The start of spring creates a desire for a fresh start but do you take the time to spring clean your digital life at the beginning of the season? Resetting passwords, digitizing important papers, backing up files, and purging your home of new technology aren’t things that take a long time but do make a world of difference. Here are my tips, tricks, and favorite tools to help you spring clean your digital life to help you be more organized, efficient, and keep your family’s data secure.
7 Easy Ways to Spring Clean Your Digital Life
Reset Your Passwords
With news of hacked sites and leaked and stolen user data making the news, now is a great time to reset your passwords. If the thought of coming up with, and remembering, unique passwords for every site that requires a login makes you cringe, I have a better solution. Spring clean your digital life by streamlining your passwords. Sites like MasterLock Vault and LastPass provide ways you can store secure passwords for free.
I love LastPass because it allows you to access and manage all passwords for every site in one place. Set a single master password, download the LastPass extension for your browser, and let LastPass take care of the rest. LastPass will ask you if you want it to remember your logins every time you enter your username and password into a site. The next time you visit the site, LastPass will pop up and you can click to have it fill in your passwords to remember them for later. It will also help you generate secure passwords but will take care of remembering those for you. Hooray!
All you need to remember is your LastPast master password to log in to sites through your desktop browser or mobile device. It really is that easy to create, store, and remember secure passwords for all of your sites! LastPass Family plans are also available for up to 6 people for $4/month.
Make Digital Copies of Important Papers
It wasn’t that long ago that the most secure way to store birth certificates, social security cards, the deed to your house, car titles, and other important documents was to place them in a safe deposit box at your bank or in an in-house safe. Thanks to technology, there’s no need to work around bank hours to access your safe deposit box or worry about your in-house safe failing like ours did recently when you use a tool like Adobe Scan.
The free Adobe Scan app allows you to capture physical documents using your phone’s camera, crop and adjust the scan, and transform them into searchable PDFs in seconds that can be accessed anywhere at any time. Available for iOS and Android devices, this easy to use app helps busy parents streamline work and family life by ensuring you can always store digital copies of important papers to access them when you need them. For more information about Adobe Scan and additional details on how to use it, read my post: 8 Ways Working Parents Can Declutter and Get More Organized.
Backup Your Files
Even though you might have missed Saturday, March 31 was World Backup Day, there’s no better time than the present to make sure you have backed up your files. Family photos, vacation videos, work documents, emails and more would be heartbreaking to lose and a time consuming endeavor to replace. Spring clean your digital life by investing in a solid state drive (SSDs) to back up precious memories and your hard work. SSDs are fast, reliable, and don’t have moving parts that can result in lost or corrupted data over time.
My favorite SSDs are from Samsung and the new Samsung Portable SSD T5 is a pocket-sized SSD that makes it easy to store and access up to 2TB of data anywhere. With the T5, you can transfer data across multiple devices and password protect files. The sleek palm-size device also has a shockproof aluminum exterior that provides additional data protection. A SSD also provides peace of mind that cloud storage can’t offer when it comes to security.
My advice: back up your files to multiple places. If you back up to the cloud, it never hurts to also back up to an external SSD to ensure the safety of your files. Curious about SSDs and want to know more? Read my post: Everything You Need to Know About SSDs and Why You Need One to Backup Your Data.
Rid Your Home of Outdated Technology
Technology advances and our desire to have the latest and greatest devices means we’re left with outdated items that we don’t know what to do with. Whether you’ve been accumulating tablets, phones, laptops, and more or if you’re ready for an upgrade, it’s time to spring clean your digital life and get rid of these items. But don’t just throw them away. Consider doing any of these four things to get them out of your house.
- Donate. Charitable donations are always great for a tax write-off but some items might be helpful in your local schools. Ask what your school might have a need for before you toss them. Old CD players or even portable cassette players may be a great stand in for listening centers for early elementary grades. Digital cameras and hand-held video cameras might be helpful to an after school photography club. Sharing your items with students at a local school is one of the best ways to recycle.
- Trade. Many big electronics stores offer trade in programs that can be a great way to get new technology for a little less. Best Buy’s trade in program allows you to go online to see what your items is worth and then trade the item in online or in-store.
- Sell. List items locally through Facebook Marketplace, CraigsList, or attract a wider audience through eBay. If you’ve always thought eBay is so much work, eBay Instant Sale is easy because it guarantees a set price for your device. Instant Sale allows you to plug in specs of electronics such as phones, gaming systems, and tablets to receive immediate offers.
- Take them apart. Budding engineers will love exploring the inside of any tech device. It’s a great way to learn about the components inside your digital devices and what makes them work. Just make sure your kids know that it’s not ok to take apart working devices in your home!
Have a Conversation with Your Kids About Their Digital Reputation
Have you Googled yourself or your kids recently? In the age of social media, it’s important to know what information exists about you in the digital space. Spring clean your digital life by taking into account your digital reputation and having a conversation with your kids. Kids need to know that their digital reputation is an online extension of them. Let them know that just as they would want to make sure that they make the best first impression when meeting someone in person for the first time, the same is true about their digital reputation.
Every age uses technology in different ways that contributes to a growing digital footprint. Since a conversation with your elementary aged child will be different from the one you have with a teen, it’s best to take a look at my post, Important Conversations to Have with Kids About Managing their Digital Reputations, an age appropriate guide to discussing digital reputations at each age and stage.
Pretty Up Your Physical Space
Now that you’ve taken care of your digital life, refresh your physical space by tidying up your desk. Here are some products that I have on my desk to organize my digital devices:
- Bluelounge CableDrop Multi ($8.95 for a set of 2) prevents cords from falling behind your desk and keeps unruly cords organized
- Henge Docks Vertical Docks ($129.99) are must-haves for MacBook users pre-USB-C/Thunderbolt 3 models because they allow you to free up space on your desk
- Ventev’s Desktop Charging Hub ($59.99) allows me to plug in up to 3 devices via USB and 2 more with a power cord to so devices will always be fully charged and ready to go at a moment’s notice. I love that the Ventev hub features a rapid charge USB port that charges my phone or tablet twice as fast for when I’m really in need of a quick charge
While you’re at it, don’t forget to purge old papers and receipts, dust your space, get some new containers for office supplies, and bring spring indoors with some fresh flowers. If you’re looking for new products to keep you organized that give back, I am in love with these items benefitting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital!
- The Celfless Celfie Vase duo (above-$29) is part of the Love + Hope Collection from High Fashion Home. Perfect for a new plant by a sunny window on your desk and 40% of the sale of this item is donated to St. Jude in support of their mission: Finding cures. Saving children.
- XOXO Pom Pom Jewelry Bag ($8) doubles as a pouch to hold my portable charger and cables that I can grab and stick in my purse to prevent the cables from getting tangled with other items
- Ceramic Desk Cube ($11.99) corrals the pens and pencils I keep on my desk and the “I Can, I Will” reminds me of why I continue to fundraise, train, and run as a St. Jude Hero
Take a Look at Your Social Media Accounts
Instead of pondering whether or not to quit Facebook, spend some time spring cleaning your social media accounts. LaShawn Wiltz from Everyday Eyecandy shares how to spring clean your Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest accounts in her post Tis the Season to Spring Clean Your Social Media Accounts on the Mom 2 Summit blog.
Amazon affiliate links are included in this post. Samples were received for review purposes. No compensation was received for this post.