Making your life easier: The Digital Purge

By Valerie Heruska

I don’t know about you, but I love a good purge of things.  About twice a year, I get the itch to purge items in my life: clothes, books, appliances, and things that I have no idea how they came into my possession. It’s easy to get rid of things that are laying around are homes and offices, but how often do you think of the digital purge?

Here are some ways that I like to make my life easier by doing a digital purge:

1.  Start with the email.  This article, The Digital Purger: How to Nuke your Email Inbox, explains several things you can do to make your email life easier.  Here are a few Highlights:

  • Plenty of sites and services that are no doubt bombarding your inbox right now. They need to be zapped. Is Facebook telling you every time somebody likes your vacation photos? Does Twitter fill you in every time anyone does anything anywhere near one of your tweets? Don’t you constantly check these services anyway? Wait, a random high school acquaintance joined Pinterest?? I wonder what kind of cupcakes they’re pinning. Yep… take the 15 minutes to unsubscribe from those emails. I find myself deleting them anyway and I’m too broke to buy any Living Social Escape.
  • Limit your email intake. If you’re habitually checking your email dozens of times per day, stop it.  For most of us, the amount of attention we pay our inboxes each day vastly outweighs the value we realistically derive from it.

2.  Social Media Purge

  • Facebook: I’ve purged a lot of people off my friends list because they add no value to my life. Yep, that’s the harsh truth, but really, why do I need someone in my life who adds nothing? That’s just silly. I think a good way (and I know many people who do this) to purge FB “friends” is to look at who has a birthday – if you write “Happy Birthday” on their wall – keep them. If you’re like “meh…” unfriend them. Simple.
  • Twitter: I know a lot of people who I’ve cut from my followers list because they simply don’t add value and clog up my feed.  I also get tired of people retweeting and preaching the same stuff. So, adios twitter user, I’m just not that into you.

3. Documents and pictures

  • I have two external harddrives filled with stuff from 2001 – today. Why am I keeping all of this nonsense: drafts of old papers, pictures of people who I unfriended awhile ago,so on and so forth. Purge the things you don’t use.

I use the same mantra when purging things in my apartment: if I haven’t used/worn it in a year… out it goes. What advice do you have for the digital purge?

Making your life easier: The Digital Purge

2 thoughts on “Making your life easier: The Digital Purge

  1. Becca Obergefell says:

    I’m a Facebook unfollower – using that exact Birthday rule! So far it’s proved valuable. is a good one to help you evaluate your Twitter followers too.


  2. Yep, I’m a birthday unfollower, too – I just figure they’re probably so busy getting birthday messages they’re not going to notice if I unfriend them that day :-). Becca’s suggestion for is a great one, too. I also try to find time to set rules for my work email inbox – if I keep getting the same spam from the vendors we work with, I just send emails from them to junk mail – that way I can find them if something gets sent there by accident, but it keeps out all their spam emails.


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