I’m not a clean freak by any means, however, I love reading and writing about organization and spring cleaning. Don’t ask me why, because I really don’t know. One of the things that often gets forgotten on our spring cleaning list however, is cleaning out the computer. How many of us have piles of documents located all over our computer. Sometimes it can make it difficult to find or remember where we saved that one document, or where we saved that one web-link. On top of that how many of us have devices we no longer use cluttering up our drawers, and garage? Consider this your one stop shop for all your computer and technology related spring cleaning tips.
I always find when it comes to things like spring cleaning it is great to have a list. So begin by making a list of all the gadgets you have that may need to be de-cluttered.
Memory sticks/memory cards
Associate the amount of time it will take to go through each item. Phones can take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, your computer will likely take 2 or more hours, a tablet shouldn’t take more than about 30 minutes, same goes for the ipod. Now as far as memory sticks go you will want to save these until after you have done what you needed to do with the computer. It may not take long to go through each one, but you may also need to place certain things temporarily on the computer or you may even need to move some things from the computer to the memory sticks.
Where to begin with your phone? I would first start with the contacts, it is the fastest and easiest thing to clear out. Remove any contacts you no longer need to have in your phone. Update any contacts that need to be updated phone numbers, emails, names, addresses ect. Sync any contacts that you have been meaning to sync with your social networks, but had not gotten around to doing so.
Next, go through all of your apps, remove any apps you do not use. Delete them from your phone. Also make sure any apps you use regularly are on your home screen so that you are not searching all over your phone for them when you need them.
Finally, back up all of your pictures and video to an online cloud. I like to send all of my pictures to Shutterfly so that when I finally do get around to one day creating that awesome scrap book I’ve been dreaming of, all of my pictures are already their. Once all your pictures are backed up delete them all off your phone so you have space to take more pictures.
Clear out any books or unwanted apps. Check your memory space and consider what apps are important to you and what apps you use all the time on your tablet.
This one is easy, clear out any songs you no longer like, remove any apps you don’t use, and add any new songs you have been meaning to add.
Okay this is the hard one, we have so many ways of keeping information these days. We are also all different in the way we use technology. It use to be I had a word document for just about everything. When I got my new computer though and it did not have word on it, I started using Google Docs, so now the majority of my stuff is on there.
Wherever you keep the information you spend the most time going through and working on I recommend going through those first. Make sure everything is in the correct file, and if you don’t have files set up, create them so that everything that needs its own file has its own file.
For example if you work on your computer and you have files for data over the course of a few years. Give each year its own file and make sure it is marked data. If you are like me and have multiple writing clients with different topics create a different file for each client. If you have personal finances and what not on your computer create a file for this as well.
All word documents, PDFs, and power-points need to be organized so that they are easily accessible and you can easily find where everything is.
Images should be the same way. I will say this though finding images on my computer has proven difficult at times. I don’t know where they go, but every now and again they appear in random places around my computer. I recommend creating a file both in downloads and on your PC where all pictures get saved to. Create a file for them there based on either date or if they are images you downloaded online to use for a project like a blog post or work powerpoint you can then place them in a file like blogging images or presentation images.
Just like with your phone I also recommend loading any images you are wanting to save as a keep sake or for scrapbooking to a cloud so that you have them no matter what.
Any documents that if you lost you would be disappointed for forever and eternity I recommend downloading copies onto a thumb drive or into an online memory cloud. You just never know when your computer is going to catch a virus, get stolen or get damaged in a way that is irreparable.
Last, but not least we have memory sticks. The important part about these is that you label them with what they are. In addition, just as you organize your documents with files you should organize your thumb drives and memory sticks the same way. However, writing on the outside of them with sharpie of what they contain is also helpful. (Especially if you are like me and have a handful of these things with different things on each of them, yet half of them look alike making it impossible to remember which one.)
Keeping them in a safe place, preferably in a safe that is fire proof and water proof so you always have a back up if your computer gets damaged in some sort of disaster. Even better if you can keep the thumb drives in a different house all together i.e a box at a bank.
Maybe you are pretty good at keeping your electronics organized with all of your information, but you have a bunch of old gadgets laying around the house. There are safe ways to get rid of your unwanted electronics. In fact you may even be able to make money off of them. Cell phones can be sold to recycle companies or depending on how old they are some people may even give you cash for them via craigslist, or ebay. Just take proper precautions and look out for scams.
Before getting rid of any computers be sure to wipe the memory clean restore it to its original settings so that you don’t have any super personal information just sitting on the computer for anyone to pick up and find. You can donate your used electronics to places like Goodwill and Salvation Army. You can also sell them online.
If they are just that old that they would not be overly useful or helpful to anyone you can take them to a electronic recycling drop off center. Some Best Buys will take old computer equipment to recycle make sure you call yours to check. A quick search of your local area could tell you if your local community was/is hosting an electronic recycle day, and where local drop offs are in your local area. These are usually only hosted a few times a year though.
Whatever you decide to do with your old electronics do not place them in the trash. After all it takes millions and billions of years for those things to degrade down enough. Meanwhile they poison the ground as they release toxins from the heavy metals that they are made out of.
Have any cool tips for cleaning out your devices and getting rid of old ones? Share in the comments below.
For other spring cleaning tips check out these articles below: