Posted on January 24, 2011 by Jennifer Pointer


Hello, my name is Jennifer, and I'm a digital collectaholic. (Hi, Jennifer!) 


Yes, I thought I just made up that word ("collectaholic"), but then I Googled it just to be sure, and found that it is true, King Solomon was right: there is nothing new under the sun.  People have been using the word for a long time - but now the disease includes our digital lives.


I got a warning this weekend that said that I had used nearly all of the memory on my hard drive.  Upon careful review, the problem was three-fold.


First I still had nearly every photo, video, and document (.doc, .pdf., etc.) that I had ever downloaded stored on my hard drive not just once, but at least twice.  Secondly, I didn't even need to keep a lot of those files once.  Thirdly, my hard-drive was a silly place to be storing this stuff; it was just slowing down my computer, and if my hard drive crashed, I'd have lost the few items I really DID want to keep.


So here's what I did.  Well actually, this is what I should have done.  I actually went about this in a panic and took a lot of side-trips and extra steps that were unnecessary.  By the time I finished, I had cleared up over nine gigabytes (9GB - that's a lot) of space on my hard drive.


1) Delete the contents of the downloaded files folder.  This is simply temporary storage, and unless you're used to using the folder to retrieve files, it's unnecessary.  IF the files were important, they've been stored somewhere else by now.


2) Sort through the "pictures," the "documents," and the "videos," folders (as well as any other folders where this type of data is stored), and delete anything that doesn't matter.  Look for files that are stored in more than one place, and deleted the duplicates.


3) Keep the stuff you're currently working on for easy access, but use either external or web-based storage to back it up, and to store the archives.  Private data (information that could harm you, your reputation, your pride or your family) should be stored on external drives (e.g. discs, thumb drives, or external hard drives) that you will need to purchase.  Everything else can be stores online for free. (Note:  If you've posted it to Flickr or Facebook already, it's not "private.")  Photos can be stores on photo sharing sites like Flickr or Photobucket, videos can be posted to video sharing sites like YouTube, and everything else can be stored in the form of e-mails to yourself (or an alternate e-mail you use solely for this purpose). 


4) Delete your recycle bin (which still uses up an enormous amount of space on your hard drive).


What ideas do you have for cleaning up the files on your hard drive?



Jennifer Pointer


Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking. 

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