Digital Spring Cleaning: Getting Rid of “Just in Case” Clutter

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Hello Spring! This is usually a period when we’re looking for a kind of renewal. Spring cleaning is part of that process, so why not applying it to digital? Years after years, we accumulate so much information, so it’s important to clear it regularly.

We’re often keeping things “just in case”, including for digital activities. For example, subscriptions to newsletters we never read, old files or broken phones. Here are 5 ideas for a digital spring cleaning!

1 — Unfollow on social media

Between groups, contacts, pages, advertising, etc… your social media feeds are probably full of information you don’t care about.

Doing some cleaning from time to time is a must if you want to keep on seeing relevant information. It can be done really easily: while you’re using social media, just pay more attention to the news you’re not interested in. You can easily unfollow the contact or page which posted it.

Also, don’t hesitate to remove some contacts. The same applies to groups, pages, or anything that appears in your feed (for example, the hashtags you follow on LinkedIn or Instagram).

2 — Clean up your inbox

On your personal email, you probably receive lots of messages from companies. Between emails for administrative tasks (banks, post, insurance, etc…), newsletters, promotional emails, website accounts and more, we can quickly get bombarded with emails.

When we receive irrelevant emails, a default habit is deleting it. For the ones you never read, you can unsubscribe completely, usually via a link at the bottom. For example, this approach is relevant for newsletters you never read or promotional offers you never used.

Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash

Removing large emails is another way to clean your inbox and save some storage space. You can use filters to find emails with attachment (above 5 Mo for example), and remove the ones you don’t need anymore. Great news: this clean-up is also good for the planet!

3 — Reduce apps and notifications

Over time, we also accumulate a number of apps we don’t really use. The more apps you have, the more time you’ll spend checking out your phone, especially if you enable notifications.

For this Spring cleaning session, the first step is to look for apps you can uninstall. In your settings, you can see which apps were not opened recently. You can surely remove the ones you’re not using daily, especially if it can be replaced with a website. It may include apps related to a trip, social media, online shopping…

Tom Fishburne —

The next step is to control your apps notifications. You could actually remove them all, except the ones for communication (calls, text messages, WhatsApp…). Doing so will contribute to reducing your phone use, to check it out when you’ve decided, instead of depending on notifications.

4 — Clear your desktop

Let’s make a test: reduce this window to check out your desktop. If it looks like the image below, it’s time to do something about it!

It’s the kind of things we tend to delay, but it can have a great impact. Like a for a real desk, having a clear desktop improves your organisation and removes distractions.

To clear it, you can organise files by folders, move them to documents, remove unnecessary files… You can keep just a few items on your desktop, or even make it empty. Choose a nice relaxing background, and you’ll quickly see the benefits of this approach!

5 — Get rid of old devices

To conclude, let’s talk about hardware. At home, you might have a few old devices that you’re keeping, just in case you need it someday. Among them are probably a few that you can get rid of.

Photo by Eirik Solheim on Unsplash

There are many ways to do it: resell it via ads, a website for refurbished products, a store… If these options don’t work, you can still donate or recycle it, so that the components are re-used. In any case, your devices will become more useful than in your drawer.

Spring is an opportunity to adopt this approach, but it will be even easier if you make it a habit. So next time you browse social media or emails, remember to unsubscribe from any source you don’t find useful!

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