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Fernanda Maio’s Digital Decluttering Technique

Jul 19, 2023


By Fernanda Maio

Digital decluttering is the base of digital wellbeing to me. It means “limiting the noise.” It brings clarity to the massive amounts of information, materials, and facts I consume. It also prevents me from overloading on with things that don’t nourish my life, my mind, and my soul!

I use daily, weekly, fortnightly, and monthly techniques as part of my decluttering routine.

Instead of focusing on what I want to delete, I think about what I want to keep. I ask myself questions like, “Do I need this for work? For my personal development? To improve my life? Can this thing create a connection with someone?” and so on.

I can summarize all these questions with a simple “Is this good for me?”

The easiest way for me to declutter is to organize and categorize. I have folders on my desktop, phone, and social media, so I know exactly where to find useful information, data, files, etc.

DESKTOP:  I organize my desktop folders by topics and titles. I have three main folders for work, leisure, and projects/side hustles. Every week, I check my downloads and documents and ask myself, “Useful or not?” Then, I proceed to organize, name and categorize them in different folders. I also have a folder named “random” where I put things that I can’t categorize but that might be useful.

INTERNET BOOKMARKS: With three jobs, I have 9-12 tabs open every day and so many bookmarks (sometimes up to 150!) on completely different topics (travel, psychology, coaching, yoga, mindfulness, marketing, sports, digital, etc.). So, I apply the “less is more” rule. Every day, I open only 5-7 tabs and consider if they are truly useful for any of the categories in my life (personal, relationship, work, leisure). If the answer is yes, I name them and put them in folders on my bookmarks.

MAIL + NEWSLETTERS: It is easy to subscribe, but unsubscribing seems to be the hardest thing to do. So, my rule is: when I receive an email that I want to unsubscribe from, I think “now or never”, and unsubscribe immediately vs just deleting the email. And before subscribing to something, I think twice about it! My emails are categorized under “work,” “leisure,” and “projects.” Every fortnight, I delete mail I don’t need, spam, etc.


Following: On my personal Instagram page, I don’t follow anyone. It is my personal choice; I have never followed any of my friends. I have them on WhatsApp and Messenger, and I call and see them, and that is enough for me. I don’t need to see if that person, that is not a close friend, is getting married or having a baby or getting promoted or what is he/she cooking for lunch. It is not important to me. I am lucky enough to be in contact with friends and people important to me all around the world.

Every week, I take at least 20 minutes to unfollow uninspiring accounts that no longer align with my values, accounts that post too much, and pages that interfere with the vision I have of myself, and the person I want to become. If I don’t want to unfollow them, for some reason, I mute them.

Saved: The same thing with ig bookmarks here., my algorithm knows me well, so I have A LOT of material that really interests me, but the same thing “less is more.”

There were things that I saved that I have never watched. So, once a month, I take 1/2 hour to open posts, and reels, I have saved. I see and feel if it is important for me, I write them down or I open a word document and write it with my own words so I can better memorize or use it for my work or personal life. I use this a lot with recipes for example.

Then, I have a folder on ig called “brain break” where I put all the useless things I want to watch when I want to switch off my brain (gossip, useless info, random facts, etc.).

PHOTOS: I travel a lot and I take a lot of pictures, but I make sure that on the flight/train back home I delete all the random or look-alike photos. My motto is “if you wouldn’t frame it delete it”. I only keep the ones that bring me memories, and smiles, I can use for work or to remember important moments of my life.

SCREENSHOTS: That is the hardest part! I screenshot a lot of things. Sometimes I watched my screenshots and asked, “Why did I screenshot this?” so I have learned to do this every day: I delete screenshots I don’t need or name the ones I feel are important and useful and put them in a folder.

APPS: Honestly, I don’t have a lot of apps. I only have apps I really need in my everyday life. I love to see my phone screen neat and clean. I also put my social media apps in a password-protected folder, to help avoid opening them too often.



Fernanda Maio is a digital wellbeing coach, yoga instructor, mindfulness facilitator and world traveller. @theyoganists


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