Technology has undoubtedly made our lives easier – instant connection to family and friends, easier access to information, remote working and learning, etc.  But if we’re not mindful about how much information we bring into our digital world, if we don’t set up some systems and block the time to deal with it, it can also make our lives terribly complicated, costing us time to retrieve the information we need.  And although digital clutter might not be visible, it can leave us completely overwhelmed as much as physical clutter does.  Here are a few tips to help you conquer your digital clutter.



Digital clutter can take various forms so it’s important you start by assessing your digital world and identifying the issues faced.

Here are various types of digital clutter and the most common issues faced:

  • Computer: desktop screen full of random files and apps | duplicate files | files not organised | photos not organised | old/unused apps | bookmarks not up to date | storage full | no back-up
  • Emails: many emails in inbox | SPAM folder never purged | time wasted looking for emails | storage full
  • Phone / Tablet: unused apps | photos not downloaded | part of [WhatsApp] groups not active in | text messages never purged | storage full
  • Social media: too much time spent on social media | inactive accounts | disrupted by notifications
  • Etc. 

Having clarity on your digital world will help you define a plan of actions and prioritise them.


Want to how to restore order to your overflowing inbox? This blog post is for you.

Trying to break your digital addiction?  This blog post is for you.



Although we’re not in control of most of the information we’re bombarded with, there are still a few things in your power to limit the in-flow.

For example, you can limit the number of unsolicited emails you receive by:

  • Blocking senders, or their entire domain, so their emails go directly into your SPAM folder – the SPAM folder should be dealt with quickly without opening the email unless you recognise the sender.
  • Unsubscribing from newsletters you’ve been added onto without your permission or that you’re no longer interested in. If there’s no unsubscribe option, send an email to the sender asking them to be removed from their list in accordance with personal data protection regulations.
  • Unchecking the box that gives a company permission to send you emails when you place an order online.

Be more intentional with photos and videos taking, resist taking too many shots of the same scene.  Delete as you go, when you’re commuting, while you’re waiting at the doctor’s etc., from your camera gallery the photos you won’t be keeping for the long run, etc.

Before downloading a new app that has been recommended to you, ask yourself whether it will really bring any value to you at this point in your life.  Don’t worry about missing out, you’re bound to find an app supporting your needs when you’ll be needing it.

For social media, ignore invites to join groups and like pages you have no interest in, so they don’t distract you.  Also remove the notifications so you can stay focused.



Setting retention rules before you start a digital purge will make you more focused and hence more productive while going through your digital clutter.

Examples of retention rules:

For photos:

  • Delete photos that are blurred, dark, out of focus, not flattering, etc.
  • Keep maximum 2 shots of the same scene
  • Delete photos of meals, or scenes, you just captured to share with your friends and family
  • Keep photos you give a minimum rating of 8 out of 10

For phone and computer apps:

  • Remove applications that you haven’t used in 12 months, or never used

For emails:

  • Keep the last email in an emails thread
  • Delete newsletters older than 3 months that you haven’t got to read

For files:

  • Keep the most recent version of a file (unless you have a valid reason to keep the previous versions). If need be, use a duplicate file finder app to identify and delete your duplicate files.

For social media:

  • Leave groups you’re not engaged in
  • Unfriend people you don’t communicate with or whose posts negatively impact you
  • Unfollow / unlike pages that don’t provide value.



You heard the saying “one home for everything, and everything in its home”, right?  Well, it does apply to digital information too.

Group like information together.  Establish a structure, with categories and sub-categories, based on how you’ll use this information in the future so that it’s intuitive for you, and your family or team members, to retrieve the information.  For example, your apps can be organised by use e.g., finance, exercise, food delivery, etc.  Mirror that structure across all places where you store the information, being an email, a digital file, a paper file, a web bookmark, a note, etc.

For photos and videos, create a digital photo hub where all your photos and videos taken from all your devices are downloaded and saved.

Be consistent in the way you name your files and categories.  For example, I store my photos by year and by month and name those categories in the following format YYYYMM so that they are chronologically sorted.  If there was a particular event in that month, I’d add the event name e.g. 202207_Holiday in France.  This blog post describes the process I use to organise my photos.



The thing is, whatever you do, you need to block time in your schedule to deal with and organise the information you’re handling otherwise it won’t be possible to stay on top of your digital clutter.

A timeslot can be assigned

For emails:

  • To open emails and decide what to do with each
  • To action your email: forward/reply to the email etc.
  • To read the newsletters you’ve saved
  • To declutter your folders

For photos:

  • To download the photos from all your devices into one place
  • To purge and categorise your photos
  • To back up your photos

For files:

  • To purge your files
  • To back up your files etc.

Duration and frequency depend on how much volume of information you’re dealing with and your concentration threshold.

This is the frequency and amount of time I spend on the above:




Opening emails and deciding what to do with them

3 times a day

10 minutes each time

Reading work-related newsletters

Once per week [Friday]

15 minutes

Downloading, purging, organising, and backing up photos

Once a month [2nd Saturday of the month]

One hour

Backing up files

Once a month [1st Thursday of the month]

20 minutes [while concurrently doing something else]

Annual digital decluttering exercise

1 time per year for personal related information

2 times per year for work-related information

2 hours each


What is your main source of digital clutter? Comment below and share what you’re planning to do to get rid of it.


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