Virtual spring clean: 12 ways to declutter your digital sphere

The clutter on your devices may not take up physical space, but it is clutter all the same

Delete unused apps, bookmarks, emails and photos as part of a digital purge. AFP
Delete unused apps, bookmarks, emails and photos as part of a digital purge. AFP

You’ve reorganised your wardrobes, rearranged your home office, reordered the living room and cleaned out your bathroom cabinets. So what’s next?

It’s time to move your organising efforts to the digital sphere. The clutter on your devices may not take up physical space, but it is clutter all the same. If you’ve got too many things vying for your attention every time you turn on your computer, or are regularly frustrated because you can’t find what you need on your phone, it’s time for a purge. Here are 12 things to do to help you move towards digital minimalism.

Delete, delete, delete

Get rid of any apps that you don’t use on a regular basis. As a general rule, if you haven’t used an app in the last three months, it doesn’t deserve a place on your phone. If you miss it, you can always download it again at a later date.

Lenovo, HP and Dell together constitute over 60 per cent market share of the global PC industry. AP
Spend some time decluttering all your devices. AP

Orderly apps

Organise your remaining apps in a way that makes sense. Perhaps you’ll want to divide things into work-based and social-based groupings. Or put them in order of use: if you routinely check the news and weather in the morning, keep those things up top, for example.

Purge those photos

How many blurry selfies do you have sitting on your phone or laptop, taking up space, never to be looked at again? It’s likely that with every photo you take, you try 20 different versions before getting the perfect shot. Go back and get rid of all but the best of them. Sort your favourite pictures into albums, so you know where to find them. And when you come across great photos with friends and loved ones from years ago, send them on to remind people that you are thinking of them, and looking forward to making new memories.

Be merciless with your inbox

If it’s as overcrowded as mine, your inbox is probably the source of considerable daily stress. Delete all those mails that you know you are never going to respond to and save all others in folders. Unsubscribe from any newsletters that you routinely delete anyway.

Email bankruptcy?

If you are feeling particularly brave – or overwhelmed – you could declare email bankruptcy, which involves deleting everything in your inbox, breathing a sigh of relief and then starting all over again. This is a method only to be used when you are truly desperate, though, as you’ll inevitably end up wishing you could remember what was said in that specific message, or frantically searching for someone’s contact details.

Say no to notifications

Your phone is probably pinging all through the day with notifications that you really could do without. Turn off all but the most essential.

Rethink your passwords

Many of us are guilty of reusing the same passwords for multiple things, which in this age of rampant cyber crime, is just asking for trouble. Go back and create new passwords. If you don’t already have one, consider signing up to a password manager, which will allow you to generate and store secure passwords and manage your login credentials across all your devices.

The majority of Middle East respondents said they are shopping online more in response to the pandemic. Photo: istock
Protect your information online by rethinking your passwords. Photo: istock

Clear out your downloads

Who knows what’s lurking in that downloads folder, taking up valuable space. Get rid of everything you don’t genuinely need.

Embrace the folder

Set up folders on your desktop and save all your documents and images in them. Your desktop should be an orderly space. Maybe even think about introducing a new, inspiring wallpaper, since you’re likely looking at that image throughout your day.

Cull your social media accounts

Think about what you use each platform for. Twitter for news, Facebook for friends, Instagram for inspiration, perhaps? Start unfollowing people that clutter up your feeds and don’t add any value to your life. While you’re at it, why not start muting alerts from all those groups that annoy you on WhatsApp?

Facebook is launching a long-promised tool that lets users block the social network from gathering information about them on outside websites and apps. AP
Cleanse your social media feeds. AP

Swipe your hard drive

Look for a programme that will clean your hard drive for you. Clean My Mac or Clean My PC are good options.

Trash talk

Finally, empty out all those trash folders. That satisfying whoosh as all that unnecessary stuff disappears will be immensely satisfying, we promise.

Updated: April 23, 2020 06:56 PM


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