Digital Spring Cleaning
Another year has gone by, and with warmth and sunshine starting to roll in, it’s time for another round of spring cleaning. As you clean and organize your physical spaces, consider cleaning up your digital workspaces as well. To help you get started, here are a few tips on how to spring clean your digital workspace.
Delete Old Files
Regular computer use can quickly fill up your hard drive with photos, documents, and folders. Taking the time to sift through your files can free up more storage space than you realize!
Of course there will always be files that you will need to keep. Photos and videos of family and friends, financial documents, and documents for your records should be kept safe and backed up. But there could be many old files on your computer that you don’t have any use for anymore. Taking the time to go through your files and delete anything you no longer need can not only help to keep your digital life organized, but also speed up your computer as you free up storage.
Clear Your Desktop
Just like your physical desk can add stress and anxiety as it gets cluttered, so too can your computer desktop. The desktop is an easy way to find something when you are actively working with it, but once you are no longer working on it you should either delete it or store it somewhere else in your documents. This will not only help you feel less cluttered every time you turn on your computer, but it will also help your computer run a little faster.
Organize Your Documents
Once you’ve cleared out unnecessary files and cleaned up your desktop, it may be a good idea to evaluate how your files are organized. If you find it difficult to locate a document when you need it, you should probably look to create a file and folder structure that matches how you might organize your physical files as well. You can think of each folder as a different category for the items on your computer. And if you ever feel that one of those categories has too many files stored inside it, create another folder within that folder to help add some additional structure.
Re-evaluate Your Apps and Programs
We have all run into a situation where we have downloaded a new app on your phone or a program on your computer with the intent to make your life easier or provide entertainment. But shortly after you install it, the charm quickly fades and you use it less and less until it’s just an icon on your screen that hasn’t been clicked in months.
While you are cleaning up your devices, it might be a good idea to look into the software you have installed. Old apps on your phone can use up precious space that you need for new photos, and programs on your computer can be fighting to load as quickly as possible every time you turn it on, turning the start up process from a few seconds into 5 or more minutes.
If you haven’t used an app in over a month, it’s probably safe to delete it from your device. You can always re-download it if you find that you need it again in the future.
If you’ve had your computer for awhile, you’ve probably noticed that it has started to slow down as it’s gotten older. This is fairly normal, especially as the hardware inside becomes outdated. But sometimes speed issues can be solved without needing to invest in a new device.
Deleting old files and unused programs can help, but the best way to dramatically increase the speed of your computer is to reinstall your operating system, or OS. Issues with Windows and macOS occur naturally with usual wear and tear, and reinstalling your OS solves this by starting your computer with a clean slate. Follow the instructions in the links below, and soon your computer will feel as fast as the day you got it! Be sure to back up your data first though, since this will delete all the files and programs on your computer.
Physically Clean Your Devices
Once your computer is digitally cleaned, you should probably try to physically clean it as well. Computers have a lot of small ports and crevices, which end up trapping a lot of dust and crumbs. If you have a desktop computer, clean out all the fans and ports with a microfiber cloth or a vacuum. If you can open it up, you will be able to clean it more thoroughly. If you have a laptop, using a canned air duster can help to quickly remove items from your ports and within your keyboard.
Donate, Sell, or Recycle Unused Devices
Devices quickly become outdated now more than ever. Many people replace their phone every 2-3 years, and laptops and computers usually need to be upgraded every 5 years. If you have kept all your past devices, these can quickly fill up boxes that are collecting dust.
Rather than letting it sit, look into the best way for you to get rid of your device. If your device is less than 2 years old, you may be able to resell it or trade it in for a reasonable price. But devices older than that may not get you much money in return. If you can’t get much money back for your device, donating may be a better option. If your device is in good condition, a school or community center could benefit from having another reliable working device. But if your device is too old or damaged, try recycling the device instead of throwing it away. An electronic recycling center can disassemble and reuse parts of your device for future tech products.
Just like cleaning your house or office, cleaning up your devices does take some time and effort. Taking the time to clean your digital life can not only help you stay focused and organized, but also speed up your devices that may have been slowing down as its grown older. Hopefully by following these steps you can feel less stressed when using your devices and maybe gain a few extra years before needing to purchase a new device.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Brady Sklenar is a Digital Integration Specialist at 898 Marketing. Brady implements web, search engine optimization, coding, and content strategies throughout various internet and social media channels for 898 Marketing and its clients. Brady is a Canfield, Ohio native, and a graduate of Youngstown State University with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems.