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If you’re looking to clean up your digital life and electronics, you’ve come to the right place. Cell phones, laptops & computers, email, iPads, TV…we are surrounded by technology that tends to take the back burner to our cleaning and decluttering.
It doesn’t have to take place all at once, and may seem overwhelming to think about all the tasks at hand. Below is a guide divided by technological device and tips to declutter. Stay turned at the bottom for ways to maintain your declutter on an annual basis.
There’s a meme I saw recently that joked about two type of people, those that have a clean inbox with no new email notifications and those that have thousands that have never been organized or deleted. I’m somewhere in the middle. Here are some tips we can enter the new year together to get organized.
- Create folders: Get organized by creating folders to your liking. Do this step before you go through your old emails so that you can easily save and organize old emails. This will also help with the upkeep on a regular basis.
- Clean out old emails: Make friends with the Delete button. To make the task seem less daunting and to save time, create a list of email senders or subscriptions, search them by name, and delete as a group. This is perfect timing for the influx of holiday coupons sent out this time of year. Use your new folders to organize emails you’d like to save for later.
- Unsubscribe: The majority of emails I receive are from subscriptions. Sort through the ones you no longer want or need to subscribe to and go through the process to unsubscribe.
Cell phones are one of the technological advances that we single handedly have access to SO. MANY. THINGS. That being said, it can come with a lot of clutter…apps, folders, photos (see more on that below), phone numbers.
- Organize Apps: Nows the time to delete apps you no longer need or don’t use (they’re just taking up memory space). Organize the your apps into folders or put the ones you use most often on the front page.
- Update Apps: Update the apps on your phone so you are running the most up to date version.
- Close Open Tabs: There is a way to close open and running tabs on your phone. Take the time now to delete those. Make it part of your normal routine by closing them daily.
- Delete Memory Hogs: Do your research on what is taking up the most memory and battery life of your cell phone. Refer back to step 1 with selecting what to delete from your phone.
- Delete Photos: This is likely linked with the step listed above, photos take up a majority of my memory space. For more tips on photos scroll down.
- Back Up: Back up your cell phone such as iCloud.
- Contacts: With backing up our phones you might never realize you have the phone number for your friend from college 7 years ago that you haven’t spoken to in 7 years, or your brother’s old number and now you don’t remember which is the right one. Delete numbers you no longer need.
The same will apply to laptops or desktops.
- Desktop Clean Up: Go through the icons and shortcuts on your desktop and delete those unneeded.
- Organize Documents & Folders: Create folders to help organize your documents.Check Downloads Folder: While you’re at it, check your Downloads folder, you might have accidentally saved items under this folder.
- Organize Photos: Same as documents, create folders to organize your photos. Select names that you will easily recognize, distinguish from one another, or can search for.
- Back It Up: Purchase an external hard drive to back up and save items from your computer. You can also use a thumb drive. The last thing you want is to lose everything if your computer is lost, stolen, or crashes. Below are some recommended products, click the photo fo
Remember those shows you recorded and haven’t had time to watch? It’s time to clean out your DVR or Neflix queue.
- Delete DVR Items: Review your list of saved items on your DVR and determine which ones you’ve seen, no longer need, or no longer want to save for later. Delete them to clear up space on your DVR and declutter your TV.
- Delete Automatic Recordings: Part of your problem with losing DVR space is automatic recordings set up for shows you no longer watch. Be sure to go back and delete the automatic recording.
- Delete Your Netflix Queue: You can remove shows or movies from My Lists (checkmark on website, Remove from My List on app).
This can apply to your laptop, desktop, smart phone, or iPad device.
- Clean Up Browser: Delete open internet windows or bookmark them for later.
- Empty cache: The steps to take will vary based on your device.
- Favorites: Delete unneeded favorites or create new ones.
With the changes to technology, along with it were the changes to photography. We have easy access to take photos right from our phones. The same applies to our videos.
- Back Up Photos/Videos: There are lots of ways to back up your photos. The easiest is using a system like iCloud that will automatically back up the photos on your phone or device. You can also use Google Photos, Shutterfly, or Dropbox to back up photos. If using a computer see external hard drives above for options to back up.
- Organize: If saved on a computer, create folders to organize all of your folders. Select names that are easy to remember, recognize, or do a search for. You can also organize photos on your phone or other devices by creating folders however this may take up more space on your device.
- Delete: Do a cleanse of your old photos. If they are backed up, you have access to them at any time. Deleting will free up space on your device.
- Memory Card: Once photos are backed up, clean out the memory card of your camera.
There are many forms of social media, some of the most popular are Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat.
- Unfollow: If you feel the need to declutter your social media now may be the time to unfollow pages or people, your reason may vary…..toxic people that impact your mood…pages you followed and don’t know why…groups you were added to…If you feel the need to declutter your social media
- Change Notifications: Restrict or add notifications as needed to your social media channels. You can also edit priority notifications such as whose posts you see first on Facebook.
- Security: Check your security settings, security questions, email and phone numbers in your settings.
- Passwords: There seems to be a password for every app, device, and website you have. Take the time to take securely record your passwords and update them along the way. The old school way would be paper and pen. There are other more secure ways such as
- Emergency SOS & Medical ID: The Emergency SOS is a feature on smart phones that will notify emergency contacts with messages that you’ve called 911 or emergency services, along with your location. You’ll have to set up your emergency contacts in order for this feature to be used, which is in your Medical ID section of the Health app on iPhones. In the Medical ID section of your phone you can also add medical information that would be important during an emergency and can be accessed without unlocking the phone, such as allergies or medical conditions.
Take your time to go through each suggestion type, it can be overwhelming and time consuming to take on each task all at once. Once you are caught up here are some ways to maintain your digital cleanse:
- Use automatic back up systems on your devices or select time in your schedule to back up, select a frequency that is realistic to you.
- Now that you are organized, when saving photos or documents automatically save them to your folders. Stay organized.
- Learn to like the Delete button. It is just creating clutter in your digital life.