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This topic contains 60 replies, has 18 voices, and was last updated by  chacha1 6 years ago.

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  • #159926

    ninakk
    Member

    Sorry for not being very specific in the title, but my digital clutter is a mess, sleepykitten mentioned the same, and it’s getting to us both.

    In my case, it turns out the digital/online life is much messier than the physical world and I have accounts left and right as well as some budding newest system mixed with old ones on the computer.

    I simply don’t know what to do and I’m sure my devices don’t match yours exactly, but maybe we can start some discussion on it anyway, at least on the level of principles/ideas? All of us have kitchens and bathrooms as well as many other similar areas in our physical homes, so why not see whether we can establish some rules or whatever for the bit world, too!?

    Right now it is like having to deal with many years’ worth of dirty laundry.

  • #214043

    Digital clutter strategies

    I am extremely computer challenged so I hope this is in the area(type) thing you talking about. Facebook-although I never use it for family/friends but mostly for the high value coupon here and there. This site really helped me clean it up and out….and the fact that it has step-by-step how to with pictures was a big help to me. Maybe it can be for someone else as well…
    http://www.heyitsfree.net/2012/04/12/unlike-facebook-pages-delete-profile-applications/

    hope this link posts up ok-hopefully someone can check it while I have editing ability

  • #214047

    sleepykitten
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    Thanks for starting the discussion!

    A few things I’m trying to do:

    – name files in a consistent manner (easier said than done)
    – unsubscribe from e-mail lists (instead of just deleting the e-mails)
    – stop obsessively bookmarking things on the internet to read later and only bookmark what I really care about

    HOWEVER, I feel just as frustrated as you do, @ninakk! I have both work and side projects that rely on saving things both online and on my own computer, and it’s a mess. Often I don’t even remember whether something was on the internet, on my computer, in my e-mail……

  • #214066

    Ella
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    Here’s a keeper post from Leo Babauta, whose specific guidelines saved me from digital clutter despair. Hope this helps…

    http://zenhabits.net/a-3-step-cure-for-digital-packrats-and-how-to-know-if-youre-one-of-them/

  • #214068

    Digital clutter strategies

    Thanks Ella for posting. I answered yes to way too many of those questions. I need to make a list of what I need to work on. I know many love pinterest I need to opt out on that. 2 e-mail accounts over 5000 each, 1 pm box over 400. A never ending bookmark list. Need to get my early morning internet time down as well, mornings is when I am the most productive in my everyday real life stuff.

  • #214069

    ninakk
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    thanks ella. i stopped reading at “do you have emails from five years ago”. yes i do, and it doesn’t make me a packrat. lately i’ve begun to feel slightly annoyed with five steps this and three steps that all over the blogosphere where non-professionals are sounding like they base their strong opinions on some universal truth. “do this and you will be a real minimalist” or “take this action and you are on your way to endless happiness of the right kind”. that is not my problem though, but creating a routine that works the same way as when the laundry basket is full i wash a load or two. if i choose to keep tutorials as pdf’s for rainy day inspiration or a bunch of inspiring decor photos, it is my hobby and not packrat behaviour πŸ™‚

    what i need to work out, however, is the syncronization of bookmarks between safari (ipad, iphone) and firefox (imac) as well as fusion of them, syncing grabbed photos on all devices, tagging in leap or iphoto (i keep only “real” photos in iphoto but syncing of pics happens through that program), etc. i do know how to tag and name files properly, but it is difficult to know when exactly would be the optimal time for all of it alongside doing business, taking care of personal stuff online, paying bills and god knows what else. phew.

  • #214076

    luxcat
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    big elephant- one bite at a time

    maybe schedule yourself ten minutes each day to work on file naming and bookmark organization, etc? Once you have a framework of how you want to proceed in place (maybe write down a little organizational chart for yourself with priorities) you can chip away at it. Such a big project sounds overwhelming if not taken in small doses πŸ™‚

    do you use dropbox? I found it very useful to sync photos and PDFs across devices.

  • #214085

    bandicoot
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    post-wardrobe cleanout and sitting here with hot tea…..i thought i would have a glance at my bookmarks.
    some of them are ten years old! not relevant! dead links!
    i cleaned out swathes of them, but there is more to go.
    and i re-read leo babauta’s digital clutter cure.
    i am going back in to have a look at my files!

  • #214088

    ninakk
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    Giving the article another shot, with comments on his list of questions. I’m thinking while typing to let the thoughts flow freely, hence the long list here.

    “But here are a few symptoms:
    1. Do you have 20 or more folders and sub-folders in your documents folder on your hard drive?
    Yes, but why 20? Is it wrong to have many folders? I have archives of various kinds, labelled like this: “A – Company” and “A – Company – Bookkeeping”, to keep general company stuff separated from bookkeeping receipts. After I purchased Leap for mac, I’m consolidating all folders of same kind (e.g. hobbies) into just one folder and then it’s easy to access them through Leap once the tagging has been done properly. The name of the file doesn’t matter at all then, so one step gone from the handling. Even after consolidating similar topic folders, I have more than 20. Why? Because I have the archives, but then there are inboxes (I – something), projects (P – x) and ticklers (T – x).

    [i]2. Is your list of Internet bookmarks long and overwhelming?
    It is longer than necessary but I’m culling them once in a while.

    [i]3. Is your email program nearly full, or do you use more than one email account because of all the storage you need?
    No, not nearly full. I love Runbox because I log in with one user name and have all the alias addresses in one place, with one login. Security-wise it’s also good because no matter how much someone would try to access one of the alias accounts, there are none to be accessed. After purchasing a subscription there, I’ve started keeping track of usage much more and I also delete various newsletters immediately after having read them. Many have beeen unsubscribed from entirely and those that are left are the good ones. I still have some Gmail and Yahoo accounts for various purposes, but those are getting deleted one by one.

    [i]4. Do you have multiple duplicates of photos, and is it hard to find a photo you need?
    No multiples. I’ve made manual Albums in iPhoto a few years already, but last year it was taken to a new level upon discovering the Smart Albums. When I sync a camera or iPhone/iPad now, I immediately add keywords to them so they go into the correct albums. The old photos are not sorted at all, but since the keywords were introduced it’s easy to find what I need. The old ones are mainly travel photos anyway and haven’t done much of it, so they can wait until more important things have been finished first.

    [i]5. Is your hard drive 75% full or more?
    Two thirds I think. I’ve had it since 2006 and have tried various archiving methods, none of which was a complete keeper. The older files are in correct folders (according to topic) and I’m trying to implement the new system based on Leap on new files so at least so at least part of it is the way I want/need. I do know what I have in general and since it is a small harddrive these days, less than 300 GB, it’s filling up due to avid photographing. I’m not sweating over this at all.

    6. Do you have multiple accounts for similar things, making it hard to find stuff?[/i]
    Yes. And the lagging syncronising of devices makes it even harder.

    7. Are any of your digital file systems overwhelming?[/i]
    No, not the newest one. Leap is my friend. And the old files, which I know fairly well, are easily found. They could definitely be culled though. What happened was I got a computer and added very slowly, then experienced heureka due to the concept of scanning/digitizing, went overboard with scanning (wasn’t selective enough) and am cleaning up that mess now. New files are very scrutinized.

    8. Do you have email from 5 years ago?[/i]
    Yes. Nothing wrong with that.

    9. Do you have project files from 2 years ago?[/i]
    No. They are either archives or ticklers.
    10. Do you have folders of stuff to read that would take a year to actually read?
    No. There are quite a few to-read articles and ebooks on both the computer and in the shape of bookmarks (in a To Read folder), which I regularly chip away on. Mostly I’m skimming through and that is sufficient. Rarely do I keep a bookmark and rarely do I make a pdf. The pdf’s etc. are tutorials (hence ticklers) and those I’m fine with.
    “If you answered β€œyes” to more than one of these questions, more than likely, you’re a digital packrat.”

    I don’t think it’s that simple.

    “Now, if being a digital packrat is OK with you, I am not disparaging you.”

    You are calling it packrat, which normally is perceived as something negative. I don’t like your tone.

    His article reminds me so much of the concept of weight loss. It’s a lifestyle change, not standing on a scale and counting numbers.

  • #214090

    Mimi
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    ninakk, i understand that you donΒ΄t like the tone and/ or the word “packrat”. a suggestion would be, read it as:
    “If you answered β€œyes” to more than one (or two oder three) of these questions, more than likely, you have a great chance to simplify your digital life”

    peace! πŸ˜‰

  • #214092

    ninakk
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    I had to mull over this a while. Mimi, yes, you’re right, only he does exactly as all the calorie-counting sites etc. where one learns *how* to do something one way, then leaves people alone. There’s no real advice on a long-term basis and what works for one person doesn’t work for others. He has some really good points and the ten questions provide a nice backbone for figuring out things by oneself, and on top of everything else the message is very clear; if there’s too much of it, it has to be junk.

    Ticklers are junk somehow, but in my opinion the whole point is to keep my stuff in one place only – my computer (with a physical backup at in a family member’s home for instance). I don’t like the concept of storage units, basement units filled with unused things because there isn’t room up in the flat (unless it’s seasonal things like christmas decorations or whatever) or a summer house filled with the junk one doesn’t want in one’s regular home (very typical phenomenon here).

    Yes, excess slows me down and yes, multiple unnecessary accounts is bad because it maintains disorganisation, but for some reason he just scratches the surface of it all. Lose ten pounds in a week. Ish. He’s one of the best bets online and so I guess I have to write my own theory πŸ˜€

  • #214093

    Xiro
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    When it comes to digital clutter I think it can be more about organizing then how much one may have. I have a extremely detailed organizing system.

    With my main files of 37GB – 21,127 Files, 646 Folders, and that is being limited. Everything is perfectly named as I cannot stand anything out of order, there are times that new data gets placed in an update folder then a few days later it gets filed and backup. This includes music, favorites, photographs etc..

    Files will have names like Photo – Family – within a main Photograph folder.

    Keeping track of accounts is done by way of encrypted files as there is a lot to keep track of these days.

    I noticed something when it comes to digital information, there can be such a thing as TOO organized. Like folders within folders within folders etc… and if files could be in different locations based on subject matter one has to recall where it would fit best. For archived favorites I found it easier to have all of them in one main folder and label them like this.

    Computer – Web Site Here
    House – Website Here
    Medical – Web Site Here
    Program – Web Site Here

    Allows me to find anything quickly just in case some sites could fit in more then one location or for those folders that would only end up with one site in them.

    Would not worry too much about terms like packrat as everyone has an opinion, in some peoples mind having stuff we like or may use six months from now would make us a packrat.

    As long we things are organized I do not think we have to worry TOO much about how much digital data we have as it takes up about as much space as one small book or deck of cards and that is just the backup as the rest is with the computer itself.

  • #214095

    ninakk
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    More mulling done and inspired by Xiro.

    Some things I do believe in:

    – Know thyself. Save something only if it might have some true value to you, going back to the past (e.g. bureaucracy or some travel related info) or in the future (e.g. during a rainy day or for the vacation next week; my business plan pdf’s will be read then and I won’t have constant internet access).

    – Everyone else’s opinion or rather not necessarily listening to them (thanks Xiro). I keep dvd’s, music and books according to my own choices. I don’t make up rules such as “watch it once in six months or it’s out”, but keep something because I know I will – but not exactly when – use it once more. Perfect example are the dictionaries; much quicker to use than various internet sites and more informative too (so I keep about 0.8 shelf metres of them). I will take home this message to apply it on my digital stuff, as well.

    The problem seems to be more in how to maintain on a regular basis. I drew a line and started a new system, will take care of the older things when I have the appropriate amount of time and energy, but for now I’ll try to maintain “from now on”. Question is how.

    Also, I revisited my answers to the ten questions.
    a. Subfolders are of no use in Leap. I might even drift away from GTD folders once I’m more familiar with Leap and instead use the tags archive, project and tickler or something similar.
    b. There will be archival mess until I’ve caught up with all older files and accounts. Learn to live with it. Maintain new ones properly.
    c. The #6 reply is the deep sigh.

  • #214096

    Xiro
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    I like art and movies and likely have too many at a couple hundred plus, I use space saving methods that take up about the space of a pillow so it is nothing I need to worry about. We do need to do what we are comfortable with, nothing wrong with a bookcase with some books you may only access any given one every couple years nor does each money need to be seen every few months. I mostly do not go by such rules, I look at stuff and think if it is meaningful, useful, or I just like it.

    Tons of stuff is easy to delete or toss while that movie I like that takes up the space of a folded bit of paper that cost a couple bucks and is lucky to be worth a dollar is nothing I should worry about.

    And even after all is said and done it is likely all these items or digital information hardly takes up any space at all. I have some small tools I may not use for four years, yet it is small and there if and when I need it and I personally like that. I do not want to have to go out and buy everything again later when I already have it.

    And a movie collection is kind of based on if anything happened to the internet or cable I would have opinions for entertainment. Nothing really wrong with that I say. (Unless it bothered us or took over our life)

    I was battling with myself a bit on how much digital information I wish to have and like the entire matter as a whole, I need to avoid OVER thinking it, I know that can be just as bad. I did that far too many times in the past.

    I know people that have 4TB of data, 4000GB is a lot, they also have huge files and it is there if and when they want it. Just nice when all is tidy. =)

    Not sure what system you use, I just basic folders within Windows 7. I know there are all types of ways of maintaining folders along with the backups, I do everything myself, so no information comes in, renamed, placed in correct folder and then update the backup.

  • #214099

    ninakk
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    I have an Intel Core Duo iMac, the first with the intel processor and built-in iSight, so she’s an old beauty at this point. She syncs with an iPhone and an iPad as well as a Canon camera. And the internetz of course, the source of most clutter πŸ˜€ For organising purposes of various information I use Bento and for organising files I have Leap for Mac. My photos are kept in iPhoto and music in iTunes, so Leap takes care of nearly everything else except what is handled by Bento.

    The upside of Leap is that a file containing information covering a recipe, a season and an occasion (birthday, Christmas, etc.) is tagged with all those words and this removes yet another step, a very significant one. I don’t have to choose which context is the most important one anymore, as would I have to when only filing it into a folder in Finder. Sometimes I’ve had problems remembering which context was the primary one, but that step is gone.

    The one thing I miss about Gmail is their labels. They are in reality tags and they were very helpful a few, but important times when I couldn’t find an email through the search.

  • #214108

    Mimi
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    ah ninakk, just treat files like the real life clutter. you know how to handle it and you will find a way to “translate” it to your digital things. one document a day, maybe? ;o)

  • #214111

    ninakk
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    They are as real as can be, Mimi πŸ™‚ I just hadn’t realised that the extent of the mess is as tiresome as physical crap in disorganised, unattractive state.

    A question for those who understand fonts/typefaces. Is there some kind of consensus on the taxonomy of fonts? I use FontBook as a font library and love the simplicity of the typical mac kind, but have so many already that it’s hard to know which ones have been installed and above all how to find them. I’ve been making font collections since 2008, but have been unsuccessful at keeping up with it. Dafont has a way of categorising that makes me light-headed, FontSquirrel on the other hand is slightly too minimalist. I like theme fonts πŸ™‚

  • #214132

    chacha1
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    My answers:
    1. yes. of course. for heaven’s sake. I do more than twenty things with my computer.
    2. no.
    3. multi accounts, viciously gutted on a regular basis
    4. rarely, and no.
    5. not quite
    6. not really
    7. not really
    8. sure, a few
    9. some of my projects are 20 years old.
    10. no.

    I have MASSIVE digital storage and a ridiculously complex e-life. That is because I do 90% of my business online. My physical life is consequently quite simple and ever less cluttered.

    I do not feel overwhelmed by my digital records because, after working in a computer-based industry for 20+ years, I have efficient systems. And also, this stuff is never in my way or in my face.

  • #214133

    ninakk
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    This thread has been actively and inactively on my mind all day. The funny thing is I keep finding more areas of digital clutter by the hour and the vastness is mind-boggling, but once I’ve decided to do a bit every day – and have actually set the example for myself already today – it doesn’t seem as insane anymore. A lot but not endless like yesterday.

    – I’ve spent an hour downloading pics of interest, then finally deleting six Pinterest boards.
    – I began to clean up the font mess and have decided to follow the FontSquirrel categories with a few additions of theme collections (Christmas, Western/Circus, etc.)
    – I did some cleaning up and deleting in iPhoto; will still have to delete the original files too but at least I’m on track. Deleted quite a few albums in there as well.
    – I decided to look at my Martha collection, deal with recipes and articles, then delete the whole account. It’s one huge mid-station, completely unnecessary, just like Pinterest.
    – I think I’ll arrange a bureaucracy session twice weekly and will sync properly at least the bookmarks both days. One day I’ll also deal with new files.

  • #214180

    sleepykitten
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    I’ve found this thread to be food for thought, but ultimately, I am still struggling with my own digital stash. I think maybe the first thing is to start a running inventory of the places I have digital clutter. Online accounts, bookmarks, PDFs, work computer (where I have a couple personal things), home computer, etc. And then just start chipping away I suppose.

    I think most of Leo Babauta’s questions are pretty much on target – but I do take exception to the “Do you have more than 20 folders on your computer?” I have had far more than 20 clients and I cannot even imagine the confusion if all of their information was mushed into the same folder – recently, I’ve started to try to label each file with a client code in case it gets misplaced, but still! I guess, though, if I had a good program for tagging (like @ninakk‘s Leap, but for a PC), then I could theoretically reduce the number of folders.

    I said yes to almost all his questions, and while I don’t think that is bad in itself, I DO feel overwhelmed and I DO consider myself a digital packrat and want to change!

  • #214208

    chacha1
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    sleepykitten, as a longtime law worker, my opinion is that distinct folders for distinct areas of work are far less cluttery than a mass “correspondence” (for example) folder.

    Ease and speed of access are key in working with digital records. That’s why most law firms are now using document management systems.

    If Leo B. has fewer than 20 folders on his computer, yippee for him, but I can’t imagine it working for me. I probably have 20 just in my “Archive” section!

  • #214234

    Swede
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    You’re all gonna think I’m a freak now but… I have exactly 26 bookmarks and about 5-10 of those are things to read and they’re all from this month. I have one email account and I have 19 emails (that is the total; inbox and outbox). I have been unsubscribing from email lists and online accounts as much as I can and now I have about 4-5 sites I’m a member of and I am active on those sites. My folder structure is super easy: Photos, Music, Other pics ([i]inspiration pics and art pics and stuff like that) and Documents. That’s all I need as I work in an office and keep work stuff there. Photos are in folders by year. Super easy.

    I used to have A LOT of digital stuff (how about thousands of bookmarks and 10 years worth of emails[/i]) but insomnia while living w my ex made for some great uncluttering time online as I couldn’t really do anything loud when he was sleeping. Haven’t missed a thing I’ve deleted. πŸ™‚ And it’s easier to actually read the bookmarked stuff when there isn’t hundreads of articles. So yeah, it is possible to get through the stuff, just like it is with the physical stuff. Just one bite after another… πŸ™‚

  • #214268

    ninakk
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    Yes, Swede, you’re a freak πŸ˜€ But our freak.

    I need to treat cleaning up digital clutter the same way as my cleaning schedule. I think my main problem is I have ignored the vastness of it, perhaps by choice, who knows, but now that I’m viewing the whole concept differently – it is as significant as physical clutter – the time has come to put a habit in place.

    I’ve been talking about habits quite a lot lately, but this one is climbing to the top of priorites.
    – When new files arrive on the computer, if there is no time or the thought process would get interrupted, they are going immediately into an inbox folder. I’m quite good at this one already. The folders are named after my Goal areas for 2012.

    – Bookmarks will be synced automatically close to every day when I sync the phone and the ipad. It’s cleaning them up that is the trick. A suggestion to myself made above is to sort through them twice weekly, mid-week and weekend which is between physical cleaning days. Sounds very system like, but perhaps it will work.

    – The area of e-books (the ones read on the e-reader) is still a complete mess but it can wait.

    – Photos have to be actively uploaded from three devices. This could happen on the digidays too.

    Digiday would mean also culling and sorting. Will have to think some more about this.

  • #214280

    sleepykitten
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    Wow, @Swede! That is AMAZING. I take it from your post that doesn’t include any work stuff. And I assume you don’t have side project that are computer-based? Or is that a silly assumption? Like, do you have cause to keep research for a blog or code snippets or anything like that?

    I don’t think it would be possible for me to get to where you are – but I would love to move a bit closer to the uncluttered digital life. Sounds like insomnia is what I need. πŸ™‚

    You bring up folder structure, which is also a continual challenge. I think I’ve gotten it figured out for work purposes, but at home it’s still a mess.

    @ninakk – it sounds like you have a folder for each goal? That sounds like a good way to go about it for home files….

  • #214324

    Swede
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    @ninakk – <3

    @sleepykitten – Wow, thanks! And yes, work stuff is kept at my work computer which is a desktop and never comes home with me. I’m an accountant and need to keep most things for audit reasons but my physical desk is pretty much empty. I reorganized our companys shared drive to a more simple file structure and I’m in the process of simplifying our storage needs (already got rid of one off site storage facility saving us €7000 a year!). It’s a lot easier with stuff that holds no personal attachment. πŸ™‚ My colleagues sometimes tease me for wanting to throw everything out… but keeping manuals from 1999 for a computer system we don’t even use anymore? REALLY??? Haha.

    As for my private stuff I don’t do any coding… I wish I had the knowledge but my blog is simply a pre made template blog. I try to keep ideas for the blog saved as a draft in the blog so I can’t lose it. πŸ™‚ I don’t have my own business or anything like that. I keep all private projects and ideas in three folders – 1500 files or so, but they’re not even 1GB combined. I just keep them in alphabetical order so I can easily find what I’m looking for, but I also like just browsing all the pretty pics at random. πŸ™‚

    I’m very much out of sight out of mind so I need things easy at hand or I forget that I even have them… Which isn’t as good as it might sound. Hehe.

  • #214330

    Xiro
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    Swede – I have a couple dozen regular book marks and others archived as they do come in handy just not on a weekly basis.

    As a general note – Online life can become come complicated then offline life, so many things to keep in order and maintained.

  • #214333

    bandicoot
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    swede….i am impressed.
    and even motivated.
    i don’t often bookmark stuff for reading later, though.
    i bookmark reference materials, and sites with tools that i need for my work…..those are permanent bookmarks, things like courier fee calculators and control panels of my online shops and banking and amazon and paypal.

  • #214334

    sleepykitten
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    Thanks, @Swede, for a bit more elaboration.

    You have definitely motivated me! As I said, I won’t make it to where you are, but you’ve proved it is possible to improve without too much pain. πŸ™‚

  • #214414

    sleepykitten
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    I just deleted about 3,000 e-mails from my personal account: I got up the guts to just delete anything I hadn’t read all at once. (No way would I do this with my work account.) Here’s the thing: I have almost 15,000 e-mails left in my personal account. How’s that for packrat?!? I don’t even know how to get through that, and that’s only one stop for digital clutter.

  • #214431

    Swede
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    @sleepykitten – Sorting is your friend. When I started I had over 10 years worth of emails… (I’ve had the same email account since 1997!) I found an email list of something unimportant and deleted all of them in one go. I mean, if you haven’t read them by now it can’t be that important to you – but remember to unsubscribe first! Unsubscribing keeps you from ending up at the same place again. Most emails just require two clicks to unsubscribe so it’s def worth the effort in the long run. Old unread emails is a safe delete as well. πŸ™‚ Set a rule for yourself that if you feel like you want to read it – read it straight away and then decide if it’s a keeper or not.

    I then went on to sort by subject and kept only the newest version of emails between me and my friends. That cleared up a lot as well. It is a very boring task but I cheered myself up by reading some fun emails inbetween. Just don’t get lost in browsing and remember to delete delete delete.

    But don’t stress about it, at least it’s not something heavy to move around in case you have to move. I used to set a rule for myself to delete 10 a day + make sure I read and deleted new emails coming in. Normally that would lead to deleting more than ten just like ATAD. πŸ™‚

    Nowadays if there is no action required I read the email and then delete it. If there is a very special email I tend to do a print screen and save it as a photo in my photo-folder (not many make the cut though, probably one every three months or so) so I can keep my inbox on one page only.

    Once it is clean it’s easy to keep it that way… Sometimes I fall behind but I don’t stress too much about it. I will get to it some other rainy day. πŸ™‚

  • #214436

    Mimi
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    my digital life is quite simple but completely different from leo babautas suggestions.
    i love folders. and subfolders. and subsubfolders. and subsubsubfolders. πŸ™‚

    there are three folders on my harddrive and there is one folder on the server in the office.
    1) sensitive informations (scanned passport etc) – they are stored at work, on the server that makes backups hourly and is very secure.
    2) photos are saved in yearly folders and monthly subfolders. i donΒ΄t care about document names, the date is important. whenever i look for a picture, i now approx. when it was taken. scanned pictures are stored in the year that the pictures were taken.
    3) music is managed by itunes, i donΒ΄t care what itunes does as long as the music is in the itunes-media-folder only. i think if i lost all my music i would just listen to onlineradios.
    4) dropbox
    documents for uni, my jobs and private stuff are stored there. i devided 4 folders for uni/ job 1/ job 2/ private stuff. in these folders there are subfolders like: semester 2011, semester 2011/2012 and within these folders there are subfolders seminar 1, seminar 2 etc. similar for private stuff: i devided by interest: garden/ dogs/ sewing/ ideas/ administrative stuff/ to do/ and misc. misc is my β€œjunk drawer”. i throw documents in there and rename/ save them properly from time to time.

    my basic rule is that i store digital documents like real stuff. i think of the computer file system as a bookshelf with boxes on/ in it. there are several shelves within this bookshelf: on the top shelf there is uni stuff, in the middle, there is job 1 etc. on theses shelves there are boxes. the uni shelf has boxes for each semester. in the boxes are smaller boxes for every seminar etc. in these boxes there are my books and my notes.
    what I like about this system is that i can use it on every platform: pcs, macs, even on the phone. it needs no special software and i can make a backup by copying one folder and thatΒ΄s it.

  • #214443

    Mimi
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    inspired by this thread i uncluttered some files, especially dublicates.
    my new phone somehow uses strange ways to sync with the dropbox and the result is: a lot of dublicates. i found a software that somehow compares the content of a document (not only the name etc). the programm is called copehunter. fun to use, really, very effective!

  • #214464

    chacha1
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    I have a play date tomorrow with some friends. They will be knitting/crocheting, and I will be working through the photo archives on my laptop.

  • #214739

    sleepykitten
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    I have been working on my digital clutter and I am strongly considering uncluttering one of the most cluttery sources of all – my Google Reader RSS feeds. Do any of you use RSS to read blogs, etc.? I LOOOOOOVE Google Reader, but I also realize it is an insanely huge time suck for me and I very rarely go back and look at what I “starred” to read later. I think it might be worth quitting entirely and seeing what that does for my productivity. My fear is that I would “miss something great” – but of course, with so much content being produced on the internet, it almost goes without saying that I *will* miss something great. I could still visit my favorite blogs from time to time if I really wanted to see what they were posting.

    Any thoughts? Should I take the plunge and cut Google Reader out of my life or not?

  • #214744

    pkilmain
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    SK – I scroll through my Google Reader every morning, read or mentally note a new blog post, then click on “mark as read.” Later in the day when there are fewer entries, I do the same, takes only a minute. The keys of course are: 1. my reader is on my home page (iGoogle) and I only subscribe to a few – less than 10 – blogs plus NPR news. I never star stuff to read later – I know I won’t. πŸ™‚ I have Unclutterer and one other message board on my favorits board.

    I’ve been working on cleaning up my inbox. I use labels for things I need to keep, and have been unsubscribing to newsletters, etc.

  • #214757

    Swede
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    I loooove my google reader. But that being said – it took me a few months to declutter to the point where I actually read (want to read) what’s being updated. I have about 30 blogs on there but only 4-5 update every day so it’s not too stressful. I think it saves time compared to bookmarking and visiting 30 diff pages not knowing if they have even updated or not…

  • #214758

    chacha1
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    sleepykitten, I don’t use a feed. I have my current-favorite blogs (about a dozen) in my “Favorites” list and I just check them when I feel like it. Once there I can always read back if I want. πŸ™‚

    If you’ve realized this is eating a lot of your time, I’d say it’s a good idea to cancel it. You can always set it up again sometime in the future if you get to feeling that you are 100% on top of things.

  • #214768

    sleepykitten
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    @Swede – your point about not having to check back for non-updated blogs is a good one, and part of what has kept me attached to Reader.

    BUT, I have given this a lot of thought over the past few hours and I’ve realized that I think I really do need to unclutter the RSS feeds. Over on the Happiness Project blog (if anyone reads that?), Gretchen, who writes it, talks about how some people are “moderators” and some people are “abstainers” – i.e., some people are happy eating one dessert a week and others would rather just cut out dessert entirely to avoid temptation. I think I skew toward the “abstainer” type, and I’m going to go ahead and quit cold turkey.

    @chacha – I am going to note which blogs I currently read/enjoy in case I feel like visiting them and/or in case I set up the feeds again in the future. You are right that I can treat this as an experiment and go back to Reader later if I want to.

  • #214847

    Joless
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    I use Google Reader and love it, saves visiting all those blogs but I do find it gets cluttered so I make sure I remove stuff I’m not reading. There is a statistics thing somewhere in the depths which tells you which blogs you read most and so on. Worth a look maybe? Or limit yourself to x amount?

    Definitely a time suck though. My GF complains I read all the feeds but not her emails…

  • #214918

    ninakk
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    I don’t have any blog I would read daily, but it is done on a feel-like-it basis. Tried Google Reader but the look of it was very boring and I began to feel obligated.

  • #214975

    sleepykitten
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    Yes, @ninakk – I did start to feel obligated with Google Reader, which caused background mental clutter. I got rid of it several days ago and I already feel much more productive. So I think I made the right choice for me to cut the cord.

    (But for those of you that can manage it effectively, more power to you!)

  • #215580

    ninakk
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    sleepykitten, I just had an idea on how to approach the whole situation, was it an ideal one with all the old crap sorted out.

    The same way as I’m striving to create a loose rhythm for cleaning with various frequencies (weekly, monthly and half-yearly level), I think it could be beneficial to look at the digital life the same way.

    What are the weak points (my mid-station mentality creates physical clutter when I don’t follow through to the end) and what clogs up the system? Which tasks are the most important and should get done if not daily then at least every other day? Which ones can wait until a weekly reviewing session when one might also syncronize various gadgets, clean up bookmarks and so on?

  • #215601

    sleepykitten
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    Yes, I think you are absolutely right to start thinking about daily/weekly routines for digital stuff. Ideally, I would get my e-mail inboxes (work + personal) empty every day. If I could get that habit solidified, it would help a lot!

  • #215619

    ninakk
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    Glad you like the idea! Already before did I add “print pdf’s from various bank accounts the first bureaucracy session after previous month is over”. It would be beneficial to take a look at the events in them too at the same time, adjust expenses if necessary etc. Perhaps do some bookkeeping too if that is of interest.

    I just went completely anal re kitchen cleaning before my vacation. Realised I’m so unfocussed because of lack of logical orders to myself. In the lab or while cooking from recipes, one has to do steps in a certain order so why not also during cleaning. I wrote down exactly all steps and shuffled them into an order that makes sense (start with taking trash out and so on), and saw many phases which have made me unhappily slow earlier. Now I have a checklist until the recipe starts to flow, take life of its own, and I’m flying through it. Want the same kind of effortlessness to other areas too!

  • #216330

    sleepykitten
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    Just thought I’d check in to say that it’s been two weeks or so since I cut myself off from Google Reader and I don’t regret it for a second. I check blogs I like every so often. But mostly, I’ve been reading blogs less and getting work done more.

  • #219553

    ninakk
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    How is it going, sleepykitten? Still working on this or have you taken a break?

  • #219565

    sleepykitten
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    I took a break during August, but I am back at it now! I am going to try Ella’s 15 minute strategy for digital clutter during the month of September and hopefully make a dent.

    Have you been following your daily/weekly routines?

  • #227337

    Xiro
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    Even going simple and being extremely organized I sure have a LOT more then twenty folders and sub folders, one hundred and sixty, I likely to go down a little bit yet it would just be switching things around. When it comes to bookmarks for future use, having them like – Computer – Website Here , Art – Website Here, works well because all favorites are in the same place and easy to find. We really just need to find what works for us, a lot of folders yet only 15GB total.

    When it comes to current bookmarks I always find a temp file useful and them take a look a month later to see what can go, most often ninety five perfect was just temp stuff.

    Sure one can overdo folders yet not having enough could be an issue as well, of course that was just one persons way of doing things. I am surprised I only have a few GBs of data, backups and just what is important and or useful.

    Funny how just about anything is larger then what some digital data takes up. Not really about physical space.

  • #227338

    Astreja
    Participant

    Digital clutter strategies

    Did some digital housekeeping this evening — I finally sorted a “to be sorted” folder left over from the last time I changed computers, and deleted the folder itself. Also clobbered a few icons and files from my desktop. Think I’ll tackle a bit more of the mess before turning in for the night.

  • #231480

    xhan
    Participant

    Digital clutter strategies

    I’ve recently written about my digital organisation, http://www.femgeek.co.uk/my-digital-organisation-system/ . I had to cut it down to basics because I could go on forever!

    I love hearing about how other people organise their computers! But if I had one tip its to get into the habit of filing things when you make them and not leaving things on the desktop to organise later. (although you are allowed to have a ‘temp’ folder for files you know you will delete at the end of the week.

  • #231564

    sleepykitten
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    Thanks for posting that, @xhan!

  • #231574

    chacha1
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    @xhan, I NEVER leave documents on the desktop. That is a kind of visual clutter that I am allergic to. πŸ™‚

    Since this thread began I have deleted hundreds of photos, music files, documents, and empty folders from my laptop.

    Amazon recently announced its Cloud auto-load feature for non-Prime members (every CD I’ve bought from them is now available for mp3 download at no extra charge), and I had to concede that I was using iTunes and the iPod for portable music, so I simply don’t need all the Windows Media Player files I copied off my CDs years ago.

    I have to clean up iTunes each time I delete a folder, of course (because many of those tracks were imported into iTunes and once I delete the original file, it can’t find them) but adding things back is so easy and fast there’s simply no excuse not to do it. Especially since that is something I can do while watching TV or a movie, and since cleaning out the movie collection is ALSO on the list, it’s a productive symbiosis. πŸ™‚

    I even deleted a folder I made last year from a 1950s collection that I sent to my Dad. How much 50s music do I need? I had four hours’ worth!

  • #231578

    Xiro
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    And four hours would be thought of as small by most. That did remind me of classical music, which is nice and all however I rarely just think, let me play HOURS of classical music, CDs like that can find their way into ones home and even after years I notice how only a few select tracks have been played.

  • #231606

    chacha1
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    Xiro, I imagine working in my garden in future years, with classical music playing. I generally don’t listen to music at home now because I’m rarely doing something that is purely manual. If music is playing I want to be able to listen to it with one side of my brain while the other side is controlling my hands. πŸ™‚

  • #231635

    Xiro
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    Chacha1 – That would be good music for that, I click it more often, be good when tasking and the no voices can also be good when focus is elsewhere.

  • #231883

    xhan
    Participant

    Digital clutter strategies

    @Prof.Clutter ahh you just reminded me of my bookmarks! I’d forgotten about those. Where am I going to find time to sort out 3100 bookmarks! https://pinboard.in/u:apricot13

  • #231906

    chacha1
    Member

    Digital clutter strategies

    3100 bookmarks!? Wow. πŸ™‚

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