Four Ways to Declutter Your Digital Life

Just as a room filled with stacks of old magazines, piles of mail, tons of knick knacks and other clutter can make you feel tired, disorganized and overwhelmed, the same is true for your computers. Over time, your laptop, phone and/or tablet have probably become full of all sorts of things ranging from emails and photos to apps, songs and more. And, similar to the way clearing out a cluttered room can make you feel better about the world, so can cleaning a cluttered computer — check out the following tips and suggestions for doing just that:

Start with Emails

Many people tend to let emails pile up in their inboxes; it is not uncommon to have hundreds if not tens of thousands of old emails cluttering up a computer. In addition to using up bandwidth, this is essentially the computer equivalent of having tons of snail mail all over the kitchen counter. Spend 10 minutes a day going through old emails and pare them down as much as you can; if a message is extra important or sentimental, create a “Saved” folder and stick it in there. Once you trim back your inbox, also look to delete your “sent” emails and “deleted” messages. To prevent emails from piling up again, consider unsubscribing to as many mailing lists as possible including those companies you ordered from only once and subscription services that like to send out daily inspirational messages.

Next, Tackle Photos

You probably have tons of photos on your phone, computer and/or tablet — some great, and some blurry and poor quality. Just as you wouldn’t put the grainy pics into an album, they should not be taking up valuable space on your computer. Delete the ones that don’t make you happy and keep and/or download the rest.

Consider Restarting Your Phone

Doing a factory reset on your smartphone is advantageous for a couple of key reasons: one, if you are dealing with constant major software issues that are impacting the phone’s performance, it is probably time to reset it. Also, if you have accumulated a number of smartphones and wish to give your older phones away as part of your quest to eliminate digital and physical clutter, clearing data from your phone is a good idea. To give your phone a clean slate, check out the easy-to-follow directions from T-Mobile; because this process will remove personal data from the phone, it is imperative to back up the iPhone first, including photos, passwords and contacts. To reset the iPhone, go to Settings and tap on General and scroll down the settings to Reset. Select this option and then choose Erase All Content and Settings. The phone will now be like it was when it first came out of the box.

Clean up Your Home Screen

The home screen on a smartphone or computer is like a coffee table — a magnet for clutter. You probably have lots of apps, folders and notifications set up. Move as many apps as you can into an app section or folder and leave only the ones that you use all of the time. In many cases, not having the app staring at you all day will cause you to visit the website less often; if you are trying to cut back on your Facebook time, eliminating the “F” button from your home screen will help you meet that goal.