This post is inspired by me noticing I had 350 bookmarks and realized I only used a few of them, really.

And that made me see how much other clutter lived on my hard drive! Time for some decluttering!

Step 1 – Declutter your email box

I use these simple rules for it:

  1. Junk? Mark as spam and delete
  2. Needs an answer? Type that answer, and delete the mail. Better reply right away in stead of thinking: do it later. Do it later clutters your inbox.
  3. Waits for action for someone else? Put it in a special folder (I move it to a label in Gmail called HOLD)
  4. Is important info that needs saving (like software registration codes or passwords)? Copy the info to a document and delete.

Using this, I keep my inbox decluttered, have the information I do need handy in google docs, and can find it in a snap.

Step 2 – Declutter your bookmarks

Information changes, sites come and go, after one day your list of bookmarks leads to changed pages. Use these rules to keep on top of your bookmarks and the information you want to keep stored.

  1. Put sites you check regularly in a folder. I have the links split over several subjects. The folders are in my bookmarks toolbar for easy access.
  2. Research, info gets copied to my Tiddlywiki . Websites change, get taken offline. This way I keep the information I want on my laptop. You could also use Zotero for that purpose.
  3. Subscribe to feeds from webpages using an RSS reader. I use google reader for that purpose.
  4. Just toss the rest, leaving you with only the bookmarks you use 🙂 (you could save these bookmarks to a bookmarking site like delicious, if you think you might need it one day after all. Probably not though.)

Step 3 – Declutter obsolete files, Keep current files in a separate folder

1. Make one folder for the files you are currently working on. I use Dropbox to keep this folder synced between my laptop and my eee.

2. Create an archive folder. Move things there that you want to keep, but not necessarily need every day. Backup the archive, and then zip it on your harddisk. Delete the originals

3. Make a master file for the information you need to keep, like the license info mentioned with the inbox rules. I keep mine in Dropbox.