Tips for Decluttering Your Digital Space Before the New Year

Often as the year comes to a close, Goodwill invites you to clear out your space and donate the stuff you no longer need to help people in your community. When you have a clean and clear home upon entering the new year, it can help you start off on the right foot. There’s nothing like an organized abode to help you feel relaxed, stress-free and calm.

With our ever-increasing usage of technology, however, our “spaces”  now expand into the digital sphere. Our brains are constantly operating in a self-curated world of the internet through email, social media, apps and more. That’s why, this year, we are focusing on the environment behind the phone or computer screen. A decluttered work email inbox or personal phone photo collection can contribute to improved mental health and productivity.

To help you get started, here are some tips to guide you through the digital decluttering process:

1. Prioritize your most-used digital spaces. 

It can be overwhelming when diving into your phone, for example, on a decluttering mission. If you have no idea where to begin, we recommend, at the very least, listing all of the places where you spend the most of your tech time. From there, you can start organizing and deleting. Spots that might need your attention include:

  • Phone photo collection
  • Email inboxes: Both personal and work
  • Phone apps
  • Text message inbox
  • Missed and received call logs
  • Voicemail inbox

2. Help meet your goals by refreshing your work email inbox.

Did you set some new work-related goals for the new year? If so, organizing your work email might help you achieve your desires and set you on the right path to success. Giving some attention to this space will help you sort important information and track current projects more easily. Here are some tips for maintaining your inbox:

  • Manage unread emails: If you’re like me, you have some unread emails sitting in your inbox from newsletters that you were mysteriously added to. Now’s the time to delete/read all of those notes and unsubscribe from any unwanted communications.
  • Clear out your drafts: A drafts folder is like that bin of incomplete craft projects in your closet. The drafts might have just been a place to take notes for future inspiration or letters that never saw the light of day — almost like a DIY t-shirt creation that you never wore out in public because the design wasn’t to your liking. Go through this folder and remove what’s outdated. You might even find some emails that you didn’t realize were not sent and you can follow up!
  • Refresh your email signature: Take a look and make sure that it includes your correct phone numbers and title.

3. Don’t sleep on social media.

Once you’ve organized the space on your phone or computer, it’s time to give your social media accounts some attention. You can do this by:

  • Clearing messages in your social media message inboxes.
  • Deleting and/or archiving posts and photos.
  • Editing and revising profile information.
  • Revisiting privacy settings on all accounts.

These reminders just cover the tip of the iceberg. Check out these articles for further inspiration:

Did you know that digital decluttering can affect your donation practices too? Before donating items like computers and phones to Goodwill, make sure that you delete all personal data. This will ensure that your personal, private information will not be comprised and ensure one less worry as you clear out your space for the new year.

This post originally appeared in Goodwill of Greater Washington’s Working Capital blog. Read more.