6 steps to a digital cull and declutter
6 digital cull projects that will leave you feeling cleansed and renewed!
We can get all ‘zen’ about this and talk about decluttering or detoxing, but actually want we need is a bloody good cull. I don’t know about you, but by the end of last year I felt as though I was drowning in digital stuff. Articles I’ve saved to read later and have never read. Emails that I thought I might need but now can’t remember what I was saving them for. Documents all over the place that take forever to find. Hundreds of pictures that aren’t tagged or named properly. It was time for action.
If you feel like you’re drowning in digital detritus, here’s a checklist of what to start. Take no prisoners. Be ruthless. It will change your life.
1. Unsubscribe from email lists and newsletters (except mine, obviously)
I use a nice little free app called Unroll Me which which analyses your inbox and and makes a list of all the emails you’ve ever signed up for, then you click the ones you want to get rid of and hey presto, they are automatically unsubscribed. I use it about once every few months - I’m always nosey about what other people are sending out, so I subscribe to lots of stuff to see what I can learn.
There’s also Unlistr, and Unsubscriber
2. Sort out all your digital bookmarks
I’ve streamlined my browser toolbar by creating little folders for the bookmarks I really need. Then for the rest, I use Evernote or Pocket which make it much easier to manage, tag and categorise things you want to keep from the web.
3. Clear out your downloads
I was amazed to discover how much space downloads were taking on my hard drive and in my Dropbox. I found stuff I’d downloaded, and for the life of me I can’t remember what I wanted them for in the first place.
I thought I’d use the same criteria that I use for my wardrobe - if you’ve not worn it or looked at it for over a year, dump it.
If you’ve downloaded loads of stuff from people that’s about digital marketing or social media tips, unless they were written in 2017, they are almost certainly out of date.
5. Delete recently used accounts
I discovered that I had over 500 different accounts that I’d signed up for over the years - shopping sites and various online services that I used once, or bought from once and have never used again. A free service called justdelete.me gives you a directory of direct links from sites require users to create an account. So things like Amazon, Asos, Credit Expert, airlines are all there, sorted into ‘easy, medium and hard’ to delete categories. They also have an ‘impossible’ black list of places that deliberately make it seriously hard to get away from. So if there’s anything that you know you’ve signed up for in the past and no longer want an account, this will do the trick.
6. Defriend, unfollow and dump people on social media
Essentially, if you can’t remember who someone is or why you followed them, get rid of them from your social media. If you are trying to grow a massive following on say, Twitter you can mute people. Follow them and just mute them so their tweets don’t appear in your feed. Instagram has an archive feature that allows you to put posts out general view on your feed without losing all the comment or like value.
Apps like Crowdfire (previously known as Unfollow) and Unfollowspy let you see who you follow who doesn’t follow you back. They also flag up inactive users who haven’t tweeted or posted anything for a while.
That’s it! Good luck with your digital cull. See you next time.