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Clean your data: How to reduce your digital impact?

Clean your data: How to reduce your digital impact?

**This article has been translated automatically and will be reviewed soon.**

It was “Digital Cleanup Day” last month.

This day serves to raise awareness about the environmental footprint of digital technology. We participated and it was therefore our 11th gesture of the year. Learn more about our 52 gestures .

There are several ways to reduce our digital impact:

💻 Clean your computer and Drive

📱 Clean your cell and/or tablet

📧 Clean your emails

How do we do that? We found practical guides on each subject!


Everything that is recorded on our computers consumes memory and can slow it down. Especially when the files are saved on the desktop it seems... (Ouuuuuppppppps, there are 591 files on my desktop, huhuhu).

Sorting, storing and deleting unnecessary files frees up space, improves performance and above all extends the life of our computer. It will be easier for him to make his updates! It's a big deal in the world of updates, but it's essential to its proper functioning.

As for the Drive (GoogleDrive / OneDrive), it seems magical to put everything there, but it's not better because our files will then take up space in Data Centers which are extremely energy-intensive . Yes, it is possible to make data centers more eco-friendly, but the fact remains that there is no point in storing data there that we do not need.

A little trick in GoogleDrive: click on Storage in the menu on the left to see your largest files and determine if you still need them.

Okay, where do we start, and what do we do to clean up our files?

1- Make a temporary “CleanUp” folder

It's always fun to see the layer of dirt that you remove when you wash, right? We're going to do the same here. We create a temporary folder with a fun little name like “Gross” or something like “CleanUp” and put all the files we want to delete in it. Before throwing everything in the trash and deleting them permanently, we can measure the weight of the file. More difficult to do in Drive... we will then look at how many GB we had free before and after the operation.

2- Organize important files

Sorting through it really helps to see if we still need our files/programs. We can reorganize our files to keep by creating folders for them or putting them in the right folders. It helps you find your way around and afterwards, you know that the files you have sorted contain important elements to keep.

3- Get rid of old things

Documents that we haven't opened since 2011 and which are not interesting memories, we flush that (because apart from today, there's a good chance we'll never open them again in our life).

4- Have a “Memories” session

Multimedia files (photos, videos, audios) take up a lot of space. We sort and remove duplicates, blurry photos, failed videos... in short, we keep the best. For music, is it still relevant to keep these audio files? Do you really listen to the versions saved on your computer?

5- Find the largest files to delete

In Mac for example (About this Mac > Storage > Manage), we can see the largest files on our computer. This can be used to delete large chunks that we no longer need. There is also small free software like Disk Drill (Mac, Windows) which allows us to see the duplicates hidden in our computer.


Apps that we don't use and media files that we no longer need consume memory, power and/or bandwidth. Removing them allows us to gain performance and extend the lifespan of our devices.

How do we do that?

1- For fun, we first measure our impact

How much data is stored on our phone at the moment? You can find this in “Storage”. We note the number of GB used at the moment and we come back to it at the end of the operation, so that we can say to ourselves that we did that well.

2- Delete/Uninstall apps & app data

In “Storage”, you can see the applications that take up the most space. And sometimes, it's the data in the app that takes up more space than the app itself! You can easily delete the podcasts you've listened to, the music you never listen to and the apps you don't need to keep on your phone at all times. Because you have to remember that an app can be reinstalled! So in the meantime, what's the point of keeping it in our device if we just open it once a year?

3- Clean up your photos & videos

In “Storage”, you can also see the largest photos and videos. It is then possible to target what can free up the most space the fastest. Emptying our recent photos bin can also free up quite a bit of space. Otherwise, it's certain that doing a little manual cleaning of our photos remains very relevant and fun to do to immerse yourself in a lot of beautiful memories.


What percentage of emails do you think are never opened? It seems it's 60%.

And it also seems that an email with an attachment has the same carbon footprint as 6-7 sheets of paper.

In fact, the impact of emails is mainly linked to Data Centers, because emails are stored somewhere for a long time. It is best to delete all unnecessary emails to free up virtual storage space. Here's how :

1- Calculate the results

As above, we look at the amount of current storage we have in our email box, to see how much space we will recover after our data cleaning. In Gmail, we can see the number of GB we are using at the bottom of our inbox. If we click on it, we will then have access to Drive and Gmail data separately.

2- Sort emails

Our best friend in our email box is the search bar which also serves as a filter.

We can sort our emails by size, target the heaviest ones and see if we need to keep that.

We can also sort them by date, to target the oldest ones and see if we still need them.

Finally, we can also find all the emails coming from the same sender that we don't care about and that we can delete in batch. Don't forget to empty the trash afterwards!

3- Unsubscribe from flat newsletters

There are a lot of newsletters that we never read (certainly not those from Bateau Bateau, because they are always funny and we always put relevant content in them 😅). It’s especially the famous promotional emails from brands that don’t interest us that much. Continually receiving these emails in our inbox that we won't even read is a waste of data. When we clean up, we flush them all except one, unsubscribe and delete that too. In any case, companies would much rather have subscribers who open and read their emails than subscribers who never open them.

4- Arrive at an empty inbox (Inbox zero)

This is something I learned about two years ago and which I use in two of my Gmail inboxes. Like Marie Kondo could have invented this if she was in the digital world.

This allows us to better sort and see immediately whether it is better to delete or archive our new messages, as soon as they enter our inbox. I'm sharing with you the link to the tutorial in English that taught me how to do it .

Essentially, we make “Labels” for all the categories of emails we receive and sort them as soon as we open them. We can even make an automated label so that they sort themselves upon receipt. If we have to reread one later, we make a label that will be “To read later” or “Priority” (depending on its importance) and we archive it. To have easy access to these emails, we put our inbox in multibox mode and we have our important emails, classified by labels, in the right column of our inbox (on the computer).

In Settings > Inbox > Instead of choosing the “Default” type, choose the “Multiple inboxes” type.

Besides, it removes the “Notifications / Promotions” boxes... So, emails will no longer get lost in there for months. Then, we do a thorough cleaning of our inbox using the filters in order to sort all the emails and then we are good to be diligent with our Inbox zero for a long time.


I did the exercise and started by cleaning my computer: I deleted at least 500 files from my Desktop and a bunch of unnecessary files on my computer and that gave me a nice big 22.3 GB space! And that's superficial housekeeping; “Vacuum and clean surfaces” level. I didn't go into old things, memories, multimedia files (like washing the floors, the walls, the windows, the fridge, and the oven...). It will come!

I also did a quick cleaning of my cell phone and freed up 40.7 GB !! Tse.

I finally did a big sort through my emails. In my boat-boat mailbox, I deleted more than 4,500 emails, some of which weighed more than 10 MB, and I freed up... be careful... 90 MB , yes yes, Mo!! in my email box. That doesn't make sense, it's not even 1 GB. 🙄 Clearly, there are things more liberating than cleaning your emails.

But hey, cleaning is still necessary, because emails pile up quickly! Especially when you have 4-5 different email addresses. And it must also be said that the little number in red that goes up to 50 (or 100 or 1000, it depends) on the application on our phone, that's annoying and it's stressful. There is still something liberating about cleaning your emails. And a “zero inbox” allows us to stay focused on sorting them!


How many GB of cleanup does that give you?

What was most effective for you to clean?

And the most satisfying?

By M.eve

I enjoy questioning and informing myself, and write! It's through this blog that I take the time to speak to you transparently about my business or share what I learn or observe regarding environmental topics that concern us all.


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