Throughout the year, we’ve all accumulated a lot of junk. We often focus on other things, like doing a wardrobe cleanse, as ways to bring in the New Year on a clean slate. However, we often overlook a very important task that we all should be doing around this time. In this digital age, let’s all set aside an hour of our time to do a complete digital clean-up on our computers and various online accounts. Not sure where to start? Follow the complete digital cleanup checklist below. I’ve also designed a helpful free printable checklist that you can keep on your desk.
Grab your free printable here: Download Gold Member Files
Clean-Up Your Desktop
Whether you’re downloading some freebies, working on a design, or saving an image from the web, many of us have a tendency to save it all on our desktops. It’s just so easy to access files on our desktops than any other folder on our computers. But, after 365 days, our desktops can turn into a jungle of folders and files. Let’s aim to have nothing but our pretty desktop wallpaper on our desktop. Here’s how to clean up all of that visual clutter on your desktop:
- Move all files (i.e. Word Docs, JPEGs) into their respective folders (Documents, Pictures, etc.)
- Delete unused files
- Change your desktop wallpaper
Further Reading on XO PIXEL
Clean-Up Your Email
Our emails are full of spam, newsletters, promotions and tons of other junk by the end of the year! Cleaning up your inbox can seem quite daunting. Often, many of us just don’t want to do it, and we end up accumulating even more emails in our inbox. In a perfect world, we would be able to just select all of our emails and hit delete. Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. We’ve got many important emails that we must look for and save before we can start deleting. Regardless, you should complete the following to clean up your email account:
- Search & Save a copy of all your online order receipts and put them in relevant folders (example file path: 2016/receipts/clothing)
- Read & Reply to all of your important emails
- Unsubscribe from mailing lists that you don’t care for anymore
- Update your email signature
- Check your spam filter and junk mail for missed important emails (delete the rest)
- Delete spam messages
- Delete promotional emails from newsletters you like (i.e. Forever 21, Etsy, Flipboard, Best Buy)
Further Reading on XO PIXEL
Clean-Up & Update Your Social Media Accounts
After 365 days, our Twitter feeds and Facebook timelines are cluttered with memes, old high school friends showing off their new babies, and posts from facebooks groups that we don’t remember joining. Now’s the time to sift through all of that stuff and figure out what we want and don’t want to see on our timelines. Here are a few things you can do to clean up and update your social media accounts:
- Unfriend people that you never talk to (keep the friends you truly care about)
- Unfollow groups that you’re not participating in
- Check your “filtered” messages on facebook (these are hidden messages from people that aren’t on your friend list)
- Update your email notification preferences on your social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, etc.)
- Update your profile photos
Clear Your Browsing Data
It’s also good to clear your browsing data on your most used web browser. This is usually found in your browser’s preference or settings. Here’s a list of the main browsing data that you should clear:
- Browsing history
- Download history
- Cookies and other site and other plugin data
- Cached images and files
Delete Unused Apps & Update Used Apps
Maybe you tried out an app that everyone was raving about. But, you didn’t end up using it. If that’s the case, delete the app! It’s taking up space on your hard drive that could be put to better use. If you’re using a mac computer, a tool that I like to use to delete applications is App Cleaner. Simply dragging and dropping an app file isn’t going to remove it from your computer. Apps install folders and files in other places on your computer too. App Cleaner helps remove those additional files hidden on your hard drive, ensuring that the app and everything that comes with it, is deleted.
- Delete unused apps on your computer
- Archive messages and media files from messaging apps (WhatsApp, Viber)
- Delete unused apps on your mobile device
- Update apps you use (Photoshop CC, Brackets, Word, Chrome)
- Update your MacOS or PC
Further Reading on XO PIXEL
Backup Your Files & Photos
After you’ve moved all your files into their respective folders, it’s time to back them up and store them away. There are two ways that I recommend you backup your files and photos: (1) using an external hard drive or (2) using cloud storage. If you want extra protection for files, use both. Personally, I use both methods to store my files and photos. In regards to how much storage you’ll need, I would say 1TB is enough for most people. If you want to use 2TB +, you’ll have space for many years to come. The external USB drive that I use is the 1TB WD My Passport USB. With all my design files and video files that I save on my external USB hard drive, I still have a lot of storage space left.
If you want to use an external USB hard drive, here’s a few that I recommend:
- Seagate Expansion Portable External Hard Drive (1TB)
- Western Digital My Passport (1TB)
- Buffalo MiniStation Extreme NFC (2TB)
If you want to use the cloud, here’s a few cloud storage websites I recommend:
Update Privacy Settings
Review all of your authorized apps on your Twitter, Facebook and Google accounts. Usually, when you’re creating a new account on a website, you’ll have the option to signup using those three websites. Throughout the year, you probably didn’t end up using most of these websites that now have access to your photos, friends list, and timelines. Follow the steps below to ensure your account is secure and your privacy settings are up to your standards:
- Review your authorized apps on your Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google etc.
- Perform a privacy checkup on your online accounts (i.e.Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Google)
Once you’ve completed the complete digital clean-up checklist for the new year, be sure to set up a recurrent reminder to make this a yearly task. It might seem like a lot of tasks to complete, but you’ll be so glad when you’ve finished. Not to mention, I’ve compiled them all in a handy checklist that you can just refer back to when needed. Cheers to the New Year!
Let’s Chat Below!
Are there any digital cleanup tasks that I might have missed in the checklist above? If you’ve done a digital clean-up before, what do you usually do? Let’s chat in the comments below!