Digital Decluttering: A Student Guide To Organising your Digital Spaces

Blogpost by Noel Czempik (Student Digital Champion)

Most of us engage with digital devices daily, and just like our physical spaces, they often become home to clutter, affecting our wellbeing and productivity. In this blog post, I will share the most effective strategies for reclaiming my digital spaces.

Preparing For Your Decluttering Journey

  1. Try approaching your clutter with curiosity rather than judgment. This will help you stay positive and better understand your digital habits. Visualise the positive impact decluttering will have on your wellbeing.
  2. Expect this process to take time. Sorting through years of accumulated digital content can be daunting, but sizing up the challenge and allocating the right time and space can make it more manageable.
  3. Start with the quick wins that will make the most immense impact with minimal effort. This will allow you to build up momentum and approach the more difficult tasks with empowerment.
  4. Consider any upcoming longer journeys as opportunities to make progress on your decluttering adventure.
  5. Deciding what to keep and what to delete may be challenging. Ask yourself what would happen if everything were to disappear?

Quick Wins: Small Actions Can Yield Big Results

Each of these 5-10 minute tasks is beneficial alone, but as you progress through the list, their impact compounds for greater effect.

  • Cleaning your desktop: Delete unnecessary files and find a home for the rest to achieve the bliss of an empty virtual desk.
  • Decluttering your apps: You might be surprised at the number of apps on your phone or desktop that you no longer notice. Uninstall any apps you don’t use to free up space and minimise distractions.
  • Customising your home screen: Make apps that you want to use often more accessible and hide ones that are likely to distract you by using folders. Consider adding shortcuts to quickly access lists such as shopping, gift ideas or business ideas lists, preventing you from adding to the clutter with every stroke of genius.
  • Reviewing your notification settings: Disable unhelpful notifications to avoid overloading your lockscreen.
  • Customising your taskbar and quick access bars: Delete or unpin features you don’t find useful to implement your organisational systems.
  • Cleaning your downloads folder: Eliminate unnecessary files and duplicates to free up space.
  • Decluttering your browser: Remove unused extensions and bookmarks to streamline your browsing experience and pin the tools you’d like to use more often. Consider clearing your cookies and cache to protect your privacy, keeping in mind you might get signed out or remove saved preferences on some sites.
  • Clearing your screenshots: The screenshot folder is often a catch-all for single-use files.

The Deep Digital Clean: Transformative Tasks for the Dedicated

These tasks might take longer if you deal with years of digital clutter.

  • Organising files: Use the delete key liberally, and consider implementing a simple file naming system to make your documents easily searchable. Keep accessibility in mind when using multiple folders.
  • Managing your email inbox: Use filters to bulk archive or delete old emails and unsubscribe from newsletters that no longer serve you. Take advantage of labels and folders for any emails you might need to refer to in the future, such as invoices or payslips. Top tip: use the keyword “unsubscribe” to search for marketing emails and the “select all” option to make them disappear forever.
  • Reviewing your social media accounts: Unsubscribe and unfollow accounts that no longer enrich your life.
  • Managing your passwords: Consider using a password manager for simple and secure access.

Digital Self-Care: Nurturing Your Digital Wellness

Addressing months or years of digital clutter might seem daunting, but by being mindful of what enters your devices and setting up simple organisational systems you can make ongoing maintenance easier. Taking control of your virtual space is a powerful act of self-care and an investment in your digital wellbeing. In this process, remember that you’re not just decluttering; you’re reclaiming your time, focus, and peace of mind.

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