7 Tips for Dealing with Digital Clutter
7 Tips for dealing with digital clutter
Every day, I spend way too much time online. Really, who doesn’t? When I’m working from home, I spend even more time with technology. I’ve started to consider my computer/phone/iPad a kind of digital office. While my current office space and desk are tidy and organized most of the time, my “digital office” can get pretty messy. Sometimes I’ll be looking for a scanned file or image and can’t find it anywhere! While I don’t often misplace items in my real life, my computer can sometimes be a disaster.
These are just some of the things I do to declutter. You can find a lot of other good ideas just by searching for “digital decluttering” on google that may help you get a better handle on your virtual space.
1) Unfollow, unsubscribe, hide – social media sites can get particularly cluttered for me. I follow a lot of people on Pinterest and sometimes spend more time scrolling through pins I’m not interested in than seeing what my friends like and are pinning. I spent a little bit of time recently only following the specific boards I was interested in, not just doing a “follow all” for a random pinner. For friends, I did some selective unfollowing of boards that just didn’t have much to do with my interests: baby showers themes, bump photo ideas, font inspirations, etc. Facebook has a “hide” or “unfollow” function to filter your news feed that I use sometimes, especially to get rid of ad content. And of course, I have to review my twitter follows from time to time to better reflect who and what I’m interested in lately.
2) Photos – this project is ongoing and really getting out of hand, but I’m so happy I’m working on it. I have a bunch of different folders for photos on my computer, have some in dropbox, some in iPhoto, and some in other random places. I merged them all to iPhoto and then used a duplicate finder app to get rid of duplicates. I also got rid of a bunch of physical photos and am working on sending the good ones off to get digitally scanned.
3) Contacts – I am resolved to work on this… someday. I have a Kate Spade address book that I’ve had since 2002. I put new addresses in there and then physically cross out old and outdated addresses. I’m working on merging my digital and real life address books. This is an ongoing project…
4) Dropbox – I put all of my work and school stuff on Dropbox so if there’s a problem with my computer, I know it’s safe and isn’t going anywhere. I spent time organizing my Dropbox folders too. For every semester, I have a new folder and folders for each class. This helps to organize my class information so I know exactly where to find the Bloom’s Taxonomy Action Verbs sheet that I used this past summer in grad school. I also organized the classes I’m teaching into folders and have folders labeled “Tests and Quizzes,” “Moodle (online learning platform) Attachments,” “Lesson Plans,” and “Brainstorming” for all of those links and sample lesson plan ideas. Spending time on this task has really paid off!
5) Decluttering the desktop – Because I have things neatly stored in folders, my desktop page is spotless! I think better that way. I like opening my laptop and not seeing a lot of random files. It’s like having clean laundry waiting to be folded in your bedroom – it’s hard to think straight with all those things laying around. I have the cutest calendar wallpapers that I’ve used for over 10 years that change weekly from Japan. You can find them on Afternoon Tea’s website here. Not only is my desktop clutter free, but it’s also pretty cute.
6) Music – I admit to having a serious iTunes addiction. I buy nearly an album a week. It’s completely out of hand. I delete old music from time to time to keep it streamlined. I’m really not planning on listening to J.Lo “On The 6” anytime soon and if I want to, I’m sure there’s an early 2000s throwback station on Pandora. I also spent time burning every single cd I own and gave the physical copies all away recently. What a fun find for someone at Salvation Army!
7) Bookmarks – I use my Chrome and Safari bookmarks all the time! It’s my favorite way to organize which sites I’m visiting and to find them easily. I’m sure there’s some kind of more advanced method for this, but this one works well for me. I update them from time to time and then alphabetize in each folder so I can quickly find everything from Amazon to Zillow.
These are just some of the ways I like to declutter my digital life. It’s January and isn’t simplifying what January is all about? It’s good to get rid of all the noise and clutter and start focusing on what I really care about. Less time dealing with my computer translates to more time with the people and things I love.
How have you decluttered your digital life? Where do you think most of your digital clutter accumulates? Do you have any other tips that I might be leaving out?
For more tips, tricks, and advice, head over to my Pinterest board!
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”