Spring is a time for refreshing and rejuvenating our spaces. And while the oven could probably use a clean and your blinds really do need to be washed, it’s important not to forget about the pieces of technology that we use daily. Our phones, tablets and computers are our lifelines to the Internet, meaning we use them a lot. Here are 9 tips for keeping your gadgets clean and organized so that you can avoid getting sick and improve your functionality.

Tip 1) Recycle Unused Items

Do you have any outdated tech lying around that you know you’ll never use again? Or, maybe you have older stuff that you wish you could still use. Cleaning out the things that you don’t use will free up some office space! If you just can’t part with something out of date, chances are you can find adapters or converters to make it work. Otherwise, search online for a local place to recycle old computers and other gadgets. Before donating or recycling, be sure to delete all personal information and remove any batteries.

Tip 2) Organize Cables and Power Cords

Having a clear workspace can make a world of difference. Grab cable wraps or nylon cable ties to tame any loose cords. Label infrequently used items to make future use simpler. You can also make an enviable cable management system like this or that.

Tip 3) Get Rid of Germs

Our keyboards, phones and tablets come into close contact with our every day lives. And it’s been said that our cell phones carry more germs than a toilet seat, so it’s no surprise that they have made this list. Since using alcohol and ammonia on screens is damaging, you might opt for a cleaning kit like this one (or this one if you’re a serious germophobe!) Prefer to make your own cleaning cocktail? 50% distilled water and 50% white vinegar can be mixed together for a DIY cleaner. Dampen a soft cloth (microfiber is best) with the mixture, wipe down your device and dry off the excess. And don’t forget your keyboard! Canned air can be used to dislodge any loose crumbs that you lost in your keyboard during breakfast.

Tip 4) Unplug What You’re Not Using

Save on electricity by unplugging power supplies or wall warts that aren’t currently in use. You could label them and then stow them away for later use. This will free up outlets and save your cables– it’s a win-win!

Tip 5) Check Surge Protectors

Is your surge protector still good? When you buy a surge protector, you judge its quality on the amount of Joules it offers, since more Joules = more protection. Flashing or dimming lights may be an indicator of a surge protector’s waning life, although some models use a protected light which runs on separate batteries. When purchasing a surge protector, choose models with 2 light sources or with an audible alert. These methods will help you know when your surge protector is toast, which is much better than the fiery alternative.

Tip 6) Organize Your Desktop

Loose documents on your desktop don’t only force you to scour for hours to find what you’re looking for, but loading the icons on startup can also slow down your computer. Consider moving your documents and image files into tidy folders, then placing those folders either on your toolbar or doc. You can do the same thing with your shortcuts for an even cleaner look. Or, if you must keep those files, folders and shortcuts, consider a wallpaper like this for the illusion of organization.

Tip 7) Backup Your Files

There’s never a good time for your computer to crash, but it would be especially tragic if you lost all of your media with it. Backup your pictures, documents and other important items on an external hard drive. Add a monthly backup reminder to your phone’s calendar so that you can stay on top of backups and avoid hefty data transfers.

Tip 8) Organize Your Photos 

It can be frustrating clicking through thousands of images to find the one you’re looking for. A good way to stay on top of your photo organization is to name your images as your transfer them from your phone or camera to your computer. Try naming each batch by date or event to help yourself find a specific shot down the road.

Tip 9) Reset Passwords

If it’s been a while since you changed your passwords online, consider updating them to a more secure phrase. Here’s a good tip for creating a password that is very strong, yet easy to remember. After all, 1234 just isn’t going to cut it anymore.

Do you have any other spring cleaning tips?