Spring is one of the best times of the year. Forgotten flowers begin to wake from their deep winter sleep, the morning breeze is just the right temperature, and best of all, it’s the season for getting your life squeaky clean and organized.
When spring comes around, we all take our cleaning and decluttering up a notch. Spring cleaning is a wonderful way to clean our physical spaces, but what about our digital spaces?
Like many of us, you may have hundreds of flagged emails, articles you’ve saved for later, unread notifications, and maybe even a disorganized Evernote account. So when you gear up for spring cleaning this year, be sure to make two lists: one physical spring cleaning list and another for digital spring cleaning.
Let’s take a look at four tactics for digital spring cleaning that will help you declutter your digital space.
1. Keep your inbox under control
Did you know that the average professional receives 121 emails per day? You likely also have more than one email account, one for work and one for personal use. That’s a lot of emails to stay on top of!
Organizing your inbox is easier than you think. You can archive or delete anything you don’t need, add tags, and create a folder system that works for you. That way, those 121+ emails you get every day don’t seem so overwhelming.
Power tip: Take your inbox clean-out one step further with an Evernote workflow. Save emails to Evernote for essential emails like travel itineraries, flights, and information from your boss that you’d like to store for later. With this feature, you’re able to send those emails to your Evernote account and label them with terms like @notebook or #tag, so they’re exactly where you need them when you need them.
2. Declutter your social media accounts
Social media can be overwhelming. Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter—the list goes on. You simply have to recognize that you can’t keep up with the speed of information and messages being thrown at you.
On a personal level, we find it’s best to spend time on the platforms that you find most entertaining and where you genuinely connect with friends and loved ones. Professionally, it’s important to understand that you should be on platforms where your community is most active versus being on every social media platform out there.
Customize your social media experience
- Make a list of platforms you’re using and why you use them. What value are you getting from each platform? Go ahead and deactivate any platform that takes more than it gives.
- Curate the accounts you’re following. If an account doesn’t bring you joy or negatively impacts your mental health, don’t be afraid to hit that unfollow button.
Fewer accounts = fewer things to feel like you have to catch up on, giving you more time to focus on what really matters.
Social media notifications are distracting and addictive. The more you see a notification, the more likely you are to click on an app and doomscroll. Here are a few ways you can reduce notifications and your time on the apps.
- Turn off your social media notifications—On your phone, turn off push or bubble notifications. This can help you reduce the number of times you check an app expecting to see something new.
- Set time limits—Now, most devices have screen time limit options. You can set time limits for social apps as a whole, specific apps, or websites.
- Remove apps from your home screen—Out of frame, out of mind. You can remove your social media apps from your home screen so that when you feel inclined to check them or make a post, you have to take an extra step to find them.
Power tip: Challenge yourself to spend less time on social media or reduce your screen time altogether. Check in with yourself every day and keep track of your progress with the Evernote Habit Tracker template.
3. Clean up your browser bookmarks
You know how it goes: Every time you visit a webpage and find something interesting, you ‘favorite’ it. At the time, you thought you’d circle back to that great recipe or go back and watch that TEDTalk. But did you ever end up actually doing so?
Honestly, you probably forgot you ever saved it in the first place. Go through your bookmarks, delete the ones you know you’ll never need again, and organize the rest into folders you can easily navigate to when needed.
Power tip: Get rid of all those bookmarks for sites you don’t regularly visit by using Web Clipper to send the important stuff to your Evernote account. Web Clipper is like a ‘save’ button for the web, allowing you to clip inspiring LinkedIn profiles, recipes, YouTube videos, research articles—you name it, right into designated notebooks.
4. Organize your Evernote account
We just showed you three ways to clean out your digital space and bring some of your important digital files into Evernote. Now you have to tidy up your Evernote account to make sure everything is exactly where you want it.
Your Evernote account is a sacred place. But sometimes, you might stick stuff in there when you’re in a rush, neglect to delete notes that are no longer relevant, or simply forget about notes. Outside of your digital spring cleaning, a regular Evernote clean-up is helpful to keep things up to date so you can stay organized year-round.
Here are some suggestions for cleaning up your Evernote:
- Shortcuts—Delete irrelevant shortcuts and replace them with current ones.
- Notebook stacks—Create an “Archive” stack for notebooks you want to keep but don’t want to see every day.
- Notebooks—Delete notebooks with only a couple of notes or combine notebooks that have only a few notes each if the themes are similar.
- Tasks—Go through your open tasks. Is there anything you may have forgotten to check off or forgotten to do altogether? Delete everything that’s no longer needed.
- Scratch pad—Do you have old messages on your scratch pad? Either delete them or convert them to notes so you can revisit them later.
- “Untitled” notes—Search for “intitle:untitled” and title any notes that need one. Delete empty notes.
- Notes—when you have a bit of time, tackle notes by notebook. Each day, go through, say, five notebooks and get rid of all the notes that are no longer relevant.
- Trash—If you’re obsessed with getting (and staying!) organized, you’ll probably want to look through your Trash notebook to make sure you didn’t accidentally delete anything important. Then empty it. Frequently.
Decluttering your digital space is just as important as decluttering your physical space. Small steps such as organizing your inbox, cleaning up your social media accounts, clearing your browser bookmarks, and tidying up your Evernote account will help you on your digital spring cleaning journey.
Originally published March 19, 2016; updated March 10, 2022.