It may not feel like it in much of the country, but spring is right around the corner. Walking down the aisles of Target lined with Mrs. Meyers cleaning products and plastic organization tubs of varying sizes, many of us start daydreaming about the good old fashioned ritual of spring cleaning. Spending a weekend or two organizing our closets, KonMari-ing our bookshelves, and scrubbing out our junk drawers begins to sound dreamy. We especially love to envision that exhale we’ll take in April after our stuff has been cleaned out.
But what about our online lives?
We spend so much of our time online. Most Americans spend almost 24 hours a week online—that’s an entire day. We’re spending enormous chunks of time in front of our laptops and smartphones. So if we’re going to be decluttering our lives, we should also consider a season of digital declutter.
Here are seven steps to digital decluttering to make your online spaces feel as fresh as your home.
01. Organize your desktop.
Please tell me I’m not the only one who saves a ridiculous amount of things to my desktop! It can often be the easiest place to find things, but before I know it, my entire desktop is cluttered with random photos and documents. Organize things so you can find them easily and trash what can be trashed. Then, make sure your wallpaper is something that “sparks joy”, KonMari style. That way, every time you open the computer you aren’t smacked in the face with a thousand things but instead are met with a feeling of peace.
02. Weed out who you follow on Instagram.
Do you follow accounts on the app that make you feel less-than, anxious, or unhappy? It’s time to clean out your follow list and to make sure it’s a place of inspiration. Stop following any accounts that don’t bring you peace or no longer interest you. (Instagram also has a mute feature if you don’t want to hurt any feelings!) By having a smaller, yet more intentional follow list, you’ll be able to make sure your time spent on Instagram is time well spent.
03. Clean up your email signature.
Make sure your email signature is up-to-date with your proper title and contact information. As times and titles change, it can be a nitpicky thing to keep up with. If you don’t have a signature, consider making one—it will save you only a second per email, but those seconds will add up over time!
04. Back up photos from your phone.
Do you have an endless scroll of pictures on your phone and no way of storing them? Make sure everything is backed up to the cloud or an external hard drive before doing a deep-clean of your camera roll. That way, you’ll open up space for new memories while making sure old ones are kept safe. There’s nothing worse than attempting to take a photo during an important moment and having your phone tell you you’re out of room.
05. Check your social media privacy settings.
Sometimes when platforms make changes, privacy settings can be affected. An app like Facebook is constantly tweaking things, which can sometimes affect who’s seeing what you post. Go through the privacy settings of your various social media accounts and make sure they’re in line with what you want them to be.
06. Get off email lists that aren’t bringing you value.
Sites like Unroll.me allow you to quickly take your email address off of a variety of lists. Every time you make an online purchase, you’re likely added to that store’s email list, and you’ll soon find yourself with an incredibly clogged inbox. Taking the time to go through your various subscriptions and cancel the ones that aren’t serving you will bring you peace of mind in the long run. We all have plenty of emails to read; we don’t need any that aren’t bringing us value taking up space in our inboxes.
07. Track your time online.
Sometimes, the easiest way to clean a space is to consume less content. There are plenty of apps and settings that allow you to track your online time. iPhone offers their Screen Time App and Android offers Android P. You may be shocked by how many hours you’re spending in your scroll. Set a goal of how much time you want to spend online per week and track your time diligently. It will be a way of not just decluttering your digital spaces, but decluttering your mind.
Clearing up your digital spaces will feel like a breath of fresh air. Consider blocking off an afternoon and making sure your online life gets a spring cleaning and a new coat of paint!