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Day 6 & 7 – Digital Declutter

10-Day Declutter Challenge - this weekend we will spend decluttering our digital devices and electronics around the home

Decluttering our Electronics and Digital Devices

 

We are going to spend the weekend tackling our electronics and digital devices because this task can really take some time.

 

If you don’t have a lot of electronics around your home this will be an easy few days for you, but for most of us, we have a lot of them. Trying to keep track of our all our electronic devices and keeping them cleaned up, backed up and organized can be a hefty undertaking.

10-Day declutter challenge continues with decluttering our electronics and digital devices

One of the most important reasons you should consider decluttering your digital devices regularly is more for our mental and emotional health.

 

As a society, we are bombarded with notifications from emails, text messages and social media way too much. It is hurting our mental health and our relationships with our friends and family.

 

 

I would venture to guess that at least half the things we receive through phone, email, text and social media gets ignored.

 

We have become such a digital society that we are losing our ability to be a physically available society to each other. I got to restaurants and friends or families are out eating together, but they are all on their phones. Kids are out at restaurants with their family and they are playing tablets or their parent’s phone. We can’t even have a meal with someone without our phone being there to take our attention away at the first notification that pops up.

 

All of this digital clutter is multiplying our mental clutter and our mental “baggage.”

 

What do I mean by mental “baggage”?

 

Baggage is what we carry around an airport with all of our STUFF in it. Mental “baggage” refers to our minds being that luggage and being so filled with STUFF that we can’t think or function normally anymore.

 

When we are being notified of the latest news story, the latest discussion or argument on FB or how many people have loved our Instagram post, we disconnect from the world that’s right in front of us and escape to the world inside our phones and computers.

 

Digital clutter found on our computers results in mental “baggage” too. If we have so many files and photos and apps on our phone OR computer that we have to use the ‘Find’ feature to get anything we need then we spend too much time finding things and less time just taking care of the task at hand.

 

What happens is we need to accomplish a task on our computer, we go searching for the document or program and then get distracted by something else, most likely a notification of an email or someone posted something on FB. We then are led to go check that out and then get lost scrolling through our FB feed. As we are doing that we are led to someone’s website and then we sign up for another newsletter or FB group that we will get more notifications for constantly. Then we start looking something up online that had nothing to do with why we are even on the computer and before we know it three hours has passed and don’t even remember why we sat down at the computer.

 

So, let’s spend this weekend decluttering our digital devices. It’s good to do it over the weekend because hopefully the rest of your family is around and can do the same with their devices. Make it a family affair!

 

Home Electronics

 

Let’s begin with the actual physical devices around your home. Remember to have your 3 Rules for Decluttering Success with you to help you make your decisions.

 

How many cell phones, MP3 players, Ipods, Ipads, other tablets, radios, TVs, DVD players, VCRs (for those that might still have them around), etc. do you have around your home?

 

Look in drawers of the office and other places. What about plugs, cords, and chargers?

 

Cords and Cables

 

Do you have a bin of JUST electrical cords and cables? Extra chargers for cell phones that you haven’t used in 3 years?  We found this tub earlier this summer and had cables and old phone cords in there! You know the ones we used when our phones were still connected to the wall. Wow, we hadn’t gone through that tub in almost 10 years, but we just kept adding things to it.

 

Electronics Declutter

Now that you have done an inventory of all your electronic devices use the 3 Rules for Decluttering Success and also the questions to decide Should I Sell or Should I Donate and declutter it all.

 

Does it still work?

 

Do you still use it?

 

Do you love it or are you ready to replace it?

 

Does the item have a functional place in your home? A “home” within your home.

 

Place all the items you no longer need in one of your piles; donate, sell, or garbage.

 

 

I have pinned a number of great articles on my Digital Declutter Pinterest Board and here are direct links to a few articles about what to do with old electronics and digital devices:

 

What To Do With Old Electronics

 

Things To Do With Old Cell Phones

 

So now you should be left with what you plan to keep. That task was the easy one. This is where the rubber meets the road

 

DVDs, CDs, and Video Games

I’m not going to say much here except go through and consider what you truly need and actually still watch and listen to and what has just become clutter on your shelves. I came across this article recently. I have no experience with this. We use iTunes and have our movies and music in there. This is another new and seemingly helpful device:

Plex Server

 

 

Digital Devices Declutter

 

Declutter Cell Phones and Tablets

10-Day declutter challenge continues with decluttering our electronics and digital devices

  1. Declutter Voicemails

Have you gone into your voicemails lately? I totally fall victim to just listening to my voicemails, calling the person back and then not thinking about them again.

 

Go into your voicemail and delete ones you no longer need. Most likely you don’t need any of them and you have 20 or more just sitting there. They take up space on your phone and will help things to run smoother.

 

  1. Declutter Text Messages

This is similar to the voicemails in that these take up space, only these take up tons more space on your phone because you probably have a number of pictures in there too.

 

Go through your text messages and delete the ones you no longer need. If you have pictures in the messages and don’t want to lose them, you can save them to your phone and then just delete the text message. If you don’t know how to do this you can search for your type of phone and how to save pictures from text messages.

 

  1. Declutter Apps

This is a big one! How many apps do you have on your phone that seemed super useful at the time and then you never used them? Or you used them once for a trip you were on or someone said you MUST have this app, but then you never used it. Go through and delete apps.

 

Do you look at your phone to see what time it is and then see a notification that you have a message? All you wanted to do was see what time it is, but then you see on the FB app that there are 4 new notifications. You open it up, check them and now you’ve been on your phone for an hour chasing a rabbit trail of people and their statuses.

 

Consider moving your apps off your home screen. This will help you with the distractions and now when you go to check the time all you see is the time and maybe the weather. Check your FB or Instagram at a later time.

 

You can also organize apps into folders. Below are a few suggestions for how to this:

Organize Mobile Apps

 

8 Best Ways to Organize My Apps

 

  1. Declutter Email

**I suggest doing this on your computer rather than your phone, but I will put the steps here and down with the computer.**

Unsubscribe– The easiest way I have found to get this done is to start at the top and find the first email from a store or someone’s newsletter that you no longer read and don’t want to receive.

Open it up, scroll to the bottom, hit unsubscribe. Once you’ve confirmed through another email that you want to unsubscribe, go back to your email box.

Search your email for whomever the sender was of the email. Click enter. You should now have a list of every email in your inbox from that sender. Go through and delete all.

Repeat this process until you’ve unsubscribed from everything you no longer need to be notified about.

 

Delete– Now that you’ve unsubscribed from reoccurring emails go through and select to delete any emails left that you no longer need.

 

Empty– Once you hit delete on emails they aren’t totally gone yet. Be sure to go to your Trash, Spam AND Junk folders, right-click and Empty all of them.

 

Organize– You should only have left in your mailbox what you want to keep. Build out folders in your email box to file away emails so you can find them easier later. You could build folders for Bills, Friends, School, by name of specific newsletters you like to receive, etc. Look at your email and decide on a filing system that makes sense to you.

 

  1. Declutter Notepad

Check your Notes or Notepad, whatever you use on your phone to write down your grocery list, to-do list or other things you want to remember. Clean them up, delete the ones you no longer need and if they are lists that you made of notes you wanted to remember, transfer them to a document on your computer for future reference.

Speed up and Clean up Android or iPhone

 

 

 

Declutter Your Computers

 

10-Day declutter challenge continues with decluttering our electronics and digital devices

 

1. Declutter Files

Does your desktop look like this?

10-Day declutter challenge continues with decluttering our electronics and digital devices

Delete– This is the time to go through all the documents on your desktop first and delete those that you no longer need.

Create– Organize your documents and pictures into named folders to make it easier to find things later.

Clean Up– No go through your My Documents, Downloads and other already created folders. Delete things you no longer need and organize the rest into folders? Can you consolidate a few folders into one?

 

To Be Deleted– If you have files you aren’t sure about deleting yet, make yourself a ‘To Be Deleted’ folder and add a date 6 months out. For example – To Be Deleted Feb 18 2019. Then when that date arrives to check the folder again and if you didn’t need those things you can delete.

 

 

2. Declutter Programs and Games

Do you have other programs or games on your computer you no longer need? Clean and organize these things too.

 

 

3. Declutter Pictures

 

Duplicates– Do you take 4-5 shots of one thing hoping to get a good one? Have you gone back and deleted the ones that you didn’t want? Yeah, me either! I would probably eliminate 50% of my photos if I just deleted my duplicates.

 

What about those pictures of price tags you sent to your husband or someone’s front yard that you liked and wanted to copy? Go through and delete all those excess photos you don’t need anymore.

 

Create Folders– If your pictures are anything like mine they are all over the place. I take pictures and just dump them to my computer. Then I can’t find them when I need them. I do have a Mac and the pictures are easier to find sometimes because they have facial recognition and the ability to find pictures based on the location the picture was taken, but it still takes up a lot of time. If you don’t have them already build folders for your pictures. You can set your folders up by year, by month and year, by event or season, whatever will make it easier for you.

 

 

  1. Declutter Email

**This was also discussed earlier in this article under decluttering our phones, but it probably easier done on our computers.**

Unsubscribe– The easiest way I have found to get this done is to start at the top and find the first email from a store or someone’s newsletter that you no longer read and don’t want to receive.

Open it up, scroll to the bottom, hit unsubscribe. Once you’ve confirmed through another email that you want to unsubscribe, go back to your email box.

Search your email for whomever the sender was of the email. Click enter. You should now have a list of every email in your inbox from that sender. Go through and delete all.

Repeat this process until you’ve unsubscribed from everything you no longer need to be notified about.

 

Delete– Now that you’ve unsubscribed from reoccurring emails go through and select to delete any emails left that you no longer need.

 

Empty– Once you hit delete on emails they aren’t totally gone yet. Be sure to go to your Trash, Spam AND Junk folders, right-click and Empty all of them.

 

Organize– You should only have left in your mailbox what you want to keep. Build out folders in your email box to file away emails so you can find them easier later. You could build folders for Bills, Friends, School, by name of specific newsletters you like to receive, etc. Look at your email and decide on a filing system that makes sense to you.

 

 

4. Backups

Please be sure you are backing up your computers at least every 6 months. External hard drives are not very expensive anymore and have lots of space on them.

Set yourself a reminder on your phone for every 6 months to back-u your computer. This will also allow you to delete more stuff that’s sitting on your computer because you can always go to the hard drive to get it.

 


 

 

Declutter Social Media

10-Day declutter challenge continues with decluttering our electronics and digital devices

Notifications– Start by going in and turning off notifications. You can google whichever Social Media sites you are on to find out how to turn off notifications. This will help with mentally decluttering your life and help you focus on who and what’s in front of you rather than being constantly pulled away by an unnecessary and unimportant notification.

 

Groups and Clubs– How many of these are you in? How many did you join years ago and don’t ever go to anymore? Log into your FB, go to Groups and leave any groups you no longer need or want to be a part of. This will also help with the bombardment of notifications.

 

Declutter Your Friends– Yep, I said it. Does that thought make you nervous? Will this cause a rift amongst people that I unfriend? Well, first of all, they will not get a notification that you unfriend them. They will only find out if they try to find you and realize they have to ‘Friend’ you again.

 

What is the trade-off though for actually getting this done?

 

Do you have Friends that just seem to put statuses out there that irritate you?

 

Do you have Friends that post pictures or statuses that are offensive to you?

 

Does your Friend serve a positive and encouraging purpose in your life?

 

This is the time to go through your Friends list and decide what and who you need to be distracted by.

 

 

Moving Forward

Setup routines to help you and everyone else in your family keep up with decluttering your digital devices on a regular basis. Set yourself a reminder on your phone for every 3 or 6 months. In that reminder put the link to this article so you can refer back to it easily. Here are a few ideas for declutter routines:

 

Jan 15th– Declutter Voicemails and Text Messages

Feb 15th – Declutter Emails and Notes

Mar 15th– Declutter Apps

Apr 15th– Declutter Computer Files and Photos

Then repeat 3 times a year.

 

Or another way you could do it is

 

Jan 15th– Declutter Phone

Apr 15th– Declutter Computer

Jul 15th– Declutter Phone

Oct 15th– Declutter Computer

 

Set yourself up for success to keep up with these tasks and don’t forget to backup your digital files and precious photos.

 

This post contains affiliate links. This means I earn fees if you make a purchase using these links, at no additional cost to you. Read my full disclosure here. Thanks for supporting my blog!

 

17 Comments

  1. Sandra Crespo on August 27, 2018 at 6:06 pm

    I am a HUGE fan of decluttering! I seriously need an email declutter in my life lol

    • Jackie Follmuth on August 28, 2018 at 2:24 pm

      I am still trying to digitally declutter my life. As a fellow blogger we know that its just a never-ending battle, LOL!

  2. Terri Beavers on August 23, 2018 at 10:20 am

    I really need to declutter my digital items. Come to think of it, I could take some time to declutter old mobile phones. I’ve got wires and boxes everywhere.

  3. Kiwi on August 22, 2018 at 4:22 pm

    Reading this made me mindful of I need to digitally declutter. Definitely with the wires they can be a hazard!

  4. Debby on August 22, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    I just sent this to my entire family. We desperately need to do this. It is overwhelming to think about but will make a huge difference!

  5. Brittany Vantrease on August 22, 2018 at 9:42 am

    I just went through my computer this morning to delete pictures. I had so may duplicates because my computer links with my phone. I realized that what I sent through messenger on my phone, saved my pictures a second time and that got linked to my computer. I had to go to my messenger and search for the button that said not to duplicate pictures or save automatically. It was a bit ridiculous.

  6. Jhumki Nag on August 22, 2018 at 8:41 am

    apps declutter is what I need right now. Oh my god, it seems I need every app that exists in the world but I never ever open them at all. This post is very helpful. I am going to clean not only the apps but also other things like you said.

  7. Caitlin + Dani on August 22, 2018 at 5:43 am

    Decluttering our digital devices is one of our biggest tasks! Thanks for these helpful tips.

  8. Monidipa on August 22, 2018 at 5:42 am

    We totally need to declutter our all the gadegts time to time. Specially phones, most of the time I declutter my phone when I get the notification “Storage Space Almost Full”. I think I need to declutter my other devices too.

  9. Avishek on August 21, 2018 at 10:23 pm

    This is so very much important. We dont give it a shot until we cant find something we neef and realize its lost in the clutter. Very goid pactice to regularly declutter.

  10. Mark Dennis on August 21, 2018 at 3:50 pm

    I’ve been telling my wife for the last year that she needs to do this.

  11. Brandon Smith on August 21, 2018 at 3:49 pm

    I really need to do this. Finding the time is my main problem.

  12. Arnab Majumdar on August 21, 2018 at 2:34 pm

    It is very tedious work, I must say. I try to do it evry fortnight, but it does takes a toll. Hope, this suggestions help me do it in a better way

  13. Maureen on August 21, 2018 at 12:44 pm

    Decluttering is like a ritual for me, I do it every quarter. I am considering getting the whole family involved. These are wonderful tips. Thanks!

  14. Sharon on August 21, 2018 at 9:22 am

    Great post! Pinned it so I can refer back to it as I go through the process of decluttering. Thanks for all the suggestions.

  15. Ofai on August 21, 2018 at 6:44 am

    Great post. Yesssss! Decluttering needs to happen at most every 6 months. A getaway from technology is very much need.
    You can check out me out http://www.lifestylegems.com.ng

  16. Brittany on August 21, 2018 at 6:36 am

    Nice! We try to do this same thing periodically throughout the year! It’s crazy to realize how much of this stuff is just lying around the house untouched.

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