Technology

3 Genius Ways to Eliminate Tech Clutter

Is tech clutter causing you anxiety? Below, we share some tips on how to streamline hardware and software to sidestep the headaches of technostress.

Corral cables with this organizer.

The average household owns 24 electronic devices — no wonder it takes so long to find the right cables! The simple trick to nix frustration: “Just store cords by category in a back-of-the-door toiletry or shoe organizer,” says organizer Wendy Buglio.

Label each pocket, and you’ll be able to grab the cable you want in an instant. Also smart: Use inexpensive self-adhesive cord clips to keep dangling wires out of the way. “I use these wherever I charge my phone — on my desk, bedside table, and living room end table; they’ve been a lifesaver.”

Organize apps with clever ‘folders.’

Most of us have almost 100 apps on our smartphone — just seeing that digital clutter dials up stress. To create calm (and order!) start by deleting apps you don’t need, says Buglio, who promises there are more than you think: Research shows we use fewer than 50 percent of the apps we download. “Then pin your most frequently accessed apps to a task bar or your home screen.”

After that, organizing them is easy: “Create folders of similar categories, such as Music, Games, and Social Media, and file your apps into them.” Just press and hold the app until it jiggles, then move it on top of another app that you want to file it with — a folder will be created automatically. “The key words on the folders make it easy to find the exact app I’m looking for in an instant.”

Reduce emails with 3 quick steps.

If you’re like most of us, you have 4,000 emails clogging your inbox and are receiving 100 more daily! To tame the avalanche, tackle the three key reasons causing email overload, urges Buglio: First, you’re getting more sales announcements than you could possibly read. “Just unsubscribe to those you don’t need and consider creating a separate address for promotions.”

The second reason emails pile up is because we put off answering them. “Reply if it’ll take under five minutes, otherwise, move it to an ‘Answer Later’ folder, then designate a time when you can respond.” Reason #3 for email clutter: storing all your missives in the main box. “Once you’ve replied to an email, file it in a folder or delete it — then breathe in the relief of an empty inbox!”

How to Clean Your Tech

Lift dust safely.

One of the most common causes of scratches on TV, laptop, and phone screens? Tissues! They may feel soft, but they contain microscopic wood fibers that leave permanent etches. Instead, just opt for a microfiber eyeglass cloth to gently lift dust.

Remove smudges.

Nix fingerprints from screens by slightly dampening a microfiber cloth — you’ll get an even cleaner screen if you use distilled water. While tap water leaves spots due to minerals, distilled water is free of these impurities.

Banish germs.

To remove lingering microbes from your devices, just dampen a microfiber cloth with 70 percent isopropyl alcohol disinfecting spray — electronics manufacturers have recently confirmed it’s safe for all your tech.

This article originally appeared in our print magazine.

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