Ditch Digital Clutter

Who says clutter is a problem reserved for physical spaces like the hallway closet or your work desk?

Although it’s not as physically imposing as actual clutter, virtual clutter can wreak havoc on your ability to get things done. Whether it’s the documents that pile up on your desktop or the emails that date back to the last decade, digital clutter makes it harder to interact with the basic functionality of your computer or device or worse, slow it down dramatically. Fortunately, with a few helpful hints, you can get your computer Buttoned Up faster than it takes to download that hysterical video clip everyone at the office is raving about.

Alicia on ‘The Big Clean Up’

‘Whether digital or otherwise, before you tackle any big mess, the question of ‘where to start’ is often a major cause of hesitation and procrastination. This is particularly true for virtual clutter, where the concept of ‘cleaning up your files’ pertains to the desktop, your inbox, and potentially hundreds of other files. Considering that task monolithically is daunting to say the least. But you can overcome that inertia by focusing your attention and energy on one specific area of your computer to get in order. Whether it’s finally deleting or archiving those old emails or getting the multitude of your media downloads in one folder, pick one area and get started. You’ll find once you make some progress on one front, it’s much easier to keep going!’

Sarah on ‘The Desktop Dump’

‘We’re all probably a little guilty of saving at least a few files to the desktop and letting them linger there a bit too long. It’s fast and may even seem like a good idea; after all, who could argue with you that saving to the desktop means that important file will be front and center when you need it? But if you aren’t careful, your desk can quickly become something we like to call the Desktop Dump. One of my colleagues used to save everything to his desktop and was constantly frazzled because he could never remember what he named important presentations or which files were current and which were old. Screaming at his desktop didn’t seem to help locate the files any faster! To keep your computer free from this form of digital clutter, be vigilant about moving files to an appropriate storage folder once the immediate need to access them passes.’

Here are three ideas that should help you tame your digital clutter:

1: Learn to Share
There are bound to be files that people other than you will need access to. Instead of sending never ending attachments or burning spindles of CDs, create a shared folder on everyone’s desktop or set up a remote folder on a site like Xdrive.com that others have permission to access. After you set up the shared folder, simply drag any file in and everyone has instant access.

#2: Out of Sight but Not Out of Mind
Consider purchasing an external hard drive, flash drive or back up device. The extra storage space will let you hold onto any outdated files that you don’t need immediate access to but are too important to toss. While you’re at it, use the external drive as a safety net and back up the contents of your computer. That way you’re prepared for any digital disaster!

#3: Routine Check-Ups
Just like a garden, your computer is more likely to stay neat and healthy if you spend a little time on the ‘weeding out’ process now and again. So to ensure your files and folders stay clutter-free, commit to routine ‘bite sized’ check ups. Try taking five minutes on your lunch break or after the kids are fast asleep to delete old emails and files.