July 17, 2024

Free Your Rive

Building Bridges to the Digital Age

Tips to clean your phone, computer and TV

4 min read
tech spring cleaning tips

© Iakov Filimonov | Dreamstime.com

Moment of honesty. When was the last time you cleaned up your digital life? Maybe you dusted your monitor, cleared your inbox and sanitized your devices a couple of months ago. 

Good for you! And for the rest of us, it’s time for a fresh start.

Even a few minutes of physical and digital decluttering can go a long way to improving productivity — and it’ll make you feel better. Here’s how to get started.

Start with your phone

It’s easy to forget how much junk we accumulate on our phones. Yeah, I’m talking about all the screenshots, blurry photos, spammy texts and old contacts. There’s a lot you could focus on here, but let’s start simple.

  • If you only have a few minutes: Take a quick look through your apps and delete any you’re not using anymore. If it’s been months, you’re not going to use it. Trust me. And even if you do want it later, great, download it again. While at it, remove the apps you want to spend less time using (Instagram for me) off your phone’s home screen. You can hide the app or just move it to another page or folder.
  • If you have more time: Tackle your photo collection or contacts. Do whichever is the messiest or most aggravating. I’ll be honest: Neither task is particularly pleasant, but you’ll feel enough satisfaction when you’re done to make up for that. Put in a good podcast, turn on your favorite TV show or blast some music and get it done. Here’s how to clean up your iPhone contacts. Use these steps to get it done on Android (scroll to No. 8).

Bonus points if you sanitize your phone. You take it to the bathroom with you. Enough said.

Tackle the TV

I put a fair bit of thought into maintaining my phone and computer. The TV? Not so much. Let’s do better.

  • If you only have a few minutes: Dust! You don’t realize how much dust collects on the screen and back of the TV. Too much dust in all those vents and ports can also reduce your TV’s life, so give it a good wipe down. You can clean the back with a vacuum (use the brush attachment so you don’t scrape anything) or use a high-powered air blower. That will work best, but be prepared to vacuum or sweep up all the dust after you’re done.
  • If you have more time: I once signed up for a free trial of an add-on channel to watch a movie I couldn’t find anywhere else. You can guess what happened. I never watched the movie, but I did pay for six months of Sundance. Time to do an inventory of your streaming apps. Here’s our guide to this easy way to save some cash.

Pro tip: There’s a right and a wrong way to clean fingerprints and smudges off your TV screen.

Finish up with your computer

There are many directions to go here, and you should do what would make you feel best. For me, I want a clean desktop and a dust-free computer. An empty inbox is a nice bonus.

  • If you only have a few minutes: The basics will go a long way. Clean files, screenshots and any other junk off your desktop, then update (if necessary) and restart your computer. This gives your browser(s) a chance to update and closes all the processes running in the background.
  • If you have more time: Computers are dust magnets. Blow out your laptop fan or the vents on your computer tower. I like this air blower instead of compressed air that runs out too fast. Take it outside if you can because you’ll stir up a lot more dust than you’d imagine.

Your keyboard is probably full of junk, too — and you might as well clean up the background of your video meetings while you’re at it. I say this as someone who has had a stack of old mail in my background for too long.

This is an excellent time to tackle your messy inbox, too. Getting down to zero can take forever if you comb through every email individually. You can do what Kim does and archive it all and start fresh. Hey, if someone really needs a response, they’ll email again.

In a cleaning mood? We’ve got your back. Check out these guides to make all your devices shine:

The best way to clean all the dirt and grime off your tech

Maintenance tip: 4 steps to clean your keyboard and mouse

7 laptop maintenance steps you should do regularly to keep yours happy

Phone cleaning guide: Get more years out of your iPhone or Android

Tags: apps, cleaning, computer, contacts, desktop, guides, inbox, iPhone, keyboard, laptop maintenance, maintenance, Mouse, phone, Productivity, spring cleaning, streaming apps, tech


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