3 Quick Ways to Declutter Your Digital Life

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I LOVE organizing, decluttering, and simplifying. I especially love bringing order to my digital life since it sometimes gets forgotten about in the constant day-to-day use of computers, phones, and the internet. Today I have three tips to help combat the most common sources of digital clutter!

Clean up your browser bookmarks

If you’re like me, your bookmarks bar in your internet browser probably can get a little scary with everything you save that you think you’ll come back to at some point. The truth (at least for me) is: despite my good intentions, most of those saved web pages become obsolete and are never clicked on again.

The other day I quickly went through everything in my bookmarks bar and deleted everything that was outdated or that I knew I didn’t need anymore. Then I went through all the other pages I might want access to at some point (the online cooking school I have good intentions to try, the page full of beautiful free desktop wallpapers, the info on travel hacks) and dragged them from the bookmarks bar to my bookmarks menu which hides in Safari’s menu rather than out in the open. That way, I have the info if/when I need it, but it’s hidden away where I can’t see the mess and clutter.

Now my bookmarks bar has ONLY the links I use daily and weekly: bookmarks to my business pages (nicely confined to two dropdown folders), and bookmarks associated with my current work projects. Ahhhhhh, simplicity!

Use Evernote for storing and referencing stuff you want to keep

I am always taking screenshots, copying/pasting bits of text or links, and saving images of things I want to remember or reference later. Sometimes I let them pile up on my computer desktop until it gets ridiculous and they have to be dealt with. Enter: Evernote.

I use Evernote for evvvvverything, but one of it’s best and easiest uses is to store all those links, photos, recipes, articles, tips, and screenshots in one easily searchable place. I just drag all those little desktop icons over to Evernote and it’s done!

Ideally, I try to remember to immediately put things into Evernote as I find them, rather than letting them build up as clutter on my desktop. A great article you want to save can be clipped straight from your browser to Evernote, emails can be forwarded to Evernote, photos can be taken directly in Evernote from your phone, etc. If it’s not clear yet… I love this program.

Clear out your email inbox in 30 seconds

Are you one of the many people with hundreds or maybe even thousands of emails clogging up your inbox? I have lots of tips for simplifying your email life, but my biggest tip? Just get rid of it ALL. Sounds extreme, but I recommend moving every one of those emails to a new folder (“Pre-July 2015” for example) and starting your inbox fresh.*

Hold on to the important ones from the last couple weeks, but I bet everything else is either non-essential or you weren’t ever going to get to it anyway as it became more and more buried by new incoming messages. Plus you can always go back and search through that folder if/when you need something specific.

The most important part of this strategy: treat your new, clean inbox right from the start and don’t let it get back to its previous state!

*If you use Gmail and want a quick way to select ALL the emails in your inbox instead of one page at a time, try this: Type the following into the search bar: in: label:inbox. Check the box in the upper left corner to select all, then you’ll see a yellow notification option to “Select all conversations that match this search.” That will allow you to select ALL the hundreds/thousands of messages matching your search criteria at once rather than just 50 at a time.

And that’s it! Three easy, quick things that will help you keep the digital clutter at bay.

One last thing (and I have to remind myself of this often): it’s okay if things don’t stay clean and clutter-free forever, or even for very long. I always have good intentions to keep my desktop clean and my email inbox empty, but life happens and stuff piles up. When you realize you’ve let things get out of hand, just take two minutes and implement one or two of these quick tips to get things back into shape. Before you know it, you’ll be back to enjoying simplicity and organization!

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Kristin Brown

KRISTIN BROWN STARTED PHOTOGRAPHING WEDDINGS AND PORTRAITS IN 2008 AND FELL IN LOVE WITH BUSINESS ALONG THE WAY.

She began offering studio management services, workshops, and consulting in early 2013 and loves teaching and talking about business. She lives in Los Angeles, California with her husband and cat and loves reading, writing, and the ocean. She believes in living simply, making meaningful connections, and baking lots of cookies.