These days it seems like every time we turn around there’s some commercial or advertisement pushing us to buy or sign up for some form of online back up or organizing service. While those services are awesome if you really want to pay for them, you have to ask yourself one question. Do you really need it? Organizing your digital files on a budget isn’t hard to do at all, but it can be very time consuming. You can do it all by yourself though so there isn’t a need to pay someone else for it. In today’s digital world, there’s nothing more important than staying organized.
Digital Organizing on a Budget
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Tip 1. Start with the folders. To begin, you’ll want to organize the folders on your computer like your documents, photos, music and video files. Name each one something other than xasfdasdhaksjhf.jpg. If possible, use a name for the image and give it some sort of year code (something like “little johnnys fish 2012”) It may seem like a pain now, but it will help you later on. Once you’ve got all of those thousands of files renamed, move onto the next step.
Tip 2. Organize by year. Once your files are renamed, create folders for each year (you can do monthly too if you’d like, but you won’t necessarily need to). Move each document and photo into the appropriate folder so that they’re easy to find by date.
Tip 3. Get some flash drives. Now, you are going to back those files up to a flash drive. Use one for documents, another for music and another for videos and photos. Be SURE to label each drive so that you know what is on them. If you have a lot of each one, you may need to use more than one flash drive or you can consider purchasing an external hard drive and just use it for everything. They are more expensive, but they can handle a lot more data.
Tip 4. Take advantage of free online storage sites. After you’ve got your files backed up, log onto Photobucket.com or Flickr.com for pictures and video and Google Drive or Dropbox for documents. Upload what you can to each one. They all have account limits for free accounts, but you should be able to get quite a bit into each one without needing to upgrade. Dropbox also gives you the option to refer people to score extra data storage, but you don’t have to do this. This will create an online back up for your data.
Once your data is backed up physically and online, it’s your decision as to whether you keep copies on your computer or not. Some people like to and some don’t. Your items are right at your fingertips either way.
Other areas you’ll want to take a look at organizing are your bookmarks (again, clean out and organize by folder), passwords (these should be changed every 3 months for security) and social media accounts (go through friend lists and people you’re following to be sure you’re still interested). You may also want to go through the programs on your computer to see if you still use each one. If not, don’t be afraid to remove it. Run your virus and malware scanners at this time too just as an extra precaution.
How do you organize your digital files?