Skip to main content

Tech self-care for the new year: a guide

Tech self-care for the new year: a guide


New year, new you. Treat yourself to less digital clutter in 2023.

Share this story

If you buy something from a Verge link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Colorful illustration showing an iPhone with a leather Dbrand skin, battery voltage checker, and screen cleaning spray.
Self care doesn’t have to mean at-home spa treatments.
The Verge

Was the term “self-care” invented by the beauty-industrial complex to sell more bath bombs? Probably, but that doesn’t mean that setting aside time to take care of yourself every once in a while is a bad idea. That goes for the technology in your life, too. 

Are you pretending not to see a rat’s nest of cables behind your desk? Does the triple-digit unread email notification make you cringe every time you look at your homescreen? Or has that once-clear phone case turned a dingy shade of yellow? Look, I’m not here to shame you. But maybe it’s time to take a look around at the tech you use every day to see where a little effort in tidying up can go a long way. If you’re looking for somewhere to start, you’ve come to the right place. (Unless you’re looking for bath bomb recommendations — can’t help you there.)

Cable management

I speak from experience when I say that these dumb little stick-on cable clips from Amazon can make a world of difference on your desk. If you, too, are constantly untangling cords or fishing them off the floor when you need to plug something in, please get to know my lord and savior: cable management. This set comes with an array of sizes, all with non-damaging adhesive on the back. Stick one on the side of your desk and you’ll have a place to tuck cables out of the way when you’re not using them. 

Be proactive about battery replacement

Before you get caught off guard by dead batteries in your gadgets, check them ahead of time. This voltage checker is $5.99 and comes with the benefit of not needing a battery itself. Give your future self the gift of not scrambling to replace the batteries in your wireless mouse before an important meeting.

Get a new phone case

Set the right tone for the new year with a new phone case. It’s kind of amazing how something as simple as a new case can make you feel like you have a new phone. You can go minimal with a Dbrand skin (the leather ones are especially nice) or skip the case altogether and get a grip.

Clean the things

If you take nothing else from this guide, just do yourself a favor and buy a gosh dang can of compressed air. You won’t believe the crumbs that it can unearth from your keyboard or the corners of your phone case. If you’re cleaning your laptop, make sure to turn it off first — we have more guidance here. In fact, now’s the time to get the old-fashioned dusting cloth out, too, and get to work. It’s a good idea to make sure the area where your electronics are plugged in is dust-free.

While you’re at it, pick up a microfiber cleaning cloth and some cleaning spray, too. Take a minute to clean the screens in your life — phone, car, TV, anything you look at a thousand times a week. Just be sure you’re using the right tools for the surface; leave the Windex in your cupboard and get this $12.95 cleaner and microfiber kit from Calyptus. It’s Verge photo-editor-approved, so you know it’s legit.

Oh, and clean your earbuds. They’re filthy.

Organize your homescreen

Now that your phone screen is smudge-free, take a good, hard look at your homescreen. Maybe you’re like me and you start with good intentions of putting apps into folders and then, at some point, abandon the whole charade, just letting them pile up in page after page of pure chaos. This could be an entire guide in itself, but here are a few quick tips to de-clutter your homescreen:

  • Un-install your unused apps. Use iOS’s app offload feature (Android app archiving is coming soon), or just go ham on ‘em. 
  • Re-commit yourself to a folder structure that makes sense. If you’re constantly looking for apps, maybe your folders aren’t working for you. Rethink them, or just embrace the search function and leave all but your most precious apps off your homescreen entirely.
  • Download a new launcher if you have an Android phone. You can give your phone’s primary interface a fresh new look or find one like Niagara that prioritizes one-handed usability.

Oh, and one last bit of self-care? Just delete those 30,482 unread emails. If someone gets mad about it, remind them that texting is the new email and they should just message you next time.