The start of Spring may be the time to clean out your closets, dust ceiling fans, and organize pantries, but now that your home is sparkling, it’s time to clean up your digital presence. When was the last time you cleared your cache or deleted old accounts? How many apps are just taking up storage on your phone? How many drawers are filled with sticky notes of old passwords? There’s a lot more to tidying up online than simply sweeping the crumbs off your keyboard. Follow these tips for a safer, more organized cyberspace.
- There are two kinds of people in the world. Those who open every email and those who have thousands in one inbox. Spam and promotional emails are probably taking up the majority of your storage. Either spend time manually unsubscribing from accounts or use this tool to easily unsubscribe in bulk.
- Now that you’re done receiving thousands of unwanted emails, you can prioritize what’s important. Sorting into folders will help you keep track of conversations, documents, travel plans, work needs, et cetera, making it easier to locate what you need to come back to.
Empty Spam and Trash Folders
- There is no need to keep a receipt from a purchase three years ago. Start by emptying your spam and promotional folders. Then permanently delete the emails in your trash. No need to be worried. If you haven’t opened an email in 6 months, you no longer need to hold on. Update your settings to automatically delete messages older than a certain date to keep your emails under control.
- Candy Crush, Pandora, and VSCO don’t need to take up space on your phone anymore. (Unless, of course, you still use these throwback apps then please, carry on!) There are tons of viral games and dead social media platforms that you probably haven’t opened in a few years. Delete and make space for the next big thing!
Unfollow Old Social Media Accounts
- Interests come and go. Why crowd your feed with products that aren’t for sale anymore, people you never see, or groups you’re no longer a part of? Declutter your social media, declutter your mind, and focus on who’s important to you now.
Delete Texts and Pictures
- While we’re purging, scroll down to the bottom of your texts and start deleting! Images and videos take up mass amounts of storage space, so this is a great way to get rid of that annoying “your iCloud is full” pop-up. An even better solution is to go through your photos. You would be surprised with how many duplicates, randoms, and photos taken by accident may be in there. Consider an organizational app, such as Google Photos or SmugMug, that can help clear up storage space and make it easier to find photos by category.
- We sanitize toilets, door handles, and elevator buttons but we often forget about the number one collector of germs and bacteria – our cell phones. Before you hold up any number of viruses to your face again, wipe it down with disinfectant first. And don’t forget about your laptops, tablets, smart home devices, and tv remotes.
Go Through “My List” in Streaming Platforms
- Everyone is guilty of saving something on Netflix and never coming back to it. Go through that list! You might rediscover something really interesting or realize that was just a fad and (you guessed it) delete!
Cancel Unused Subscriptions
- Look at your bank statement. Are there any magazines, gaming or music services, streaming platforms, subscription boxes, fitness gyms, meal kits, newspapers, dating apps, photo editors, or anything else that you just don’t need anymore? There are likely quite a few subscriptions you can cancel and stop paying for that unnecessary service.
- Screenshots, apps, and web pages crowd our laptops. A cluttered home screen does not allow efficient work. Review what needs to remain on your desktop and hide or delete what does not. The same idea applies to your digital bookmarks or dock menu.
Clear Downloads Folder
- Going through your downloads folder can actually be quite comical. You might find old school projects, silly photos, and random zip files, but you will definitely find thousands of files you no longer need. Manually go through your downloads from the last 3 months and bulk delete the rest!
- Don’t just click away from those pesky “software update” notifications. Downloading the latest operating system can improve speed, add new device features, and fend off hacker attacks.
Recycle or Destroy
- Gather all the old CDs, floppy disks, thumb drives, external hard drives, flash drives (basically any kind of “drive”), laptops, gaming consoles, smart home gadgets, chargers, TVs, printers, and landline phones gathering dust in your home and take them to your nearest electronic recycling center. Information on where that may be can be found here.
- Are you the kind of person who uses the same password everywhere or makes up easy ones that any elementary hacker could hack if they wanted to? It’s time to switch to a password management tool. This software will generate unique, random passwords for each of your accounts and store them in a secure digital vault. They’ll notify you of a potential data breach and update passwords if necessary, keeping you and your data safe from any identity theft.
Just any cleaning ritual, you’ll be happy you put in the work! Take a day to organize your cyberspace thereby creating a safer, faster, more efficient digital presence!