Spring Clean Your Digital Life in 5 Steps
If you’re more Sophia Amoruso than Martha Stewart (🙌 am I right!), then these spring cleaning tips are for you. Sure, an annual clearing out of the cobwebs and cupboards is a worthy endeavor, but every #girlboss needs to tend to her digital life, too. Below is my list of 5 things to spring clean this weekend in order to put your digital life in tip top shape.
1. Smartphone photos
Ever run out of space on your phone, only to find out 8,327 pictures are to blame? You’re not alone. Documenting our daily lives is second nature for many of us. Unfortunately, we often let the photos pile up without taking time to edit. This weekend, sort through your smartphone photos and put an organization system in place to make maintenance simple.
- Delete unwanted photos. There’s no need to hang onto blurry shots, yesterday’s lunch you already put on Instagram, or redundant images.
- Create strategic albums. Keep things streamlined going forward by creating albums for key types of images. Try “Useful Info” for screenshots and snapshots of important information, “Memes,” and “To Send to Family.”
- Automate Sharing. Always having to swipe through your camera roll to send photos to mom? Automate the process by downloading the IFTT app. It will let you set up an applet to email photos to a set list of recipients every time you update an album on your smartphone. You just moved up a level on mom's Christmas list.
2. Email inbox
If it’s been months since you’ve seen inbox zero, it’s time to take action. A cluttered email inbox is distracting (and a surefire way to miss important information and opportunities). As you clean your way to inbox zero, be sure to create filters and folders so that you don’t wind up in the same position next month.
- Get rid of the junk. Delete unwanted and out of date emails in one fell swoop. If you’re dealing with a large volume of emails, you may find it helpful to search by keyword, then click select all → delete.
- Unsubscribe. Getting rid of today’s trash does no good if your inbox fills back up by tomorrow. Use a service such as Unroll.Me to clear out your email subscriptions once and for all.
- Create filters. Create filters for commonly received emails, saving your inbox for high priority messages. For example, you could filter all of the newsletters you subscribe to into a single “Newsletters” folder. Or, you can create folders based on your important daily email activities such as “Client Requests,” “Coworker Inquiries,” etcetera. Check your folders at designated times throughout the day to stay on top of things.
- File thoughtfully. Luckily, most email inboxes are searchable. That makes referring to old messages fairly simple. As such, your email filing system doesn’t need to be overly complicated. Create a streamlined set of folders to separate emails into clear categories, such as work, personal, and financial. The number of folders you create is up to you, but less is more.
3. Computer files
When was the last time you cleaned out your computer files? If the thought fills with you with dread (or confusion), it’s time to start. A cluttered computer isn’t just hard to navigate, it’s also slowed down by unnecessary files. Give yourself (and your laptop) a productivity boost by getting your digital house in order.
- Clean off your desktop. Your desktop should be home to your most frequently accessed files — not the storage shelf for everything you’ve ever downloaded. Consider changing your wallpaper to an organization friendly image, like one of these, to help you sort your files as you go.
- Get rid of outdated files. Chances are, a lot of your files have been tucked away in folders long after you need them. Give them a once over, discarding any that you no longer need (and freeing up valuable memory!).
- Don’t forget the photos. When was the last time you looked through the photos on your computer? Spring is here, so it’s time to clean them out. Be thorough in your editing, discarding any images that aren’t truly memorable or beautiful. Now is a great time to have your favorites printed, too.
4. Social media profiles
While you’re doing your digital spring cleaning, don’t forget your social media accounts. Now is the perfect time to delete unused accounts, review the information you’re sharing, and pare down your friends list.
- Double check your privacy settings. Before you start your clean-up, give your profiles a privacy once over. Make sure your sharing settings only disclose information you’re comfortable with.
- Clean out your friends and followers. There’s something cathartic about deleting unwanted friends and followers. Decide who you really want following your life on social media, then get rid of the rest. Don’t forget Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest — cluttering up your feeds with irrelevant accounts just makes it harder to find the content you actually want to see.
- Delete compromising content. Accidentally over share last weekend’s karaoke night on Facebook? Delete any photos that make you uncomfortable (or have the potential to interfere with your job). While you’re at it, untag yourself in any posts and photos that you don’t want attached to your name.
5. Text messages
While they probably aren’t eating up too much of your phone’s storage space, text messages have a way of piling up. Start fresh this year with a good clean out.
- Delete irrelevant texts. You know the ones: verification codes sent by apps, password reminders, and other automated messages that you only need once.
- Clear out attachments. Have a friend you’re always swapping pics and memes with? Chances are, they’re taking up a good bit of space. If you have an iPhone, click the “i” icon on the top right of a conversation to see your attachments. To delete photos, hold down on an image then select “more.” You’ll be able to select multiple images at a time and do a quick clean up.
- KonMari your conversations. The KonMari method is popular in all sorts of circles these days. If you’re not familiar, the method involves editing your belongings, only keeping items that spark joy. The same principle is beneficial for your digital life. Get rid of conversations that don’t bring you joy (why are those texts from your catty coworker still hanging around again?). You’ll feel better every time you pick up the phone.
These five spring cleaning tips will help put your digital life in order and keep you organized all year long. Do you organize your digital life? What are your favorite tips and tricks? Let me know in the comments!