The Hidden Corners of Digital Clutter
When guests come to my house, I’ve been known to do a clean sweep of the living room, dumping random orphaned items into various closets and drawers approximately five minutes before arrival. Can you relate?
And when it comes to digital clutter, often we do the same - without knowing it. Here are three of the usual suspects that create digital clutter and how to get rid of them.
Take Out the Trash. Sure, you empty the trash can on your desktop every so often, right? But did you know that different applications can also have a trash can? Check your photo application, or your cloud storage account. Usually your email program will also have a separate trash can. Mostly likely, those trash cans need to be emptied, too.
The Lowdown on Downloads. It’s a good practice to treat downloads as temporary files and keep them moving. As soon as you download a file, rename it and store it in the appropriate place on your computer. If you regularly rename and organize the downloads folder, it can be emptied without fear. If you have an application or an executable file in your downloads, as long as that application is installed and running, those files in the downloads can be deleted.
Hanging on by a Paperclip. Are you using email to store your attachments? A best practice is to save the attachment on your computer or cloud storage instead of email. That way, the document is 1) findable and 2) backed up. Make it a habit to immediately save your attachments, rename them and save them where you will look for them in the future. Then you can delete the email - or at least the attachment.
For more tips on digital decluttering, see Spring Clean Your Digital World.