Digital declutter, tackle that unseen mess

It can be easy to overlook your digital life when working through decluttering your things. The truth is, it’s easier to see the physical clutter in our homes and that is why digital clutter is sometimes overlooked. It is just as important to perform a digital declutter, as it is to declutter your bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room. To truly declutter your life, you need to ensure that all aspects of it are tackled. So today, let’s talk about doing a digital declutter.

Digital declutter


We all have email accounts. Perhaps some of us even have more than one. Do you still need that second or third account? If it’s turned into a spam account then go ahead and delete it.

Getting your inbox empty is another aspect of this digital declutter. There are likely a few emails that have been sticking around that you have been meaning to read. Do so now. You may find that the information no longer applies to you, that the special offer has expired, or that you need to respond to some.

Check your email subscriptions as well. Are they all ones you want to continue to receive? If not, then now is the time to unsubscribe. This is especially true of those emails you get, but can’t remember ever signing up for. Chances are you never did sign up and they are just cluttering your inbox unnecessarily.

To-Watch Lists

Between YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, and other streaming services, you have likely accumulated quite a to-watch list. But ask yourself, are you truly going to watch all of those videos and shows? There is a good chance that most of them you still intend to watch, however, there likely are a few that you have lost interest in. Start by removing these from the list. From there, you may find it easier to remove other shows. For anything that you haven’t removed, be sure to watch them within a certain time limit. If that time limit has passed and you still haven’t watched the videos, then go ahead and remove them.

Over the last few months, I have whittled my Netflix to-watch list down from 50+ shows and movies to about a dozen. Most of them I watched, but a few I removed because I no longer wished to watch them. I also worked on my YouTube to-watch list, going from over 140 videos to about 20, and I am actively working through those remaining ones.

Facebook Groups

Facebook groups can be great for learning new skills, selling items, or keeping up with the latest news. However, it can be easy to lose track of how many groups you are in and whether they are still valuable to you or not. Go through your Facebook group list and look at the recent activity in each group. Does it still appeal to you? Are you active in the group? Do you enjoy seeing those posts on your timeline? These are all things to consider. Weeding out those groups can improve your Facebook experience, as you will no longer be scrolling past things that you don’t care about.

I didn’t follow many Facebook groups, but I did leave a few that had lost their appeal or were now inactive. Surprisingly, I had several invites to various groups that I had not yet noticed as well. They weren’t my cup of tea, so I declined the invite.

YouTube Channels

Much like Facebook Groups, we all have several YouTube channels that we follow. But how often do you watch videos from those YouTubers? If you can’t remember the last time you watched a particular YouTuber, then it may be time to unsubscribe. Or, perhaps their content has changed and you are no longer interested in it, in that case, there is no reason to remain subscribed.

I was able to cut my YouTube channel subscriptions from 93 to 31. Several of the channels no longer interested me and some of them hadn’t had any videos posted in months. Now, I feel like I can better keep up with the channels that are there and truly enjoy the content being produced.

Unused Apps

Whether on your computer or phone, chances are there are apps that you haven’t touched in a while. Perhaps there are even apps that are there but you’re not sure how they got there – my husband has this issue, as Windows is constantly adding apps to his computer that it thinks he needs. Those apps are taking up valuable space. If you haven’t opened them in a while or they are acting glitchy, then it’s time to let them go.

We all know what apps we open regularly on our phones, so anything beyond those, that aren’t necessary for the function of the phone, should be removed. Be sure to tackle this part of your digital declutter so that your phone runs more efficiently.


Do you have a habit of bookmarking pages but then never visiting that site again? I know I have done this in the past. Going through your browser’s bookmarks can be a tedious affair, especially if there are a ton of bookmarks. However, clearing these out is a great idea. Maybe you will find a recipe you had been meaning to try but it got lost amid all of the other bookmarks. Now is your chance to read through all of those articles and then delete them.

I’m still working on this task, as I had a plethora of bookmarks spread out between two browsers, but I am steadily making a dent in it.

Computer Files

I saved the best, and likely most time-consuming, for last.

Unless you have been keeping up with your files all along, then chances are you have a large number of them sitting in various folders. I know I have always had a hard time keeping my computer files from getting to the overwhelming stage. Even more so since I have two hard drives on my computer. You don’t even want to know how many duplicate files I found.

To tackle these files. Start in one area. If you want, start where there are few files and work your way up from there. Check that the information is still relevant. Photos can take quite a bit of time to sort through, but it is a necessary task. Delete any similar photos, those that are blurry or have the dreaded finger at the edge of the frame. Photos that have been saved from online sites may also be deleted if you no longer need them.

Keep an eye out for duplicate files that are saved in different locations. Sometimes one file will have been more recently updated. Have a look at both files and keep the one that is most useful to you.

Much like any decluttering task, stick with it until you are done. It doesn’t matter if it takes you a day or a month to get it all done. What’s important is that you do it. Once the task is complete, it will be easy to keep up with it as new files come into play.

Have you done a digital declutter lately? Now is the perfect time to do it.


  1. Digital clutter can quickly turn into a crazy monster and your right it’s important to look after, a cluttered email is a pain to check and a cluttered computer tends to run a lot slower! I really need to tackle this soon!

    1. My digital clutter was definitely an unruly beast for a long time. Probably why my computer has struggled so much. Now’s a great time to start tackling it.

  2. This is so true!! I have so much digital clutter I need to tackle! I’ve been procrastinating! haha

    Thanks for sharing! You’ve inspired me to get my butt into organizational mode! 😉

    1. It’s so easy to let it get out of hand because we don’t always see it. Glad I could inspire you.

  3. This is something that I need to do especially with my email. I have a lot of promotional emails and junk that are cluttering up my inbox and making it harder to find things. Thanks for sharing, you inspired me to make some time this week to do some digital decluttering. 😀

    1. Promotional emails are my weakness, I always save them thinking I will take advantage of them before they expire but never do, and then they fill up my inbox. Glad I could inspire you to start your digital decluttering.

  4. I LOVE the feeling of cleaning out my emails and unsubscribing to all the things I thought at one point I wanted emails about. Also really appreciate your insight into removing items from my “to-watch” list. I’m totally guilty of only adding to the list and never removing.

    1. It is a great feeling. To-watch lists can be so easy to ignore that way, but it makes finding things you haven’t watched easier.

    1. It’s not something a lot of people think about, but it is necessary.

  5. I would have never thought about digital decluttering, but I will now. I am a digital hoarder, so this is something I really need to do.

    1. I totally relate with the digital hoarding thing, but most of those things I had hoarded I didn’t need or want anymore. It will take time but it’s worth it. Your computer and phone with thank you for it.

  6. Great advice, Sarah! I’ve been working on cleaning out the emails, evaluating the Facebook groups and eliminating what I don’t use digitally. It’s a huge task but you’re right…no different than de-cluttering our home!

    1. That’s great that you are already working on this. It doesn’t matter what type of clutter it is, it all has to go.

  7. Great advice. My laptop is fairly orginaised but emails are another story! My personal email is something I’ve always struggle to keep up with! But I have no issues keeping up with emails at work – we have to respond within 24 hours, so maybe I should use the same methodology with my personal emails.

    1. Glad to hear your laptop is already clutter free. Responding to personal emails within 24 hours sounds like the way to go.

  8. I’m surprisingly really good about cleaning up my bookmarks and emails. I get too stressed out if my email is wild. Everything goes into neat little folders that I clean out each year. I never understood those people with 4,999 unopened emails blaring red. lol

    However, I am the WORST with digital pictures. I hoard photos. I am glad that I did keep many for Iceland, though, since some of the pictures that I would have deleted turned out to be great for a blog post. But overall, I need to clean house there.

    1. Some days I’m good with emails, others not so much. My problem is reading an email, knowing I need to respond to it, so I keep it and then forget about it for a while. But I’m working on that. Pictures are hard to deal with, but if you do a few at a time, you can get it taken care of.

  9. All of this sounds quite liberating. A few weeks ago I decided to limit my consumption of Instagram. I still use it by I don’t just thumb through the search feed blankly anymore. Great post Sarah 😁

    1. Thanks. I have cut back on Instagram also and it feels wonderful to over go to it every now and then.

  10. I never really thought about this before, thanks for the great tips! This really makes sense!

    1. It’s funny how things we don’t always see, yet experience regularly can slip through our decluttering. I use my computer daily, but it was one of the last things in the house that I decluttered.

  11. Ugh. I had my email purged. It’s over 1000 unread again! I need to do another purge.

    1. Emails are a real struggle since you have to keep up with them practically daily or else they built up. Good luck getting through all those emails!

  12. oooof- this hits home!
    I usually only have a few spots open on my desktop and I get so anxious about my e-mail, I just never tackle it and ignore it.
    Good post!

    1. I have done that too, but that just allows it to get to a completely overwhelming state. Better to deal with them regularly than putting them off and making more work for yourself.

  13. These are all excellent points. Thanks for sharing. I am learning to watch my Facebook groups more closely.

    1. I’m glad they were helpful to you. Good idea.

  14. This post is so great! It’s so easy for things to accumulate digitally, and I find myself wanting to hoard just to now lose the link and such, so organizing in the categories you mention is so great! Thanks so much!

    1. Ah yes, I totally used to horde links as well. It will take time but giving your digital items a declutter is so satisfying.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *