Digital Clutter

A few weeks ago, I started having some strange browser issues. While doing some basic troubleshooting, I discovered that my OS was not up to date, and naturally set out to fix it. Technology is pretty slick nowadays so you barely have to interrupt your Facebook games to install updates, but I’m old school and prefer to exit applications and back everything up first. I don’t trust my computer not to screw it up. Unfortunately, my backups are starting to get out of hand.

The first time I backed up my files, I used a 3.5″ floppy disk. The first CD burner I bought (8x write speed, only $400!) changed my life – just in time for mp3s, T3 lines, and Napster. Thumb drives were next, though they weren’t much use at first with their 256 Mb capacity; when I could finally afford it, I bought an external hard drive. I’ve used various cloud services, dumped files onto this web server, and emailed stuff to myself so I will “always” have a copy of it. I’ve changed filing systems, file-naming conventions, and life priorities so many times in the past 10+ years, some files are backed up across several devices and media, while others exist in precisely one location.

I’m looking at you, Music and Pictures.

You might call me a digital hoarder, and you’d be right. The state of my files is overwhelming, and I don’t know how to begin the cleanup process. Just thinking about how much storage space I’m wasting by keeping redundant files gives me heartburn. I want to be organized, I really do, but as with every other area of my life, it seems I am doomed to a life of chaos. I want to know the very best way to do it before I start, which ensures that I’ll never get around to it. I suppose one of these days I’ll just have to start somewhere.

Any suggestions?