Your technology needs some tidying up, too. We asked professional organizer, Barbara Reich, of Resourceful Consultants, for her best tips.
Delete and Organize Apps
The first step to cleaning up your phone should be deleting any apps you don’t use regularly, according to Reich. “In terms of organization, the apps used most frequently should be on the main screen of your phone,” she says. “The apps that are used less frequently can be put into categories using folders on the second page. Having less visual clutter on your smartphone is a subtle, but effective way of reducing visual overload.”
Manage Photos and Music
If you keep running out of storage in your phone, it’s time to get rid of some photos, videos, and music. “Transfer these to cloud storage,” Reich says. “Photos and videos should be saved in albums, and unflattering, unwanted ones should be deleted.” Cloud storage will help you save memory on your phone, and you’ll be able to access it on multiple devices. (Keep in mind, though, that accessing items in cloud storage does use Wi-Fi or phone data.) Plus, it’s also a good idea to back up these items on a cloud storage system or your laptop every few weeks or each month, so they won’t be lost forever if your phone malfunctions or is stolen.
Streamline To-Do Lists
It’s helpful to create lists on your phone, so you have access to it when you’re at the grocery store or even in a meeting—but if you have a lot of lists and reminders on your phone, it can become counterproductive. “When events and to-dos are recorded in multiple places, it’s easy for something to fall through the cracks,” she Reich. “The system you use is less important than having only one system.” Whether you use your iPhone’s Notes, the calendar feature, or another scheduling app (like our free organizer, Cozi), you should input all of your tasks and reminders to the system that works for you and stick to it.
Clean Up Contacts
You might have someone’s phone number whom you haven’t spoken to in years. Take stock and update your contacts. “Try scrolling through a letter of the alphabet each day, ‘cleaning up’ your contacts,” Reich says. “Eliminate anyone you don’t remember, and any other contacts you don’t need. Be sure to merge contacts when you have a person’s information more than once.” When you’re inputting new contacts in the future, get into the habit of adding some details to the entry for reference.
Declutter Your Inbox
If your phone’s email inbox is out of control, you’ll be less likely to find and respond to important emails. “First unsubscribe from all of the newsletters and promotional emails you receive and don’t need,” she says. “Second, create your own digital filing system with folder so emails are moved to the appropriate category as they are read and unanswered. Finally, consider deleting all of the emails that are more than one month old.”