Last night, I did a digital declutter.

This is a practice that is becoming increasingly important as we move a larger percentage of our lives online.

I’ve been doing a digital declutter periodically for the last year or so and it’s really helped me keep my e-life streamlined.

It can be overwhelming at first, but you should start with the places you spend the most time online: phone, email, social media, and personal documents.

I don’t have it down to a precise science quite yet, but here are a few things I do every 2–3 months.

Phone:

Go through my apps and delete any app that is no longer valuable to me. I usually find at least one or two of these. Hint: if you haven’t opened the app in six months or longer, it probably needs to go. This frees up space on your phone, helps it run smoother, and also makes the display a lot cleaner.

I love to declutter my phone because it’s the device I use the most. Try it out. I promise it will make you feel better.

Social media:

I clean up my social media accounts occasionally by unfollowing people or blocking them from my feeds. Having a bunch of stuff in your social media feeds that isn’t interesting to you might seem harmless, but consider how frequently you’re checking these accounts. Your attention is the price you pay.

I go out of my way to make sure everything I see in a social feed is something I want to be seeing. If not, I have no issues unfollowing people, even close friends and family members. As an example, last fall when the election was all the rage, certain people were posting their political rants on Facebook every other day. I got annoyed and blocked all of these people. I also try to opt out of ads that aren’t relevant to me as much as possible.

Over time, this makes a big difference in the quality of your social media experience.

Email:

I like to keep no more than 10 items in my primary inbox. These are usually messages that I need to take action on immediately. Once I have taken appropriate action, I delete the message or move it to a folder.

I also go through all my email folders and delete messages that aren’t relevant anymore that I don’t think I’ll ever need to reference again. If you’re a Gmail user like me, space probably isn’t an issue. But it’s more an issue of saving mental space in your head.

Get into the habit of unsubscribing from promotional emails regularly. Delete a message once and it comes back again, but unsubscribe and it’s gone for good. Unroll.me is a great tool for this.

Personal documents:

Most people have a system of folders and documents and pictures on their personal computer that they access frequently. I like to keep all of my documents stored in the cloud on Microsoft OneDrive so that I don’t have to worry about losing all my stuff if my computer craps out. I suggest doing the same for peace of mind. You can use a service like OneDrive, Dropbox, or Google Drive.

I also like to go through my files and folders every couple of months and delete anything I don’t need anymore. Again, this helps save digital space, but more importantly, mental space.

I love technology, but I want to use it to simplify my life, not make it more complicated.

With more apps, websites and online services rolling out, it’s beneficial for everyone to practice whatever form of digital minimalism works for them.

For me, personally, it’s become less of a “nice-to-do” and more of a “must-do” just to preserve my sanity.

What are you doing to declutter your digital life? Leave a comment and let me know.

Featured image by Redd Angelo.

First published on Revue.


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