Need for Speed: Organizing Tips for Revving Up Your Computer

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So while tapping away at my Mac, working on my latest prose and pearls of wisdom to share, my screen suddenly froze and the dreaded spinning color wheel appeared, spinning, spinning and spinning some more. As my frustration grew, my tech wizard husband quietly said, “See, I told you to clean up your desktop.”

After some research and a little inspiration from the Digital Deep-Clean challenge on the Ziploc® Fresh 180 website, I felt ready for my desktop makeover.

I also got to thinking of my career as a designer, organizer and color expert to help me grasp this technology detox. I realized that all aspects of my computer have to work together and yet complement each other for me to have a pleasant and congenial experience.

Days 1 to 3: Toss, Keep, Delete
It was going to feel good – like purging my closet – to delete duplicate photos, remove desktop items already stored in files and move “like” items into folders. I pictured myself in a giant pile of photos, documents, videos and PowerPoints, and realized that this process was SO MUCH EASIER than physically tossing and sorting.

First, I created files for all those little desktop items and digitally tucked away all the documents into their respective folders. When you do this yourself, take your time and enjoy the process. It’s great to look through old photos, being reminded of all the exciting projects over the years and feeling accomplished as you reign in your own chaos.

After I created all the new folders I needed, I then sorted my desktop by arranging the folders. I like to sort by “kind,” but you should choose what system works best for you.

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Staying true to the challenge, I purchased an external hard drive. Having had to face the computer repair guy in the past with a dead-locked blue screen, you’d think I would have learned my lesson when he asked, “Did you back-up your computer?” and I had to hang my head and answer, “No.” But I still wasn’t backing up my work. That was about to end though. I grabbed an external hard drive at the office supply store, clicked a button and voila — victory dance — all backed-up!

Days 4 to 6: Digging Deeper

Now that the desktop was pretty, it was time to sort through the daily applications that keep my business and life running smoothly.

Number one on the list: email. I use an internet-based system that allows me to access my email anywhere, so I do. And I have “archived” just about every email I ever received, or so it seems. I’m not sure how many emails are in a gigabyte, but according to my inbox, I had used up 12.76 of them. Since I only have a total storage capacity of 15 gigabytes, I was panicked! How did I collect so much gigatrash?
When I caught my breath, I went into “settings” and created more folders and labels – this was FUN! As I sorted through my emails, I created appropriate labels and tucked them away. And of course, I deleted, deleted and deleted some more. Come on, I knew I was never going to make those recipes I’d been stashing for the last five years. It was time to let them go!

Day 7: The Top of the Desk
Because I’m a designer, I always have actual fabric samples, finish samples and tile samples floating around my home office. To stay organized, I separated the samples per project and put them into labeled Ziploc® brand storage bags to keep the dust off my keyboard and my surface clean.

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I also bagged all the rest of my extraneous work stuff into more labeled Ziploc® brand storage bagsfor easy access – and I actually saw the top of the desk once again. I removed the coffee cups, crackers and gum wrappers. Then I swiped a disinfecting wipe to freshen my surfaces.

Now, if I could only figure out how to sweep the teenagers from my computer and office, my makeover would be complete!

Disclaimer: I was paid to develop this post and to provide related images for Ziploc®. As always, all opinions are my own.


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