Detox your digital life and start the year off right!

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For many of us, the new year means new resolutions. And if you’re like me, your list probably includes some form of “get organized”.

And decluttering isn’t only for your closet!

If you spend a lot of time doing work online or writing – there’s a good chance that your laptop and other devices could use a major overhaul by the time the end of the year rolls around.

Doing a detox of your digital life early in the year will help you establish better habits, save you time in the long run, and it’s also an easy way to get a head start on your organization goals for the new year.

Here are some tips to help you declutter and detox your digital life:

Start with Your Desktop & Browsers

My desktop is a scary collection of folders hiding unsorted photos, docs I’ll never need (or open) again, and a lot of underused software. I won’t bother telling you about my browser.

Sort through all the files and folder on your desktop. Delete files you no longer need and move anything you don’t access that often to an external hard drive or cloud-base storage. I like to challenge myself to have a maximum of 4 or 5 folders on my main desktop.

Dump your internet browser’s cache, clear your history and cookies, and get rid of other unnecessary site data.

I find this is the easiest and quickest place to start your cleanup, and in my opinion, one of the most essential tasks of a good detox.

Tackle Your Smartphone

Cleaning your smartphone isn’t just about getting rid of a year’s worth of dirt! Since storage is a limited commodity on your phone, it’s good to clear out the junk every once in awhile.

Delete any photos and videos you don’t want to save and sync the rest to your library. I like to keep a few of my favorites on my phone, but dump the rest to free up space for new ones.

I also go through all my apps and delete the ones I never use or have only open a few times. You can also group apps into folder to get yourself down to a couple screens.

Get Your Email in Order

A messy email inbox can be extremely stressful! Take some time to delete, archive, or file old messages.

It’s also worth spending some time setting up folders or labels in your email. I did this last year, and it’s made dealing with email a much easier task!

Here’s what I did:

  • Created two priority folders: Action Needed and Awaiting Reply. I leave emails I need to reply to immediately in my inbox.
  • Added labels and folders (e.g. Project, Family, Friends, etc.) to make it easier to sort the rest of my email.
  • Signed up for, which lets you easily bulk unsubscribe from email lists and rolls the rest up into a single folder with a daily digest email.

You should also unsubscribe from junk newsletters as they arrive to help you cut down on the amount of mail you get every day.

Organize Your RSS Reader

Adding your favorite sites to your RSS reader is a great way to discover new content, but it’s easy to get feed happy.

Here are a few easy ways to put your reader in order and avoid overload:

  • Delete all inactive feeds.
  • Sort through your feeds and get rid of sites you’ve lost interest in.
  • Remove feeds that publish duplicate content or update too often.
  • Organize your feeds into categories to make it easier for you to get through each day.

Don’t forget to go through your saved or starred items! Keep the important items and remove the ones you no longer want.

Bonus goal: Cut your bookmarks down to the bare minimum by adding feeds from your favorite sites to your reader and saving any useful articles with a tool like Pocket or Evernote.

 Upgrade Everything

I’m the queen of clicking “remind me tomorrow” or “skip this version” when it comes to updating my software and apps, but there’s nothing like a new year to finally spend some time getting all my devices up to speed.

Updates not only boost your productivity by allowing programs to run more quickly, but it also ensures that your computer and phone have the latest security updates.

It’s also a great time to update and change all of your passwords! Avoid using duplicate passwords (and forgetting them) by trying a password keeper like 1Password or LastPass. These tools are a great way to save all your passwords in one secure place.

How do you like to detox your digital life at the start of a new year? 

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