Digital File and Hardware Removal

As spring cleaning continues, consider sweeping through your files to determine which ones you need to keep and which you can get rid of. This is a good opportunity to clear up space on your devices and declutter your digital work environment. Also, if you have used cellphones or outdated computer equipment lying around, make sure you know how to safely dispose of them.

Delete or Archive Old Files

Empty your trash or recycle bin on all devices to permanently delete old files. On mobile devices, you can manually delete old text messages, pictures, videos, and any other file taking up unnecessary space. For paper documents, you should archive things like outdated financial statements and other important documents you want to keep but don’t need immediate access to.

Sort and Clean Out Email

Spend some time going through your email account(s) to determine which emails you really need. You likely have a lot of old emails in your inbox that you can either permanently delete or archive. Organize the ones you want to keep into specific folders and make sure to empty your trash folder.

Manage Subscriptions

Unsubscribe from updates you no longer need. This includes things such as newsletters, email alerts, and subscriptions that may not be relevant or useful anymore. This will help to reduce clutter and keep you more organized.

Properly Dispose of Private Information

You should take care when disposing of documents that contain private information such as social security numbers, driver’s licenses, and banking information. It is recommended that you use a crosscut shredder to destroy paper media while electronic files should be erased or deleted securely. See the RIT media disposal recommendations for more information.

Wipe Old Hard Drives

If you are finished with an old computer, make sure you wipe the hard drive before recycling it or giving it away. For your security, your personal information needs to be permanently erased before you pass it on. You can wipe a hard drive using free online software. If you’re getting rid of an old smartphone or mobile device, do a factory reset or use a remote wiping app first.

Recycle Hardware

Don’t throw your old hardware in the trash! You can recycle hardware like old computers, cables, keyboards, and laptop batteries by finding a responsible eStewards recycler near you. Retailers like Staples and BestBuy will also accept your used tech for recycling. If your hardware is still in good condition, another option is to consider donating to local schools or charities.

Check out organizations like the EPA or Electronic Takeback Campaign for more information about recycling used electronics.

At RIT, the Student Environmental Action League holds E-waste Recycling Days throughout the year. You can also submit a pickup request to Rochester Computer Recycling and Recovery and they will remove, recycle, and dispose of electronic waste for you.