Your tech is probably a mess. Don’t take it personally; mine is, too. Your phone, computer, and cloud storage are likely full of stuff that’s bogging it all down, so let’s figure out exactly what needs to be weeded out and how often you need to do it.
Your phone is the device you use the most each day and it’s jammed full of all the details of your work and personal lives. Give it a break by getting rid of all the things it’s holding onto that it doesn’t need to.
Once a month, declutter these parts of your phone:
- Go through all of your apps and remove any you haven’t used in the past month.
- Look through any subscriptions that come through your phone account and get rid of any you don’t need. For instance, if you subscribed to Tinder Gold once in a moment of date desperation, unsubscribe if you’re not using it anymore. (Here’s a full guide for doing this audit.)
- Open your notes app and delete anything that is no longer useful (like last week’s grocery list). Do the same for expired reminders, whether you keep them in notes or a designated reminders app.
Once every two weeks, do this:
- Go through the past two weeks of pictures and screenshots you’ve taken and delete anything you don’t actually need anymore.
- Open your “deleted photos” folder and permanently delete everything in there.
- Open your “deleted messages” folder and nuke that, too.
Once every week, tackle these:
- Force close all your apps so none of them are running in the background.
- Close all the open tabs in your mobile browser.
Computers get bogged down with browser cookies and extensions, single-use downloads, and files—so many files. Here’s what to get rid of and when to do it.
Every month, declutter these elements of your computer:
- Go through your folders, sort by date added, and delete anything old that you won’t need again.
- Clear your cookies and browser cache.
- Remove any applications you no longer need.
- Get rid of any browser extensions you’re not using, either.
Every week, take these actions:
- Close all the tabs open in your browser (and bookmark anything you actually want to return to).
- Go through those bookmarks and get rid of anything you haven’t looked at since you bookmarked it.
- Clear off your desktop, sorting screenshots, documents, and downloads into folders as necessary and deleting anything you don’t need anymore.
Files that live on your devices are one thing, but online accounts that are accessible across all your tech get cluttered, too. Don’t forget to tackle them as well.
Once every month, take on your online clutter by doing these:
- Close unused accounts, like social media or old utility accounts. (Search your inbox for “welcome” emails to identify some and Google yourself and your go-to username to find others.)
- Unsubscribe from mailing lists and newsletters you haven’t opened in the last month. You can use a Chrome extension to speed this up.
- Archive any emails you’ve gotten over the last month that you haven’t opened or dealt with. If you’re behind on opening emails, use the 4D method to quickly sort and delete them.
- Go through your cloud storage and delete any documents or photos that are no longer necessary to access.