Decluttering your digital space might seem like a daunting task especially when you’ve ignored that responsibility for so long. Just the thought of digging in your gallery to go through a year’s worth of photos and files is enough to make anyone lazy. But you don’t have to reach this point in your life, you don’t have to stare at a messy desktop every morning.
Organizing your digital files helps in more ways than one. It can put you in a clearer and better state of mind seeing your stuff properly labeled and organized and it will help your device, whether phone or computer, run smoother and faster. Aren’t you jealous of those people who can easily find what they need on their computer? With a little discipline and a bit of work, you can be that person!
People can KonMari the heck out of their homes, you can do it with your digital space too.
Make good use of your Google Drive
The wonders of technology never cease to amaze. Those with a Google account (who doesn’t these days, anyway?) have the benefit of having their own Google Drive which is essentially an online file storage that syncs to multiple gadgets. Google Drive is useful for backing up your files online so that you can easily access them wherever you are. It also has features such as Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides which are useful for collaborating with other people in real-time.
Online file storage platforms are the easiest way to share files with anyone and if you make a habit of utilizing it instead of your computer’s memory, you can also free up more space.
Unsubscribe from emails and cultivate good email habits
Sorting your email may seem like a gargantuan task especially if you’ve got tens of thousands of unread emails mocking you. Start with the recurring emails and newsletters you mysteriously get despite never having signed up for them. Click on one, scroll down to the bottom, and hit unsubscribe. Just like that, you’re free. If there are a lot of newsletters, you could use Unroll.me, which lets you unsubscribe to multiple newsletters with just a few clicks.
After unsubscribing, proceed to delete all your emails that are not important. Then, make it a daily habit to delete emails you don’t need.
Go through your computer’s documents and delete everything you don’t need
It’s a digital jungle inside your computer, files are improperly named, duplicates are everywhere, and your ‘Downloads’ folder is full of junk. Sigh. But you can make this work. If it gets a little overwhelming, break down the tasks for different days and categorize the files the way you want to, either by date or by file type.
For Monday you can go through the Word documents. Delete, delete, delete. On Wednesday you can delete files from the ‘Downloads’ folder and the random PDFs you don’t need. After you’ve cleared everything, go ahead and clear the Trash Bin too for good measure.
NEVER use the desktop as the default save option
The classic mistake everyone makes whether intentionally or unintentionally is saving everything on the desktop. How hard is it to click a few buttons to get to the right folders? We get that the temptation to save your file as “iuhfakha.docx” is more than you can bear but the unclear labels will just make your life harder in the long run. Never use the desktop as the default save option. Label your folders properly. Label your files properly. It can’t get any simpler than that!
Defrag your files
At the risk of sounding too technical, defrag is simply short for ‘defragment’ which, in layman’s terms, is the maintenance process run on hard drives to free space and speed up file access. If you don’t know how to do this by yourself, it’s always safe to ask a professional (or your tech geek friend) to do it for you. Defragging is a way to make sure your computer is healthy, do the process once a month to be safe.
If you want to learn how to defrag your computer yourself, there are plenty of blogs and video tutorials on how to do just that.
Delete phone apps you don’t need
Is your phone so loaded with apps that you can never seem to find that one app you’re looking for? You need to take a step back and assess. Do you really need 8 photo editing apps with the same barely-there film filter? When was the last time you played that game? A great question to ask yourself when going through your apps is “When was the last time I used this?” If the answer is more than 3 months ago, you know what to do.
An organized home screen complete with labeled folders is so nice on the eyes. Not only does it make your wallpaper more visible, it’s also less stressful to look at.
Backup your gallery and organize
I know, I know, going through the photos in your gallery and deleting is a tedious task,especially for memory hoarders, but it isn’t impossible. Chances are, more than 50% of your memory is allotted to your media files, including concert videos, random selfies, and whatnot. Before you even begin to delete things, back them up first. You could transfer them to a hard drive or upload it on the cloud or in your Google account. After that, begin deleting.
If this is overwhelming, go through your gallery by folder (‘Camera,’ ‘Messenger,’ ‘Twitter’) or by date and delete 200 photos a day. In no time, your 4000+ media will hopefully come down to 1000 and your phone’s memory will finally get a breather.
Create a recurring schedule you can easily follow
The easiest way to declutter your devices is to be disciplined enough to do it regularly. That way, you won’t have to sort and go through a year’s worth of files in one day. Put it on your phone reminder, write it down on your calendar, heck set an alarm for it if you have to. It’s not worth going back to your old cluttered ways!
To make your scheduling easier, divide it by weekly, monthly, quarterly, and yearly. Here’s a simple checklist to give you an idea:
- WEEKLY: Clear desktop, delete files from the ‘Downloads’ folder and back up important ones, delete emails, and empty the trash.
- MONTHLY: Go through your phone applications and uninstall the ones rarely used, run a defrag on your computer, and clear website cache.
- QUARTERLY: Organize phone gallery and delete/backup photos, file and organize PC documents properly
- ANNUALLY: Have your computer checked by a professional for cleaning and diagnostics.
You can create one for your own or look up lists online to print at. Organizing your cluttered phone and computer is a step towards a clearer mental state and a better mood.
Can you share other helpful tips for decluttering the digital space?