Friday, March 6, 2015

Weeding Through the Digital Files

As I mentioned earlier this month, one of my goals was to get my digital files on the computer decluttered and organized. I was well aware of having a lot of things on my computer that I didn't need. I would see them and notice I didn't need them, but didn't take any time to delete them or put them into a file. Really? Why do we do that sometimes? I'll just guess lack of motivation or feeling overwhelmed are right at the top of reasons why for many. 

Email. I started with email since it seemed the easiest to me. And I started with the oldest stuff first. For me this was a file folder with emails for our Realtor from our last home sale, nearly three years old. What was interesting was that most of the emails I was hanging on to did have attached documents, but I already had those documents downloaded and saved in a file folder on the computer. And I think some of them are in paper form down in my file cabinet! Yes, I saw those in January during the paper purge. That email folder is GONE. I didn't need to keep any of it once I realized I had the documents elsewhere. I was able to do this with at least five other email folders as well. I still have eight email folders for keeping documents. I like having folders so I don't have to keep as many things in my inbox. 

As far as my inbox, I was able to delete or move all but four emails by the end of the day today! I even went to my sent folder and deleted all but one very recent email I sent. Yes, I deleted it all. I so rarely even go back to look at what I sent, so why keep them indefinitely. I hoping now that the email account is under control I can add a new routine to check file folders and sent emails at least monthly for possible deletions!

Browser Bookmarks. I have a habit of bookmarking websites I want to revisit on my browser. What is probably most amusing is that I don't use my bookmarks too often. I just keep typing things back into the address field, which does usually populate with favorites. I decided while I was working on this project to find any bookmarks I could delete. I forgot to count how many I had or exactly how many I deleted. I would guess I deleted 25 or more. It is tempting to delete more, but for now I'm keeping what I thought I would still want easy access to. 

Desktop. My desktop had 77 icons on it when I began purging things from my computer!! That is more than half the screen filled with icons. I had folders, shortcuts, individual pictures and individual documents hanging out on there. I uploaded the pictures to an online site so I have a better chance of getting them printed, but also made a folder for miscellaneous pictures (at least for now). I had several videos downloaded from somewhere. I checked them all and found they could be deleted. My daughter had multiple folders on my desktop, I dropped them all into one folder with her name. I deleted the shortcuts I don't use, and added others to my task bar. I found a few different picture folders, turns out one was a duplicate of another, but with a different name! I also had quite a few things that were just old sitting on my desktop that could go. Deleting can feel really good especially since it takes less time then shredding!! In the end I have 21 icons on my desktop. A few will get moved to our external hard drive. I currently have five different picture folders. I need to work on those to consolidate in some way, but it works for now. 

Downloads. So some documents you open online are downloaded into their own folder on your computer. It seems I usually rename the document, which I think is then creating two of the same thing. I found many, many duplicates in my Downloads folder. I probably could have just deleted everything, but I had to double check on many of them. There were a few pictures that had been caught in that folder that I'm glad I came across and could put in my Miscellaneous picture folder for now. Does anyone know if I can set my Downloads folder to empty on a frequent basis? I will need to check on that as an option.

Files and Folders. I did open every folder I had to see if there appeared to be anything that I needed to delete. I found a few things, but in most cases the items already in folders were actually important and are worth keeping. I did have one folder with my name on it where I seemed to dump the oddest items. I guess it was like the kitchen junk drawer, but on my computer!! I'm keeping the folder but I was able to move some things to other places and delete the rest. I had a few folders I renamed so I could add similar items to them. I think I have the folders I need for now. 

I made big, big progress in just a few days with my digital cleanup project. I plan to move some files from my laptop hard drive to our external hard drive. I also hope to work on pictures, but I'm not going to stress too much about those, since that is a very, very big project that may wait until after our move. 

Do you have routines, computer automation settings that help you manage your digital files? If you have something you do to keep your digital world in check and organized, I'd love to hear!

I thought about taking screenshots of my computer screen so you could see all my icons, but then I realized some of that could be considered personal or sensitive information that I probably don't need to share with the entire Internet! Ya, know because I'm sure the ENTIRE Internet is reading my blog!! :)


  1. I almost took a screenshot too! I forgot to check bookmarks.

  2. Ohhhh how did you have 77 things on your desktop?!? I have 18 and that's too many! I used to keep a bunch of stuff there, but it's really just easier to file everything elsewhere - plus that way I get to see my desktop image :D
    I took screenshots of my stuff...I didn't care xD I think the most important thing anyone was going to see was that I have my tax returns saved to my PC. But it was disastrous to take those screenshots, as it was an image just full of icons xD

    I would hate to go through my email. It's got thousands of emails in it, all the way back to 2009? I think I cleared out everything prior to that....I think. Possibly, anyway! Gmail keeps everything, and it may not have 4000 some emails for me...just hanging out (it really is 4000 something, I checked!).

    1. It doesn't seem like me to have that much on my desktop, but I just got lazy about it really. And I wasn't even using most of it. I didn't want people to see my daughter's names primarily since they have folders on the desk top. I'm sure I could have wiped those out. But it's all clean now!

      Gmail won't let you delete anything? I have purged emails this deep one other time, and it wasn't that long ago, maybe three years. I would like to stay up on it a little more, ya know!