By Adam Drake
Deep in the back of my iPhone, there exists this land of apps that Adam forgot. A realm of crumbling utilities and half-completed games that have taken root so deep inside my digital domain that I’ve forgotten they’re there. They sit and wait, silently consuming space on my hard drive, chewing away at precious resources, while I complain to others that I need a larger phone.
But today? Today is the day they say goodbye. I’m invoking a scorched earth campaign throughout my iPhone, my email, my Facebook account, and computer. Nothing is safe.
Come with me as I do some “spring cleaning” in December, and digitally unclutter my life.
The beauty of backing up your phone to your computer (or the cloud) is that these applications exist outside of your handheld device. Sure, you may not be able to access them at any given moment, but should you feel the need to play Axe Goblins 4 in a few years time, you can add them back to your phone with a few simple steps.
What I’ve done is gone through my phone and moved apps onto certain pages. I have my “essentials” list – apps that I can’t live without. I move on to “keepers” – these are apps that I may not use everyday, but I use them frequently. From there, we have “maybes” – apps that I enjoyed once, but don’t really need, and finally “the trash bin” – apps that were purchased with regret, much like those who got dolphin tattoos on their lower backs in the early 2000s. None of these get thrown away; instead, I back up my phone, which copies them and their data to my computer, and then erase them from my phone. So if I ever feel like heading down memory lane, they’re only a few clicks away.
There’s nothing more irritating than seeing someone has thousands of unread email messages. There’s no chance they’ll ever read them all. It’s like debt: they’ll just keep piling up until the person declares bankruptcy and forgoes email altogether. What I suggest doing is picking a reasonable date, say 3 months or 6 months in the past, and deleting every email that came before that. Chances are, you don’t need an email from 2007. And if you feel like you might need one or two of those emails, do a quick scan and throw them into a folder called “Important.” Next time you come across one of these emails, do the same thing. Every month or so, repeat this purge and you’ll find you have your email under control.
There was a time in 2008 or 2009 that I “friended” every person I met on Facebook. Suddenly, my friend list grew unwieldy and I my timeline was filled with baby photos from some girl I met once in a bar downtown. The easy solution: delete most of the people you know on Facebook.
Hear me out. This sounds extreme, but the fact is, you probably only regularly converse with 15-30 people on Facebook. Write a list out of the people you want to keep. Those who want to see your vacation photos, your Nike+ running routes, and those who you want to network with. Everyone else can go. Trust me.
Sure, you may meet new people from time to time who’ll want to be your friend on Facebook. Give them a probationary period of six months. See what they bring to the social media table. If you could take them or leave them after six months… leave them.
My computer has 3TB of storage on it. I also have 5 external hard drives hooked up to it for more than 10TB of total storage. This is VASTLY unnecessary. (I do, however, fill them up with video projects that are memory intensive.) Despite my insane amount of storage, I actually have a workable organizational system.
I use my computer’s hard drive to store applications and documents. One hard drive is devoted to my music and video library, another handles video projects, and another stores all my photos. The last two exist as backups for everything else. Each hard drive is labeled so I know what’s contained within.
It’s nerdy, it’s a bit redundant, but it keeps things beautifully organized. And should I want to bring movies to a friend’s house or show photos to my parents when I visit, I can bring the external drives with me.
Adam Drake is Creative Director for the Sweat Life, a former four-year varsity rower for the University of Miami, and currently rows for the Maritime Rowing Club. He is the co-founder of Kayak for a Cause, a charity event based in Connecticut. As a writer, Adam has developed television shows for Comedy Central, Bad Boy Worldwide, and Sky, written ad campaigns for clients such as Bacardi, Starbucks, Dove Men+Care, and HBO, and was a contributor to the pop culture site YesButNoButYes. In his spare time, he enjoys skiing, boating, and working on his tremendous collection of unfinished novels.