De-clutter Your Digital Life Marie Kondo Style

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Clearing out your clutter is all the rage these days thanks to Marie Kondo’ Tidying Up on Netflix. If you have been living under a rock, Marie Kondo is a master organizer and serial purger (like myself) who has been helping millions reclaim their time and space in their homes by minimizing the clutter.

I am very much a fan of decluttering and minimizing. Please don’t get the impression that my house is spotless, however. I have kids – nothing is safe from messes, but I don’t have tons of excess crap we will never use/wear/look at again. 

There are some things that I do to save myself time and sanity that Marie Kondo hasn’t mentioned yet – and this might be the most important de-cluttering you will do all year! 

Digital De-cluttering

Many of us use the internet, digital devices, smart phones, tablets etc. daily. Some even work in the digital realm and keeping your organization in “a cloud” can be more difficult to do sometimes. I keep several calendars to keep me on track – two paper and one digital catch all that syncs to my email. 

The could is whole other level of mess that I tackle at least once a year

This is a short list of the digital de-cluttering that you should undertake today to save yourself time, bring yourself joy and set your new year off on the right foot. 

Empty Your Inbox

I have, at one point last year, seen “inbox ZERO”. It was a beautiful and fleeting moment in time where I felt like I had conquered the world. I have my email notifications turned off because shit do I ever get a ton of emails. So many, in fact, that I will tell you an embarrassing secret. I make money from partnering with brands, and while my email inbox was cluttered I missed a $700 opportunity. All because I didn’t clear my messages. I was pretty pissed when I discovered this two weeks later. 

There is no need to just pass over those emails from the grocery store, vet clinic, that one website with the killer deals just to leave it sit in your inbox to take up space. Emails can rot. No one likes a rotten inbox, so do yourself a time saving favor and spend 5 or ten minutes at a time to tidy up your email. 

1. Unsubscribe

Before you go through your mail box, select all and delete you should make sure that the mess doesn’t reappear on the next refresh. Take some time to open those emails for subscriptions that you usually delete without a thought and unsubscribe! 

Scrolling past those emails not only takes your precious time, but you could miss something important in the pile! 

2. Organize Your Folders 

I really like using folders in Gmail because you select mail from specific addresses to go directly to those folders. It’s pretty awesome and if used well, can keep you very organized. 

You should start by going through your inbox and selecting the emails you need and transferring them into folders. This will help when it comes time to delete all the unwanted junk, you can just select all and [poof].

You also need to delete unused folders. I am guilty of having folders from past projects still lingering that I no longer need. If this sounds like you – trash them. Digital hoarding is just as bad. 

3. Delete 

Now that you have unsubscribed from all the unnecessary emails, filtered your important emails to their new folders and are ready for the final countdown – make it to ZERO! Just delete – and don’t look back. If you are like me and have emails that have been lingering in the inbox for MONTHS without any use – they are just taking up space and time. Bye-Bye. 

Bonus Email Tip 

Update your email signature. Create a custom HTML signature that shows off your smiling face and includes all your pertinent info in a compact and clickable way. Try Wisestamp or HubSpot to make an great one!

Clear your Gallery

For real though. If you have kids then I am sure you have at least 15984 repetitive close-up nostril selfies. Maybe you even have 17 different shots of that one time your kid went down the slide without crying or 50 of the same shot in a different filter just in case. You don’t need to hold on to those forever. Especially not in the digital age. If you are so attached to the 25 shots of a flower that you took 2 years ago, upload it to the cloud and make some space on your device for new memories. 

You have already posted the best-of-the-best shots to Instagram and printed them for Grandma. Keep the best ONE and delete the rest. Besides, it is easier to find the perfect picture of your kiddos at the zoo to show off in the pick-up line if you don’t have to scroll through a mess of pictures that you don’t need. 

Clear Your Cloud

I love the cloud. I love my Dropbox. I upload and backup everything. Everything is a lot.

The same thing that happens in my inbox and gallery happens, inadvertently, in my Dropbox. I do have everything organized in its own folder, but much like my email box, I tend to hold onto outdated and unused folders. 

Those things are doing you and I no good. Even if you have unlimited space in the cloud for eternity, don’t use it as a catch all. Simply moving things around from place to place is not tidying up anything.

Take Marie Kondo’s advice and ask yourself, do you love it? Have you used it recently? Does it have a purpose in your future? If not, delete it.

You can easily shorten the list of folders you have to scroll through each time you are looking for something by tossing the clutter right out the digital window. 

Clear Your Desktop 

Out of sheer laziness on my part, when I am working on a project I just save to my desktop so that I can easily jump back into it without having to open files. First world problems, I know. 

After a few weeks, months, or nearly a year – my desktop on my computer looks like a friggin’ cluster. Yours might too. Click, drag and delete. You know it is all saved in documents as well. Just do it. 

Clear Downloads 

I am an avid Android user and upgraded to the Samsung Galaxy S9+ as soon as it appeared. I love it. It has incredible speed and memory and I can do so many things on it, sometimes I don’t even have to open my laptop. I download all kinds of files to my phone, sync them to Dropbox and then pull them up on my laptop later when I need them. I forget about the downloaded files on my phone. Don’t let them stick around. 

You can save them, upload them to your cloud or delete the unused stuff, but hanging on the digital clutter is just slowing you down physically and virtually. 

Digital cleaning is incredibly satisfying. Just as satisfying and life changing as tidying up your home with Marie Kondo. Clearing out the digital dust will help you move forward, start fresh and keep your productivity in high gear. 

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