Kickstart your digital clean-up journey

Ready to free up space on your disk and in your mind? Let’s get started! We’ve selected five straightforward actions to simplify the process. Feel free to share the five LinkedIn-sliders with colleagues and on social media to maximise your impact!

#1. Email less and lighter

Sending 20 1MB emails daily for a year is equivalent to a car journey of about 1000 kilometers. And if you include attachments, you’re turbocharging that impact even more. How many emails do you send in a day? The less you send, the less you’ll have to tidy up!

  • Limit the number of attachments you send (photos, videos, PowerPoints) and resize them if possible. Use your email program’s option to resize attachments, or compress the file via File Explorer or Finder: select the file and right-click. If possible, only send a hyperlink to the file.
  • Stop sending reply emails containing just ‘Ok’ or ‘Thanks!
  • Consider whether it’s really necessary to cc colleagues or ‘Reply to all’.
  • Take some time occasionally to unsubscribe from uninteresting newsletters and marketing emails, and minimise unnecessary app updates.
  • Keep your email signature ‘light’, without images, and use a png-version of logos.

Make sure to share this approach with your colleagues to ensure you’re all on the same page.

#2. The art of inbox minimalism

We often save emails out of convenience and time constraints, not because we still need them. A clutter-free mailbox provides more clarity and less stress. Also, consider that the less you send yourself, the less you’ll have to discard. A few tips.

  • Sort your emails by date (delete the oldest ones), by sender (keep only the latest in a conversation; the earlier ones are also there) and by size (delete the largest ones).
  • Use search queries such as ‘info@’ or ‘noreply’. Lots of unread emails? You can filter those too.
  • Empty the folders ‘sent items’, ‘spam’, ‘drafts’, and ‘deleted items’.
  • Discover how you can make tidying up a habit: spend a few minutes daily, or allocate fifteen minutes weekly for thorough cleaning.

#3. Finished project? Tidy up!

Everything stored in the cloud requires server space and thus energy. Cleaning up cloud services like SharePoint, Google Drive, iCloud, or Dropbox directly contributes to reducing your CO2 emissions. Here’s how to approach it.

  • Make it a default to conduct a cleanup session when closing a project, and make someone responsible for this action.
  • Keep only the latest version of a file.
  • Delete unopened or temporary files from your laptop: Mac and Windows.
  • Reduce the size of heavy documents. For Mac: Select the file in Finder, right-click, and choose ‘compress’. In Windows: Select the file in File Explorer, right-click, go to ‘send to’, and click on ‘compress (zip) folder’.
  • Compress images in PowerPoint to reduce file size. Here’s how to do it for Mac and for Windows.
  • Deduplicate large files, especially videos, photos, and PowerPoints. You can do this manually or through an app (iPhone or Android, both free of charge). There are also programs available for your laptop: Mac and Windows. Note that these are not always free!
  • When deleting files, also empty the trash. You can also set the trash to ’empty automatically’: Mac or Windows.
  • If you have a lot of archive material, consider using an external hard drive.

#4. Out with unused

Delete apps and software that you don’t use (anymore). If you haven’t used something for a year, it’s time to get rid of it. If you find yourself needing the app, you can always download it again.

  • Mac: Go to System Preferences / General / Storage. Click on the info button to see which apps are on your laptop, sort by ‘last opened’, and delete anything you no longer need.
  • Windows: Go to Start / Settings / System / Storage. Click on ‘Apps & features’ and sort by installation date.
  • iPhone: Go to Settings / General / (device) Storage for recommendations.
  • Android: Open Google Play Store, click on the profile icon, go to Manage apps & devices, then Manage, and select the apps you want to uninstall.
  • Also, take a look at digital services that are no longer used. Consider cancelling the subscription; not only does this save space, but it also saves money.

#5. Chat control

How often do you find yourself looking for a message in the history of WhatsApp, Telegram, Teams, or Slack? Chat histories tend to accumulate unnecessarily. For the commonly used chat services, we’ve researched how you can tidy up.

  • How to clean up our:

    Don’t want all the photos and gifs from received or shared messages to be duplicated in your gallery? Turn off adding photos via WhatsApp:

    1. Open ‘WhatsApp’.
    2. Go to ‘Settings’.
    3. Choose ‘Chats’ and disable ‘Save to Camera Roll’ (iPhone) or ‘Save Incoming Media’ (Android).
    4. Photos and videos will now only be saved within WhatsApp itself.

Bonus tip: power off!

Power off your laptop (and yourself)!

Finished your workday? Fully shut down your laptop if you won’t be using it for the next two hours. However little it may seem, when powered off, it consumes nothing.

Moreover, both the battery, the fan, and you yourself get some rest. This extends the lifespan of your laptop, prevents unnecessary e-waste, saving as much as 300 kg of CO2 and 190,000 liters of water for the production of a new one.

An added benefit: updates are performed immediately and won’t prompt you for a restart at inconvenient times.

Sharing is caring!

By inspiring others with your own tidying efforts to also clean up their digital files, you multiply your impact. To make that easy, we’ve already created five LinkedIn-sliders for you to share freely. The more people join, the less emissions!