A couple weeks ago I started a project driven by the need to find an article I’d written a while back. What should have been an easy task became a chore. I decided right then and there I needed to reorganize and restructure my media files. I had no idea the headache I was about to incur.
I began by gathering all of the discs which held my documents and photos; I will tackle my music media at a later date. I placed them on my desk, oh what a sight to see; especially after my nice neat stack of discs took a nose dive spreading them across my desk. I need to admit it was pretty mind-boggling. I wasn’t quite sure where to begin, but one-by-one I stuck the discs in my computers disc drive to discover the treasures held on each one. Sometimes it felt like I discovered a long lost friend; at other times I simply felt overwhelmed. What made this simple task so challenging? For starters many discs held duplicate files. Notice I did not say duplicate discs, I said duplicate files; meaning whenever I came across a duplicate file I needed to determine which file was newer, keep the newest and delete the oldest. The process became tedious, but well worth the effort. Because I want to get my documents and photo files into a manageable system, somewhat quickly, I decided to do a 3 step process.
Step 2 – Designed for expediency – I perused each disc setting up categories, sub-categories, and deleting files as I went along. To streamline the process and sort quickly I put some documents in a maybe category to determine their fate at a later date. The computer filing system resembles the old metal file drawer system. I have file drawers (called folders) for major categories and contained within these major folders are sub-categories (more folders) and finally my document name or photo title. It looks like this:
- Major Category = Writing
- Sub-Category – Blogs; Books; etc.
- Under the Sub-Category blogs I go one layer deeper and have folders titled: Purple Princess; Through the Bible, etc.
- Under Purple Princess I go one more layer deeper and have a folder called Organization Thursdays
- Finally the Document name – such as Disc Organizing Nightmare
I am able to have as many sub-categories as I need. It’s important to sub-categorize my files to make finding a document easy. Yet, I don’t want so many subcategories that when I look for a particular document or photo it becomes the proverbial needle in a haystack hunt.
Step 3 – Fine Tuning – In step 3 I go through the maybe’s, with diligence and discipline in purpose, to decide which documents/photos really need to be kept. In organizing my photos Step 3 will involve looking at each photo and keeping only those which are good ones. It will involve weeding out photos of fuzzy faces, lazy landscapes and nondescript pictures. Photo sorting is hard, as often it feels like I am not just deleting a photo, but a memory. Step 3 can take days, weeks or months to complete. Step 3 allows me to purge, save and organize during down-times; such as while watching TV. I can pull up a file or two and determine its fate. Once the process is complete, I will have a self-cleaning, easy to use and efficient filing system; one which will serve me well for the rest of my lifetime.
Computers are famous for failing and losing data. Therefore it’s important to keep a backup system which is external. I now have 2 little soft-sided silver cases which hold 48 discs a piece and 1 purple case which holds 96.
Ironic – the organization and clutter clearing I am doing is all external, yet my brain feels less cluttered and somehow more free; go figure.
Until next time,
Happy Organizing – Sandra