Cyber spring cleaning: Decluttering your digital home

Emma McGowan 4 Apr 2023

From eliminating multiple copies to removing excessive bookmarks, here are five tips to avoid cyber hoarding.

Spring cleaning provides the perfect opportunity to declutter both your physical and digital homes. Although digital clutter doesn’t leave a physical trace, it can undoubtedly take up significant mental space. A messy digital environment can trigger stress, hinder productivity, and increase vulnerability to cyber threats.  

It's best to avoid cyber hoarding and build a routine to efficiently manage your digital devices. Follow these tips to tidy up your digital home and boost your mental wellbeing. 

Delete duplicate files 

Duplicate files can easily creep into your digital space without you even realizing it. Not paying attention when downloading or relocating files on your computer can create a frenzy of duplicate documents that wreak havoc on your productivity and take up significant storage space. 

Be proactive and remove additional copies when you come across them. If the file is important, back it up using a hard drive or a cloud storage service. Using a tool like CCleaner can help tidy up the smattering of unwanted files clogging up your desktop and hike up the performance of your devices. 

Trim your inbox 

Prevent your email inbox from stacking up like a pile of dirty dishes in your kitchen sink. Keeping the most relevant, resourceful emails filed and tagged can be handy. However, a backlog of unread/partially read emails can create a sense of anxiety and potentially cause sensitive information to get buried and become accessible to hackers.  

To avoid getting hacked, delete old emails and export needed attachments to either a hard drive or the cloud. As mentioned in our previous post, use your new digital organization structure to create labeled folders to sort relevant emails. And download an app like to unsubscribe to the various  e-newsletters or sales digests that you don’t read. More importantly, delete old email accounts that you don't use. 

Clear excessive bookmarks 

Consider curating and removing bookmarked websites like you would items in your bedroom closet. If you haven't read it over the past year, it's time to toss it. If you default to bookmarking as a way of staying current on your most visited websites, then chances are that you have accumulated a trove of sites that are no longer relevant and compete for your limited attention.

Periodically update and delete your bookmarks to ensure quick access and more storage space. Setting a default limit will reduce bookmark overflow. 

Scrub your social media 

Give your social media accounts a scrub by deleting, unfollowing, and unfriending social media bots or people you no longer interact with. Once completed, take this a step further by installing secure monitoring software like Avast One Platinum

Avast One Platinum’s social media monitoring feature alerts users about suspicious activity across Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook and detects everything from violent content to online scams that could signal a compromised account. Additionally, its 24/7 expert tech support is available to help users regain control of accounts quickly and safely. 

Toss out digital trash 

The last step in any spring cleaning project is to remove the trash. This applies to digital clean-outs as well. Consider donating, selling, or recycling old and unused phones, networking devices, printers, etc. But first, remember to wipe out all existing data and follow all recycling guidelines when discarding your digital devices.

Happy spring cleaning!

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