As a continuation of decluttering and simplifying our lives, it is easy to forget that we all have digital lives as well as the everyday clutter in our homes. An uncluttered space is so much more calming than a crowded space, with material possessions spilling all over the place.
The same can be said for our digital lives. If you switch on your computer and your desktop is full of icons that are unorganised and cluttered, then your digital life also needs a declutter! Having so many files saved onto your computer can really slow your computer down and make it feel all sluggish when using it. Also, if you can never find anything on your computer because it’s not organised, it can really dampen your productivity, whilst you spend time trying to find it.
Here are some ways to have a digital declutter:
1) Go through and unsubscribe from company emails. I check my personal emails every evening, and I found that as time went on, I had more and more emails from different companies trying to sell me things. Need a new coat? Look here! Want to try the newest drink at the well known green-logoed coffee chain? Here is it! It’s amazing how much time you can waste when you’re reading through emails that actually, you don’t even need to look at. So, I went through and unsubscribed from any that I didn’t think were important to me anymore; lots of clothing company ones were the first to go as I don’t generally spend a lot on clothes nor follow fashion trends. The result is my email inbox is so much more organised and empty!
2) Sort out your documents folder. It’s very easy to just drop everything into your documents folder, or save everything into it without much thought. Have a look through your files and delete anything that you no longer need. I recently went through my own documents and deleted files about our wedding – who still needs the list of guests and their room numbers? We got married 3 years ago! They were important at one stage, but are no longer needed.
3) Create folders in documents folder and sort files into them. Once you’ve had a streamline of your documents folder, now is the time to create folders within that folder and organise your files into them. Be specific with folder names, so that you can find everything easily.
4) Delete any programmes you no longer use. Again, be ruthless here – if there is a programme you haven’t used in a long time, then delete it. Computer programmes take up a lot of space and can considerably slow down your system, so delete anything that is no longer useful to you.
5) Clear up your desktop and add folders if necessary. A cluttered desktop is not helpful! Most of your files could probably be placed into your newly organised Documents folder, but if not, sort them out and create files on your desktop so, again, you can find files you need quickly and easily.
6) Go through your Downloads folder. I don’t know about anyone else, but I genuinely forget, 99% of the time, that this folder exists. If you go through your Downloads folder, you probably don’t need most of what’s in there. When I did this recently, I only kept 3 documents, and deleted the rest. Again, clearing up space on my hard drive for more important files that are more relevant to me. It didn’t take long at all!
7) Go through your bookmarks and delete those that no longer need keeping. Be ruthless; I need to do this as I have over 200 recipes bookmarked and realistically am never going to make all of these. Every time I find a good recipe on a blog, I bookmark it with the intention of making said recipe at some time in the future. But, honestly, I probably won’t make 90% of the recipes I have saved, no matter how good they are!
8) Streamline your social media accounts – go through and unfollow inactive accounts on Twitter, think carefully about your Facebook friends and streamline those you are friends with. Do you really need to be friends with some people you went to school with 5/10 years ago? The thing about social media accounts is that they can make you envious of other people’s lives which is ridiculous. People only share what they want to share on social media! I recently had a Facebook friends cull and it feels so much better.
9) Go through your images – be strict and delete any that you are no longer going to need. Be honest, if you wouldn’t print the picture out and put it in an album/on the wall/in a frame then you don’t need it clogging up memory and space on your hard drive. All those out of focus photos? Definitely don’t need those! Once you’ve done that, then sort out your images into folders.
Don’t feel overwhelmed by this list; take things one at a time and develop a schedule for keeping on top of your digital life. Every month try to empty the trash can on your computer, check all files are in the correct folders and have a quick sweep of your social media accounts. Getting into a regular habit of these will mean your digital life is decluttered and stress free!
Do you need to have a digital declutter? Have you got any tips for keeping your digital life streamlined?