3 Tips to Declutter Your Digital Life in 5 Minutes or Less

published May 7, 2014
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Elizabeth Giorgi)

I read a remarkable statistic the other day: When Benjamin Franklin died, he had over 70,000 pages of documents in his home. Today, you and I can easily carry around that much data on our smartphones. Admittedly, our data probably isn’t anywhere near as brilliant, but the ease of storing this information means we accumulate far more digital clutter than we need.

If you’ve got five minutes and would like to reduce the amount of digital clutter in your life, try these quick tricks:

(Image credit: Elizabeth Giorgi)

1. Delete Unused Apps: It’s ridiculously easy to figure out what applications you’re not using on your computer. On a Mac, simply organize Applications by date last opened and whatever is on the bottom is used the least. On a PC, simply check the application info to see when you last used the application, if at all.

(Image credit: Elizabeth Giorgi)

2. Outlook.com’s Email Sweep: It’s easy to get lost in a pile of old emails. Between social networking alerts and daily newsletters, your inbox is probably cluttered. For Outlook users, Sweep makes it possible to delete these emails automatically by setting timers. For example, you can set a rule to delete all Groupon emails after they haven’t been opened for 10 days. You’ll also notice you can choose to delete ALL emails from a sender when you delete one.

3. Use Finder to Delete Drafts: If you’re on a Mac, Finder’s search feature is handy for finding files across your hard drive quickly and simply. Every few months, I search for the word “DRAFT” and delete any drafts that are older than a year. Ultimately, I’ve decided the final version of a file is what I will need to reference in the long term. Try to come up with a timeline that makes sense for you.

How do you keep your digital life decluttered?