Spring – the word conjures images of flowers, birds and butterflies. The reality is that I have a cluttered house from being snowed in with kids. My flower beds are muddy from the near record amounts of rain (not snow) we have endured this winter. And I have yet to see a butterfly. None. Not one.
Digital Spring Cleaning:
With our storage unit empty, one Spring Cleaning task is now completed. It is time to turn to another. My digital life needs some fine tuning – both online and offline!
Important information comes to us via email. If our inboxes (plural, y’all) are all gunked up with old and sometimes spammy emails, how can you quickly assess what is vital and what is junk?
DELETE, DELETE, DELETE
If you must keep it, organize it with labels or folders. Just don’t let that get out of hand either. Our personal “family” email account has 63 folders – I just checked. I can’t imagine needing to retain 63 emails long-term, much less 63 folders of email. Yikes!
Have you ever waited for an important email? I already know the answer to that. Everyone else you know has the message, yet your inbox is EMPTY. The first thing you do is check your Spam folder to see if it landed there.
Spam is a special folder. I love it, and I hate it! 99.9% of what it catches is Spam. But that 0.1% is likely the one email I am waiting on.
If you are waiting on a special email, any special email at all, you should permanently delete the messages in this box, too. It does take a little time, especially if you get hundreds of spams a week. However, if that special email gets diverted to Spam, you will be glad that you cleaned out that folder!
Offline Clean Up:
ABC News journalist Alyssa Newcomb discusses 5 steps that are vital to Digital Spring Cleaning. I am usually aware of my need to check up on my security and social media footprint. I am not as good at cleaning up my desktop icons and deleting outdated documents which individually seem small, but collectively contribute to the mass disorganization and clutter on my laptop.
Thanks to digital photography, I take almost one thousand photos on a one week vacation. Do you know how many photos are actually good? I will guess only 50, which is plenty. Do you know where the other 950 still live? On my hard drive. Time to declutter!
Word Docs and Spreadsheets:
This can be tricky, especially for those of us who write a lot. I look at dates files were last opened to determine if it is cluttering up my drive or if I am accessing them regularly. Older files prompt further investigation. Do I really need my spreadsheet from my 2012 Disney Cruise to Alaska? Not really. I have already saved all my best photos (and hopefully tossed the 950 badly lit and blurry ones).
These are just baby steps, but they all get us going in the right direction.
Happy Spring Cleaning.