How to Clear Out Your Virtual Junk

Image Source: The Florida Oracle

Digital Decluttering

The ease of a digitised life brings the difficulty in recognising digital disarray, thanks to the illusion of unlimited space. You may have your life in order, but very few of us actually have the discipline to regularly clean out our digital spaces.

Here’s how you can get started.

Desktop/Home screen 

Organise a cluttered screen by saving only the bare essentials. The same rule applies to mobile phones. An organised home screen is not only aesthetically pleasing but also discourages distraction.

Solution: Delete shortcuts to apps and create general folders to sort out your data and apps.

Emails

Take control of your inbox by ridding it of unnecessary newsletters, subscriptions, and junk mail.

If you’re worried about work emails, take Merlin Mann’s concept of “Inbox Zero”. Always delete or archive as many incoming messages as possible, respond to unsolicited emails swiftly, or delegate it to someone else who is better suited to respond.

As for tasks that need to be done — simply separate them into a different folder or add them to your to-do list.

Solution: Sort important emails into folders and trash out all junk mail. Check out third-party apps like Unroll.me or Unlistr to easily unsubscribe from different newsletters as well as spam mail.

Social media

Online personas are strengthened through the fabric of social networking, but social media can be a huge distraction and detrimental to your mental health.

Solution: Unfollow accounts that are no longer of interest to you or hit the mute button on overzealous friends that post too frequently. It is not necessary to remove people off your friends list – after all, social media is all about maintaining connections.

Notifications

No, we’re not just talking about the unwelcoming “Storage Almost Full” warning. Notifications easily distract our workflow and might even pile on our emails. You don’t really need to know that your new friend liked your photo from 52 weeks ago or have your phone buzzing non-stop thanks to the jabber of a WhatsApp group convo.

Solution: Be mindful of which notifications to activate – you probably want to keep tabs on an urgent email/message but not so much on game invitations or social media likes.

Freeing up your disk space

As much as sorting out data into folders helps create the illusion of organisation, it is still important to clear out old documents, media, and apps regularly. Not only will you free up space, the weight off your digital system will allow it to run faster.

Solution: Get more byte out of the digital pie by deleting data that is no longer needed monthly. (We recommend starting with the Downloads folder!). Uninstall unused apps or programmes that take up space and don’t forget to also remove website data stored through your browser history, cookies, and caches! This will not only speed up the system but also decrease security threats.

If you’re more tech-savvy, try a third-party app like iDefrag or Smart Defrag 5 for disk de-fragmentation. It helps keep your hard disk drive working efficiently and may even increase its lifespan. Just make sure you’re not using a solid-state drive instead of a hard disk drive as they operate differently.

And if you really can’t bear to get rid of everything, keep a back up copy in a digital storage box — the external hard drive.