my annual digital declutter

2 mins

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home appliance in the middle of the desert during daytime

It is the time of year I like to do a bit of a digital declutter, cleaning my digital life sets me up for a new year. It also tends to trigger thoughts about what next year might bring and the things I might like to pursue – always worth having a notebook to capture these as I go. Here are the things I like to declutter…

photos

I take a look at the photos I’ve taken this year and delete those I don’t need any more. Remove pictures that are duplicates, out of focus and those random things I no longer need (usually pictures of things I might buy). I like to take time to review those images that are of things and not people, do I really need 5 pictures of an amazing building I saw on holiday? Really?

email

Two jobs to do here:

  1. Search for terms in this year’s email that will find the dull emails I won’t want to keep. Tend to search for eBay, amazon, delivery, newsletter and delete what I find. It would take too long to review every email and this culls most of them.
  2. Delete the emails from over 5 years ago. I have only ever kept 5 years worth of email, this covers most things I’d ever need to find – receipts are the most likely things I dive into my email history for.

filing

A quick review of my digital files, nothing too drastic here – but some things have clearly gone way past their usefulness.

notes

I set up my notes along a projects, areas, resources and archive (PARA) methodology. This does make the annual review of my notes quite easy as I tend to move things to the archive section as I go through the year, so just a few things to run through:

  1. Go through the inbox area and decide what I might do with the notes
  2. Archive any projects that are now complete
  3. Check the areas section and archive any areas that are no longer applicable.
  4. Check through the resources area. Anything in here I definitely won’t need?

passwords and accounts

This is the bit I really hate! Going through my passwords list to remove all those things I signed up to during the year that I’m not using. Every year I promise myself I’m not going to sign up to the latest new thing, every year I end up spending far too long working out to close those accounts. Tend to reward myself with a beer (or two) after this one 🍺.

convert analogue to digital

Not strictly digital decluttering but the process of cleaning out my digital life tends to trigger thoughts on what I should be converting from the physical world into digital. Paperwork, physical photos and objects that trigger memories but don’t want to keep – digital photos are a great way of achieving this.

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