How many nights have you sat on your computer and thought, “I really need to clean up my email.” or, “I need to get rid of ____ program.”  Well, the time has come – at least in my household, to Spring Clean  – if you will – our digital world!

But where to start?  There is so much that we get trapped in our computers and phones and tablets and on and on.  How are we to know what to clean, when to clean it, how to clean it, what software will help us clean it and….  oh man, it just gets so overwhelming!  So we – and by we I mean I – just leave things status quo and assume I’ll get to it ‘one day’.

Until I am hacked.  Because someone somewhere got into a password that I forgot to update.  And then I am reminded once again that I need to take as good of care of my digital life as I do of my real life.

OK, some of you know me so BETTER care of my digital life that I do of my real life.

Thanks to Trend Micro, I now have a clear cut list on what needs to be done, how to do it and what software will help me.  Check out this awesome and comprehensive Digital Spring Cleaning Checklist! As a Digital Joneses Family, we were given the challenge of going through this list and cleaning up and then reporting back to you our experiences this month.

Personally, I am on my knees thanking them for the motivation!  Professionally, I took one look at the list and thought, “Oh My Goodness – this is A LOT!”  SO I broke it up and started with what I thought was the most important things that I needed to do RIGHT NOW to make my online life less cluttered and more secure.

Being the victim of a hacker more than once lately, I started with my password protection.  I was disheartened to learn, while using Trend Micro’s Password Strength Tester that my main password is only… gulp… 34% effective.  Yea, I got a big fat WARNING saying that my digital life was at risk.  Ya think?  I tested some other passwords and found that “THE” password that I thought no one could ever hack was a cool 60% effective.

I have some work to do!  But aside from a piece of paper that will only get lost in all of the other pieces of paper on my desk, how can I keep track of the complicated passwords that I need to have in order to protect myself, my business and my family?

The solution is a little piece of ingenious software that costs less that $25 for 2 years called Trend Micro™ DirectPass™.  Direct Pass lets you set up passwords of iron strength, which you can get suggested to you with the DirectPass software, and then saves it to the software for you.  And then, you have one central password to your computer that allows you access to all of your sites without having to remember every single one.

So, for instance… I have a Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Stumble Upon account.  The password generator has suggested some pretty incredible passwords for these sites.  I changed my password on all of the sites to what they suggested and then has DirectPass pull them all.  Now, I just have to remember one password to get into my DirectPass account and I automatically get logged in – with a super secure password – to my other accounts!  Pretty cool, right?

So, now that I know I am in the 90 -100% security rating, it is time to clean up my emails!  No small task for anyone and in bloggerland, it is nearly impossible!  I get so much junk that I don’t need and the delete button just can not keep up!  So, I followed the instructions on the Digital Spring Cleaning Checklist and went to empty my trash folder.  I never really thought to do that.  Trash is trash right?  Not in digital land!  I deleted thousands of trash emails I thought were gone.  Literally, thousands!

Ahhh, that felt so good!

Now, onto step two, not necessarily in the order suggested, I went in to see how many emails had attachments.  Holy wow, I have a lot of attachments.  And some are important, personal ones that I would not want anyone to get a hold of should my accounts be hacked!  So, I printed the ones I needed or stored them to be backed up overnight, and deleted them all!  It took a while and I am not sure of a shortcut to do it when you still need the message but can delete the attachment, but as I went, I felt lighter and like I was really starting to get things done!

Next it was time to sort, make folders and make my life a lot easier!  I sorted my emails by names I talk to a lot and then pulled them all into folders.  This took some time and I had to work on it over a few days.  But once it was done… WOW… what a difference! I can see white!!  Now if I can just keep it clean, follow the ideas that the Check List has and really pay attention to what I need and don’t need, I will have made things so much easier!

I still have a lot to do on the list!  I need to sync and backup my really important items- photos of the kids, legal documents, and more –  that I love and need to have saved using Trend Micros’s SafeSync and I need to engage the vault feature on Trend Micro’s Titanium Maximum Security software to protect things like my tax documents and more!

And once I am done with the computers, it is on to cell phones!  Oh the work I’ll have cut out for me there!  First things first, install the Trend Micro Longevity Battery Saver on my husband’s android phone!  Maybe it will help get his through the day without having to run to a charger!

I have to tell you, I am loving being able to try this software out for you guys and report back.  Not only does it give me the motivation to get my digital life in order but I love being able to share how technically challenged me can use this product and make a difference in my household!   As I clean more I’ll keep you posted!

Be sure to check out all of the Digital Joneses Families and learn from them as they test and share their experiences too!  Plus, get caught up with my previous posts!

I Talk to My Kids About Internet Safety + A List of Questions to Ask YOUR Kids #TrendMicro

Trend Micro Titanium Security Software Makes It Easy to Protect My Kids Online

How Much do YOU Know About Internet Safety? (Quiz) + We Are a Digital Joneses Family #TrendMicro

**I am a Digital Joneses Blogger and my family and I will participate in a year long program designed by Trend Micro.  We will receive assets to take the challenges on.  My opinions and writings are 100% mine and can not be duplicated or copied without prior permission.  The assets received in exchange for our input will vary.  Assets received to date:  ASUS Zenbook computer, Trend Micro computer bag and other marketing material. And three sets of various Trend Micro software.  Please see my Disclaimers Page for more information.**