After a year mostly spent at home channeling Marie Kondo, I bet you’re like me, and every drawer, closet, and room is organized. Now, let’s tackle your digital life.
Start with Google search results. Look yourself up, and I bet you will find a lot of results you want to remove. Tap or click for insider tricks to make embarrassing, outdated, or personal info (including the Google Street View of your home) vanish from the internet.
While you’re cleaning things up, tell your digital assistants — looking at you, Siri and Alexa — to butt out. Tap or click to stop smart speakers, social media sites and even your computer from listening to your every word.
Here are seven more ways to get your digital life in ship shape.
1. Clean up your browser
Your browser doesn’t just store your passwords and favorite sites. There are also browser cookies, the trackers that follow you around the web and power the ads and content you see. Plus, your internet history, cache, and download history could be clogging things up.
A free program called CCleaner helps you sort out the cookies and archives you don’t really need. When you download the app, you can focus on a specific browser you would like to clean up. CCleaner analyzes its backlog of information and lists the data that seems unnecessary.
You can delete cookies from your phone, too. Tap or click here for the step-by-step instructions whether you’re using iOS or Android.
2. Speed up your smartphone
You remember to clear your cluttered computer from time to time, but what about your smartphone? Our phones are essentially handheld computers, and when they overflow with useless information, their operations can also slow down. Think overburdened call logs, search history, and saved texts.
For Android users, try Clean Master or Magic Toolbox. You can use these apps to clean out junk files, clean your cache, delete cookies, wipe out temporary files. Note: Both are free to use but ad-supported.
iPhones don’t have an equivalent app, but clearing your cache is simple. Tap or click here and scroll down to “Clear that cache.”
3. Remove duplicate photos
Digital photos are easy to shoot, upload, and copy, handy in almost every respect, especially if you grew up lugging rolls of film to the one-hour photo lab. The downside is that you may end up with multiple copies of the same picture.
The trick is to delete redundant photos without losing the original image safely. This is the premise behind Remo Duplicate Photos Remover, which is designed to filter through your photo collection in search of double-takes. It works with Android and iPhones.
4. Delete old accounts you no longer use
You know by now, the more online accounts you have, the more at risk you are when hackers come calling. With a new data breach around every corner, your usernames and passwords are in high demand.
You can delete your unwanted accounts, but that’s not always easy. Sites like Pinterest and Evernote are nearly impossible to erase from your digital life. Other sites hide their delete links, meaning you have to dig pretty deep to find them.
That’s where JustDelete.Me comes in. The site has a directory of links to get rid of hundreds of various accounts. This makes deleting old accounts so much easier.
5. Scan your app list
Here’s an item to add to your quarterly to-do list: Audit your apps. This frees up valuable digital real estate and protects you from yet another developer who wants to get their hands on your data.
Scroll through your app list. You’ll find at least a couple you no longer use. Do you have multiple perform the same function? What about a game you gave up long ago or a loyalty app for a company that went out of business?
Before you just hit the big X, you need to know the right steps to take. Tap or click here for a step-by-step guide for deleting apps and their data the right way.
6. Catalogue your physical belongings
You may be the type of person who likes to keep track of every ironing board and lampshade in the house, or you may want to compile a report for insurance companies, so there is no question whether something has been stolen or lost.
The Encircle app works on iOS and Android and was created to take inventory of your worldly possessions. Just take a photo of each valuable object, then attach notes to the image, including its original cost, relevant serial numbers, and even appraisals. It makes the process a breeze.
7. Sell your second-hand stuff online
By now, you have probably had lots of computers, smartphones, tablets, and other gadgets. When you upgrade, the older one just sits around. Why not make some extra money?
Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace aren’t the best places to turn to with all the scams and false advertisements going around. And who wants to haggle with someone over the price or find a place to meet?
A safer, more reliable option is DeCluttr. They purchase from you directly, so you don’t need to create a listing, write a description, or negotiate. You don’t need to include the original box, charger, or accessories, either. Who has those anyway?
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What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television, or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.