Spring Cleaning Series: Part 3
Do you struggle with decluttering electronics? All the old television cables, mobile phones, desktop/laptop computers, and camera gadgets that have somehow found their way into your home but never left when replaced by newer models? And what about the infinite unused cords you’ve accumulated during the years?
Since moving to Turkey and having limited space, I only keep what I will use in electronics, cables, and gadgets. Matching cords to the devices was a challenging task but important to free up areas in my drawers. Let’s get started!
The next step is to collect all electronic devices from all your closets, drawers, and other storage spaces such as your junk drawer and place them in an open area. You might feel shocked at the sight of it all.
So, let’s get to it! Here are some examples of what I mean by electronic devices:
- Personal computers
- Mobile phones (and earphones)
- Wireless speakers or other home sound systems
- Printers (and cartridges)
- Routers, switches, and such
- (Vintage) turntable
- Cables and cords for all of these items (nowadays, most are wireless, but you get the idea).
Once you have your pile of electronics, set aside devices and cords you use daily, the only requirement is, to be honest about each item’s daily usage.
You did it! That wasn’t so bad. You’ve now taken the first step in deciding what to keep and what to discard.
Chunk Your Junk!
In the next step, you will need an extension cord or access to a plug to check and see if the item is broken, dysfunctional, or needs repair. If a screen on a device stays black, you might want to find its adapter first, determine whether you’re just dealing with a low battery or if the device is broken altogether.
Before disposing or donating any electronics make sure you have removed any personal and sensitive information.
If the electronic works and you want to sell the item, there are several online sites you can share the item and possibly redeem it for money.
The best way to dispose of your electronic devices and cables is to recycle them. Many items contain toxic substances that will harm the environment when just thrown away, so consider taking them to a recycling center.
For those items you plan to keep, it is essential to sort into categories such as smartphone, TV or internet cables, adapters, etc.) Once you have them sorted into categories, use tape or containers, label, for example, phone cord to Iphone6, etc. I have found storage containers/bins work well with keeping grouped based on category.
For heavy-duty cables, extension cords, you may want to consider storing them on utility hooks on a wall in the garage or storage room. Again, it is vital to label cables that go to specific TVs or internet boxes.
Declutter within the Electronic
Know that you have sorted through the electronics and disposed of those junk items. It is time to declutter within the device.
Remove Old Files
Time to go through all those folders and start sending files to trash that is no longer needed. If you are unsure if you want to permanently delete the file or don’t need to access those files often, store them on an external hard drive or cloud storage
Don’t forget to review files in the download folder. We tend not to think about this folder, yet we have downloaded tons of files from the internet that we no longer need.
Sometimes we name a folder and then forget what is in them because of the title. This is a good time and go through those folders and make sure they have meaningful names that make it easy to find files. Create subfolders to help ease the search for a file within a folder. DO NOT save everything to your desktop.
Clear Up Desktop
Clean up your desktop and remove files that can be placed in a folder. Keep the desktop clean at all times!
To keep things organized, set a time for you to do a weekly cleaning on your computer to keep it organized and efficient. On Window’s go to the Disk Cleanup tool and clean up unneeded files.
Images and videos take up a lot of space on your computer. I highly suggest storing images on an external hard drive or cloud. If you have a high-resolution camera, the images are big files and therefore take up a lot of space on your computer. Instead of saving music to your hard drive, stream music.
It may slow down your online experience, and it’s a good idea to disable or uninstall any that you are not using regularly.
Bookmarks that you no longer use need to be removed as well.
Make sure your trash/recycle bin is emptied once a week. Just because you deleted an item, it is still on your machine, and you will need to empty the trash for it to be permanently deleted.
Emails are also in need of cleaning out! Go through the many folders on your email and delete documents that you have been saving but no longer need. Scan through your inbox and draft folder, make sure you either move those items you want to keep into email folders or delete them. Take a look at your address book and delete contacts you no longer associate with or need.
Although this has no bearing on speed, it is good to use an air-blower to remove particles that have been caught between keys. Clean the screen only with a microfiber cloth.
- Cut Down on Apps – I am always experimenting with different apps, so I tend to have more apps on my phone than I need or use. Apps cause your phone to operate slower. Delete infrequently used apps.
- Android Clean Up Apps – offers a good range of third-party cleanup apps (iOS not so much!) Another option is cleaning your Safari cache (Settings>Safari>Clear History and Website Data)
- Streaming music rather than downloading music is best in keeping your phone in faster operation.
- Deactivate unused online accounts.
- Transfer photos and videos to your computer or directly to the cloud. I use Amazon Drive. (but there are others as Google Photo, Snapfish, Flickr, Shutterfly, etc.)
- Create Folders to keep everything organized on your home screen. For example, all apps related to travel are kept in one folder called TRAVEL.
- Home Screen should only have those apps you most frequently use so that when you open your phone, those apps are accessible.
For many of you, decluttering a camera bag is no big deal, but I thought it was essential to add to the list of spring-cleaning projects because this is one of my challenges as a photographer. As a photographer we tend to love to collect lens and camera gadgets, only to find ourselves sticking to one or two lenses and using nothing else.
- Take everything out of your camera bag and categorize the items (lens, batteries, tripod gadgets, etc.)
- Within each of the category’s tests to make sure the items are in working/operational condition.
- Items that you plan to keep, make sure are clean and ready to use for your next gig!
- For those other items such as lens, tripods it is time to sell. There’s no point in a lens gathering dust if you haven’t used it in 10 years.
Camera bags are tricky in finding one that fits your camera gear and is not extremely heavy. Once you determine the bag that works for you, it is time to place those items in a camera bag, organized and categorized by how they will be used. For example, camera batters all should be together in a small pouch, easily accessible.
I hope you find these tips helpful and that they will get you motivated to get your electronics and camera gear organized. I feel so much more productive when things like electronics are in order.
If you have any other helpful tips, you do in your closet, and please share them in the comments.
Enjoy your travels! Please read my blogs about other exciting places around the world at Traveling Lens Photography.
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