As parents, many of us hold onto all of the little knick-knacks like our child’s first tooth or that pile of birthday cards friends have sent over the years. But what happens when those knick-knacks become digital items – like emails, slideshows and recipes – and we can’t see them overflowing from drawers and closets?
With the amount of information constantly pouring onto our computers, our phones and our tablets, this digital clutter becomes a silent enemy that, just like a real mess, can add a lot of stress to your life.
Who hasn’t spent time (and patience) trying to track down an old email, family recipe or special photo of your daughter in a mess of digital files? “Digital hoarding” is an issue for millions of people, who’ve lost control of some aspect of their digital lives. In fact, a new study shows 1 in 5 people are digital hoarders.
Fortunately, even though technology got us into this mess, it can also help us get out. All you need are the right set of tools, a little time and some patience. As a working mom of two, it can be challenging for me to stay organized in both my personal and digital life, but I want to share some of my tips for managing the chaos.
Outlook.com – Sweep the clutter away!
With email, for instance, we’ve reached a point where nearly 1 in 4 Americans has 1,000+ emails in their inbox. Thankfully, Outlook.com lets you literally sweep the unwanted ones out of the way by scheduling automatic cleanups to move or delete newsletters, daily deals and other commercial mail. It saves you the headache of having to manually delete all those subscription emails you’re not even sure you signed up for. Click here for more on keeping a clutter-free inbox with Outlook.com.
Apps – Stay organized on the go.
Our lives have become so mobile that it’s critical to have tools to help you stay organized on the go, and Windows 8 has some great apps from the Windows Store for that. One of my personal favorites is called AboutOne Family Organizer and it may very well be the best $1.49 you spend all spring. It helps you keep track of everything you need to remember (and can’t forget!), turning your notes, to-dos, photos, videos, artwork and documents into useful reports and reminders.
The OneNote app is my other go-to for keeping track of everything down to my family’s grocery list, and I love it because it’s available on virtually every mobile device. You never have to worry about forgetting your grocery list on the counter again!
SkyDrive – Upload, organize and share.
My family is very active, so my husband and I like to have one place where we can keep track of everyone’s schedules – from soccer games to doctor’s appointments. SkyDrive works wonders for us, because we can access and update it from virtually any computer or mobile device. It’s also the perfect place for me to save and organize the hundreds of photos I’ve taken of our kids’ school activities, birthday parties and vacations, which could otherwise easily be lost in the clutter of my computer’s hard drive. SkyDrive even lets me share photos albums with my friends and family so they can see what we’ve been up to!
These are just a few simple tips I use to help manage my digital life, but Windows 8 has several other great apps and tools to help you stay organized and do some digital spring cleaning. What are some of your favorites? Share them in the comments below or tweet them at me (@moonfrye).