Skip to Content
© Pfong001 | Dreamstime
How-tos

Fall tech cleanup: 3 must-do tasks to spruce up your computer, phone and inbox

We all clean our homes at least once a week, but spring cleaning is special. It’s that time of year when we bust out the big guns and clean more thoroughly than usual. You know by now that we recommend cleaning your tech gadgets as well as your furniture.

Tap or click here for seven useful tools for a quick and easy digital spring cleaning. But we here at Komando HQ have a proposition: What about fall cleaning? You should be doing a thorough cleanse more than once a year.

Christmas is just around the corner, so you should give all your gadgets and files a cleanup now before the busy holiday season begins. Here are three essential cleaning tips. Follow these steps to make your computer, phone and inbox sparkle.

1. Clean your computer, inside and out

You should regularly brush a feather duster over your computer’s exterior. That will help avoid gunk that can build up over time.

Now let’s do some digital cleaning to make your computer run more smoothly. The easiest trick is to empty the Recycle Bin. (If you’re a Mac user, that’s the Trash icon.) This is where all your deleted files go.

You should also clear temporary files, which your system creates as backups in case your document doesn’t save properly. You can do these tasks manually — or you can save time and automate them.

How to clear out temporary files on Windows

Take advantage of a native Windows 10 feature called Storage Sense. Once you turn it on, it monitors your device and automatically frees up space. It even deletes junk files when your computer is low on space.

To enable it, follow these steps:

  • Open Settings.
  • Next, click System.
  • Select Storage.
  • Now, it’s time to enable Storage Sense by sliding the toggle to the right.

Your screen will look something like this:

Turn on Storage Sense at the top of the page.

One way to clear up files on a Mac computer

Take advantage of a built-in feature called Optimize Storage. It saves space on your device by storing content in iCloud. It also comes with built-in tools that find and remove large or unneeded files.

  • First, head to the Apple menu.
  • Open About This Mac.
  • Select Storage.
  • Lastly, click Manage.

This takes you to the Storage Management window. It looks like this:

Click Optimize and you’re good to go.

If you want even more ways to clean up your Mac or PC, here’s some good news. We put together an in-depth guide on clearing up your computer and safely deleting unwanted files. Tap or click here for six ways to declutter your Mac or PC.

2. A few ways to clean up your phone

Your computer isn’t the only device that can amass a mountain of junk files. It’s also easy to clog up storage space on your phone. If you have far too many photos in your gallery, tap or click here for an easy guide to organizing your messy photo collection.

Don’t forget about your contacts list, too. It used to be that when you got a new phone, you had to import contacts manually. Most of us cleaned the list as we went along.

Now, when you upgrade your smartphone, all of your old files transfer over. That means you can easily accumulate far more contacts than you need.

If you have an Android, try out Google Contacts. Once you’re in the program, click on “Duplicates” to see all the duplicate contacts you need to merge. It’s a huge time-saver; it only took our news director Ben Bradley 15 minutes to polish up his list.

iPhone users can try an app called Cleanup Duplicate Contacts.

We’re a fan of this app because it doesn’t ask for excessive permissions. Many apps will inexplicably want to access your camera or location, but this one doesn’t. One reviewer said they used the app and fixed their contacts list entirely in airplane mode.

3. Don’t forget to clear your inbox

If you are one of those people with 5,000 unread emails and that just sent a shiver up your spine, try this tip. If your inbox is packed, it’s likely because one sender won’t stop reaching out.

For instance, our content queen Allie recently cleaned out her inbox. “I couldn’t believe how many times Crate&Barrel really, really wanted me to buy something,” she said. Needless to say, she had far fewer emails to wade through once she banned Crate&Barrel from reaching out.

Our trick is to open up an email from someone you don’t want to receive anymore. Copy the email address and search for it in your inbox. They’ll all pop up at once, and you can delete them in bulk. (Don’t forget to leave one around so you can unsubscribe from the mailing list.)

Here’s a bonus tip: If you see actual junk or spam, mark it! The more information you give your email provider, the better job it will do blocking this stuff in the future. Check your spam folder, too, and make sure nothing you want to see ended up there.

If you want even more help, check this out. We made a guide to deleting thousands of emails all at once.

Bonus: Ditch your snooping email provider for a more secure option

You’ve heard Kim say for years that free email services like Gmail or Yahoo aren’t really free. There’s a big price to pay — your privacy. These free email sites scan, analyze and save details of every email you send and receive, giving Big Tech a very intimate and detailed profile of you so they can easily sell your data to the highest bidder.

That’s why we recommend StartMail. With StartMail, you can send encrypted emails with one click, even if the recipient doesn’t use encryption. And StartMail never scans or analyzes your emails. Best of all, when you delete an email, it’s gone — forever.

Don’t trust Big Tech with your data and privacy. Go to StartMail.com/Kim today for a seven-day free trial and 50% off your first year.

Refer friends, earn rewards!

Why not share your source of digital lifestyle news, tips and advice with others? When your friends and family subscribe to Kim's free newsletters, you earn points toward awesome rewards!

Get rewarded