Do you have tens of thousands of emails in your inbox and the important ones get buried and go unanswered?
Are there dozens of folders on your desktop but you can’t locate the files you need when you need them?
Is your photo stream so junked up with screenshots and info photos that you can’t find the great pic of your kids where they were all smiling at the same time?
You are not alone!
I’m a wiz at organizing physical spaces, but last year I realized my digital world had gotten a little out of hand. I needed to learn some new tricks and tools. Through Laurie Palau’s This Organized Life podcast, I found Kath Younger’s life-changing Digital Clutter course.
Since I’ve been using Kath’s systems, I spend less time handling email, I know right where to put my digital files, and I can easily find my favorite photos.
This month, I sat down with Kath to talk about her digital clutter organizing methods. Watch the video here:
Read on for the 3 Biggest Mistakes Kath sees people make when trying to organize digital content.
Paperless = Less Filing
Looking for an easy way to reduce the dreaded task of filing? Go paperless!
Whenever possible, whether it's utility bills or bank statements, sign up for the paperless option. Don't worry, your statements and account information will all be available to you online, but you'll no longer have to handle and store the paper files.
You'll still be able to reconcile your bank statements and keep track of payments because the statements will come to your email address. If you really feel the need, you can file these digitally in a special email folder. At least that kind of filing takes just a click and doesn't take up any physical space.
Want to streamline things even further? Sign up for automatic payments of recurring bills. You'll be given at least several days' notice about exactly how much will be deducted from your bank account or charged to your credit card, so you have time to transfer the funds as needed. You'll never be late on a payment again!
An Organizing Podcast
Do you listen to podcasts? They make excellent commuting companions and workout buddies because the time seems to fly when listening to something entertaining and educational.
If you want some extra inspiration and information for your organizing journey, try the Keeping You Organized podcast by Smead (maker of innovative home and office organizing products). The podcasts are 15-20 minutes long and cover a wide range of organizing topics such as paperwork, time management, and decluttering.
Find the Keeping You Organized podcast in iTunes or on the Smead website.
P.S. If you like podcasts, two non-organizing related ones that I enjoy are How I Built This, which profiles entrepreneurs and innovators, and The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe, which tells surprising stories about people and events you thought you knew.
Are you distressed by the huge volume of emails you get?
Are you tempted to shop whenever you get those deal of the day emails?
Are you distracted by from tackling important emails by solicitation emails?
It is so worth it to find that hidden "UNSUBSCRIBE" link at the bottom of the email and click on it!
Even though that takes a bit of effort up front, it really saves time in the future by reducing the amount of unwanted and distracting emails you get.
It'll also save your wallet because you won't be tempted to shop just because some "deal" you're being offered. You know you can just go on RetailMeNot and find a deal when you really need to buy something.
So click UNSUBSCRIBE and get yourself off of all of those annoying email lists!
But not mine, of course.
Organize Your Passwords
Do you get confused trying to remember all of your passwords for various websites?
Do you keep the same, simple (easily-breached!) password for every site so it's easy for you to remember?
Do you write down passwords in a book or keep hard copies of passwords in files?
Do you never update your passwords because it's too hard to remember new ones?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you should check out a password manager such as LastPass*.
After a couple of years of using my own complicated password system and having to manually update all of my passwords on a quarterly basis, I finally decided to give LastPass a try. After a brief learning curve, I now find it very simple to create, store, and update complicated passwords to any site I log onto and to use LastPass across all of my devices. You can even use LastPass to share password access to designated sites with family members or coworkers.
Organize your passwords with a password manager!
(Click here to read why The Wirecutter picked LastPass as the best password manager and here to read their opinion as to why everyone should use a password manager.)
*NOTE: The links included are affiliate links. For no additional charge to you, I receive a small commission when you purchase LastPass.
What holiday is it today?
Today's tip is super quick so you can get back to enjoying the day.
Go to timeanddate.com to find out more about Martin Luther King Jr. Day and bookmark it to quickly and easily look up any holiday!
Catalog and Magazine Clutter
Catalogs and magazines can be fun to browse through every now and then, but this innocent-seeming form of entertainment can have cluttering consequences for your home and your mind.
Here’s a list of reasons why I recommend reducing or eliminating your consumption of catalogs and magazines:
If you’re like me, you are probably doing a fair amount of online shopping this time of year.
Although I always make sure to spend an afternoon at my local boutiques to find unique gifts, online shopping helps streamline some of the holiday purchases.
Just make sure that when you check out online you’re not adding to your post-holiday email clutter by accidentally subscribing to promotional emails. Online stores really try to hide those check boxes now (and are they getting smaller or are my eyes getting worse?). If you forget to un-check them, you’ll automatically be signed up to receive a slew of email solicitations.
Yes, some of the offers can be good, but do you really need to shop as frequently as the stores think you do? You can always find those same offers through www.retailmenot.com or a Google search.
So don’t forget to un-check the promotional emails box when you check out online.
Minimize Mail with PaperKarma
Want to minimize the pile of mail you get? Try the PaperKarma app.
This app helps you control clutter in two ways:
1) It reduces the amount of mail you get.
2) It helps you avoid the temptation to shop by unsubscribing you from catalogs.
With your phone, just snap a photo of the address label of the catalog or mail solicitation that you want to unsubscribe from, and PaperKarma notifies the company and takes you off the mailing list.
It may seem fun to browse through catalogs, but constantly being confronted with the newest products is highly tempting and can create a sense of anxiety and dissatisfaction with the things you currently own. You can always look at that stuff online if you really need to shop for something. Letting the catalogs go will help restore peace.
There's a small fee for using the app (I believe after a certain number of free unsubscribes), but it's well worth it to help you get the influx of papers under control.
NOTE: The PaperKarma link given here is an affiliate link. At no extra charge to you, I earn a small commission when you purchase through this link.
My Favorite App!
5/28/2020 UPDATE: Sadly, Wunderlist was bought by Microsoft and is now defunct. My new to-do list app of choice is the fabulous TickTick (Note: This is an affiliate referral link.).
Cons: The free version is very limited, so unless your to-do-listing is very basic, you'll need the paid version.
Pros: The straightforward layout is similar to my beloved Wunderlist plus it is feature-rich with smart lists, list sharing, in-app communication, calendar integration, and even a built-in Pomodoro timer so you can learn to be super productive!
I’m so excited to share this week’s tip with you. It’s my favorite app ever – the one I can’t live without: Wunderlist!
This is the app that does all the work of keeping me organized and on task. I honestly can't remember what I did before I had Wunderlist. I guess I just wrote stuff down on paper -- ugh, how archaic!
Now I keep every kind of list imaginable on it: a basic To Do list, packing lists, a list of books I've read, grocery lists, a list of things I want to buy (so I don't impulse shop), and more. (As a child, didn't you love the story of The List in Frog and Toad Together?)
My recent favorite is my Recurring list. These are things that I have to do on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis Wunderlist reminds me to do them, so now I can't "forget" to practice piano or wash the doormats.
Another excellent feature is the ability to share lists with others. This is great for collaborating on projects and for keeping your kids on track.
Best of all, the lists sync between my laptop, iPad, and Android phone, so I'm never without Wunderlist.
Oh, yeah, and did I mention it's free?