Once you’ve sold your old clothes on eBay and donated your books to charity, it can feel as though you’re well on your way to tidying your home and simplifying your life. However, there’s one aspect of our lives that many of us forget to spring clean – our digital devices. If your phone is overflowing with screenshots, you’re drowning in a sea of unread emails and your laptop is sluggish under the weight of all your documents, it could be time to declutter your digital life!
1. Simplify your social media
Most of us have one or two friends on social media that we love dearly but we just can’t get over how irritating they are online (fully aware that to my friends, I am this person). Instead of unfriending them and potentially ruining your relationship, simply click the little ‘unfollow’ button so they no longer show up in your timeline.
Also, don’t be afraid to regularly tweak your social media news feeds to suit your interests. Unlike and unfollow the accounts that are no longer of interest to you. I recently made the decision to unfollow a bunch of fitness and Slimming World accounts on Instagram, for example. It’s nothing personal. I’m just not feeling inspired by them at the moment and want to tailor my feed to my current interests.
2. Edit your emails
It’s easy to become overwhelmed by emails if you don’t keep on top of them. As a general rule, if a message is likely to take less than 5 minutes to respond to, do it right away. If it’ll take longer – favourite it for later.
Also, if you find yourself ignoring email newsletters from the same people time and time again, consider unsubscribing from them. And if you’re trying to save money, the time is now to unsubscribe from promotional emails from brands – even if they’re regularly ‘treating’ you to discount codes.
3. Annihilate your apps
If you haven’t used an app for the last 3 months – uninstall it. You’ll free up space for other apps that can bring much more value to your life. If you can’t decide what to get rid of, imagine you’ve got a brand new phone (think of it as a blank canvas) and ask yourself which 5 apps would you install first. Question whether you really need the rest at this moment in time.
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4. Put your passwords in order
I’m a huge fan of using different passwords for different accounts but there’s no doubt about it, remembering your logins for every website you use can be challenging and stressful. If you’re not careful, before you know it your inbox is filled with password reset emails while your home is littered with post it notes with random combinations of letters and numbers.
While some people advise against writing your passwords down, I personally think it’s safer to use complicated passwords and log them all in one place rather than using the same basic password across all accounts. It’s unlikely someone will break into you house and rummage around for your password book, after all. Alternatively, use a trusted online password manager. I can’t recommend any personally, but I’ve heard that 1password and Roboform are decent.
5. Delete documents
Set an afternoon aside to ruthlessly discard of old documents saved to your computer. Chances are, you no longer need the vast majority of them. I recently stumbled across a folder filled with blog posts that I’d written in Word first before transferring them to my blog. Not completely sure why I did this – it’s just madness. Deleting them and making some extra space on my laptop felt gooood! It also made my laptop ever so slightly speedier.
6. Downsize your desktop
If you’re looking to simplify your digital life, decluttering your desktop can be a real quick win. It only takes a few minutes to delete the files non-important stuff and move the keep-worthy files to somewhere more appropriate.
7. Purge photos
If you find yourself drowning under a sea of photos (whether it’s on your phone, tablet or laptop), click through each one and ask yourself the following questions:
- Does this photo make me happy?
- Is this photo superior to those that are similar to it?
- Would I put this photo in a physical album?
If you don’t answer ‘yes’ to at least one of the above questions, delete the photo. I don’t know about you but I’m guilty of taking several photos of the exact same thing from slightly different angles before hoarding them all for years. There really is no need for this. It just makes each image less special.
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8. Minimise music
Is a considerable amount of space on your computer taken up by music files? If so, question whether you need them all and whether there’s a way you can convert to a cloud-based music platform instead. A few years ago my laptop was filled with music files but now that I use Spotify rather than an iPod, there’s no need to store songs on my devices.
9. Manage movies
The same goes for movies. When I was at University, I’ll admit to having a stash of movies that a friend had cheeky-downloaded and copied onto an external hard drive for me. Now, I get my TV and movie fix from Netflix and Amazon Prime, so there is no need to cling onto these space-sapping movie files.
10. Declutter devices
Most of us have at least one or two old phones stashed away in a drawer for reasons unbeknownst to even oursleves. If you’re guilty of this, get rid of them once and for all. Even if you look on Envirofone and they’re only worth £5 each, you may as well get something for them right away. The longer you cling onto them, the more they decrease in value, and the more likely they are to simply end up in the bin.
Don’t forget to sell, recycle, or donate old cameras, e-readers, external hard drives, and other electronics too.
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