get organized: digital clutter

(This is day 7 of the Get Organized Series)

This category might take you longer to go through than others, but if you are anything like me, it will be one of the most rewarding ones.

Back in the day

Let me take you back to 2014. On my summer break in college I traveled to South Africa for a two month internship and after that I spent five weeks backpacking in Europe. Needless to say it was an unforgettable experience and I have many fond memories of that time, I also had 5,000+ photos to prove it.

Back then I would carry my camera with me everywhere I went, and I took pictures of everything. I mean, e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. Street signs, food menus, knick knacks, flowers, trees, grass… you get the idea. So at the end of my three month adventure I went home with a ridiculous amount of photos.

You would think I looked through them and sorted it as soons as I got back, but no, I finally started that process at the end of 2018, and after a few months and hours spent going through photos I finally had a filing system for them on my computer.

Filling system

It took me forever to finish labeling them, but now I can find any photo I want in a matter of seconds. The easiest way I found to do this was to label each photo YEAR_City_SpecificLocation. So if I wanted to find a photo I took in 2014 at the Voodoo Music Festival in New Orleans I would find it under 2014_NewOrleans_Voodoo 

Once I was finally done sorting through the thousands of photos on my computer, I made sure to empty my phone’s photos on a regular basis and name them as soon as I did it. That way I wouldn’t end up with thousands of unnamed files.

Be present

This also helped me realize one of the most important lessons that organization has taught me so far: I don’t need to take photos of every single thing I experience, because as long as I am present in that moment and stop to take it all in, I will have great memories no matter what.

So fast forward to summer 2019 and I am back in Europe, this time with my husband. I was so excited to show him all these places that brought me so much joy that I barely remembered to take photos. I came back with less than 50 photos on my phone and hundreds of great memories. Lesson learned!

Just do it

All that being said, take it from me and gather up the courage to tackle your digital clutter. You will feel so good when you’re done that you’ll wonder why you haven’t done it sooner. While you’re at it, make sure to also sort any documents, applications, games, movies and music you might have. Note: always keep your documents in a hard drive or cloud program as backup!

See you tomorrow to talk about social media. Does it really spark joy?