Digital Housekeeping

Technology is both a blessing and a curse. Today we walk around with powerful computers in our pockets that help us manage our daily lives. Smartphones allow us to simplify to the point that many of us don’t even have a television, desktop computer, camera or printer anymore. We can do our banking online, pay our bills from the palm of our hand, and even do the grocery shopping at the push of a few buttons! Now, that’s progress! But digital files can also add up. If we don’t pay attention, our devices fill up with data (and other collected information) and we end up with sluggish machines.

Not only do all of those extra files eat up storage, but they could also put your financial and personal information at risk for identity theft. Just like we regularly clean our houses and cars, it is a good idea to go through our digital devices every so often to clean out the files and apps that we are no longer using. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

Files & Storage:

  • Delete duplicate files.
  • Back up important documents and store in a safe location outside the home (or on the cloud) in case of fire or other natural disasters.
  • Many smart phones include cloud storage to backup your photos and important information but you have to make sure you go into settings and enable it first! (This is something I learned the hard way.)
  • If you don’t have the cloud, or don’t want to use it, be sure to routinely download your photos. You don’t want to lose all of your precious memories if your phone is lost, damaged or stolen!
  • Unplug external storage devices and disconnect from your computer when they are not in use so they don’t fall victim to ransomware.
  • Review and delete downloaded files you no longer need.

Phones & Apps

  • Password protect your phones, computers and WiFi so your personal information does not fall into the wrong hands.
  • Read App requirements before you click install. You may be giving away more than you realize.
  • Before you donate or sell your old electronics (including cell phones, computers and tablets) be sure to remove any personal information and reset them to the factory settings.
  • Delete outdated or unused apps.
  • Don’t download apps or music from untrustworthy sources.
  • Clear your cache (including apps and browsers).

Software and Hardware Updates

  • Make sure to install virus protection on your computer or laptop and keep it updated!
  • Update your browsers. Old and outdated browsers pose security risks!
  • Pay attention to operating system updates and keep apps current.

Emails:

  • Set weekly or monthly reminders to routinely go through email to remove messages that are no longer relevant.
  • Don’t email or text sensitive information like login passwords and usernames.
  • Use folders to organize your important emails and documents.
  • Sort your email by date or subject to review and delete outdated emails.
  • Don’t forget to go through and delete messages from the spam and trash folders.

Sadly, spring is still a few weeks away. This is usually when we look around our homes and start to clean out the clutter. In the meantime, it is a great time to start cleaning out the digital clutter on our phones and computers! When you are bundled up on the couch trying to stay warm, start to tackle some of these digital housekeeping tasks!

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