I don’t like clutter. I may not be the best housekeeper, but I don’t like clutter. It makes me feel anxious and chaotic.
I realized this a few years ago after living for years in completely cluttered environments. Once I recognized the chaos and confusion that clutter brought, I took steps to eliminate the physical clutter in my life.
The area that I neglected to be so diligent about, however, was digital clutter.
I had things saved all over the place. Websites were bookmarked, emails were saved…somewhere… and bits and pieces of important information were scattered throughout my computer, phone, and tablet.
I had developed a discipline for clutter in my home, but I needed to address the clutter on my devices.
Does that sound familiar?
If so, here are some handy tips for taming your digital clutter!
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5 Tips to Cut Down on Digital Clutter:
Find a good all-inclusive storage system, and stick with it!
I love Evernote!! It is my favorite storage system. I can organize my folders, tag notes to make them even easier to find, and sync them to all my devices so I can access them anywhere. Evernote has many great features, and I encourage you to look into it if you haven’t already.
(To learn more about why I <3 Evernote and how you can use it to bring order to your chaos, check out my FREE ebook How to Organize Your Entire Life: The Ultimate Answer for a Cluttered Mind.)
I recommend using one system (speaking from experience when I had things scattered all over my computers and the web). However, I do use Google Drive in addition to Evernote for my big ebooks because I don’t want to pay to upgrade Evernote to accommodate the bigger file sizes.
Make use of folders.
- Create folders for your emails and move them out of your inbox as soon as possible. (More on that next.)
- Create a logical folder system on your computer. I try not to have any file just floating around by itself. Every file is in an appropriate folder so that I can find it easily when I need it.
- Evernote is great for this! Have notebooks, but also use tags!! They are searchable. The better you can label things, the easier they will be to find later.
Only touch things once.
Don’t open an email unless you’re ready to do something with it: reply/forward, delete, or save. Then, once you do open it, follow through with that action right then. Don’t put it back in your inbox to deal with it later. If you’re a gmail user, you can even snooze the email until a time that you know will be more convenient. I personally like to take time in the evenings to sort and manage my emails. It’s something productive that needs to be done, but doesn’t require a fresh mind, making it an ideal end of the day activity.
Save only the parts you need.
Follow all links and save the ones you want to read or use later. You can bookmark them in your browser, but I much prefer to clip the articles or screenshots to my Evernote system. Now that you have the part you need, you can throw the rest away!
Be honest with yourself.
What are you realistically going to read or refer to later? Do you need to keep everything? Be as discriminatory with your digital clutter as you are with your physical clutter. (This is totally a “do as I say, not as I do” moment! I’m working on this myself!)
Is digital clutter an issue for you? What do you do to make it more manageable?
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