Digital declutter-Best ways to clean up digital life

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A messy room never gives the kind of satisfaction that a clean room gives. For me, it’s always gratifying to remove unwanted and assemble necessary things. It is sometimes a big relief for many of us when we declutter our digital life as well. Yes, it needs to be clean. A desktop loaded with files–files that you kept to remain in your sight. But, actually, they are still lost in between the other important files. We do this, not everyone, but most of us.

For some, it can be a productivity boost, for some it may not. But, still cleaning up digital life somehow helps in arranging and classifying data for easy access. And that’s what we named, Digital Declutter.

From childhood, we have been donating or dumping unwanted things. Why? Just to keep things clean, to get useful things easily accessed when needed. The same goes for our digital materials. Nobody instructed us to do so. We are probably the first generation learning and acquiring ways to clean digital life as well.

If you have a messy digital life, and you are trying to clean it, so you are at the right place. Let’s talk about the most definite ways and tricks to declutter our digital lives.

Start from:

  • Organizing your desktop.
  • Wiping out unnecessary emails and classifying useful ones.
  • Phone’s gallery: a huge task!
  • Unneeded Apps on phone.
  • Browser tabs that you left open.

Here are some best possible ways that you can do it. Let’s declutter our digital things.

Organizing your Desktop

Desktop is the first place we visit as soon as we open our PC or laptop. And maybe that’s why many of us put ‘must-remember’ things on our desktops. But by repeating the same process the desktop as well becomes difficult to find files easily. Therefore, decluttering a desktop is an important thing. What we can do is, arrange them in order and make separate folders. How? Let’s dig into more detail.

List view

It is sometimes tricky to open each file and see what it is. And if we want to arrange files according to their file type, then it is more convenient to view them in a list. On macOS, open Finder Window or on Windows, open File Explorer. Then, change the view to list. Now it is a bit easy to detect useful and unwanted files.

Create folders

We can’t delete everything on the desktop, blindly. As all that on Desktop is somehow important and that’s why we kept it there. So, you can arrange them in separate folders. Like, if something is in progress, then create a folder ‘in progress’ and put every current thing in it. Similarly, create different folders by naming them related to the work. Such as Work, school, college, personal, documents, etc.

You can also save files according to the year. Like you can create a folder for 2020 and create required subfolders. In this way, without checking multiple folders, you can easily find out the older data as well.


Now, by using the list view, fill the created folders with suitable files. You can view them by the file type, size, date, or last edited. Arrange them as per your ease. But, don’t let the folders be on the desktop. Move the folders to the other folders other than the desktop from where you can access them. Such as the ‘My documents’ or ‘Main Dropbox’ folder.

Clean your Email Inbox

Hundreds of emails are in our inboxes, and we never assembled them, how can we find the required one on time. That’s a different thing if you star marked them, but if you forgot to do so, then what?

Almost every website asks for email, which results in loads of unread newsletters or notifications in our Inbox. It doesn’t end here, there are some other adverts as well. And in between them, there are some useful emails that genuinely need attention.

What if you are selected for a job and unfortunately you didn’t notice?

Use the same method, we used for Desktop. Move emails into folders.

Create folders and move emails

The number of folders you may need depends upon the number of emails you have. You can arrange your emails according to the data. If you have 100 emails, then you can keep them in one or two folders. But, if you have hundreds of emails, then you can create time-based folders. I’ve created folders like ‘Jan 2022’, ‘Feb 2022’ and so forth.


Move emails to their respective folder of months. You don’t need to check every other email, as we aren’t deleting them, we are just sorting them. Moving them in a bulk is time-saving and all your data is safe. After classifying them into respective folders, you can check each folder and delete unwanted emails individually. One more thing, don’t forget to star mark the most important ones.

Here, I have made folders by months, you do what suits you best. But, if you make time-based folders, then you can easily wipe them out after a time.

Be consistent

Now, when you have decluttered your email inbox, the next step is to be consistent. Develop new inbox habits and stay on them. Once a week or 15 days, review your inbox and move new emails to the folders you’ve created.

The goal isn’t to have a perfect inbox, but to have a clean inbox. This will probably help you to find a specific email in less time.

Phone’s Gallery

Removing photos, selecting the bests, or finding an old one is a huge task when our phone’s gallery is loaded with photos and videos. We can’t delete them without looking, as they hold some sweet memories. While, in between them there are a heap of screenshots, that we didn’t even remember we have.

Almost everyone stuck to this. But, by clearing them we can clear up a large space in our phones. Also, finding particular images would become easy.

Let’s see how we can free up space on phone.

  • Move photos to the cloud (OneDrive, Google Drive, etc).
  • Transfer it to your PC by using a cable.
  • Transfer photos to your PC wirelessly.
  • Use a card reader and insert your memory card (not every phone can).
  • Share images to social media accounts or email.

Don’t move every photo to your PC or cloud. Keep those that make you happy or those that you use for profile pictures. Keep a copy of them with you. Also, create separate folders for work or notes. And after filtering all photos and videos, move them from your phone.

Whenever we send or receive media on messaging apps (say WhatsApp), the image remains stored in that chat. So, make sure to delete unimportant media from chats.

Unnecessary apps

‘Digital declutter’ includes cleaning unnecessary apps on phone. You might also have some apps that you’ve installed sometime and you think you’ll use them one day. Or maybe, there are apps you used once and now they are useless. So, such apps need to be clean.

By removing them you can probably free up more space. Also, you’ll get a clear phone that is free of useless apps. The other benefit of removing unnecessary apps, you can get rid of unwanted notifications (if you haven’t disabled them).

But, before removing apps, just create a backup. Although the data remain on the cloud and can be accessed when you reinstall the app. Still, it will help you to restore the app and the data inside as well.

Remove unnecessary apps

Start from the last screen. It mostly contains less used apps. When you hold the app on screen, you can remove it just from the screen or can remove it completely. If you remove it from the screen, then you’ll still be able to access them from the app’s library. And if you uninstall them, then they would be erased from your phone, if needed in future you need to reinstall them.

Remove apps that are of no use or you can also zip apps that you might need some time.

IOS has an option to offload apps when not used frequently. It will automatically offload such apps by analysing your running apps’ data. Turn it on by going to Settings > General > iPhone Storage > Offload Unused Apps. Learn more about clearing system storage on an iPhone.

Close your browser tabs

Do you leave tabs open, by thinking of reading the article sometime later? and that ‘later’ never happens.

I personally did this. I used to keep tabs open and forgot completely about them. The main problem with tab hoarding is the cache. Opened tabs prevent us to clean cache, but they need to be clear from time to time.

You can arrange your browser tabs in many ways. One of them is to Bookmark them. Bookmark every tab and close them entirely.

Microsoft Edge has a collections feature. With this feature, you can group bookmark pages and access the URLs when needed. In this way, you can close all the tabs and remove the caches from your browser.

Fresh start

Only a few people have good habits when it’s to cleaning digital things. ‘Digital declutter’ is important and somehow helps in increasing productivity. You just need to develop such habits that will help you in arranging previous and new data for easy access. As we clean our rooms and wardrobes, we must also keep our digital material like desktops, phones, email, inboxes and browsers clean.

We hope this article was helpful. If it was, then let us know in the comments down below. Also, if you are interested in similar articles. Here are a few recommendations for you.

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