Digital Spring Cleaning A Three step approach

First Off...

Decluttering, cleaning and organizing can be a daunting task.

It would be no surprise if you are removing and cleaning emails, photos, files from the past several years. So it would be wise to plan to set aside some dedicated time and realize there is no "quick fix" that this task like any other worth doing right will be a process.

Bottom Line: Digital Spring Cleaning may take up some of your time but the results are worth it.

Simple 3 Step Approach

  • Choose A Category
  • Remove Unneeded Items
  • Organize/Clean

Tips Before You Start

Thoughts before starting from, "The life-changing magic of tidying up" by Marie Kondo. A lot of these principles can be translated to maintain an clean and organized digital life.

Tidy a little everyday and you will be tidying forever. If you tidy in one shot, rather than little by little, you can drastically change your mind set.
Visualize how you want the end product to be.
A messy room (or inbox) equals a messy mind.
In eliminating clutter thoroughly and completely within a short span of time, you'll see instant results that will empower you to keep your space in order ever after.

3 Popular Digital Categories

  • Email
  • Files (Documents & Photos)
  • Applications (software)


First Remove/Archive Old Emails

There maybe way to many emails to remove, should you want to remove unneeded spam emails here are some tips:

  • Sort email by sender, highlight/select all emails (Ctrl + A) and permanently delete (Shift + Delete) this will keep them from going to the "Deleted Item" folder.
  • This is also a good time to "unsubscribe" from any unwanted emails. Link is usually very small and at the end of email text.
  • You can also Right click any email "Move to Clutter, Mark as Junk or Block Sender" to keep unwanted emails from coming into your main inbox.

Other ways to clean up your inboX

  1. Empty your old emails in the "Draft" folder
  2. Empty your "Junk" folder
  3. Empty you "Deleted Items" folder
  4. Microsoft Outlook has a conversation "Clean Up" tool to remove redundant email messages from your email folders.

Select Home > Clean Up and then select an option:

  1. Clean Up Conversation - to delete redundant email messages from a selected conversation.
  2. Clean Up Folder - to delete redundant email messages from a selected folder.
  3. Clean Up Folder & Subfolders - to delete redundant email messages and conversations from Inbox and any other folders.

If you are overwhelmed you can create Archive folders where you can store older emails.

Sort emails by date, highlight, select and them drag into Archive Folders.
NOTE: We no longer need PST files, with our more to Office 365 we have 50 GB of storage. If you need more space submit a HelpDesk to increase your inbox.

Organize Emails

Several articles showed the less folders you have the better. Having to many folders for individuals, department or projects can cause more maintenance it can take more time to find what you are looking for.

"A folder-using person takes an average of 59 seconds to find what they were looking for, whereas, a search-using person takes only 17 seconds."

Consider only having a hand full of folders. Here are some ideas for simple folder structure from Fast Company.

  1. Inbox: the inbox is a holding pen. Emails shouldn’t stay here any longer than it takes for you to file them into another folder. The exception to this rule is when you respond immediately and are waiting for an immediate response.
  2. Today: Everything that requires a response today.
  3. This Week: Everything that requires a response before the end of the week.
  4. This Month/Quarter: – Everything that needs a longer-term response.
  5. FYI: Most items I receive are informational. If I think I may need to reference an email again, I’ll save it to this folder.
  6. Completed: Mark email complete and move to this folder.
Note: If your work is project-based, you can create this five-folder system for each project.

Documents & Photos

Delete Documents/Photos you no longer need some steps:

  1. Delete your files in "Downloads folder". (A lot of files accumulate here)
  2. Sort files by type or kind this will help you visually see files you may no longer need.
  3. Move all documents to "My Documents" and all Photos to "My Photos", helps keep you Desktop free from clutter.
Which one makes you feel better?

BACK UP or Move Your Files

*Photos could be taking up a lot of space on your personal, work or mobile devices upload/back up to cloud storage or external hard drive.

Cloud Storage Options for Personal Use

  • Dropbox (Personal Account)
  • Amazon Prime (Prime Photos)
  • iCloud
  • Google Drive (Personal Account)

Cloud Storage Option for Work Use

  • OneDrive
  • Network Drive (Molly)
  • Dropbox

NOTE: If Dropbox is added as a folder on your computer you can highlight all your files "right click" and select "Move to Dropbox(Liberty University)"

Also consider taking to your HelpDesk yearly to have it re-imaged and they can also run other clean up tools like a disk clean up.


  • Clean up Browser extensions, short cuts, bookmarks
  • Clear all your browser cookies, cache & History

Look for the menu at the top right you can manage Add-ons, Extensions, access Bookmark Manager and also Reset your browser back to default.

To clear History simply press these keys > PC: Ctrl + Shift + Delete Mac: Shift + Command + Delete.

Social Media
  • Deactivate old accounts not used (Pinterest, MySpace anyone?)
  • Review the privacy and security settings on websites & Apps you use to be sure that they remain set to your comfort level for sharing.
  • Update your “online self”: Are your social media sites up to date? Review your personal information and update it where needed.

Example: Privacy Settings in Facebook

Go to Drop Down arrow (top right) > Settings > Privacy

Apps Settings in Facebook (you can restrict or remove Apps from gathering your information)

Mobile Apps Clean Up
  • Remove mobile apps from phone you are no longer using, keep top 5-10 used apps
  • Organize your apps into folders

Clean Your Devices

Germs, Germs & More Germs!

We all know there are tons of germs on mobile devices and screens. Some recommended items to use to clean these services clean.

  • Microfiber Cloth
  • Water
  • Small water bottle
  • Isopropyl(rubbing) alcohol (mix half with water)
  • Cotton swabs

NOTE: Don't spray directly on screen, spray on cloth then wipe. Stay away from Clorox wipes and Disinfecting wipes these can damage screens.

Thank you! Happy Cleaning!

Created By
Jessica Johnson


Created with images by tdlucas5000 - "Fields of Color" • Concord90 - "girl computer work" • Freepht - "coffee cafe table" • Janitors - "Mailbox app" • RogerGoun - "Prints" • LoboStudioHamburg - "twitter facebook together"

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