1. "Clean" Your Digital Photos
Start by deleting unwanted photos from your digital camera and/or smartphone. On iPhones, once you delete a photo, it will go to a 'deleted' folder and will remain there for 30 days before it's completely deleted. If you need extra space on your phone, you could permanently delete items from your 'deleted' folder sooner.
Next, back up your photos! I recommend having your precious memories backed up in two different ways - one in the cloud and one on physical media. There are many cloud options like DropBox, iCloud or my personal favorite, Google Photos. To make this even easier, you can set up an automatic sync to the cloud services so you don't even have to think about it! In addition, I also hook my phone to my computer about once a quarter and move photos to an external hard drive. I make the folder structure very simple - top level folders are years and subfolders are month and year. Check out the video to show you how! After all your photos are backed up, then you can remove old photos you don't want to have immediate access to from your device (and rest assured that you can access them via the cloud storage option anytime you want them!)
Don't forget to DO something with your photos. It could be as easy as making a shared album in Google Photos or designing a Shutterfly album.
2. "Clean" Your Podcasts
I am constantly hearing about a new podcast I might like. I usually just immediately subscribe so I don't forget. Pretty soon, I've got a ton of podcasts that I don't have time to listen to. First step to get your podcasts "cleaned" out is to unsubscribe from ones you never listen to or don't care for. For ones that you do listen to or know you like, check the download and episode order settings to make sure they are set up like you want them. I made a video a while back to show you how to do this.
3. "Clean" Your Contacts
Your phone may have contacts that are synced from various sources, and some are unclear or incomplete. Start by deleting unwanted contacts all together. Then, on the remaining contacts, delete old phone numbers, add new ones, and assign the appropriate label to each number. (I know I've had some numbers listed as 'radio'!) On an iPhone, confirm the Siri suggestions if they are correct. Add physical and email addresses you know to existing contacts. Create new contacts from previous calls or texts for people you may want to contact in the future. Edit names and add descriptions to make existing contacts more clear and easy to find. Finally, link duplicate contacts. Here's a quick tutorial video to help you with this process.
4. "Clean" Your Apps
Start by finding out how much time you use on your apps. On an iPhone go to Settings>Battery and under the Battery Usage section, click on the clock icon and you can actually see how many minutes (or hours) you spent in each app either in the last 24 hours or last 7 days. Here's a quick tutorial. If there are apps you haven't used in the past 7 days, consider if you may want to delete them. Make sure remaining apps are in folders with similar apps and reorganize your folders so they are the most accessible. Here's a previous video about organizing apps on your phone.
5. "Clean" Your Digital Calendar
First, delete unnecessary appointments (especially recurring ones) or entries that really are not time sensitive. If it's not something that has to be done at a certain date and time, consider moving it to a task management app. For remaining entries, change any that will happen on a regular schedule to recurring appointments. Next add details to all your entries like the address where you'll be going, the phone number of who you need to call, links to websites, etc. Set the default calendar on your phone to the one you use most often so you don't have to edit appointments as often. For example if you have a work calendar and a personal calendar, determine which one you set the most appointments on your phone and change the default. Watch this short video tutorial to help you.
6. "Clean" Your Digital Lists
I have several digital lists - Netflix and Hulu watch lists, Amazon wish lists, digital task lists to name a few. Spring cleaning time is a great reminder to clean these up. For streaming video services, consider creating separate profiles for each family member so that you can keep your watch lists separate. Then go through them periodically and remove things you've already watched or are no longer interested in. Amazon lists are a great way to capture gift ideas or items you are considering for yourself. Use this review to create separate lists for each person or event, add or remove items, and share lists with family or friends.
Finally, make sure your digital to-do list is comprehensive and up to date. There are many options for task management apps, and the one I use is Nozbe. (If you missed my interview with the founder and CEO, check it out here!) Make sure your head is emptied into your system and everything in the system still needs to be completed. Categorize and set deadlines as necessary. Reviewing this system is something you should really do on regular basis, but use Spring Cleaning as your motivation to get your system in order!
7. "Clean" Your Computer's Desktop
Have you ever looked at someone's computer desktop and gotten the heebie jeebies because of all the clutter? Keep your own desktop clear by deleting unnecessary files (or moving them to the correct location). You can also pin commonly used programs to the task bar and then delete the shortcut from the desktop. Rearrange icons so they are pleasing to the eye and even change up your background every once in a while to keep things interesting! Here's a brief tutorial video about decluttering your desktop.
8. "Clean" Your Files and Folders
Review all your files and folders, edit names, and reorganize. Delete unwanted files including temporary files and ones in your downloads folder. As you save files, make sure to name files descriptively and create folders that are easy to understand so you can actually find the files you want later. Start with very few top level folders and then get more specific with subfolders. You can save different file types in the same folder (ex. you don't need separate folders for Excel and Word files.) Top level folders should be broad and based on projects or subjects rather than time frames (ex Finances rather than 2018). If you create subfolders for date, make sure to use two digits for months so they sort correctly (ex. 01 for January instead of 1). You should also backup files to either an external hard drive or to a cloud storage provider.
I hope these 9 tips will help you get your digital house clean this Spring. If you have other tips, please share them with us in the comments! Happy Spring (digital) Cleaning!
Photo by Alejandro Escamilla on Unsplash
Photo by Yura Fresh on Unsplash
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