Minimalist Monday Mission: Declutter 365 – The Computer

Minimalist Monday Mission

This week for Minimalist Monday Mission: Declutter 365 I was working on my computer files!  YIKES!

This week I finally tacked my computer.  When I was having problems finding files and my “downloads” folder was something I had to scroll through to find things I needed, I knew I had reached the breaking point.

As much as I was trying to procrastinate, I had to deal with my computer files.

You know, your computer is a digital filing cabinet, and needs to be treated that way.  Your computer should have files stored within folders (and subfolders when applicable), and it should be kept neat and clear.

Also, when you download something, it’s important to save it directly to the place where it needs to be.  This means taking the time to search through and find the correct folder to save your file to.

And, when things are just too jumbled, you do what I did … save everything to the “downloads” folder :)

So, I did start with a game plan.  Here’s the computer before:

(C drive: 26.3 GB free, D drive: 4.26 GB free, external hard drive: 330 GB free)

First, I recommend approaching your computer file cleaning in a methodical way.  I chose to go folder to folder and look at every document.  One at a time.

I deleted every file I knew I didn’t need any more (often I had to open the document or file first to figure that out).  I deleted audios I knew I would never listen to (and therefore, relieved the unseen stress of always thinking I “had” to listen to XYZ…), and I also deleted eBooks I have already read and would not need again for reference (and transfered all the eBooks I still had not read to my Kindle).  In the process, I also renamed files I was keeping (if necessary) to make it more clear on what the document was.  And lastly, I moved files I needed to archive to an external hard drive (I use My Passport from Western Digital).

Once I was done sifting through the files in one folder, I moved on to the next folder.  In the photos, I did go through and look at all the pictures, and only kept the good ones.  I archived all but 2011 pictures on the external hard drive.

Next, I transfered every document I could to a Google document.  I’ll be posting later this week about transferring my life “into the cloud” as much as possible to simplify.  So, now I can access my documents from any computer through my Google account.

Those files I could not convert to Google documents, I uploaded to my Dropbox account.  This way, these are also available from multiple computers (although those computers have to be linked to my Dropbox account, but it’s a step closer to “cloud living” and also a good backup source…did I mention it’s free?  Go get a Dropbox account now if you don’t already have one!).

After all my files were done, I went through my control panel and uninstalled programs I no longer needed on my computer, and also manually removed the files from the “program files” area on my hard drive.

I also ran the disk cleanup program, which is part of the maintenance area of my control panel.  Then, I also ran my antivirus software for a full scan (I use the free Avira), and ran the anti-spyware software for a full scan (I use the free Super Anti-Spyware).  Good thing I ran those too, as I discovered 5 corrupted files and 741 spyware tracking cookies!  Yikes!  It’s those tracking cookies that slow your computer down significantly.

Lastly, I ran a defragmentation for my entire computer, which is still running as of this post (5 hours and counting).  And I backed everything up on another source – my Rebit drive.  You can never have too many backups :)  and I store my external hard drive and the Rebit drive in my fireproof safe (it does no good if it’s sitting right next to your computer in the case of an emergency!).

To clean up my desktop, I moved all programs that I needed shortcuts for to the lower left shortcut taskbar (thanks to Leo for that idea).  Now I am left with a clean screen:

Ahhh…doesn’t that look nice and peaceful??  The picture, by the way, was one I took from the airplane on the way back from Florida.

And here is the improvement on my disk space as well:

(C drive: 65.1 GB free, D drive: 4.26 GB free, external hard drive: 308 GB free)

For you math whizzes out there, that means that I got rid of 38.8 GB of data from my hard drive, but added 22 GB of data to my external hard drive (mainly in the form of videos!), which means I actually deleted 16.8 GB of data!!! Whoo hooo!!

There are three areas that I did not go through (except to skim and delete what I knew I didn’t need).  That would be my web page files, my video files and my iTunes.  There is a reason for this, however.  I am in the process of switching over several of my websites to a different membership program software, which will make the files I have obsolete, and transfer things “to the cloud”, but in the meantime, I need the files to make the changes.  So, I’m keeping them all for now, and will delete once the transfers are finished in about a month (I hope) or so.  The videos I am keeping because I am working on creating a DVD for the family videos for each year, so obviously I need the raw video footage until the DVD is made.  Once that is completed, I’ll store the video files in my archives on my external hard drive.  And lastly…iTunes…mainly this one is procrastination, but it’s also because in about 3 months I’ll be getting the iPhone (and therefore moving into the 21st century with the rest of you :) ) and so I am waiting, because I will go through all the iTunes folders and delete, rearrange, etc. at the same time I upload to my new iPhone.  I did, however, move all the iTunes files to my external hard drive for now.

What now?

First, I’ll try to be sure to download and save items to the correct locations.

Second, when I need a document, I’ll create it first in Google documents when at all possible.

Third, everything I cannot create in Google documents will be saved to my Dropbox account.

Fourth, commit to finishing the web page edits, the DVD project, and the transfer of iTunes info and then update those areas accordingly.

Fifth, continue to clean out the computer once a year!!

Coming up soon (probably not next, but soon…) is digitizing my life…another step toward paperless and “cloud living”.

Total of items eliminated this week?

  • Threw out/Recycled: 12 items (we picked up the playroom)
  • Donated/Given: 0 items
  • Sold: 18 items from my Becoming Minimalist Sale, Craig’s List, Amazon, or eBay (listed a few things on eBay that sold this week)

Overall Totals:

TOTAL ITEMS: 954 items

Here’s where we are headed for the Minimalist Monday Mission: Declutter 365 in the next few weeks:

  1. Clothes (closet and dresser) – DONE!
  2. Master Bath Vanity/Cabinet – DONE!
  3. Nightstand and Top of Dresser in Master Bedroom – DONE!
  4. Kitchen Counters (main and island) – DONE!
  5. Kitchen Cabinets (upper) – DONE!
  6. Kitchen Cabinets (lower) – DONE!
  7. Kitchen Counters (by fridge) – DONE!
  8. Pantry – DONE!
  9. Fridge/Freezer – DONE!
  10. Kitchen Built In Cabinet – DONE!
  11. Digitizing Files
  12. Computer Files – DONE!
  13. Office Desk Drawers – DONE!
  14. Office Desk Top
  15. Office Baskets (in, out, to do, vertical file) – DONE!
  16. Office Filing Cabinet – Part 1 – DONE!
  17. Office Filing Cabinet – Part 2 – DONE!
  18. Office Hutch – DONE!
  19. Office Bookshelves
  20. Office Craft Table – DONE!
  21. Office Built In Storage Area
  22. Laundry Room Shelves
  23. Laundry Room Corner Cabinet
  24. Laundry Room Table Area
  25. Guest Bedroom Closet (toy closet)
  26. Child’s Bedroom Closet
  27. Child’s Bedroom Closet
  28. Child’s Desk
  29. Children’s Clothes (upstairs)
  30. Guest Bedroom Dresser
  31. Guest Bathroom Vanity
  32. Linen Closet (lower shelves)
  33. Linen Closet (upper shelves)
  34. Play Room
  35. Living Room DVD Cabinet/Mantle/Entertainment Center
  36. Large Storage Closet
  37. Small Storage Closet Shelves
  38. Small Storage Closet Banker’s Boxes
  39. Downstairs Bathroom Closet
  40. Downstairs Play Room
  41. Screened In Porch Area
  42. Downstairs TV Area
  43. Downstairs Bathroom
  44. Mud Room
  45. Garage Left Side Shelves
  46. Garage Middle Shelves
  47. Garage Right Side Shelves
  48. Garage Tool Storage Cabinet
  49. Garage Floor Space
  50. Walls/Pictures
  51. Scrapbooking Supplies/Area

What did you do this week to declutter??

To your success,

Dr. Laura

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