping," I remarked and climbed into the back seat, where I found a full shopping basket.

"I'm making Olivier today," Mom explained her extensive shopping with a Russian salad.

"Julien is also here today."

Julien was a new friend of my mother's whom I had only met once before. He was four years younger than me and worked as a chimney sweep.

"Oh, okay. Are Dascha and Tobi also here today?" I asked.

"No, they're with Rita and Thomas," she replied.

"How's university going?" she inquired.

"Good, although I'm progressing slowly with my master's thesis, but I'm making progress," I said. "At the moment, I'm quite involved with the topic of minimalism," I added.

"Minimalism? But you still have your furniture, right?" Mom joked.

"Of course. I'm not that radical," I laughed.

When we arrived in Borsum, I took the full, heavy shopping basket from the back seat into the apartment. Julien opened the door.

"Hello, Alex," Julien said and extended his hand.

"Hi Julien," I replied and shook his hand. He was a quiet guy, slightly taller than me, blond, and blue-eyed.

"So, were you out partying again?" he asked me with a grin.

"No, the girls can wait," I replied jokingly, "I'm currently dealing with other things," I continued.

At that moment, my phone vibrated. Although I thought I had turned off all notifications, I noticed that I had forgotten to disable WhatsApp notifications. It was a message from Jule: "Hello Sasha. I wish you a Merry Christmas with your family." I replied briefly and then turned off the WhatsApp notifications.

"Hello Lauri," I said, opening the door to my old room, where my sister was sitting at the dressing table, preparing for the techno event at 'Weltspiele'.

"Hey there," she replied, applying mascara.

"Are you going to another rave party?" I guessed, as my sister seemed to have reached an age where partying and smoking weed were quite popular nowadays.

"No, not this time. I'm going to Dad's. We're going to bake cookies," she replied, glancing at the vibrating phone on the table.

"Oh, okay," I replied, closing the door again.

Meanwhile, Julien was sitting on the sofa in the living room watching TV. My mom was busy in the kitchen.

"Mom?" I said as she sliced vegetarian sausage for Olivier.


"I need to tell you something."

"I'm listening."

"Jule and I are no longer together," I said cautiously, expecting a strong reaction from my mother.

She stopped cutting and stared at me with a grin.

"Sash!" she exclaimed, as if she thought I was joking.

"It's really true! We're not together anymore," I explained seriously. Her grin faded.

"I told you so. Mara ruined everything," she turned back to slicing the sausage, clearly annoyed.

"No, Mom! It wasn't just Mara. I can tell you the whole story later at the table," I tried to explain.

"It's such a shame! You should have held on to her. You won't find a girl like Jule anywhere!" she exclaimed.

"It's over, Mom. I don't think we'll ever get back together. Besides, I feel much better as a single," I replied.

"At least stay in touch with her. Maybe you just need a break from each other," she suggested.

Later, I sat down with Julien and watched "Home Alone" with him. Mom set the table, which was now in her former bedroom. Lauri left, and the three of us remained.

During dinner and mulled wine, I told the whole story between Jule and me. I was surprised by my mother's reaction. I thought I knew her so well that I could predict her reaction, but I was completely wrong. She reacted calmly and understandingly.

After dinner, in the afternoon, Julien took me to the train station in Harsum, and I began my journey home. During the ride, I already jotted down many new ideas about minimalism that I wanted to implement next.

One idea I immediately put into action was when I was at Rossmann. I bought a 2-in-1 shower gel, which allowed me to wash both my body and hair. This way, I no longer needed separate products for my body and hair, saving me from using an additional plastic container.

The most radical idea was to give up using moisturizer. After showering, I always struggled with dry hands and face, and I regularly had to apply moisturizer to get rid of the uncomfortable tight feeling. When I searched for experiences from people who stopped using moisturizer, many reported that they had overcome their dependence on moisturizer, the compulsion to moisturize dry skin, after just a few months.

So, I embarked on an experiment and completely stopped using moisturizer for a month. At the beginning, I moistened my hands and face with water to alleviate the tight feeling.

After just one month, not only will I have overcome the urge to moisturize, but my hands will also no longer feel dry after showering. I decided to permanently ditch the moisturizer.

In the evening, I went to the newly renovated Dax-Club. Several people approached me, including some girls who invited me to dance. However, I didn't feel like it because I was already tired from dancing. I could have danced some more, but for some reason, I hesitated to approach them. I actually wished to meet someone new tonight.

Marcel, a mechanical engineering student, approached me and asked if I had taken anything, saying that I looked smart. Like a physicist. His assumption was correct - about me being a physicist. We talked briefly, and I gave him my business card. He suggested giving it to his girlfriend instead. I hesitated, but he insisted that I should tell her that Marcel had given it to me. So, I did, and it worked.

Afterward, Marcel kept talking to me. He told me about his studies, but I wasn't really listening because it was loud. I just nodded. Actually, I wanted to continue dancing, especially when the song "Ferrari" came on. After that, I was full of energy again, even though I had a brief slump earlier when the end of the night approached and the two girls had already left.

On the dance floor, other girls called me over, but I waved from afar. Why didn't I seize the chance? The opportunity was there, but I was too cowardly. Instead, I asked for cigarettes using my mooching method.

Then I went to the dance floor and danced vigorously because I was excited about the prospect of meeting a pretty woman to whom I had given my business card. She was blonde and exactly my type. She didn't seem superficial at first glance. As I headed home, I looked forward to getting to know this girl. But of course, she would have to message me.

Learning: From my mother, I learned not to pay attention to the age difference between me and my friends or my partner, but rather to whether we are compatible or not.

Life Upgrades:

  1. I don't use any skincare products (e.g., moisturizers, oils, masks, etc.). Additionally, I inadvertently avoid plastic waste, save money, and eliminate my strong dependence (moisturizing).
  2. I replaced my shower gel and shampoo with a 2-in-1 shower gel that allows me to wash both my body and hair. This helps me avoid using an additional plastic container.