What you gonna do with all that junk?

Let’s talk about your smart phone for a minute.  How many screens of icons do you have?  I just counted 15 screens on my iPhone, and each one is filled!  That’s about 300 apps.  The problem is that I probably only use about 10 of them.  Not 10 percent … 10.  The rest just take up space.

Andrew Clarke

If I only keep the apps I actually use, they will all fit on a single screen and, instead of having to scroll endlessly or search when I want to use an app, I will be able to just tap.  So cleaning up these apps will save me time, frustration and probably help my device operate faster.  The same concept applies to tablets.

What stops us from clearing out the clutter?  It’s the same thing that causes us to keep email, documents and the like that goes back years.  We’re afraid that one day we might need it.  Of course, our own experiences should show us that this is not the case, but it’s human nature.  So, here’s my 21 day challenge to you (and myself):

- Each day for the next 21 days, eliminate 5 apps that you don’t use.  If you can stomach it, get rid of all of them at once.  Don’t worry about apps that you’ve paid for and aren’t using.  If you discover that you need them in the future, you can always download them again without having to repay.  Here I’m specifically referring to apps for the iPhone, iPad, etc, but the concept is the same for any of the platforms.  If you’re unsure, check with your provider first.  If the app is free, there’s no excuse.

- When you finish processing an email, delete it.  If doing that concerns you, create a folder called “Old mail” and put the items there.  You’ll find that you can think better and work more efficiently with a clear email inbox.  You will also be less like to miss important emails due to clutter, and searching will be much faster.

- Clean up the voicemail on your smart phone.  If you’re like me, you have voicemail going back years.  If you have no reason to keep the old voice mails, get rid of them.  Make sure you clear the deleted folder if one exists.

- Clean up the history in your text messaging app.  I was having trouble taking pictures because I had run out of space.  While looking for things to delete, I was amazed at how much space was being consumed by text messages.  The culprits were those pictures I sent or pictures sent to me.  On the iPhone, I discovered that I could erase the pictures and keep the text even though I should just erase it all.  How often do you go back and reread past conversations?

- Spend 15 to 30 minutes each day eliminating old documents.  If you have documents that are 5 years old or older (I know I do), they’re just taking up space on your hard drive.  In the case of documents, if getting rid of them makes you nervous purchase an external hard drive and move all the old documents to it.  The idea is to minimize the amount of data stored on your computer’s hard drive.  Doing so makes your computer operate more efficiently.  It also cuts down on the amount of data that is at risk from a HIPAA standpoint, theft or loss.

All these extra items take up space when your device backs up.  Eventually it could cost you financially because of the need to purchase additional cloud data storage space.  Storing old data is like having a storage unit.  You store items you never use and pay for them over and over.  It would be cheaper to buy them later if you need them.

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