Sunday, February 13, 2005

Virtual housekeeping and deck-clearing

Spent a reee-diculous amount of time recently cleaning up the hard drive and my Yahoo mail account.

I engaged in structured procrastination and did the kind of end-of-year cleanup I should have done in January.

  • I read on LangaList a comment that, if you had to reinstall Windows XP, then your My Documents folder would get overwritten by the new install and you'd lose all your stored documents. 'Nuff said. I created a folder (c:\!mydocs-2005 [1]) and put in my basic essential folders [2]. I backed up the old My Documents files and folders to zip files, burned them to a CD, and deleted the originals. So now, I'm basically starting fresh without carrying over any old files over that I'm not using.
  • In Yahoo Mail, I downloaded all pre-2005 emails, zipped them, and burned them to the CD also. I deleted all pre-2005 mails from my Yahoo mail folders. (Yes, I know Yahoo provides tons of mail storage, but I like having all those files more quickly searchable from my hard drive. In the past, when looking for a needed registration number or data nugget, I'd have to search both my PC and my Yahoo mails; cleaning out my Yahoo bins decreases the number of places I need to look.)

[1] I use the freeware Windows Places editor to put my new directory in the File Open and Save dialogs. Very handy. His Office Places editor does the same thing for Office apps.

[2] My essential organizing folders work on the principle of "fewer, but fatter, folders." I do this for hard copy as well, having as few folders as I can get away with. Again, this cuts down the number of places to look for something essential. I got the idea of the folders from Adam Boettiger's now-deceased (reborn as Digital Ocean). My essential folders are: !0123456789, !ABCDEF, !GHIJKL, !MNOPQR, !STUVWX, and !YZ. I then create subfolders under these as needed. I use the same folder names to organize my emails, downloads, etc. I find it quick and helpful not to have to create new folders for everything: just dump them in one place and search or scan. At the end of the year, archive everything and create a new set of essential folders. For me, handy and quick.