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Digital cleanup – Liberate yourself from digital trash

An illustration of a trash bin and an arrow directing into the bin.

Just one year is enough time to accumulate a lot. Digital trash, too. Do you regularly clean out your PC? Do you delete your recycle bin every now and then? How many file versions do you have lying around? Do you have duplicates and triplicates of everything on your PC, external hard drive and cloud?

Free yourself from old data ballast and start the new year light-weight.

Why should you clean out your digital space?

Every click on the web generates CO2 emissions. How? Every click starts a dialog with data centers that are fed with a huge amount of electricity and cooled with vast amounts of water. Internet usage has already grown exponentially in recent years, reaching an all-time high this year. Over 8 million data centers provide us with all kinds of data. And we can reduce that data. Every single one of us.

What should you clean out?

Clean out your emails.

About 4g of CO2 is consumed by a regular email, about 50g of CO2 by an email with larger attachments (says a study by Ericcson).

Sort out what’s no longer needed, empty the trash and unsubscribe from newsletters you don’t read anyways. Start with old emails and emails with large data attachments. Then you’ll quickly have a lot more space in your inbox.

Clean up your cloud.

Consider what you really need in the cloud, what needs to be duplicated and what can be easily deleted. Start with the largest and oldest files and work your way up slowly. There is an incredible amount of data in private clouds, which superficially costs you nothing, but which causes a lot of unnecessary CO2 emissions through intensive server use.

Free your PC and smartphone from data.

This year in particular, an insane number of pictures were sent via Threema, Whatsapp and Co. Some of the messangers save them automatically in a smartphone folder. Do you really need them all anymore or can you delete some of them? Also clean up your PC from old and large data. Maybe there are 10 archive versions of a file somewhere, the recycle bin is full to the brim and the download folder is a colorful potpourri of useless files. Delete them and get rid of old ballast.

What else do you have stored digitally?

Do you have your own website? Do you use digital tools like to-do lists or management tools? Clean up all that, too. Old pictures, archive files, paper baskets, completed to-dos. There is a lot that doesn’t need to be taken into the next year and only consumes space on data servers unnecessarily.

And now?

Let’s go. Now is the right time to go through your digital filing system and clean it out thoroughly. Use the time. The earth will thank you and you can start the new year with a better conscience.

So start cleaning up now or put a blocker in your next two weeks’ calendar. Ready? Set? Go!

Feel free to let me know on LinkedIn or Instagram what you were able to delete and share the post with colleagues, co-workers and friends.

Have a wonderful Christmas week!

Your Sandy

Hi, I’m Sandy, the author of this blog and a UX/UI Designer with 10+ years of experience. I founded Green the Web in 2019 to share my passion, ideas and vision of a sustainable web with change makers like you. Let’s connect on LinkedIn or on Instagram @greentheweb to discuss and share ideas.