Cleaning & Organizing

Tips for Digital Spring Cleaning and Organizing

posted on April 9, 2019 | by Sanhita Mukherjee

Tips for Digital Spring Cleaning and Organizing

When it comes to spring cleaning, we usually focus on our homes and our wardrobes. It sure is a great feeling to walk into a room and see your rainbow colored bookshelves or have a fresh stack of neatly folded clothes to choose from in the morning.

But most of us overlook the one crucial part of our lives, where we spend most of our time – our devices and other digital spaces. Digital clutter, though not always apparent, is a very real thing. Overflowing mailboxes, the constant ping of notifications and the ever-growing folders of digital documents and photos can be more distracting than we realize.

So as you tackle spring cleaning this year, don’t forget to give your digital lives a good once-over and have it all tidied up. Here are a few ways to get it spotless.

Unsubscribe to spam emails and newsletters

Having your inbox cluttered with spam emails and irrelevant newsletters is not just annoying, it can cause you to miss messages that are actually important. So this is a great place to start your digital spring cleaning.

The first step is to go through and assess the recurring emails you receive. Figure out which promotions and marketing emails you still want to get, and create specific labels for them so that they’re easier to spot. Then, unsubscribe and delete the irrelevant messages flooding your inbox. If you cannot find a link to unsubscribe, mark those emails as spam.

Sometimes, we opt for redundant email notifications without realizing it. For instance – you might be receiving an email every time someone sends you a message on Facebook or wants to connect through LinkedIn. But you probably already check those apps often enough to not need additional updates and reminders in your inbox. Take a minute to log in to those apps and uncheck the email notification options.

Uninstall old apps

If you are anything like me, your phone is full of apps that you don’t use anymore, but never got around to uninstalling. You know the ones I’m talking about – that app from the boutique you shopped at one time, that highly addictive game whose novelty has worn off, that app you downloaded when you swore you’d learn a new language.

You’ve probably scrolled past these apps hundreds of times, but you are so used to having them on your phone, they don’t even register anymore. But they eat up a lot of precious storage space, and may even be slowing down your phone. Take a minute to uninstall these apps – trust me, you’ll not even notice they’re gone.

Delete duplicate photos and selfies

For every perfect photo you uploaded on Instagram, there are probably twenty other, very similar clicks on your phone that didn’t make the cut. Scroll through your gallery and delete all those slightly blurry brunch photos, the hundreds of selfies where the angle was not quite right, and the memes from those group chats that are no longer funny out of context.

As you deal with the photos you don’t want to keep, don’t forget to turn your attention to the ones you actually do. This is a good time to ensure that all your pet photos and the clicks from your holidays are properly synced and backed up.

Sort out all those open tabs and bookmarked items

Ever come across an article that looks interesting, but is too long for you to read right now? I have a habit of opening them up in a new tab and leaving it for later or bookmarking the page, fully intending to get to it when I have a moment.

Only, that moment never arrives – and I end up with so many open tabs that I feel low key stressed out every time I catch sight of my browser. If you do something similar too, now’s the time to be ruthless and hit ‘x’ on all those open tabs and delete those bookmarked pages. Let’s face it – if we didn’t find the time to get to those articles or podcasts for over a month now, we probably never will.

Sort out your contact list

Sorting out our phone contacts is something we never do – so if your phonebook still has a whole lot of random numbers stored, you’re not alone. In fact, scrolling through my phonebook was almost like going back in time – I still had the number of a takeout restaurant that went out of business years ago, a cab service from a city I’ve not lived in for years, and a shipping service I used once upon a time!

As you delete all these contacts you no longer need, take the opportunity to organize your professional contacts too. Create a list of all the people you met at industry mixers and networking events whom you don’t actively talk to, but would like to keep in touch with. Send holiday greetings, and perhaps the occasional update about your work to the people on this list. This is a great way to maintain your contacts – should you need to reach out to them in the future, it won’t be out of the blue.