Free App Friday: 5 Apps To Help You Jettison The Junk

Stuff: We all have too much of it and we all want more. Something’s gotta give.


After being locked inside for an abnormally long winter, it’s finally time for some spring-cleaning. Here are a handful of apps to help you cut through the clutter–physical and digital–in your life.


1. Lighten Your Mail Carrier’s Load

Use PaperKarma (Android, iOS, Windows Phone) to snap photos of unwanted magazines, catalogs, phone books, and other physical junk mail. The app recognizes a huge database of the most common offenders, unsubscribing you from their mailing lists in a few quick taps. It can even use your phone’s GPS chip to figure out your address so you don’t have to type it in. Once you’re taken off a company’s list, PaperKarma will send you a push notification alerting you that your request has been successful.

2. Find Out Who Recycles What … And Where

iRecycle (Android, iOS) shows you where you can safely get rid of things like batteries, gadgets, hazardous waste, paint, and hundreds of other materials. Just choose the type of item you’d like to unload and the app will serve up a map of nearby recycling centers and retail stores with drop-off services.

3. Digitally Detox

The tried-and-true CCleaner (Android, Kindle Fire, Mac, PC) scours your computers and mobile devices for excess crud–temporary files, cookies, old apps, and more–to clean out the cobwebs and, in turn, speed things up. Free versions of the app treat you to as-needed cleanups, which are plenty effective; paid versions offer real-time monitoring, automatic updates, lost file recovery, and premium support features.

4. Put Paper In Its Place

TinyScan (Android, iOS) helps you digitize the mountain of paperwork, receipts, and takeout menus that’s threatening to split your desk in half. This very simple but effective scanner app lets you capture images as PDFs that you can email to yourself or save to Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, Box, and other popular cloud storage services. You can save documents in black and white or color, and you can string several snaps into single documents if you’re working with multiple items that belong together.

5. Free Your Former Favorites

The Freecycle + Trash Nothing (Android, iOS, Web) app ties together popular online freecycling groups in your community to help you get rid of stuff that’s no longer of use to you but that might otherwise have value to someone else (and vice versa). You can offer up your own possessions or request items that you need, adding descriptions, location information, and photos to round things out. The main rule is that stuff has to be no-strings-attached free.