Smiling man sitting outside in the grass looking at his phone while he cleans up his contacts.

Decluttering our contacts is one of those “do it now and be grateful for a long time” tasks. It can feel like a heavy lift, but it’s SO worth it.

How many times have you spoiled someone’s surprise birthday gift or thank you note by asking for their birthday or address out of the blue? Keeping your contacts up-to-date is a good business practice and makes it easier to connect with your friends and family. 

If you have jumbled contacts lists that haven’t been updated in years, you’re not alone. 

First, it’s always good to take a mindful moment and zone in on what’s working and what might need a change.

  • How are you storing your contacts? Is it working for you? If not, what could you shift?
  • Are your contacts stored in the Cloud or otherwise backed up?
  • When was the last time you updated your contacts with birthdays and mailing addresses?
  • Do you have (or want) separate work and personal contact lists?

Storage & Backup

There are so many different different ways to keep your contacts. Where do you store yours? Do you have a good old fashioned address book? 

You might store your contacts in:

  • Your phone
  • Your computer’s Contacts app
  • Google Contacts
  • A physical address book
  • A business card holder
  • Or a combination!

But when we aren’t consistent with where we store contacts, things can quickly become disorganized.

These days, most of us just store our contacts on our phones. And hopefully, we’re backing them up in secure Cloud storage, too!

Learn how to back up and restore your contacts on an Android device or on an iPhone/iCloud device.

Adding Details

Contact card showing image of a woman smiling outside with some fake contact details including notes that state she loves tea and seaside walks.

Details like images, notes, birthdays, and even how you met a person are helpful additions to your contacts. 

Not only do details and notes help you remember how you know people, they also add a personal component to your digital social circle. Scrolling through your contacts and seeing photos, last names, birthdays, and websites can help us remember that there are real people behind the pixels.

Do you add images to your contacts? Literally putting a face to a name — it’s so helpful. 😉 It’s also a great visual cue and will put a smile on your face when you see your loved ones calling. Bonus points if it’s a photo of you two together! 

Adding unique notes is another great way to personalize and snazz-ify your contacts.

Save things like:

  • The last time you connected
  • Their kids’/pets’ names
  • Food allergies and preferences
  • How and when you met
  • Anniversaries (think beyond wedding anniversaries — how about the date they opened their own business, quit drinking, or earned a degree?)

Using notes in your contacts also helps keep track of details about that person for easy recall in the future.

Reach Out!

Contacts are for connecting. Don’t wait: as soon as you’re done reading this, reach out to someone you haven’t connected with in a while.

Not sure how to start the conversation? There’s a better approach than just saying, “Hey!” or  “What’s up?” Check out this post from The Hello Code for inspiration.

After all, digital decluttering isn’t about going completely screenless. It’s all about making our digital lives as joyful, easeful, and fulfilling as possible.

Actions to tidy your contacts

Let’s declutter! Actions to tidy your contacts right now:

  • Delete contacts that are no longer needed
  • Merge or correct any contacts that were automatically added
  • Categorize contacts: coworkers, clients, friends, family, etc.
  • Update and verify existing contacts
  • Add and update birthdays 
  • Star/favourite your frequent contacts
  • Make sure your contacts are backed up
  • Create a habit of entering contact details as soon as you get them!

Changing habits is easier when we’re in it together. Not sure where to start? Here are a few resources we’ve created for you!

1) Download our free habit-tracking workbook to get your mind aligned toward digital wellness.

2) Subscribe to the Digital Declutter Newsletter and be the first to receive monthly tips and event information.

3) Join the Facebook Digital Declutter Community for added accountability, tips, and motivation.