Decluttering your living space is very important to free up some space and cut down your cleaning time. But have you ever thought of digital decluttering? Digital decluttering is similar to your regular decluttering process, but it’s done on your devices.

I mean your laptop/PC, phone, and even tablet!

Read why decluttering is important here!

In time, your storage space is running low due to the docs, pictures, videos, and many other files pilling up. Thus slowing down your computer or device and affects your overall digital performance.

I realize how important it is to do digital decluttering after my thesis writing. During that time, I managed to gather tons of scientific papers, excel files for data analyzing, and even countless simulation experiment files on my laptop.

And how does that affect my laptop? It slowed down! Loading an application took ages and many others couldn’t perform well because they weren’t responding.

Here, I’ll show you 10 steps to digital cluttering and improve your device’s performance.

1. Declutter your documents

Go to your documents and sort them out. Delete the items you no longer need. You can sort them by dates to see from the oldest to the newest documents.

After deleting the unnecessary documents, take the time to sort the rest into specific folders. Group related documents into one folder.

And then be consistent on naming for your files so you can always find what you need quickly. You don’t wanna end up redoing work or saving multiple copies of the same file in different places, don’t you?

2. Declutter your software

You have sorted out your documents, but what about the software? I’m sure you have lots of software installed on your device that you don’t use? As years go by, you might even forget you had it altogether!

Because I was like that. I have tons of unused software because it’s no longer relevant to my current work.

Decide on which software you still use and uninstall that you no longer use.

gray MacBook Pro

3. Make a clean desktop

Having a clean desk can boost your focus and productivity, and so does a clean desktop would do!

Clean up the folders, files, and app shortcuts on your desktop. Yes, even the recycle bin icon too.

On Windows 10, to hide your recycle bin by right click on your desktop and select “Personalize”. Then choose “Themes” from the left panel and find the “Desktop icon settings” located under the “Related Settings” section. Here, you’ll find “Desktop Icons” section, uncheck the tiny box next to “Recycle Bin” and click on “Apply”. Done!

And if you wanna hide your taskbar. Right-click on your taskbar and select “Taskbar settings”. Find the “Automatically hide taskbar in desktop mode” and turn it on. Done!

Well, you don’t have to remove all of them if you don’t want to, but that’s what I personally do. I put all of my regular files on “Quick Access”.

flat screen TV

4. Clean your email(s)

It’s no secret that we have hundreds of irrelevant messages like spam and subscriptions or newsletters piling up our inbox, taking up all the space and making it harder to find and select the messages we need.

To lessen your inbox burden, try unsubscribing to the constant promotion that you never bother to see. Update your email preferences to receive fewer updates.

Create categories & tabs in Gmail for managing emails here.

Once a week or maybe daily, respond and/or delete those emails. It’s not your responsibility to respond to or even to look at every email that’s on your inbox. Determine what’s important and what’s not and process accordingly.

5. Deactivate unused online accounts

Over the years, you’ve probably signed up for lots of online accounts. But only you know which active accounts you have and regularly use.

So, detect which ones you need to close, keep or manage better. It’s a good idea to close these accounts. It’s to ensure you don’t get another unexpected spam or marketing messages.

You might have an online presence in pages you didn’t even remember, so this might be the ideal time to put everything in order.

6. Clean bookmarks

Sort your bookmarks and streamline your browser window. Delete what you don’t frequently visit and just keep the other bookmarks in modest numbers.

7. Empty the trash

It’s so simple that sometimes it’s overlooked. Deleted items go to the recycle bin, but how regularly do you emptying your recycle bin?

yellow crumpled papers

8. Prevent programs launching on startup

A lot of programs start automatically every time you turn on your device. This can eat up resources and slow down everything you do.

On Windows 10, to audit your startup items. Press Ctrl+Shift+Escape to open the Task Manager, then click the “Start-up” tab. You’ll see a list of auto-starting programs, and click on any program and hit the “Disable” button to stop it from launching automatically.

9. Backup your files

After decluttering and sorting digital stuff here and there, you should also remember to regularly back up all the material you don’t wanna lose. Either using an external hard drive or cloud services like Google Drive or Dropbox.

Because that’s what I did to most of my files. I save those that are rarely open but don’t want to completely delete them.

I decided to backup all of my files into Google Drive and an external harddisk. So, when I don’t have an internet connection but still needed the files, I have them saved in the harddisk.

10. Defrag/clean disk

If you haven’t done this at least somewhat regularly, find your computers defrag control and do it today. Depending on the OS, you may need to defrag regularly, or simply schedule an automatic defragging.

On Windows 10, see here

black laptop computer on brown wooden table

Digital decluttering might make you feel overwhelmed. You don’t have to do everything in one go, but rather do it step by step. Pace yourself. Schedule when you feel like the best time to digital declutter your device and set a time limit.

Do you have any digital decluttering tips or ideas?

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