Many devices now come with loads of storage space. The most affordable smartphones have at least 32GB of storage space. This means that people can store almost as much data as they want. Unfortunately, this leads to digital clutter.
Clearing your cache every day doesn’t eliminate digital clutter. If anything, it enables digital hoarding, defined as the accumulation of digital files to the point of loss of perspective, which eventually results in stress and disorganization by the British Medical Journal.
There are four types of digital hoarders:
- Collectors: These are systematic gatherers of data. Their phone galleries are classified into folders, such as memes, pets, and family.
- Accidental hoarders: They don’t know what they have and lack control over it. They have countless email accounts and a picture they meant to send that they downloaded years ago. They couldn’t physically scroll to the oldest file in their cloud.
- Hoarder by instruction: Someone who stores data on behalf of someone else. This often happens because they were instructed by their company and can’t delete the data.
- Anxious hoarders: These are people who have emotional ties to their data and worry about deleting it.
Digital clutter may not massively affect your physical life. However, it poses many risks. A report by Crest Research found that it can lead to operational inefficiency and cyber insecurity. Many people would store everything they ever saved if there was unlimited space. Unfortunately, there is no such thing.
Why you should clear digital clutter
Storing thousands of emails, photographs, documents, etc. uses more energy. The servers used to store this information consume a lot of energy. Reports warn that data centres will increase their electric consumption in the coming years.
Corporate digital clutter is also a threat to cyber security. Having dormant emails makes them easily susceptible to unauthorised access. Furthermore, more data means more loss in the event of a cyberattack.
It’s also inefficient to hoard data. Digital clutter makes it more challenging to look for files. Wasting time looking for the correct information reduces productivity.
How to get rid of digital clutter
1. Sort your inbox
If you have thousands of emails, you need to delete the oldest. Unsubscribe from products you no longer care for. You should delete email accounts you no longer use.
In addition, ensure that you opt out of future correspondence from companies you don’t interact with. Remove email notifications from social media sites that you frequently use.
Read also: Technology and Social Media-Time To Unplug
Allocate time to your day to go through your correspondence. It can be in the morning or once every two hours. Deal with each email as received. Archive, reply or delete it. Clear your junk and spam folders. You can add settings to make them auto-delete every thirty days.
2. Delete duplicate files
Many smartphone gallery apps have the option to delete duplicate files. But if you attended an event and took multiple pictures, go through them and delete the ones you don’t need. Photos and video are some of the most space-consuming digital clutter.
They slow down your devices and overload the processor. They can also make your phone or PC overheat.
Read also: Ways To Improve Your Laptop Battery Life
3. Organize your files
Set up folders for every kind of file you have. Some devices store documents, audio, video, and pictures separately. However, when you download files, they all end up in the same folder. Ensure you change the destination folder for easier organization. You should also declutter your PC’s desktop.
4. Delete programs you don’t use
Delete the apps you started using during a free trial, and then forgot about. Some smartphones offload apps that remain unused for a long time. However, others need you to delete them and their cache physically.
Most notably, and this may be controversial, delete the browser tabs and bookmarks you’re not using.
Digital decluttering helps your devices run faster. It also improves your mental health and boosts productivity.
8 Ways Clutter Affects Your Mental Health.
Lifestyle: 7 Tips To Declutter Your Home Office