Digital Declutter and Defense Tactics!

December 29, 2020

As we near the end of 2020, it’s time to spend an hour or two decluttering digital devices, organizing the past year’s (or years’!) apps, drives and files, and reviewing digital protection options that keep cyber criminals out of our lives. We scoured the internet for the latest information to help us reduce the detritus and protect our devices and here’s what we found.

How Digital Helps and Hurts 

It’s no secret that technology can help and harm and some experts suggest we examine our philosophies about what we’ll let into and keep out of our heads, hearts and lives. If you’ve never read Digital Minimalism or heard of Cal Newport, a computer scientist and professor at Georgetown University (and the book’s author), you might give a listen to Jocelyn K. Glei’s Hurry Slowly podcast. Cal writes and speaks about digital wellness and working in an age of digital distractions. In the Glei interview he helps define “the role of technology in our modern notion of the good life,” offering advice and cautions.

After you’ve established your own philosophy about your deeply-help values and how technology can help with those, you may find it easier to make decisions about what to keep and what to delete from among your digital stash and trash.

Avoiding Storage Snags

PC Magazine agrees that once or twice a year we should check the storage on our phones, computers, tablets, clouds, Dropbox accounts, etc., and make sure we’re not about to run out. PCMag will help you through the process of finding out how much storage you have left – whether on a Mac or Android device — and provide best practices for freeing up space so you have plenty of room for 2021 photos, data, apps, and games.

GenTwenty has a 14-day challenge to help you attack the digital clutter on your devices and clouds, from deleting apps and cleaning out your contacts, to moving old files to external drives. On the inbox side – one of those many, “I’ll get to that soon” tasks, Hubspot offers a doable five-step plan to clean up unruly emails and reclaim your sanity and productivity: Unsubscribe; Organize; Add Rules; Do an Audit; and Turn Off Notifications.

Clean Mama is all about cleaning and decluttering throughout your home, including in the area of digital organization and wellness. She also has tips for corralling a runaway inbox, AND, tips about how to control your phone, and not allow it to control you. 

Unfollow social media accounts that make you feel ungrateful for what you have.

Unfriend friends that aren’t really your friends.

Deal with looming emails you’ve put off responding to.

Turn off phone notifications except for perhaps email, text, and phone calls on your cell phone. Keep any other notifications OFF to avoid the temptation to click and scroll.

Stop checking your phone. If you want to surf the web or your Instagram feed, set a specific time of the day.

Set a timer. Use a timer on your stove, clock, or phone and set it for specific tasks using 10 to 15-minute increments. Focus on the task at hand until the timer goes off. Repeat the process as needed and until the task is completed. 

Limit your apps. The only social media app on your iPhone should be Instagram – because it has to be on a phone for it to work. Consider moving Facebook, messenger, Twitter, etc. to a desktop or laptop. If that’s the ONLY place you can use social media it may help to limit social media time.

Photo Declutter Mission Accomplished

Home Storage Solutions recommends the following tips as you swipe or click through photos in search of possible deletions to organize and free up space. Don’t think twice about deleting:

  1. Blurry pictures
  2. Accidental clicks – the floor, your lap, a wall, etc.
  3. Unflattering pictures of yourself or anyone else
  4. Duplicates that might be similar – just keep the best one
  5. Multiple event photos 

Protect Your Devices

To keep your PC safe from cyber criminals, check out the recommendations for best security suites here at PCMAG.  For a look at the best parental controls, check out the buyers’ guide on Safewise. And for the six best practices to keep security on your mobile device in fighting shape, go to and check out the short list which includes never using public Wi-Fi and if you don’t already have one built into your computer — get yourself a password manager.

Coming in 2021 to Southshore!

Southshore, the exclusive master-planned community in Aurora, is adding a fourth builder, and offering more floor plans and amenities in 2021. With the second rec center under construction and halfway to completion, we’re excited at all the things you’ll be able to do this summer! Check out the  brand new homes from Taylor Morrison, Richmond American Homes, Toll Brothers – and coming soon, Century Communities. Life at the Lake is yours in either a ranch and two-story design, priced between the $400s and the $700s!