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How to Declutter Your Browser


Joanna Yuen

Marketing & Content Specialist - 25 Mar, 2024


Humans are obsessed with the internet. As of January 2024, there were 5.35 billion internet users worldwide, which amounted to just over 66% of the global population. We use the internet for everything from banking to grocery shopping, work tasks to world travel. We spend a ton of time in our preferred browser for both professional and personal tasks. In fact, we use the internet so often that one open tab is rarely enough for navigating our complex lives.

In one study, it was found that the average person has 5 to 10 tabs open at any given time, but outliers included people who had less than 3 tabs as well as those who had over 400. Everyone has a different “tab limit” that crosses from helpful into digital clutter, but if you are reaching that limit, it’s probably stressing you out. The research shows that browser clutter is an identifiable problem, with over 50% seeing it as a mild issue, while nearly 25% say it’s a somewhat “serious” concern. Essentially, when you start to feel annoyed by your open tabs, you’ve reached your personal limit. In those cases, taking some steps to clean up and declutter can be beneficial. The experts at Shift are bringing you our top tips for tidying up your tabs and browser tools to reduce stress and increase productivity.

Is There a Downside to a Cluttered Browser?

Other than the stress we just mentioned, is there really a problem with having a lot of browser tabs open? What harm can come from being a bit disorganized in your browser?

The truth is that a cluttered browser can pose several problems. Here are some of the main issues that you might see:

  • Slower performance - A cluttered browser can lead to slower loading times and overall performance issues. Having too many tabs, extensions, or plugins running simultaneously can consume significant system resources and affect the browser's speed.
  • Lowered productivity -  When your browser is cluttered, it becomes more challenging to find and navigate to the websites or resources you need efficiently. This can result in wasted time and decreased productivity.
  • Ineffective bookmarks - With a cluttered browser, it becomes harder to manage and organize bookmarks correctly. Finding specific bookmarks amidst a long list can be time-consuming and frustrating.
  • Security risks - Over-crowded browsers often accumulate unnecessary extensions or plugins, some of which may have security vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities can expose your browser to potential risks like malware, phishing attacks, or data breaches. Basically, the more platforms that you expose to your data, the more vulnerable you are.
  • Distraction or frustration - A cluttered browser can create a visually distracting environment, making it challenging to focus on the task at hand. Multiple open tabs and notifications can lead to cognitive overload and reduce your ability to concentrate.
  • Updating difficulties - When your browser is cluttered, it can be challenging to keep track of updates for extensions, plugins, or the browser itself. Outdated software may have compatibility issues or security vulnerabilities that can compromise your browsing experience. You may miss notices that it’s time to upgrade, which adds extra steps when you’re ready to use a website.
  • Incompatibilities - When too many extensions or plugins are installed, they can sometimes conflict with each other, causing compatibility issues. This can result in certain websites not functioning correctly or crashing. If you have too many items open, you may not even know for a certainty which tools are causing problems - and going through tabs one by one is incredibly time consuming.

For all of these reasons, it’s important to regularly declutter your browser. Steps like closing unnecessary tabs, removing extensions that you don’t use, and keeping everything up to date can help make your browser easier to navigate.

Related Post: How to Organize Your Mac or PC Desktop Computer


Can Updating Your Browser Help?

The last thing you want to do is to skip updates (especially if you don’t even know you missed one). Few things are as frustrating as going into a tool to do something like pull an urgent report, and then getting a notice that you need to perform an update. That’s why we strongly suggest updating your browser and extensions on a regular basis. Doing so will help:

  • Security enhancements - Updates often include patches for security vulnerabilities that have been discovered since the previous version. By keeping your browser and extensions up to date, you ensure that you have the latest security features and protections against potential threats, such as malware, phishing attacks, and data breaches.
  • Bug fixes - Updates also address software bugs and glitches that may affect the functionality and performance of your browser or extensions. By installing updates, you can resolve these issues, improve stability, and prevent crashes or other technical problems.
  • Increased compatibility - Technology is constantly evolving, and websites and web applications are continuously being updated to leverage new features and standards. Updates to your browser and extensions ensure compatibility with the latest web technologies, allowing you to access and interact with websites with a better user experience.
  • Optimized performance -  These updates often include performance optimizations, which can result in faster loading times, improved responsiveness, and overall smoother browsing experience. By keeping your software up to date, you can benefit from these performance enhancements.
  • Brand new features - Updates may introduce new features, tools, or improvements to the user interface, enhancing your browsing experience. Staying updated allows you to take advantage of these additions and enjoy the latest capabilities offered by your browser and extensions.
  • Compatibility with operating system updates - The operating system you use also has periodic updates. System updates on your device can sometimes introduce changes that require corresponding updates to your browser and extensions. By regularly updating your software, you ensure compatibility with the latest operating system version, preventing any potential compatibility issues.

Updating your browser and extensions is one tactic that can help with organization, but it’s certainly not the only step you should take. That being said, many of the other tips we’ll offer won’t be as effective if you’re not also taking the time to make suggested updates.

20 Tips for Keeping an Organized and Tidy Browser Experience

A lot of keeping your browser neat and tidy comes down to daily behaviors and habits. Here are 20 super simple things you can do in only a few minutes to help declutter your browser experience.

  1. Use bookmarks - Save frequently visited websites as bookmarks for easy access and decluttering your browser toolbar.
  2. Organize bookmarks - Create folders and subfolders within your bookmarks to categorize and group related websites.
  3. Clear your browsing history - Regularly clear your browsing history to remove clutter and maintain privacy.
  4. Remove unnecessary extensions - Uninstall extensions that you no longer use or need to reduce clutter and improve browser performance.
  5. Disable auto-play videos - Adjust your browser settings to prevent videos from playing automatically, reducing distractions and clutter.
  6. Use tab management extensions - Install tab management extensions that allow you to organize and group tabs for easier navigation.
  7. Close unused tabs - Close tabs that you no longer need to reduce clutter and free up system resources.
  8. Limit open tabs - Avoid opening too many tabs in the first place to prevent overwhelming clutter and improve browser performance.
  9. Utilize tab pinning - Pin frequently used tabs to the browser tab bar for quick access and to reduce clutter.
  10. Arrange tabs logically - Arrange open tabs in an intuitive order to make it easier to find and switch between them.
  11. Try tab stacking - Some browsers have tab stacking features that let you group related tabs together, reducing clutter. (Pro tip: If you use Shift as your browser, you can organize related websites and apps into a custom Workspace, where you have access to the tools that you use together in a streamlined format).
  12. Set a homepage - Set a clean and minimal homepage to start each browsing session with a clutter-free environment.
  13. Customize browser theme - Choose a clean and minimalistic theme for your browser to reduce visual clutter.
  14. Use incognito mode - Use incognito or private browsing mode when you don't want your browsing history or cookies to be stored.
  15. Disable notifications -  Turn off browser notifications or limit them to essential websites to reduce distractions and clutter. Shift is a powerful tool that can help with this aspect - more on that below.
  16. Clear cache and cookies - Regularly clear your browser cache and cookies to free up storage space and improve performance.
  17. Optimize browser settings - Customize your browser settings to suit your preferences and reduce unnecessary clutter.
  18. Disable auto-fill and auto-complete - Turn off auto-fill and auto-complete features to minimize clutter in form fields.
  19. Manage your downloads folder - Organize and clean up your downloads folder regularly to avoid cluttering your computer.
  20. Keep your browser updated - We covered this one but want to reiterate: Install updates for your browser regularly to ensure you have the latest features, security enhancements, and bug fixes.

By implementing these tips, you can maintain an organized and clutter-free browsing experience, making it easier to find what you need and improving overall productivity.

Related Post: Too Many Tabs Open? Try These Browser Management Tips


Prioritize Productivity with Shift

If you are reading an article about decluttering your browser, chances are you are trying to be more organized and productive. Shift is an innovative browser that can help with that, because it was created with productivity in mind. Designed to streamline your online activities, Shift is helpful for improving both the user experience and the speed with which you navigate in your browser. Here’s what Shift offers that sets it apart from other browsers:

Speed and performance

A productivity-focused browser is designed to be fast and efficient, allowing you to navigate the web seamlessly. It minimizes loading times, reduces resource consumption, and provides a smooth browsing experience. By saving time on page loading and rendering, you can focus more on your work and accomplish tasks more quickly.

Tab management

One of the biggest challenges in web browsing is managing multiple tabs. A productivity-oriented browser offers advanced tab management features such as tab grouping, pinning, and suspending inactive tabs. These features help you organize your workflow, reduce clutter, and easily switch between tasks, improving your multitasking abilities.

Productivity extensions and add-ons

Many browsers offer a wide range of productivity extensions and add-ons that can enhance your browsing experience. These tools provide features like note-taking, task management, password management, ad blockers, and more. By integrating these extensions into your browser, you can streamline your workflow, increase focus, and eliminate distractions.

Customization options

A productivity-focused browser typically offers a high degree of customization, allowing you to tailor the browser to your specific needs. You can personalize the interface, choose your preferred search engine, change keyboard shortcuts, and customize privacy and security settings. This level of customization ensures that the browser adapts to your workflow and enhances your productivity.

Built-in productivity tools

Some browsers come with built-in productivity tools that go beyond standard browsing capabilities. These tools can include features like integrated note-taking, built-in task managers, calendar integration, email clients, and more. By having these tools readily available within your browser, you can streamline your workflow, eliminate the need for additional apps, and increase your overall productivity.

Security and privacy features

A productivity-focused browser understands the importance of maintaining a secure and private browsing experience. It offers robust security features such as built-in ad blockers, anti-tracking mechanisms, phishing protection, and encrypted connections. By protecting your online activities and data, you can browse the web with peace of mind and focus on your work without worrying about security threats.

Cross-platform compatibility

A browser that helps with productivity is often available across multiple platforms, including desktop, mobile, and tablet devices. This cross-platform compatibility ensures that you can seamlessly transition between devices and continue your work without any disruptions. It allows you to access your bookmarks, browsing history, and extensions across different devices, increasing your productivity and flexibility.

As you can see, choosing a browser that prioritizes productivity can greatly enhance your browsing experience and overall efficiency. We might be a bit biased, but we believe Shift is the ultimate browser for productivity. That’s because it was originally designed as a productivity tool, with features meant to streamline work processes and help you to stay organized. Here are a few of the benefits of using Shift as your browser.

  • Improved work/life balance - This might seem like a stretch, but really, marketers or other professionals who manage multiple accounts can seriously benefit from using the Shift browser. Should you forget to toggle between accounts,  you might post to the wrong account. Or, you would need to constantly go back and forth between personal and work accounts. Using Shift’s dedicated spaces, you can keep personal things separate and only access your work-related accounts during your actual working hours. The rest of the time, it can all be out of sight, out of mind - which is ideal for professionals who want to leave work at work.
  • Complete access to all of your email accounts - Connect all of your Gmail, Outlook, and Office 365 accounts and manage everything from one centralized window.
  • The ability to use all of your favorite apps - WhatsApp, Slack, Messenger—we have everything you need to get it done. Browse our Apps Directory, connect yours, and switch between them easily.
  • Chrome extension connections - Use all of your favorite Chrome extensions like Boomerang, Grammarly, and so much more. You can browse our app directory to see all of the Chrome extensions that integrate with Shift.
  • Easier tab management - Access the web from inside Shift. Manage your tabs and organize them by account for a better browsing experience.
  • Expanded search capabilities - Save time and find exactly what you're looking for across any of your Mail, Calendar, and Drive accounts. This is extremely helpful for streamlining search and keeping what you need right at your fingertips.
  • More focused browsing with Workspaces - Create a Workspace for strictly business and another for weekend plans— with entirely separate tabs, apps, and bookmarks. Workspaces are a focused collection of platforms and accounts. Create a custom Workspace with the exact tools you need to be efficient online, including apps, extensions, bookmarks, email, and more. Workspaces allow for more collaboration and focus which makes you even more efficient online.

Related Post: Mastering Browser Features to Supercharge Your Day


Of course, the simplest answer is to not let your tabs get out of hand in the first place. However, many people have tried that before and find that with more online activity, the tabs build back up again. So, rather than fight human nature, you’re better off employing some common sense best practices - in addition to using a browser that can help you to make the most of tabs and get organized more easily. With features such as speed and performance, advanced tab management, productivity extensions, customization options, built-in productivity tools, security and privacy features, and cross-platform compatibility, you can optimize your workflow, increase focus, and accomplish more in less time. Invest in a productivity-focused browser and unlock your full potential in the digital world.