4 Tips for Decluttering your Digital Life

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For many people, cleaning and re-organizing is one way to kick off a new year. We clean closets, purge old toys, file paperwork and try to gain some control over the havoc that the holidays typically wreak on a home. But one area that often gets overlooked? Your digital life. Too many emails, Facebook notifications and text messages can overwhelm even the most organized of people. Let’s look at some ways that you can de-clutter your digital life and make it simpler and easier to manage.

1.) Purge Your Contact Lists

Think about all of the contact lists you maintain: email addresses, phone numbers, Facebook friends, Pinterest followers – the list can go on. If you don’t carefully manage and edit these lists, they can get unwieldy and overwhelming in a hurry.

Dedicate 30 minutes this week to each of your digital accounts. Cull through your contacts and delete those that aren’t going to be used again. Pare down your Facebook friends if your news feed’s gotten too hard to follow (tread lightly here, feelings do get hurt!).  You can also check out an app like Smartr to better manage and organize your contacts across all of your devices.

2.) Unsubscribe to Unwanted Emails

Is your inbox overloaded with unimportant emails? There are several ways to get your inbox back under control. We shared a service with you a few months back called Unroll.me, which helps you not only unsubscribe to unwanted emails, but rolls up the less important emails you get every day into one daily digest. Swizzle and Unlistr offer similar types of services.

Alternatively, you can use tools like Gmail’s Priority Inbox or the iPhone’s VIP feature to make sure that important emails get your attention before the marketing noise does. Or, check out the Direct Marketing Association (DMA)’s website for instructions on how to be removed from national email marketing lists.

If you don’t want to use an unsubscribe service, you can also simply get in the habit of manually unsubscribing to emails you no longer want to receive the minute they show up in your inbox. It’s time consuming, but does the trick!

3.) Update and Streamline Apps

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Don’t forget to de-clutter your smartphone, too! First, look at all the apps on your phone and get rid of the ones you don’t use. Make sure all of your frequently used apps are updated to their latest version. Then, think about how you can organize the apps on your phone into folders so they’re easy to find and use. If you let your kids play games on your phone, put all of their apps into one folder so they’re out of your way. I have my apps organized into folders such as Photography, Financial, Social Media,

4.) Prioritize Your Digital Accounts

Now is also a good time to take a long, hard look at what digital accounts you’re still using and delete the ones you are no longer actively involved with. If you have four email accounts, try paring down to one or two. If you joined every latest and greatest social network this past year, cancel accounts for ones you haven’t visited since you first signed up.

Following these simple steps can really help you streamline your digital activity and make it more productive and efficient.

What tools or tips do you use to de-clutter your digital accounts?

Photo Credit: Flickr [KDonovan_Gaddy]

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4 Tips for Decluttering your Digital Life

Gigi Ross is a wife, mom of two, fumbling foodie, social media geek, Jason Mraz groupie, reality TV show addict, tech lover, freelance writer and wine drinker - not necessarily in that order. Gigi has been involved in all things internet since 1997 - from running e-commerce sites for Fortune 500 companies, to starting parenting forums, to writing her personal blog - if it's online, Gigi wants to know about it! Gigi's personal blog is KludgyMom, a snappish take on parenting, pop culture, techn ... More

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4 comments

  1. Lynette says:

    I have been doing this for a long time and it helps alot

  2. Jeanetta says:

    I need to do this…

  3. I just kept making new email accounts. But I’ll certainly attempt to de-clutter now.

  4. Great advice as usual! I spent a while today deleting several THOUSAND messages from my mom’s email. I spent time unsubscribing her so that they won’t pile up again. I’ll have to check out the services you mentioned!

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