I don’t know about you, but digital clutter feels just as overwhelming as physical clutter in my world. This is why I’ve created the free Declutter Your Tech Checklist to start your year off right. There are so many different components of your digital life that need some love, and I promise you that you will feel so much more focused, prepared, and organized once you tackle these tasks!
One important thing I want to note when it comes to decluttering successfully: simplicity is key. It is easy to become hyper-organized with a ton of folders within folders, color codes, etc. However, when you create something super complex, it becomes difficult to keep up with. Our goal here is to create something that will fit into your daily routine and workflow, not something that feels overwhelming and frustrating!
First up – let’s talk about decluttering your computer files!
Important note: it is always recommended that you back up your computer regularly, but it’s especially important to back up before you start purging your files!
Step 1: Decide Your Folder Structure
Start off your decluttering adventure by creating folders for each category you would like to have. Maybe this includes “Personal”, “Business Documents”, “Branding”, etc. This will definitely adjust as you go, but it does help to start off with some basic folders. Remember: simplicity is key here. Try to keep these folders as general as possible. Sometimes when you have too many folders within the folders it’s harder to keep them under control. You want it to be easy enough to use on a daily basis!
Also, this is when you want to decide where you will be storing your files. Will they be in your documents folder? Or will you be using something like Dropbox or Google Drive?
Step 2: Clean Off That Desktop
Next, let’s focus on that desktop! Not only will cleaning off your desktop give you some instant satisfaction, but it also has many technical benefits! Not only will it help speed up your computer, but it is also good practice from a backing up standpoint. Some software back ups do not include the desktop in their back ups by default, which could be super problematic if your computer were to crash. Regardless of the reason, having a clear and organized desktop will help you focus at the task at hand. Try your best to keep your desktop to a minimum and make sure things are “put away”!
Step 3: Set at New Wallpaper
Piggybacking off of step #2, set a new wallpaper for your freshly cleaned desktop! I always opt for something very simple or something that makes me smile (like a picture of my daughter!). If you are a business owner, try creating a simple wallpaper using your logo. Seeing my logo on my desktop is always a good way to feel #LikeABoss! 🙂
Step 4: Tackle Your Downloads Folder
When was the last time you cleaned out your downloads folder? Never? Yeah me neither.
With the Internet at our fingertips it’s probably very likely that you download multiple things each day. Those downloads pop into your downloads folder, and that’s typically where you open them…. and then forget about them. Spend some time going through this folder, purging the things you no longer need, and sorting the items you do want to keep into their forever home.
Step 5: Move on to Documents
Next up, let’s tackle your documents folder. Depending on if you use a cloud storage solution like Dropbox, this folder may be very empty or very full. For me, this folder is very empty because I store all of my documents in Dropbox. However, I do like to go through my documents folder and make sure that something didn’t end up there that didn’t belong. If this is where you primarily store your documents, clean things up and sort them into the folders that you created earlier. That is also a good time to rename the files if you want to take that extra step! If you do rename them, give them names that would help you if you were to search for them. For example,”Blog02-copy.pdf” is very different than “Blog-Declutter-Computer-Files.pdf”!
Step 6: Dropbox/Google Drive/Etc
Next, tackle any cloud document folders that you may have. Like I mentioned earlier, I store all of my documents in Dropbox, so this is where the bulk of my work will take place. Purge, sort, rename, repeat.
Tip: if you have a TON of files and this is all super overwhelming, create an empty folder and name it “CLEAN UP” and drag all of your files there. Then, pull about 10 files out at a time, sort them, and then repeat! Chip away at it little by little!
Step 7: Empty Trash
Throughout this process, don’t forget to empty your trash. Don’t forget though, this tends to be a permanent step. This is another reason why I always recommend doing a backup of your computer before moving forward with any type of purging!
Whew! Are we having fun yet? Congratulations for completing part 1 of your tech declutter. Now let’s move on to fixing up your digital calendar!