It’s that time of year again, it's time for a spring clean, pop-on those marigolds and wash down those Windows... and Mac’s. That's right, today we are talking about a digital spring clean, the aim of this blog post is to remind you of all the technology that needs a spring clean from time to time.
Below, I have listed the majority of technology products and services people use every day and what you can do to tidy them up. As I was putting this blog post together, I did all of these things I recommend and to be honest I feel like a weight's been lifted off my shoulders now. I cleared around 40GB from my computer and 20GB from my phone. I now know all my technology is clean, tidy and the files or programs I need are now easier to find, just like you do when you clean and organise your home from top to bottom.
Programs and Apps
Go through all the programs and Apps on your PC or Mac, open them up, take a look around and think
You will be surprised how much space is taken up on your computer by programs you don’t actually use.
To keep your computer looking tidy, I personally don't recommend saving anything on the desktop. Including, shortcuts to programs, as that's what the Taskbar (Windows) and Dock (Mac) are for. Keep all files in properly named and organised folders in Finder (Mac) or My Documents (Windows). Your desktop looks a lot cleaner that way and you can see your lovely wallpaper properly.
In the past my downloads folder has gotten out of hand, I recommend, when you download something, move it to a properly named and organised folders in Finder (Mac) or My Documents (Windows) if you need to keep it for a long time or if it's just an installer you don't need anymore, after the program is installed, delete the installer download file strange away, don't let them build up.
Once you have cleared out everything you don’t need, my next recommendation is to organise everything properly, put all your files and documents into folders and make the folder names make sense for the content inside them.
Photos and Video
Next, go through all the pictures and videos on your computer and see which ones you can delete. You can also use services like Dropbox, Google Photo or iCloud Photo Library to back them up to the cloud.
On a Mac, you can set iCloud to only download the high-resolution version of the photo when you click on it, saving more space on your Mac. You can do this by going to Photos > Preferences > iCloud and set it to 'Optimise Mac Storage'.
Don't forget to go through all your pen drives and external hard drives and delete anything you don't need anymore and organise the rest of the data into properly named and organized folders, just like you did with your computer.
Check your storage
First of all, let's check our storage, so we can keep track of how much we are saving.
Go through all the Apps on your phone or tablet, open them up, take a look around and think.
You will be surprised how much space is taken up by Apps you don’t use, this is even more important on a mobile device as they tend to have much less storage than a PC or Mac.
Once you have cleared out the Apps you don’t need, my next recommendation is to organise them properly, put them into folders! Make the folders make sense, put all your social media apps together, put all your productivity apps together. My rule on my iPhone is, I want everything on at most two pages, when I download a new app it has to go in a folder immediately. Also, prioritize your most used apps (and folders) for the first screen.
Photos and Video
Go through your entire camera roll and see which photos you can delete. You can also use services like Dropbox, Google Photo or iCloud Photo Library to back them up to the cloud. You can also move them from your device onto your PC or Mac and then delete them from your phone or tablet.
I've talked about this before. However, it is very relevant here as well. Use a service such as LastPass (see my blog post here) to organise your passwords, this will also allow you to have better passwords and most importantly, a different password for every website, to help protect you if a website has a password breach.
This is going to be difficult for those of you who have loads of unread emails and spam. However, organising old emails that you need to keep into folders and delete the emails you don't need anymore will help you reach inbox zero and that is an amazing feeling. If you keep on top of it, you'll never be intimidated by your email inbox again.
Also, consider a three email address system, one for ‘throw away’ emails like newsletters, one for your more important login and shopping emails from websites such as Amazon, eBay, etc and finally one for your friends and family.
Your digital finances also need a spring clean, There are so many services we pay for but do we actually use them? The prices of these services may be low, but a few of them together can add up. Think about how much you actually use services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple Music, Spotify, iCloud Storage, Dropbox Storage, Adobe Software, Tinder Pro, FitStar, etc.
Just like a lot of things on this list, let's clear out the data we don't need. First, clear out history and cookies to free up space on your computer. Next, go through your bookmarks and decide which ones you need and which you don't and again organise them into properly named folders for easy access. For example, put websites like Netflix, Amazon Video, BBC iPlayer, All4, ITV Hub, etc in a 'Video' folder. You could also have folders for things like 'Shopping', 'News' and 'Social Media'.
I would recommend going through the information you have in the 'About' section of your Facebook account and deciding what you want to be in there, what's public and what is only viewable to your friends. Also, go through your posts, the pages you like, photos, videos and delete anything you don't want to be on there anymore.
This one is a bit controversial. However, if you wish you can go through your friend's list and unfriend anyone from previous jobs, old friends from school or people you haven't talked to in a long long time and just keep Facebook for your nearest and dearest.
This is less controversial on Twitter, go through the people you follow and unfollow anyone you don't need to follow anymore. Also, go through your tweets and delete anything you wouldn't want a future employer (for example) to see. Again, as with Facebook go through the information you have in your Bio and decide what you want to be in there.
Go though the people you are subscribed to and check if you still into their video content and unsubscribe from anyone you don't want to watch anymore. Also, go through your own videos and set any your don't want to be seen anymore to ‘Private’ (or you can delete it altogether if you wish).
Other social media
The advice above also applied to Linked IN, Snapchat, Tumbler, Instagram, etc, etc.
I would also recommend having the same usernames (but not passwords!), profile pictures and background images across all your social media accounts, to make your online presence more consistent, especially if like me you use social media to promote your freelance content.
I have put together a quick checklist for you to download and print off, you can download it here.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post, let me know in the comments how much space you managed to clear on your computers, phones and tablets. Also, let me know if I have missed any products or services you think need a spring clean.
Thanks for reading,
Carl produces websites, apps and videos. View his latest work at carlrydings.com
You must be a registered user to add a comment here. If you've already registered, please log in. If you haven't registered yet, please register and log in.