Digital storage is becoming cheaper by the day. It is hard to find a computer with less than 250Gb of built in hard drive space. Most have 320Gb to 1Tb of space built in with the option to add more. With all this space, people tend to hoard everything they can just because they have the space.
Even though you have a lot of space, you still need to either keep things very organized, or get rid of what you do not need or use anymore. If you simply keep everything and not have some organization to your mess, you will not be able to find anything when you need it.
I know personally, when I have done a little digital spring cleaning, I have found duplicate folders, music libraries and all sorts of other junk I didn’t need or even know I had. Here are a few tips and apps to help fight digital hoarding.
Using apps like the couple listed here will cut down on the time it takes to eliminate some of your digital clutter. The applications below are only a couple of the many many options available. I have had great luck with the two here.
Revo Uninstaller is an application that goes beyond what the basic uninstaller built into most programs will do. Revo will remove the registry files and the miscellaneous files associated with the program you are uninstalling. I typically use Revo Uninstaller on moderate mode, the advanced mode can take a long time depending how full your hard drive is.
Duplicate Cleaner is just what you think it will be. It finds duplicate files and folders on your hard drive. This saves a tremendous amount of time. You select the folder or the whole hard drive you want to search and Duplicate Cleaner will look for duplicates based on your search settings.
What I like is, there is a setting to have it search for not only duplicate files named the same thing, you also duplicate content. What that means is, if you have a picture named img123456 and the same image named new boat, Duplicate Cleaner will find them and let you choose which one you want to delete.
Pictures are memories. Many people record every step of their life in pictures. If this is you, it is smart to have a back up of all your precious moments. While you are moving all of your pictures to either cloud storage or DVD or both, it is a great time to eliminate all of those blurry or pictures your kids took of the carpet.
While moving, you will also want to add a little organization to your hoard of digital pictures. Many people use the date as the folder name. Will you really remember what you did on that day 15 years from now? Probably not. Try using actual names of events such as: Grand Canyon Trip 2009 or Summer 2010.
By grouping pictures into folders with real names, you can find them easier at a glance. If you are backing things up to a DVD, label the DVD clearly to save time later.
For hoards of bookmarks, I recommend something like one of the many bookmarking services available online. I have amassed a large list of useful bookmarks on Delicious. The reason I am recommending a cloud-based bookmarking service as opposed to the one in your browser, is because there are usually more features in the cloud-based options. A favorite or bookmark is a feature of your browser. Bookmarking is all the website does.
One really helpful feature is tagging. You can associate the site you are saving with other similar sites. For example, If you save Make Tech Easier, you could save it under the tag Tech or Linux. Then when you are looking for that tech article you read but may not remember the title of the page, you can search your bookmarks for Tech and narrow your search.
After you have found all of your duplicate files, you will want to organize them in a way to find them a little faster. Any way you can label, tag or sort your hoards of stuff will help you in the long run. You will not have to search for hours or days to find a document. Tagging files in Windows will help you search and find what you are looking for easily.
While I recommend having your files structured in a way that is easy to find what you need, having files tagged can save you a lot of clicking to find a grouping of files separated into different folders.
How do you get rid of your digital clutter and stop hoarding information you won’t ever use again?
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