Hello fellow digiscrapping spring cleaners!
Day 1 of The Great Computer Spring Clean-a-Thon has officially come and gone and I am back to share all the juicy details of my progress. (And if today is your first day joining us, you can read all the details about this project right here.)
Last night when I told Adam about my grand plan for whipping my computer back into tip-top shape in just 4 short days, his response went something like this:
“Well, I guess I’ll see you next week!” And then he waved goodbye and laughed. Laughed!
Clearly he was well aware of just how much work I had committed myself to doing this week and to be honest, even I had found myself having slight reservations. Or to be a bit more accurate, random moments of gut-wrenching panic followed by “Holy crap, what have I just publicly committed myself to??”
But rather than frittering my day away by reading the design adventures over at Young House Love (dang that John & Sherry with their two posts-a-day awesomeness!) as I might normally have done, I decided to face my procrastination tendencies head-on and push through my fears and reservations in the name of action.
Today’s letter of the day is A for Action
Well perhaps it should really be B for Backup as that is always the first step I take before I do any major-level file deleting or moving. Better to be safe than sorry in the event that I inadvertently delete a file I really really need! But after a quick Time Machine backup onto my backup EHD, I was ready to go.
I had always intended that for Day 1 of The Great Computer Spring Clean-a-Thon, I would ease myself into things by taking baby steps so as not to get too overwhelmed. So rather than tackling the bloated and in much need of help DigiScrapping or Pictures folders first, I decided to start with three sets of files that I thought would be fairly easy to make progress on: Downloads, Documents and the Desktop.
My original plan was to clear out the Downloads and Desktop files first before moving on to the Documents folder figuring that the files in those two folders would be easier to sort through than the ones that have been sitting forever in my Documents folder.
But after spending about 5 minutes browsing through the 198 files of complete randomness in the Downloads folder, I quickly realized that the reason 99% of those files were still in there was because they had no other place to go. Yes, poor things, they were adrift in a sea of random files, fonts and unzipped scrappy products. So instead I turned my attention to the Documents folder in hopes of giving all those poor orphan files a shiny new home.
I’m Not Sure I Want This Mess Documented
So here’s what the Documents folder looked like when I started:
Basically a ginormous mess of random file and folders with the occasional note thrown in for good measure. As you can see based on the files names, I clearly run a very tight file-naming ship around here. A few of my personal favorites:
- The Untitled file and folder Ooo, very descriptive.
- the folder of Random Notes
- Another set of random notes or noites. Perhaps that’s french for notes?
- Quote which is not to be confused with its good friend Misc Quote
And sadly, this is only one screen’s worth of file names. I’m sure there were many more hidden gems lurking below. Sadly the only folder that actually sees any regular use here is the “Money Stuff” folder which is why it’s colored green. It was the only way I could find it easily in the sea of files, which probably should have been a sign, no?
I’ll admit at this point I was really starting to feel overwhelmed. In fact, I had a text file I was using to keep track of my process and how long things were taking me and this is a direct quote:
started clearing out documents folder – feeling overwhelmed by all the files!!
Yes, double-exclamation points and all. So in an attempt to get things feeling a bit less overwhelm-y, I created a folder called Random Files (ah, the irony!) and moved all the floating single files into that folder. (If you look closely in the image above you can see I had already created it, haha.) After consolidating all the orphaned files, I was left with this:
Doesn’t that look so much nicer and neater already? Still not really organized but it at least looks like it could be!
At this point, I did a quick audit of all the files in the Documents folder and it became clear that the majority of these files fell into three categories:
- References – files containing useful information
- Memorabilia – files that I’d like to keep for memory-keeping related reasons
- Action Files – files for projects or classes I’m currently working on (or have in the past)
So I created folders for those items in the Documents folder and started sorting and deleting. Eventually I was left with just seven folders in my Documents folder:
SO much better.
In case you’re curious about the internal workings of the folders (I know I always am!), here’s a little peek into the Reference folder:
Dealing With Downloads and Desktops
Once I had done the dirty work of getting the Documents folder organized, clearing everything out of the Downloads folder and Desktop was a snap.
Any files that didn’t belong in these categories (like DigiScrap, NettioDesigns or Pictures related) were moved into their proper folders elsewhere. Of course those folders are now a bit of a mess but that’s for another day, right? Haha.
The only real surprise was when I discovered a folder on the Desktop called “Desktop Cleanup” which was in fact, full of several GB worth of files, mostly photos, that I had cleared off the Desktop surface with the intention that they would be filed away on a later date. Oops. On the plus side, Susan, I found those photos from Disneyworld you were looking for! LOL!
Day 1 By the Numbers
All told, it only took me about 2 and half hours to go from a sad, embarrassing, disorganized Documents folder and bursting-at-the-brim Downloads and Desktop folders to an organized Documents Folder and completely empty Downloads and Desktop. Not too bad for Day 1, right?
But the important question here is, did I free up any space so Photoshop can have room to breathe again?
And sadly, the short answer is no.
Although I managed to clear out about 15GB of files out of the Desktop and Downloads folders, the majority of those files were moved into other folders. As you can see the Pictures, DigiScrap, NettioDesigns and Documents folders all grew in size with the worst being the Pictures files increasing by 12GB. Dang you sneaky Desktop Cleanup folder photos!
I did feel like I was a deleting machine as I was working but as we all know, documents in general are pretty tiny to begin with, so all told they only added up to about half a GB of space. Wah wah. But I know it’s a step in the right direction and the real progress will begin once I start tackling those dauntingly large Pictures and DigiScrap folders. So for now I’m content with the progress that I have made.
Now It’s Your Turn
So what about all you? Do you have a system for managing your documents? How do you treat your downloads folder? Do you store files in there for good or is it just a stop over until you get around to filing them? Anyone else make some good progress on Day 1 of The Great Computer Spring Clean-a-thon?
Let me know in the comments!
Editor’s note: This post is the second post in a series of posts documenting my quest to get my beloved Mac back into svelte, sexy shape. You can see all posts about The Great Computer Spring Clean-a-Thon here.