The other day, I was going through the photos on my laptop looking for one of my niece to post on Facebook for her birthday. As I scanned my photo library, I was stunned to see how many pictures I have that were crappy or of people who were no longer in my life. So I had myself a little deleting party.
It’s interesting to think of — if your digital life represents who you are today. This type of clutter, while not in your face like physical stuff, still has a strong energetic pull.
Whether contacts in your phone, emails in your inbox, or Facebook pages you follow, each time you scroll by or quickly scan them, they’re settling into your subconscious. Since that’s the place where you want to plant only the best seeds to support your life’s vision, it’s worth spending some time clearing out the old so you can welcome in the new.
Here are some tips to help you tame your digital clutter. Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list, but it’s a good start.
*Note: I work on Apple products so some steps are iOS-specific, however, I’m sure your system, if different, has similar features.
Chances are you have thousands of photos on your phone and computer. The sheer number can be intimidating, however, the digital capture of people, events, and places hold a lot of energy so clearing out any that you don’t love to look at is worth the time.
Here are a couple ways to make this task easier:
- Start with a quick visual scan and delete the obvious ones that jump out at you — pictures you don’t like, duplicates, etc.
- Sort your library oldest to newest to make it easier to review photos by the chapters or major events in your life.
- If there’s a particular person you’d like to eradicate from your photos, use the “People” feature in Photos (on a Mac), confirm any additional photos of that person, and delete them all together.
- To delete many photos in a row at once, click the first photo, hold down the “Shift” key on your keyboard, and then click the last photo. That should highlight all the ones in between. A quick press of the “Delete” key, and you can say goodbye. To delete random photos not in a row, click one, then hold down the “Command” key (Mac) or “Control” key (Windows) and click all others you want to delete, then press “Delete.”
Most people don’t use (or don’t even know about) their email programs’ features even though they can make your life a lot easier. Here are several options to pick from to get started on managing digital correspondence:
- If you currently have a Comcast, Verizon, hotmail, or aol email address, it’s time for an update. I recommend getting a Gmail or Yahoo account for a couple reasons: should you choose to change internet service providers (such as Verizon or Comcast), you won’t have to change email addresses, and they offer better sorting and filing capabilities than the others.
- Consider using a few different email accounts instead of just one. Yes, I know this sounds counterintuitive to the idea of streamlining, but this is a nice tech-novice alternative to filters. You can have one address for online purchases, another for subscriptions, and another for personal correspondence.
- If you’d prefer to have just one or two addresses, then I recommend spending some time learning how to use filters in your chosen email provider or program. These are rules you set up to tell your email system where to file messages as they arrive. For example, you can set any emails from Kerri Richardson to be automatically filed into a “high priority reading” folder. 😉
- Don’t be afraid to delete, delete, delete. If you’ve been saving emails to read or check out “some day” but it’s been months or even years, it’s time to say goodbye. Like your photos, sort your emails from oldest to newest and you’ll be trashing messages in no time. Trust me, that delete is gonna feel good!
- Then, schedule some Pomodoro rounds in your calendar to handle emails that need your attention.
- Finally, to unsubscribe to many emails at once, check out unroll.me.
It’s so easy to download apps that you likely do it much more often than you realize. These little suckers can take up a lot of space and with phone storage being at a premium, it’s a good idea to review your inventory now and then. Here are some steps you can take to pare down:
- Start with a simple review of the current apps on your phone, tablet, or computer and delete any you never or hardly ever use.
- Next, consider grouping like apps. For instance, on my phone I have app folders for business, health, photography, shopping, and travel and within each folder are relevant apps. This helps me to quickly find regularly-used apps instead of scrolling through pages of icons. I also put the most-used apps and app folders on my home page and those I use less frequently on the last page.
- If you’re running low on storage, you can quickly find out which apps take up the most space on your device by going to Settings > General > Storage. You’ll see a list of apps, their size, and the date of the last time you accessed them. (Android settings may differ.)
- If you tend to get easily distracted by social media, online shopping, or games, you might want to move those apps off your home page. Bury them on page three or four and fill page one with life-enhancing apps such as ones meant for productivity or improved health.
I don’t know about you, but when I shuffle play my music library, I find I skip songs more than I listen to them. That tells me it’s time for a purge. I’d rather spend more time enjoying my music than searching for songs I still like.
- Similar to photos, look for the obvious choices to delete first. These might be tracks that were free so you grabbed them but don’t listen to or songs that you loved at one time but no longer do.
- Create playlists for your favorites so you can easily enjoy them without having to hunt. I have playlists titled, “Road Trip,” “Dinner Mix,” “Workout,” and “Christmas,” to name a few.
- Look to see when you last played a song. That will tell you how much you enjoy it, or it will be a nice surprise to be reminded of an old favorite so you can put it into your current rotation.
At the beginning of the year, I did a Facebook clean out and it felt good! I unfriended connections that were no longer relevant and I “unliked” a bunch of pages. Like my photos, I was shocked to see how many Facebook pages I was following that I didn’t care about at all. Now when I sign onto my news feed, I’m inspired and encouraged by what I see.
If you’re someone who spends a good amount of time on the social media platform, do a review of your connections to see if they’re aligned with where you’re heading in life and who you want to be.
- Head to your Facebook profile page and click “Friends.” Then scan through the names and pay attention to how your body feels as you scan each one. Are you happy to know what’s going on in their lives? Do you want them to know what’s going on in yours? Any that don’t add value to your life, click on the “Friends” box next to their picture and click to unfriend. Don’t worry, no one will be notified that you’ve done it!
- Next, go to your news feed by clicking “Home” at the top of the screen. Then, in the left margin, click “Pages.” At the top of that screen, click “Liked Pages,” and you’ll see a list of all of the ones you’re following. Unlike any whose time is up.
Evaluating your digital clutter is less about decreasing the number of items and more about evaluating if your digital life is aligned with your soul, values, and vision. You’ll feel a difference in your energy when you tidy up this area and you’ll plant healthier seeds.