3 Things I Do Every Week to Keep Out the Digital Clutter

Last Updated on August 23, 2022 by Stephanie

You’re going to laugh when I tell you how simple this is. This may be one of my shortest posts on the site! No, really. Digital Clutter stems from just a few different automatic actions and doing these three things will help you keep a hold of it once and for all.

Here they are:

  1. Inbox to Zero
  2. Clean off my desktop.
  3. Clean out my downloads folder.
3 Things to Do Weekly to Manage Digital Clutter

Inbox to Zero

If you’ve been around the site, you may have run across my series on Inbox Zero. Keeping my email inboxes at zero is something I do practice regularly. However, every now and then, the week gets away from me and I need to take a few minutes to go through things.

At the very least, even if you don’t have everything in beautifully organized folders (again, check out my series on inbox zero to learn how to make folders, create automatic filters, etc.), go through and delete emails that you don’t need. Do this weekly as a part of your weekly review or just while you’re sitting on your phone after scrolling through Facebook for the millionth time today.

Your brain doesn’t want to have to sift through all that clutter every time you open your email.

Computers Are Awesome

I love my computers. I’ve got an iMac in my dungeon (what I lovingly call my basement craft/office area), a MacBook Pro, and my school Chromebook. Computers do this thing though, and it makes everyone’s life easier. Well, it makes life easier for about a week and then it just gets crazy. Do you ever notice that whenever you save something or open something offline, it typically goes in one of two places? It goes on your desktop or in your downloads folder. You can change this, but most just keep it that way.

The Glorious Downloads Folder – Digital Clutter Keeper Extraordinaire

I have colleagues that have no idea where anything actually lives on their computers and they just keep downloading the same thing over and over again because they “don’t know where it goes.” Insert face palm here. Seriously, I went to help someone a few years ago and her device had no space on it anymore. She was downloading the same .pdf nearly every day because she didn’t know where it was stored on her computer.

I love that computers do this, but here’s the deal: If you clicked on this post, you want LESS digital clutter in your life. It’s time to break up with your downloads folder. This is a place for things to visit, not a place for things to live.

Create a structure for your files that makes sense to you, put your screen in split screen and go to town filling all that crap away. It will change your life. If you don’t need it anymore… put it in the trash!

I always have a split screen of my file manager (Finder on Macs) open. It makes it so easy to move things into folders that make sense. This is what that looks like for me:

side by side files to manage digital clutter

If you haven’t done this ever… give yourself about an hour or so to clean it out. There will be a LOT of stuff in there if you are a frequent internet browser. Any .pdf or image you saved off the internet typically ends up here, so good luck.

Do this weekly! It will help you keep things organized, and it reminds you of things that you browsed or even purchased.

The Desktop

This is my desktop:

No digital clutter on this pink and clear desktop

There are no files on my desktop… not one. However, it is Sunday when I’m writing this, and it’s part of my weekly review to clean off my desktop. For me, this is where all my screenshots end up. Now, there are some people that like having important folders on their desktop, and that is super cool and totally okay. That is not what I’m talking about.

I’m talking about the person whose desktop looks like an endless sea of documents. Since I’ve got a Master’s in Educational Technology, I’m a go-to person in my school for technology questions. I have seen things you guys. I have seen things I can’t unsee. Hundreds of tabs open at once, desktops covered in files, download folders with thousands of files.

This does not make your computer happy. I compare it to your closet. Let’s say you have a LOT of disposable income and you decided to treat your closet like you treat your computer. Instead of doing laundry every now and then, you just leave the laundry on the floor. You can always purchase something new! Every time you click the Amazon happy button, new clothes appear in your closet. Some are hung, some are folded, and some might even be hidden under the ones that you left on the floor. After a while, you wouldn’t be able to even open the closet door. You wouldn’t be able to find anything to wear. There would also probably be a smell… ewww.

Your computer doesn’t want to be a junked-up, unorganized mess of things you really don’t need. It works best when it is organized and decluttered.

Do yourself a favor and create some files and figure out a system to organize your stuff!

Final Thoughts

This was a short one, but I thought it was helpful to someone. I’m always trying to give people tips and tricks that can help them make their life a little easier. Staying organized digitally is one of the ways you can do that. These three things are a part of my weekly review, which absolutely changed my life. Read more about that here and even click on the image below for my free Weekly Review checklist based on what I do each week! This also gives you access to my freebie library with a bunch of fun printables, stickers, and other fun goodies.

Weekly Review Checklist

Does anyone else have any tips or tricks to keep the digital clutter at bay?

Leave a note in the comments below!

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