For week 5 of the 2020 Declutter Challenge, we are tackling our Digital Clutter. This week’s Digital Decluttering Checklist has us focused on cleaning, decluttering and streamlining our computers, mobile phones, and tablets. So print off your Digital Decluttering Checklist and let’s get busy!
Can you see the light at the end of the Decluttering Tunnel? We are one week away from being DONE! Give yourself a pat on the back and know that I am over here giving you huge props!
If you are new to this Declutter Challenge and you want to, as Maria (soon to be Von Trapp) suggests, start at the very beginning, pop over to week 1 where we dive into our bedrooms and bathrooms.
If you haven’t joined the Declutter Challenge yet, you can do that here. Once you join, you will receive:
BEFORE YOU DELETE ANYTHING, CHECK AND DOUBLE CHECK THAT YOU DON’T NEED IT OR DON’T WANT IT! IF IN DOUBT, DON’T TOSS IT OUT!
Once again, our PCs, laptops and mobile devices are black holes of clutter. We are always putting stuff in them but rarely do we take the time to remove what we no longer need. The Digital Decluttering Checklist will prompt you to focus on areas of our computers that seem to get burdened down with clutter.
Look over your desktop. Are there items there you no longer need? And while you’re at it, think about how you want to use your desktop.
I find I am now using mine as I would a physical desktop, holding temporary items there that I am currently working with. With this desktop approach, the discipline to go back in and clean up items no longer needed is imperative.
Others prefer their desktop to be a blank slate, with all their icons and data in the appropriate files.
Choose what works best for you. But in any event, do make a plan for how you want your desktop to function and remove/rehouse the items that don’t belong there or are no longer necessary.
I give more info on cleaning up your desktop in this post on Digital Organization, it is item #2.
This folder can get very big, very quickly. As the name implies, anytime you download anything, it ends up here. In theory, this download file should just be a temporary holding spot until the data is moved to the correct location.
Go through your downloads and see if there are documents, files or photos there that you no longer need.
Browser extensions do come in handy. I use my LastPass and Ebates browser extensions frequently. But, it is easy to add them and forget that they are there.
By their very nature, browser extensions are loaded and run every time you open a new browser window. If your internet browser has been sluggish, it is possible that browser extensions are the culprit.
If you have any that you really don’t use, now is a good time to delete them. You can always add them back later.
Last year I switched from Carbonite Backup to using OneDrive for my Backups, but I didn’t think to delete the Carbonite program at the time. Go through your computer programs to see if there is anything in there you aren’t using anymore.
On a PC, go to your Control Panel>Programs and then scroll through the list. On a Mac, open your Applications folder and drag the unwanted app to TRASH.
Once again, if you aren’t sure what it is, then don’t trash it until you have 100% confirmed the importance (or lack of importance)
Do you bookmark pages? Yikes, I am so guilty of bookmarking everything that I think ‘may’ interest me 26 days from now.
Once again, while bookmarks do have usefulness, they can quickly get out of control. Got through your bookmarks to determine what you still want to keep there.
In Chrome, click the star on the address bar or the 3 vertical dots on the upper right corner of your screen to access adding or managing your bookmarks
In Firefox, Tap the menu button, tap Your Library, tap Bookmarks to find the bookmark that you saved
On a Mac, In the Safari app on your Mac, click the Sidebar button in the toolbar, then click the Bookmarks button
While I regularly go through and delete and unsubscribe from unwanted email, now is a particularly good time to do so. If you did any online shopping over the holidays, those vendors have your email address and are regularly sending promotions to you.
I use Unroll.me, which is a free service, to do bulk unsubscribes when undertaking a digital decluttering.
This may take a while!
And photos…wow…where to begin. I mean, it’s easy to delete blurry and duplicate photos. So start there. But after that, it gets really hard. If you don’t need the space on your computer, just organize your photos so that you can find what you are looking for easily. You might do it by date or event.
But if you need space on your computer, consider transferring your photos to a Memory Stick. Depending on how many photos you need to transfer, you might consider different sticks for different date ranges, events, etc…
We moved in June but I still had so many documents and files related to our old home still in my documents file. It was cathartic to delete them all!
In this process, I also found all sorts of school documentation from when my children were in middle and high school that we just don’t need now.
Go through those files and see what you need and what you can trash.
Your browsers store all those keystrokes and sites you visit every day in their cache. It is important to clear the cache on a regular basis to protect your security and keep your browser performing better.
On a Mac, click Safari in the upper left-hand side of your screen. In the menu that appears, click Preferences. In the next window that appears, click the Privacy tab. Click the button Remove All Website Data and Click Remove Now in the pop-up window that appears.
In Chrome, click the little three dots on the upper right-hand corner, click More Tools, Click Clear Browsing Data. I clear my data ‘from all time’, but you do what makes you comfortable.
Once you have confirmed that everything that you have ‘trashed’ is not important to you, empty that Recycle Bin! I take great joy in emptying that trashcan on a daily basis! If you have CCleaner or something similar, now is a good time to run that as well.
Let’s take our Digital Decluttering Checklist to our mobile phones and tablets now.
Do you still have the Words with Friends or Angry Birds apps on your phone? If you are using them, then no judgment here. But…if the last time you used them was when you were on that 5 hour plane flight last year, then maybe get rid of them to free up some space on your phone. You can always add them back before your next flight! 😉
Go through all your apps…they take up a lot of space on your device.
If you are anything like me, when I am taking a picture I often snap 2-3 times just to be sure I get the perfect photo. I regularly need to go through and delete those duplicates.
Speaking of photos, consider backing them up to any number of cloud storage apps out there. I use Google One, which has dramatically lightened my photo storage
When photos are ‘deleted’ from your camera, the make a stop in a ‘trash’ folder. Check that folder.
Check your files folder for downloads and documents you no longer need/
Is your phone constantly beeping at you? Under Settings>Notifications, decide which apps or programs you really need to hear from on a real-time basis.
Are there folks in there who you really don’t have an idea who they are?
I’d love your input. I plan to add to the lists to make them even more comprehensive and greatly appreciate your suggestions.
So, armed with this motivation, grab your Digital Declutter Checklist and let the Decluttering Scavenger hunt begin! Pop back in with your successes or challenges! How many items were you able to check off of your list?
Leave a comment below answering one of these two questions. On February, 28, I will randomly draw one comment from all 6 of the posts for the gift card. That way if you fall behind, you can still catch up. You can enter twice for each post if you would like, answering each of the questions related to each post.
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Until next time…