You are all amazing at this decluttering – it is so good to hear your stories, we really appreciate you sharing!
This week we are talking things that don’t take up physical space but can have such power over us and can be a huge source of anxiety – that overflowing email inbox and those lists of electronic files, bookmarks and dare we mention them, photographs!
We already worked through our technology clutter (the physical items like laptops and phone in Week 40 and some of you may have found that one a breeze compared to this week – but we know you can do it!
So how do we decide what stays and what goes?
If you don’t already have one, you need a system. This system should include the following:
- A filing structure: this could follow in part the filing system structure you have established for your physical files (see Week 38);
- A naming convention: a standard way that you want to name your files to make them easily recognisable and found;
- Security: consider who needs to access the files and set up some security protocols to keep your personal information safe;
- Backup arrangements: how and where do you back up your files and how often? Where is the backup kept?
Also refer back to the retention dates that you determined for your physical filing system (Week 38) as this will help with some decisions.
Remember that some items you can source again if you need them so they can go.
- What is the purpose of keeping the file or email?
- Will I ever need to access it again? If so, for what purpose?
- Does the information have an expiry date or is it still relevant?
- Can I find the information/source again if I do ever need it?
If you are reviewing photographs as part of this week’s challenge, look back at Week 30 which is all about photos. The lovely Chantal Imbach from Simply in Order based in Victoria who specialises in photo organising service kindly shared the following tips for organising your precious photos:
- Create a vision – what are you going to do with those you choose to keep?
- Gather all of your photos – dealing with your collection as a whole will make the decision making process easier.
- Sort like with like – I know you are great at that now! You can do it by year, by event, or whatever makes sense to you.
- Declutter – Chantal has outlined some very useful criteria and shares the ABCs of photo organising which was developed by Cathi Nelson, the founder of the Association of Personal Photo Organisers.
- Back up the keepers.
Chantal’s full blog post can be found here.
What do I do with the keepers?
Time to organise them!
Rename files to fit within your naming convention so that they can be retrieved if and when you need them. Don’t overcomplicate it, make it meaningful, and document it somewhere for all users to find it if they need to look for something in your absence.
Back up your files on an external hard drive or on the cloud and do this at least 3 or 4 times a year.
Check out the blog from Week 30 of our challenge for some great tips on
What do I do with the ones that no longer have a purpose for me?
Control – Alt – Delete!
How good does that feel!
Any new files should be named using your naming conventions and done as you go so it doesn’t become a big job for you again.
How did you go? Feel free to share your successes, challenges and tips on our Facebook page.