Cleaning a Computer to Symbolize Digital SpacesMany people take time once a year to do some deep cleaning on their homes, cars and workspaces. It feels good to have everything organized and in its proper place. You can get the same feeling from sorting out your digital spaces, too. Here is a checklist of tasks to help you save what you need and get rid of the rest.

Email Inbox

Some people answer emails and then immediately move the message they no longer need to the trash folder or, if they want to keep it, file it with similar messages in the appropriately labeled folder. Others may have thousands of unread emails from companies from which they bought something once and then forgot to remove themselves from the mailing list. Whether your habits fall into one of these two categories or somewhere in the middle, your email account may be easier to use if you clean it out.

Start with the messages still in your inbox. Delete everything you don't need. This includes unread emails older than two months, particularly if they are newsletters or deal announcements, since the information in them is probably outdated anyway. Once you have pared down the number of emails you have to deal with, it is simpler to archive or sort the ones that remain so that you can find them more easily.

Personal Accounts

Social media is a great way to stay in touch with friends, particularly those whom you don't get to see in person very often. To maximize your experience on each platform, it helps to maintain an up-to-date profile. There are several things you can do to make your social media profiles more current:

  • Add personal pronouns to the description
  • Update work information
  • Include a new hobby you've started
  • Archive old posts
  • Double-check privacy settings

Platforms such as Facebook and Instagram allow you to save posts that you like and want to reference later. After a while, though, your saved section can become so disorganized that you become overwhelmed with the sheer volume of information stored there. Clearing out the dead links or old posts that are no longer relevant to your needs makes this feature more useful.

Social Media Feed

Facebook may cap your friends' list at 1,000, but Robin Dunbar, a British anthropologist, asserts that the average person can only maintain 150 relationships with any degree of familiarity at a time. If the list of people you are friends with or following exceeds this number by too much, it is unlikely you are actually keeping up with everyone the way you want to be. Depending on how your favorite platform's algorithms form your social feed, you may be missing out on updates from some of your favorite people because you are following too many others.

A simple way to see more of the people you want to remain connected with the most is to unfollow the people whose accounts appear inactive. Once you have cleared these accounts, go through your feed and assess the posts that pop up. Are you uninterested in what they have to say? Do you find yourself scrolling past certain people's posts without engaging in them? If you answer either of these questions in the affirmative, it's probably a safe bet to go ahead and unfriend or at least unfollow those people.

A digital cleanup can be just as satisfying as sorting out your closet or organizing the garage. If you want to increase the efficiency with which you use your email account or enjoy your social media feeds more, it may be time to get rid of all the extraneous data you're holding onto. In just a few hours' time, your digital accounts can be in order.

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