Digital Organization

Today I wanted to talk about digital organization. I have had this topic idea to share for quite some time, but have hesitated to share honestly because I feel like this is a space that I am the worst at keeping organized and decluttered. Much of our lives are now digital, so there is definitely a need to keep things organized and minimized. I will share with you what I would ideally do to keep this space under control, but I’m confessing that this is a struggle for me!

So first let’s talk about photos. This is one area that is so difficult to stay on top of! I’m pretty sure that currently as I write this I have over 5,000 photos on my phone! This is definitely something I need to deal with and learn to better stay on top of. A long time ago when digital cameras were first available, I was really good about removing the photos off of my camera, and putting them both on my computer and on a hard drive. As my kids got older and my schedule became chaotic, I found it difficult to keep up with this and eventually lost about a year and half worth of our family photos. Thankfully I was able to recover some of them as back then I used a website similar to Shutterfly to share photos with my extended family. This is definitely something I would suggest – to use an app that automatically backs up your phone’s photos. I personally use Google photos for this purpose. You can also use the Cloud, although I believe they cap the amount of data you are allowed to have stored there unless you pay an additional fee. 

I recently learned about a thumb drive that can connect directly to your iPhone in order to dump photos onto it to clear off your phone, and that is what I plan to use to save my photos in another location.

If you have time to organize your photos, I like to organize mine chronologically and will create folders for each month, putting the year first, then the month to keep it all chronological. That way it is easy to find the photo you are looking for. However, Google photos has a search mechanism which works wonderfully for finding a photo of a specific person, location, or thing.

Next let’s talk about computer file organization. First, I like to use external hard drives to keep minimal files on my computer as this helps it to run better. Creating folders with like files helps to keep things organized. Everyone will have different types of files, so you will have to determine what makes sense for your specific files. Perhaps having separate external hard drives for different types of files would be wise. Maybe you have personal files and work files.

Evaluate which programs or apps you have on your computer and determine if there are any that are unnecessary and uninstall those. In general, it’s good to have a regular habit of decluttering files and photos you no longer need.

Next I wanted to address email. I would suggest having a daily habit of deleting emails. Staying on top of emails will prevent that overwhelming feeling of having thousands of emails in your inbox. In addition to that, unsubscribe to emails from companies that you no longer need the information or are no longer helpful. I also suggest streamlining your email. Sometimes it is necessary to have more than one email address, but evaluate how many is really reasonable to have. It is far easier to keep up with just a couple email inboxes than several! 

The next thing I wanted to address is passwords! Keeping track of all of the passwords you have for all of the websites you use can be an overwhelming task. Every website seems to have different specifications on what the password can be. I think it is important to find a password storage tool that is easy and safe. I use NordPass to store all of my passwords, making it easy to access at any time, and I don’t have to worry about remembering all of these different passwords! Every site has different specifications for your password, and honestly it’s more safe if you use different passwords for different sites.

I of course also wanted to address your phone! The digital clutter we have on our phones can be overwhelming. As I mentioned with your computer, it’s a good practice to make time to declutter your phone regularly. Evaluate which apps on your phone that you actually use and delete any that you are not. Categorizing your apps into folders will keep your home screen looking less cluttered, and it will make finding them easy. You can categorize them into folders based on type (like social media, photography, finances, ect.) I like to do it according to color – Home Edit style, because I find this more visually pleasing. This may seem inefficient, but your brain quickly learns where to find each app.

Adjacent to our phones is social media. First, evaluate which social media apps you really want to spend your time on, and delete any that aren’t serving you! You can also declutter the people you follow on each social media platform, only keeping around the people who are helpful. If there are people who make you feel sad or upset about your life, or just create more mental health issues, I would suggest hitting the unfollow button!

Using a digital calendar can be really helpful for reminders and to access your calendar from anywhere. I like to use both physical and digital calendars. Keep your calendar up to date by setting aside time each week or each month to update all of your appointments and commitments. If you need to also keep track of other family member’s schedules, I  like to use a different color for each member of the family.

Lastly, I wanted to share that using sites like Google Docs and Google Sheets can help to keep things organized as well. There are functions within these sites/apps that allow you to create folders in order to keep things organized. You can then access these files easily on your phone through the apps. It also makes it easy to share files with others. I like to keep recipes in a folder in my Google Docs to access while I’m cooking!

Well, I hope this post gave you some inspiration or helpful information for you to get your digital space decluttered and organized today!