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Digital Spring Clean

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Hi Everyone,

 

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.

 

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Computer

 

 

Programs and Apps

 

Go through all the programs and Apps on your PC or Mac, open them up, take a look around and think

  • Do I need this program
  • How often do I use it, can I easily get it back if I need it.
  • Does it duplicate features of another program I use more often.

 

You will be surprised how much space is taken up on your computer by programs you don’t actually use.

 

 

Desktop

 

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.

 

 

Downloads

 

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.

 

 

Folders

 

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'.

 

 

Cleaning Software

 

You can also clean out your computer such as system junk, iTunes junk and old files using software, I recommend CleanMyMac 3 and CleanMyPC from macpaw.

 

 

External 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.

 

 

Mobile Devices

 

 

Check your storage

 

First of all, let's check our storage, so we can keep track of how much we are saving.

 

  • iOS: Settings > General > About > Available Storage
  • Android: Settings > Storage > Available

 

Apps

 

Go through all the Apps on your phone or tablet, open them up, take a look around and think.

 

  • Do I need this App
  • How often do I use it, can I easily get it back if I need it.
  • Does it duplicate features of another App I use more often.

 

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.

 

 

Home Screen

 

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.

 

 

Online

 

 

Passwords

 

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.

 

 

E-Mails

 

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.

 

 

Finance

 

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. 

 

 

Browsers

 

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'.

 

 

Facebook

 

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.

 

 

Twitter

 

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.

 

 

YouTube

 

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

 

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Carl produces websites, apps and videos. View his latest work at carlrydings.com


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14 Comments
grand master

I clean my phone at least once a monthRobot Happy

Some good advice there @carlryds

prophet

Useful reminder, thanks for posting

mastermind

Interesting and timely blog thanks. My friend who has an IT support company refers to this as Digital housekeeping and encourages customers to keep on top of it.

I ate the FAQ

@carlrydsSmiley Happy  Thank you for a good quality thread but ........

 

You forgot Linux users Smiley Sad

 

Bleachbit is a fantastic option for us as it blazes through old temp files, log files, browser caches, email and so much more, you have to be a bit savy setting it up otherwise it will clean passwords / history / bookmarks etc. but once you know what it's doing it's invaluable.

 

Another gem is fdupes  it will roam through a directory tree from where you tell it to start finding duplicate files, it was originally intended to find duplicate photos where the filename may not be the same, but it works with all files. It's terminal driven but once you know how to use it ( and where not to ) it's amazing how many duplicate files you've built up. I used it on my general photos folder and it took me ages to work through the duplicates there were so many.

 

I'm happy to offer advice on these programmes if it's something that would help.

 

D.

Good read @carlryds and will definitely look into LastPass. I definitely use the same password for lots of stuff!

heavy hitter

Thanks for the prompt, its surprising how much junk can build up.

guide

Good advice. Surprisinf how mucn space you can free up with a little bit of housekeeping.

guide

Thanks for the great advice for Linux users @dtuxcomp!

Most of the advice I gave can apply to Linux, as well as Windows Phone, Blackberry, etc. Smiley Happy

ace of spades

A great blog there @carlryds

With lots of tips on how to do a big cleanup.

I will start mine later on tonight when its not to busy. I may even facebook. As i very rarely go on there now.

Thanks again for the great blog.

Bob