Make Your New Year’s Resolution an Organized Digital Life
For many of us, 2016 was a doozy, but we here at Brit + Co are ready to hit refresh in 2017! Follow our Hit Refresh series through January for new ideas, hacks and skills that will help you achieve (and maintain!) those New Year’s resolutions.
2017 is almost upon us, and that means it’s time for resolutions and new life mottos. Time to clean up your social media profiles, where you may have posted a little too much about controversial topics. Oops. While normally we would say it’s time to reflect on the past year, we think 2016 is a classic case of “don’t look back if you aren’t going in that direction.” This year has been absolutely insane, and we’re way past ready to ring in the new one — but we’ll have our flak jackets ready just in case. And since it’s usually best to start things with a clean slate, here’s how else you can get prepared.
ORGANIZING YOUR PHONE
This one is gonna be way easier than it sounds, promise. If you’re like us and you’re always downloading the latest and greatest apps to try, your Home Screens are probably in a certain level of disarray. Luckily, there’s a few relatively quick fixes you can try.
1. Alphabetization: This is by far the quickest way to organize, and it makes it even quicker to find your apps later. On an iPhone, head over to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Home Screen Layout. This will organize all of your apps alphabetically so you can find them easily (as long as you remember what they’re called). The downside to this method is it will get rid of all folders — including your CrApps folder. On the Samsung Galaxy S7, open your App Drawer and tap A-Z at the top right (other Android phones have similar methods).
2. Action Items: This is a great way to organize, because you’ll always be able to find what you need based on the action you’re trying to perform. For example, if you want to shop, you can go to your Shop folder, where you have Amazon, Lululemon, etc. If you want to read, you can go to your — you guessed it — Read folder, where you have Kindle, Huffington Post, Wattpad, etc. Other useful categories include Listen, Watch, Talk and Get Stuff Done.
3. Frequently Used: Our final tip for organizing your phone’s Home Screens is to go by how frequently you use each app. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram should all be on the first screen (obv), as well as any other apps you use daily. The second screen could be, for example, apps you use a few times a week. The third screen could be for apps you use every couple of weeks, or that you rarely use but that are too valuable to delete. Hey, you never know when that scanner app will come in handy, right?
ORGANIZING YOUR LAPTOP
This one will take a little longer, but the end result is so worth it. You’ll be able to find things more quickly and easily, and in all likelihood, your computer will run faster without all that extra junk clogging it up.
1. Deleting Duplicate Files: You’d be amazed at how much storage is eaten up by duplicate files — whether you accidentally downloaded something more than once or you stored the same file in a couple of different places. You don’t have to get rid of the duplicates manually, though! On a Mac, you can use an app like Hazel to do all the heavy lifting for you. On a PC, you can use a software like CCleaner, which finds duplicates and a whole lot more.
2. Sorting What’s Left: After you’ve gotten rid of duplicates, you should delete applications that you don’t use anymore, and use an app like Hazel (mentioned above) to get rid of the support files for applications that never seem to go away even after you delete the apps themselves. On a PC, you can navigate to My Computer and then right click on the disk you want to clean up and select Properties > Disk Cleanup. In the checklist that comes up, make sure you select Downloaded Program Files and Temporary Internet Files to get rid of the junk files you don’t need. Keeping those files would be like keeping the instruction manuals to things you don’t even own anymore. Silly, right?
After that, you should go through and set up a sorting system that makes the most sense to you. Apps like Hazel (or File Juggler for PC) can watch whatever folders you tell them to and automatically organize the files inside according to the rules you make. This allows you to do things like automatically sort your movies or file important documents. You can also keep your recycling bin from overflowing by having the app delete files that are too old or too large.
3. Clearing Your Downloads Folder: The final things you should do are delete the stuff you don’t need from your Downloads folder — we can almost guarantee there will be a lot — and whenever you download or create a file, take a few extra seconds to name (or rename) it something that makes sense so you can actually figure out what it is later without having to open it. It will make sorting easier too.
ORGANIZE YOUR PHOTOS
If you take a lot of photos on your phone, chances are at some point you’ve received the dreaded “storage full” message. Luckily, you can use a cloud storage service like iCloud or Google Photos to manage your pics and clear out your phone. These services can do the organizing for you if you want; they can organize by people, places, dates and even by keyword (e.g., “sunset,” “tree,” etc.). Before you set it up though, you should take the time to delete duplicate or blurry photos, as well as the photos you just know you won’t look at ever again. Seriously, you’ll feel so much better when you actually have the space in your phone to take new pictures. And the best part about iCloud and Google Photos is that they’re compatible with both iPhones and Android phones. Everyone’s included, yay!
Hopefully once your digital life is cleaned up, some of the clutter in your mind will go with it! Here’s hoping 2017 is a little less messy all around.
How do you organize your digital life? Tell us @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)