When you need to get away from the reality of our chaotic world, your smartphone can offer you a haven of peace. It’s your way of connecting with family and friends, searching for answers online, and working.
Unfortunately, sometimes your smartphone can be too chaotic to easily perform a meaningful task. There are rows of notifications to sort through, too many apps lying around, files strewn all over the place, and more junk than you can handle.
This can make using your smartphone frustrating and hamper your productivity. Decluttering can make using your smartphone a blissful experience again.
What constitutes clutter on your smartphone?
On your Android smartphone, clutter is everything from sprawling notifications, unused apps and duplicate files, to pictures you never watch and music you never listen to.
There are many ways that disorder can hit you. It can consume your storage space, drain your battery life, slow down your phone, heat it up, and make your home screen an aesthetic nightmare.
Remember the days when you urgently needed to share a PDF, but it took a long time to locate? How about constantly swiping back and forth in the middle of a messy home screen to locate your Twitter app?
Yes, you guessed correctly. Disorder!
Decluttering is taking the time to organize the content of your Android smartphone and get rid of unnecessary data. This will free up more space on your device, give more space to your apps, and increase your productivity when working with your phone.
Here is a simple guide to decluttering your Android smartphone. You need to follow a logical order to ensure that only the superfluous items are removed and not the items that you will regret getting rid of. Here’s how to do it.
Step 1: declutter your apps
The first point of call when decluttering your phone should be your app list. Your apps are usually responsible for a lot of the clutter you’ll face on your Android phone. They take up space and spit out a lot of garbage.
If you have apps that perform the same function on your phone, consider ditching some of them. The excuse we usually give ourselves is that each of these apps can do things the others can’t. Go for an app that can perform the function of two apps that you would install otherwise.
Then there is the issue of unused apps. We usually accumulate unused apps because we think we need them someday. Find the app on play store, add it to your wishlist, and come back for installation whenever you feel the need.
However, if you have already installed a lot of apps that are left unused, Files by Google can help you get rid of apps that you rarely use. It will highlight the apps you use frequently and the ones you barely touch.
To do this:
- Open the Files by Google app where you should find an option titled Delete unused apps. Select this.
- A list of unused apps and the last time you accessed them should appear. Select the ones you want to uninstall and hit the uninstall button
Step 2: declutter your files
It can be annoying to go back and forth when looking for a file on your smartphone, especially since the search features on Android phones aren’t exactly top notch. You can avoid the frustration that comes with doing a little storage and trash.
If you’re a fan of minimalist living, you might have heard of Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method. If you haven’t, it’s a decluttering method that embraces the philosophy that whatever you keep should “spark joy” in you. And if it doesn’t, you should get rid of it.
In the method, you start with things that are a lot easier to throw away, and end up with things that are incredibly difficult to dispose of.
On your phone, duplicate files are the easiest to delete. Again, Files by Google will help you identify them with a delete option. To do this:
- Open the Files by Google app, scroll down and locate the option titled Remove duplicate files. Tap on it.
- A side-by-side list of duplicate files and their original copies should appear. Check the box next to each duplicate you want to remove.
Then go for PDFs and Word documents that you’ve probably never opened. Go through all your documents; text files, Office documents, abandoned drafts and get rid of anything that does not bring joy in you.
At this point, you’ve probably found a file or two, or maybe dozens, that you’re not quite sure if you want to keep or delete. For these types of files, Google’s cloud service Drive would be happy to get rid of them, as will Microsoft’s Amazon Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive.
However, fight the temptation to move most of the files you would otherwise delete to the cloud. You would only move your garbage to another room in the same house.
Photos, music and videos
Music files should be next in line. For that, you can choose to keep a few that suit your tastes, or you can save yourself the stress and use a music streaming service. YouTube Music, Google Play Music, Amazon Music, Spotify, and SoundCloud are great music streaming services to try.
The most difficult files to process are usually photos and videos. It is because of the sentimental value that we attach to them. Getting rid of it can sometimes feel like letting go of a part of ourselves.
Unfortunately, for photos and videos, you will find that too many of them are a source of joy. Find the photos and videos you took in one place and get rid of some of them. The Google Photos app can also help you find blurry media files to put them in the trash.
For any media files you’re still unsure about, send them to the cloud. Google Photos, Flickr, and Snapfish are popular cloud storage options for media files. But again, resist the temptation to dump everything in the cloud.
Step 3: declutter your notifications
When dealing with clutter, we often overlook notifications. They are one of the most invasive and disruptive forms of clutter on your phone. They can cause notification fatigue and drop your productivity. Ring and ring with each passing minute. It’s everyone’s nightmare.
To declutter your notifications, start with your social media apps. Go through each one and mute non-critical conversations. WhatsApp, Facebook, and Telegram all have the mute feature. If you’re not sure exactly how to turn off notifications on any social media app, here’s a guide on how to manage notifications on any Android app.
Another frontier for disruptive notifications is your browser. Open your browser app and turn off push notifications for websites that spam you with notifications. Depending on your preferred browser, you should see an option to turn off notifications in the Settings menu.
- Tap the three vertical dots in the upper right corner of your browser screen.
- Scroll down and press the Settings option.
- Go to Site settings> Notifications.
- Tap the radio button next to Notifications on the next screen to turn off all website notifications from Chrome.
Take back your digital sanity
Your Android smartphone can be an incredibly useful tool if you have a good knowledge and control of its content. In addition to deleting and moving items to the cloud, you will need to develop a decent content management attitude.
Get a decent Android launcher to organize your apps, organize your files in labeled folders, and make a conscious effort to avoid picking up apps or files that you aren’t sure you need right away. Don’t let the disorganization of your smartphone rob you of your digital sanity.
Want a cleaner, more minimalistic iPhone? These tips will help you get rid of the clutter and get a more usable device.
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