Experts offer tips to help with digital decluttering


Ask friends how many emails are sitting in their inbox or how many photos are saved to their laptop, and don’t be surprised if the numbers tally in the thousands.

Some of us have a difficult time knowing how to organize all this digital information from emails and documents to uploaded photos and downloaded songs. Fortunately, there are experts to help extend spring cleaning to the digital realm.

Start decluttering slowly, says Danielle Claro, editor-at-large at “Real Simple” magazine. For important emails, experts recommend setting up action reminders, and recommends Google’s free online calendar. Others include Zoho Calendar and the Cozi Family Organizer, which also are free.

Two free, cloud-based sites that may help unclog your inbox and desktop are Springpad and Evernote. Users can store notes, recipes, photos, newspaper articles — even snapshots of web pages.

Shawn Whyte, an information technology consultant in Helena, Mont., moved thousands of documents, songs, books and photos from six old computers and personal laptops to a newer one with monster memory (2 terabytes).

Her favorite tip? If you’re a Google gmail user, view and manage your emails through Microsoft Outlook.

Finally, experts say you have to back up your computer to protect all those emails, photos and documents from suddenly disappearing.