Are You a Digital Hoarder?


Digital HoarderHow many apps do you have in your device? Take a moment, count, and comment the number below. It is really hard to resist the shiny new app that promises to solve all your organizational problems. Or refuse the lure of hot topical conversations and funny animal videos. What about all those design apps that let you spruce up your latest photo… how many of THOSE do you have!

Recently, I wrote about cleaning up your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system and why it was so important, but beyond that, maybe you’ll want to bring a few 30 gallon garbage bags and a big broom for all the digitized files for which you hang on to so desperately.

When the laptop I had used for years started slowing down like a Sunday driver, I knew it was time to start downloading my files before the poor computer seized up beyond repair. To my horror, the external hard drive I had been using as my backup presented an error message that said, “DISK FULL.” In common denial, I told myself that it was not possible. I don’t have that many files on my computer. I save everything to the cloud. Then the realization set in that I do have that much on my computer. And so began the tough choice of what to delete.

I use my devices for work, so I could get rid of a few games, but which ones? The “Dead Yourself” app might have to go. After all, how many times do you really need to make yourself into a Walking Dead zombie? Do I really need Garage Band on my phone? When I edit my audio files, I’ll do it on my computer. Delete. Delete. My social media apps have to stay because I manage those accounts for work. Okay, maybe I could eliminate some of the older ones that are a bit outdated. Security apps stay for sure, as I have to monitor my devices AND my kids. And so we play the game of “stay or away” and try to gain a bit of the tiny house mentality for mobile devices.

Now on to the computers. Where I could get rid of some gigabytes is in the temp files, photos and videos. Even on the cloud, they still eat into your storage. Downloaded mail messages – have you seen how much is in that closet? I am primarily a Mac user and have discovered this great app called “App Cleaner” (yes, another app). It does a really great job of finding all those associated files to a program, then ridding you of all the unwanted files when you delete the application. Poof-Delete.

My point to all this is we store so much information that we use once and never again. Sales and Marketing teams do this. Open your colleague’s desk drawer and see how many flash drives and business cards they still have lying around. It’s like Aunt Mildred’s basement in the house she’s lived in her whole life. You go downstairs to find one thing and get lost in the distraction of all that old stuff.

Take some time to go through your devices and make the tough delete choices. Clean out your desk drawers and get rid of those business cards (that’s why you have a CRM, remember?). Put the information you WILL use in a few applications that do the job, can provide you with feedback and reporting, and don’t make you copy and paste the information from one application to another (“integration” is the new buzz word). Back up all the files you don’t use on a regular basis onto an external hard drive or storage server. Do make a copy though, as I have had hard drives fail and it is not fun.

Like any good yard sale, once it’s out the door, it doesn’t come back into the house. So now, take a deep breath, exhale, and push delete.