Don't stop with the house! Tackle clutter in your digital life for greater peace of mind.
It's not just your house that needs some TLC at this time of year; your digital home does, too! Take some time to tackle the email inbox clutter, the unknown Facebook friends, and the annoying Instagrammers in an effort to bring greater organization, control, and peace of mind to every aspect of your life. Some of these tips come via Good Housekeeping, that wise voice on all things cleaning-related.
Do a purge: If you haven't interacted with someone for a year, it's probably time to delete them. My policy is, if I couldn't imagine talking to a person on the phone, they're not staying on my Facebook account.
Consider the 80/20: This is always an interesting exercise. Delete the 80 percent with which you have 20 percent contact, and keep the 20 percent that dominates 80 percent of your communication.
Unfollow pages: Your interests evolve over time and there's no point in wasting time and attention on Instagram accounts or Twitter feeds that are no longer related to what you're into. Get rid of these.
Set limits: Social media can be addictive and consuming, both time-wise and psychologically. If you feel you're using it too much, decide how often and what time of day you'll log on. Delete apps from your phone or sign out every time you use to discourage use.
Delete: Having a phone cameras is great, except that it results in a backlog of less-than-great images and multiples of the same scene. Go through your photos year by year and delete. Back them up to an external hard drive, Dropbox, or iCloud.
Print: It may sound old-fashioned, but consider creating photo albums of memorable family trips and children's development. You're probably going to look at them more often than you would if they stay on your computer. You can use a service like Shutterfly to make it easier.
Subscribe: There are many great online subscription services that eliminate the need to store music, podcasts, and movies on your home computer.
Tackle those bookmarks: Bookmarks are a reflection of evolving interests (like social media pages) and require a good cull every now and then.
Desktop organization: Take some time to sort your desktop and documents folders into something neater and more manageable. Give easy names to files, put them where you'll know to look for them, and ruthlessly delete anything that's no longer relevant.
Solve the password problem: Reading Daniel Levitin's book, The Organized Mind, changed my relationship to passwords; I used to hate them, now I've conquered them. Levitin recommends choosing a phrase and using the first letters of each word to form a generic phrase that you use for every login, e.g. "I love my dog" would be "ilmd." Then make it more complex. Make the first letter a capital, leave the rest lowercase. Add a number in the middle, such as the year a parent was born or your bestie's birthday, for something like "Il15md." To personalize it, put the first letter of whatever the password is for at the beginning, i.e. Facebook, FIl15md. Twitter, TIl15md. Whenever you need to change a password, simply add a 1 on the end, then delete the next time you have to update. You get the idea... and you'll never forget your password again.