I am all too familiar with digital clutter. While I have a neatly organized storage box, with clearly labeled and sorted storage bags for cables, accessories, chargers, and manuals — once out of sight it is out of mind. Just last week while retrieving an extra power cord from the storage box I discovered some extraneous clutter. How did we end up with so many extra sets of headphones? Those quickly found themselves in the bin. A TomTom, remember those? Google Maps and our car navigation kit suit me just fine. And an old Nokia smartphone; how long ago was that upgraded to an iPhone? Both ended up in the hands of extended family members within days.
My own experience shows none of us are immune to digital clutter. Minimizing the clutter frees up space, opens the opportunity for better upgrades to new devices, and reduces the amount of time you waste on moving, storing or sorting through your digital possessions.
Here is a list of digital items to consider decluttering & recycling:
- DVDs & CDs: Like a good book collection, those of us who came of age before the advent of Spotify, iTunes, Netflix and other Cloud video and music services, have garnered an extensive collection of DVDs & CDs. If you haven’t watched/listen to your collection or don’t even have a player that works for them it’s time for them to go. Not ready to let go? Discard the covers and store the discs in a case.
- VHS tapes: does it need to be said? Definitely, time to dispose of them.
- Computer manuals and CD-ROMS: If you no longer own the device or the software has a newer version, toss it. Nearly every manual or software update is available online.
- Cables: Keep unique power cables for charging your devices, but if you have 10 versions of a universal cable maybe at least 8 of them need to go.
- Keyboards, Monitors, Mouse: Apart from monitors, computer periphery is relatively inexpensive to replace. Invest in a good set that you actively use and dispose of the rest.
- Digital Cameras/Video Cameras: Most likely you use your smartphone to capture photos and record videos. Is it time to let go of the one-use device?
- Thumb Drives: Nearly everything can be stored and accessed from the Cloud. And with the size of images and documents that old 1GB (or smaller) thumb drive is useless and outdated.
- External Hard Drives: Like thumb drives, old external hard drives don’t have the capacity to store all our photos/documents/videos anymore. Consider upgrading and migrating your files to an NAS of minimum 1TB (Networked Accessed Storage).
- GPS Devices: Do you use an app like Google Maps or have an integrated navigation system built-in your car? Old GPS devices are outdated, requiring constant updates.
- Old Mobile Phones. If you have no one you can pass it on to, recycle it. Or see if you can get some money for it through a buy-back company. Holding on to a collection of phone covers? One phone, one cover is enough.
- Health tracking devices: From watches to smart bands there is a myriad of accessories that sync & connect to our other devices. Have you bought an upgrade or received a replacement version? Pass on working models to friends or families and recycle the ones that are broken.
- MP3 Players: Once the must-have of portable music players, with music streaming services or player apps on our smartphone your old MP3 player is heading for the recycling bin.
- Headsets: Your current headset and a back-up are sufficient; anything else should be tossed.
Of special note, I must comment on the storage of the packaging your devices came in. I’ve heard lots of excuses from clients justifying holding onto the pretty box.
- The product is more valuable with the packaging (resale value); what is the likelihood you will resell the item?
- If it breaks and I need to ship it back or return it to the store; if it is under warranty the company will take it back in any packaging.
- If we ever move the box will protect it and be convenient; when is your next move planned? How did you move your digital stuff in the past?
- It is pretty, it seems a waste to throw it away; either find a new use for the box or set a date (1 month, 6 months) for when you will recycle the packaging.
Is your digital clutter more than you can manage? Do you need assistance determining how best to sort & store your digital belongings? sorted.by Melissa can help. Email or call for a Free Consultation.