Digital clutter is something that is relatively new in our lives. Unlike physical clutter, digital clutter is much easier to hide from the people around us – it’s stored on our devices and on our online accounts, which only we have access to. Despite being a much more private form of clutter, it can still have a negative impact on our lives. Too much digital clutter can lead to our digital lives becoming disorganised. We can end up being overwhelmed by information that isn’t necessary making it harder to find the information we need. When it comes to files, digital clutter can also take up storage space and result in slower loading speeds.
By tackling your digital clutter, you can stay organized and productive while using your devices. Below are just 7 steps to tackling digital clutter.
Sell/scrap your old devices
You should start by considering your excess hardware. This includes old phones, old consoles or other gadgets. This is technically physical clutter, however it’s worth tackling while sorting out your digital clutter. You can often make money from old devices by selling or scrapping them online. Donating old phones and devices is also an option.
Uninstall unused programs/apps
Next, consider your excess software. This could include unused programs on your computer or unused apps on your smartphone. Individually uninstall any programs that are not necessary to help free up space on your devices (make sure that they are officially uninstalled and that you don’t just delete the icons). This post details a few commonly unused programs that could be worth uninstalling. With apps and desktop icons, it could also be worth reconfiguring the layout so that your most popularly used apps are most accessible.
Get rid of files you don’t need
There are all kinds of unnecessary files that could be worth clearing such as downloaded PDFs on your PC, unwanted photos on your phone or even old notes. This link lists some of the common files found on Macs that can be worth deleting to free up space. Getting rid of these files could help your devices to perform more quickly. Regularly defragmenting your drives can also help (most modern devices automatically do this). Once you’ve deleted all the files you don’t need, consider whether you need to reorganize files, which could include renaming folders and putting files in the right places.
Tidy up your browsers
Internet browsers can accumulate a lot of clutter. There could be tabs left permanently open that you never need, extensions that aren’t necessary or toolbars that you don’t need. Get rid of anything that you feel is cluttering up your browser in order to create a cleaner interface. Clearing the cache can also have benefits such as reducing bugs when opening certain websites. Just be wary that deleting some cookies could make some sites load more slowly. When using Chrome, you may also want to consider clearing out unwanted push notifications.
Go on a Facebook friend purge
Many of us have lots of Facebook friends that we never talk to. We may even barely know some of them. You may not want some of these strangers following your posts – consider whether it’s worth going through your friend list and unfriending any people you don’t speak to. It could also be worth unfollowing pages and people that you get annoyed with. Try to turn Facebook into a happy place that doesn’t anger you every time you go on it.
Clear out old phone contacts
You should consider if there are any contacts in your phone’s contact list that can be got rid of. This could include old numbers of people you know, or numbers belonging to people you’ve not spoken to for years (and may have no intention of speaking to again). Getting rid of all these unnecessary contacts will make your contact list easier to navigate, as well as preventing you from accidentally calling or texting the wrong people.
Organize your inbox
Is your inbox a complete mess? Now could also be the time to organize your emails. Start by unsubscribing to mailing lists that you never open emails from. Then consider whether you need to add a folder system – this can allow you to more easily organize types of emails so that you know which one’s to respond to and by which date. Email folder systems are particularly useful when it comes to managing work emails. Deleting old emails could also be worthwhile if your inbox is getting full.