How to manage & organize your digital clutter


You may recall a post that I wrote over the summer on why being organized is actually good for our health and well-being.

That post mainly covered the topic of physical clutter, but did you know that digital/electronic clutter can weigh us down too?

In fact, I’m willing to bet that many of us have more clutter on our computers, phones, and other electronic devices than the kind of clutter that you can trip over and see.  After all, you have to pick up your belongings every now and then (for example, when company comes to visit), but there is rarely an incentive to clean up the files on your computer.

Here are some ways to help you eliminate and organize electronic clutter for good.




Clean your inbox once a day

I’m pretty diligent about cleaning out my inbox, so digital mail pile-up is never really an issue for me.  However, I’ve seen friends and family members get pretty stressed out over the hundreds of emails taking up space in their inboxes.

One way to keep emails from accumulating is to make sure that you delete the ones you don’t need at least once a day.  Just set a number that works for you and send that many emails to your trash bin.  Remember- the number that you set should be greater than one!


Move old emails into folders

If you have any emails that you’d like to keep but don’t necessarily need to respond to or reference at present, move them into folders (electronic ones, obviously).  I have folders for things related to the baby, vacation, receipts, and blogging.  They really come in handy and help to keep me organized.


Follow the “one in, one out” rule

I’m sure that you’ve heard of this method when it comes to things like clothing and shoes, but I’m actually referring to emails- especially replies to messages.  You most likely don’t need to keep ten outdated replies to the same original email.  Just keep the most current reply and delete the other versions.


Remove yourself from email lists

LivingSocial, Groupon, Banana Republic sale alerts… they are all great if you actually get use out of them.  In the not-so-distant past, I was subscribed to so many email notifications that I just couldn’t keep up.  More often than not, I’d delete them as soon as they popped up.  Eventually, I realized that it would be smarter to just keep the subscriptions that I actually used and unsubscribe from the rest.  It made a huge dent in my digital clutter.


Manage your bookmarks by utilizing Pinterest

If you’re anything like me, you bookmark nearly every website, blog, recipe, or makeup product that you find online.  All of those bookmarks can really add up to the point where everything just gets lost.  This is where Pinterest can be a huge help.  Rather than bookmarking those things, I’ll simply pin them to one of my boards for future reference.

Don’t want everyone to know that you’re eyeing a new bra from Victoria’s Secret?  Well, the great thing is that you can create secret boards as well.  Secret boards are locked, so you are the only one who can see what’s pinned there.  It’s a great feature!


Put apps into folders and delete the ones you don’t use

I always keep the apps on my phone organized by moving them into folders.  For instance, I have folders for photography, tools, entertainment, and social media.  I’m not sure how all phones work, but there are certain apps on my iPhone that I never use but am not permitted to delete (such as compass, stocks, and game center).  I’ve actually corralled all of those together into a folder as well.

Delete photos that you don’t need, and save the ones you want to keep

I’ll admit that I’m horrible at following this one.  I’m actually kind of a digital photo hoarder and even ran out of space on my phone the other day because I had 1,800 photos on it.   It forced me to go through them all and delete the ones that I don’t really need or want.

(By the way, that little exercise made me realize that I take way too many pictures of food and that I stalk my baby.)

As far as saving photos. I like to keep some of them saved to my computer, but I also have the ones that I really love printed to display around the house or to add to an album.


Those are my tips!  How do you keep your digital clutter in check?  I’d love to read some of your ideas.

Have a great day!




  1. All great tips and ones I need to keep remembering to follow. I do put my e-mail in folders. I only bookmark sites that I really want to keep, the rest get pinned. I do need to clean up my photos on my phone. I know I’m running out of space there. And, I put apps in folders as well. Although, my hubby and I share apps, so sometimes I get behind on putting his in his own folder. I am behind on mail. But, I do go through it at least once a day and get all the NEW mail sorted, responded, and deleted. I just need to post this in front me me for reference every day. Followed you from SITS. Have a blessed day!

  2. Most helpful tip you shared for me was to remind me of secret boards on pinterest. Great idea. Thanks for the reminder to keep digital files uncluttered too. Visiting from Sharefest.

    thegrassskirt Reply:

    The secret boards are the best! I use them SO much. Have a great weekend, and thank you for visiting. :)

  3. Great tips!! I try to manage my clutter by following most of these. The one that is hard for me is the email lists. Everytime I unsubscribe from one list I somehow end up on another. It’s a never ending nightmare :/ BTW Happy Sharefest! :)

  4. Digital clutter can make ya crazy!!! I currently need to organize my photos on my computer. Ahhh! And I loooooove pinterest! It has really cleaned up my bookmarks ! Thanks for the tips! Stopping by from SITS! :)

    thegrassskirt Reply:

    I need to clean up my photos too! They are definitely a mess. Thanks for stopping by! :)

  5. I can relate to this post! I actually do most of your tips…well try to anyways. ..LOL My digital pictures fill up quick too – and many are taken for my blog! Thankfully photo stream is a saver for me, making it faster for me to delete the photos off my phone but still accessible on my computer.

    Visiting from Sharefest. Your blog looks great!


    thegrassskirt Reply:

    I definitely need to use photo stream. Thanks so much for stopping by! :)

  6. I struggle with this. I am a digital hoarder of epic proportions! I usually wait until my inbox gets completely unmanageable (like 5,000 Emails) and then I declare Email bankruptcy and shove it all into an archive folder and start over. It’s not very efficient, but it beats spending 3 hours going through and deleting that many Emails.

    Some things I do that work for me are – I used to filter all my shopping Emails into one folder, so I wasn’t temped by all those sales and pretty pictures. Then when I do decide to go shopping, I can search on a particular retailer and any coupons or specials are right there. Now days I used a service called that does basically the same thing, only it gives me a daily summary.

    I also like the star function in Gmail. Things that I want to follow-up on get a Star, which puts them in a kind of “holding” pen where they are still visible to me until I can complete them. I’m very visual, so if something goes into a folder, it’s basically gone forever.

    thegrassskirt Reply:

    These are great tips! Thanks for sharing. :) I also love the Gmail star function.

  7. Laura,

    A very nice article. You have aptly put across some tips for managing efficiently our routine chores.

    I request your kind permission to copy some of the content/images from your article to be used on my website. Our upcoming app solves problems of digital clutter. We are in content gathering phase, and later on once we start the blog, we’d surely link this page from there.

  8. Am truly sorry, somehow I dont know how come my fingers slipped from typing Erin, in place of Laura.

    Sorry Erin for the silly gaffe, regret the goof up


  1. Weekly round-up (Audrey Hepburn edition) | The Grass Skirt - [...] How to manage and organize your digital clutter [...]

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: