Organizing Digital Clutter
Organizing Digital Clutter
While we don’t have to physically carry it around, it doesn’t attract dust, and it won’t get damaged in a flood, our digital files can create just as much clutter in our minds and space as physical clutter can.
Thankfully, digital clutter is much easier to organize than physical clutter. As usual, you just need to take the time to create a system and stick to the system to keep your digital files organized.
First of all, I’d argue to get rid of your digital clutter. Many people might think that because emails, files, and photos are so easy to store online and on your computer, it’s smarter to just keep them rather than delete them. However, I disagree: we don’t need every single email, document, or photo we’ve been storing all these years. Just like any physical item, we must learn to let go.
When you’ve deleted digital clutter and decided to keep the emails, files, and photos that matter (e.g. truly important or truly sentimental items), it’s time to organize them.
I only have one folder: Brigit (my name).
Within that folder I have the following folders: education, journals, stories, and paperwork.
Education: this is where I store my high school and college essays and exams, my teaching license, and my many (organized) lesson plan folders (I happen to be a certified high school English teacher).
Journals: all of my journals since 2007 are organized by year in this folder.
Stories: my creative folders include novels, narratives, short stories, poetry, and of course, blogs.
Paperwork: my non-creative, non-educational folder, Paperwork is most “important” as it holds all of important folders: my tax returns (organized by year), my financial information, leases, bills, medical and vital records, resumes, and miscellaneous—which is then organized into: recipes, organizational lists, budget, schedules, web organizer, and goal board.
Essentially, I have made folders upon folders upon folders—the more specific you can make folders to keep like documents with like documents, the better.
In terms of photos, I keep all of my photos on two separate hard drives (to ensure I don’t ever lose them). My MacBook Air doesn’t hold much storage (because it’s cheaper to buy a computer with less storage space!), so I put my photos on external hard drives. Naturally, I organize all my photos by year, then by season, then by month or special event (2015>Winter>Christmas>vacation).
By being organized, I can spend less time searching and more time creating. I also don’t worry too much about saving my folders in many places to ensure I don’t lose them (save online, save on external hard drives, and USBs to make sure you never really “lose” your digital stuff).
Having a decluttered and organize digital space not only frees up my desktop and hard drive, but also my mind. I feel lighter knowing I only save what I truly need or truly love.
I encourage you to do the same with your digital files! Let me know if you think of a better organizational system for your digital stuff.