Digital clutter’s so easy to hide

With the availability of cloud storage, bigger and bigger phone memories, and plus amazing computer capabilities; it’s easy to just keep collecting digital stuff. We’ve got photos, emails, documents, banking, baseball schedules, school meetings, the list goes on. And when we shut off our phones and close our laptops it’s easy to forget how much stuff there is in the mysterious ether of tech storage. The challenge comes when we are looking for something. When we recreate a document again and again because it wasn’t where you could find it.

There’s great tools out there for finding what you’re looking for- Spotlight on Mac and Copernic on PC. These and other utilities like them really help you dig through your files. Yet, if files aren’t named correctly or documents from Drive or Dropbox aren’t synced to your computer; the process of finding what you are looking for can be time consuming to find what you need in that moment.

So what can we do about all this data?
Not saving everything is a good first step, but here are a few other tips and tricks to free up space and make things easier to find.

* Look through your downloads- move what you need to save into logical folders and erase the rest
* Install Dropbox sync on your computer, so you can access the files in Dropbox from your desktop and save them automatically back to Dropbox
* Install Drive File Stream so you can see what’s on drive when searching- they will still open in the browser window to be edited in Drive
* Use your search tool- Spotlight for Mac or Copernic for PC
* Name documents so that you can easily identify them- not “Document6″, or “quick notes”- be specific
* Keep your folder system as simple as possible. Having a hierarchy too deep means you’re digging for docs too often
* Use a photo application that can sort images by date, people etc- Google Photo, iPhoto, adobe Lightroom (if you’re really into it)

If you want more than these tips to get you going, my quarterly “Your Organized Life” webinar is about Digital Organizing- and it’s FREE. Join me for Tame your Tech Chaos at the end of the month. I’ll be discussing digital filing, how to tame your email and great tools for getting your to-dos done.