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Digital Spring Cleaning for All the Electronic Hoarders out There

With the winds of winter blowing away and the springtime sweetness (seasonal allergies)  coming in full force, most people are probably itching to clean up their homes and de-clutter their lives — especially if they binged-watched Marie Kondo on Netflix. The urge to spring clean is hard to overcome and sometimes after deep cleaning your house, you still want to clean, clean, and clean. Luckily, you don’t need to stop at cleaning out your home, closets, and other physical space.

Believe it or not, your digital world could probably need some sprucing up — unless you’re the Type A, neat person who always deletes everything they don’t need. If you’re like the rest of us, however, it’s probably time to do a digital deep clean. Here’s where to start:

1.) Organize Your Email Inbox

You probably think that you’re email inbox is totally fine and totally manageable; that is until you remember that you have 3,000 emails that you haven’t even read, plus 5,000 more emails just taking up space in your inbox. From spam messages to newsletter subscriptions to unwanted email opt-ins, important emails you actually need can get lost in the clutter. Luckily, there are few ways you can fix this problem. From manually deleting your inbox, ensuring spam goes to your spam folder, and unsubscribing from newsletters you no longer read one-by-one, going the manual route can reassure you that you’re not deleting anything you need — but it definitely takes a lot of time. Instead, you might want to consider these free tools to help get your life … I mean email … in order: Creating a Gmail account, which automatically sorts your emails into bundles, MailDrop, which diverts spam, advertising emails to separate, temporary email address, and Unroll.Me, which helps get your newsletter subscriptions under control.

Don’t let your email inbox become so overwhelming; life is already overwhelming enough.  

2.) Clean out your browsers

Having a lot of cookies in your pantry — amazing. Having a lot of cookies in your web browser — not so much. Jumpstart your digital spring cleaning by clearing out old data, like saved passwords, autofill information, and other data, like bookmarks, that gets stored in your cache from just using your browser. You should also delete any browsers you don’t use (ahem, Firefox).  You can do this yourself, or use programs like CCleaner that analyzes the backlog of your browser and download history and lists what seems unnecessary to keep.  

You can also do this for your smartphone. If you use an android, the app 1Tap Cleaner will do what CCleaner does, but for your smartphone. It will gather all unnecessary information for you to look through and decide what to keep. This includes old bookmarks, old text messages, unsaved photos, URL archives, etc. Unfortunately, this isn’t IOS friendly so iPhone users can’t use it. But you can still manually clear out your iPhone. Take some time to go through and spruce up your handheld friend.

In conclusion, keep the cookies in the kitchen.

3.) Delete old pictures

With the urge to document every single aspect of our lives, photos definitely build up and clog our electronic devices. Do you really need that drunk selfie from two Decembers ago? Or those photo bursts that are just 50 versions of one picture? Probably not. You can, of course, manually go through your 7,000 photos and delete pictures you don’t need. If you’re like me (or anyone, tbh), going through old pictures and deleting can be hard to do. Which ones do you keep? Which ones do you delete forever? First, save all your photos on a hard drive or through a back-up system, and then, start purging. Have a lot of duplicate pictures? Use Digital Photo Fixer, or another program like it, to go through your photo albums on your phone and help identify duplicates you can erase.

Throw your old, blurry photos into a cyber black hole.

4.) Social Media cleanse

Check your social media presence. When you Google yourself, what comes up? Which accounts come up first and what do people see? Once you figure that out, start your social media cleanse. Have followers you don’t know, or met a seedy bar one night and just want to forget? Delete. Have photos that don’t represent you correctly? Delete. Still follow your ex on every social media account? Definitely delete (unless you guys are cool, then do you). If you find yourself not using a social media platform anymore, get rid of it, too.

Also, make sure to review your privacy settings to reflect the level of security you want!

5.) Update your devices and back them up

Want to make sure all of your digital devices are working correctly? Make sure they are all up to date with the latest software installments. Also, before you make any huge cleaning decisions, make sure you backup your devices so you don’t lose anything of importance.

So this spring, don’t just deep clean your house; make sure you’re removing your digital clutter, as well. A clean device is a happy device … and if there’s one thing movies have taught us: it’s important to keep the robots happy.

 

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