Operation: Organization

In this episode of my iHome transition, I begin my preparation for the Mission.  This starts with a complete organization of my house and existing technology.  It is very important to me in this endeavor, that the technology be MY servant, not me or my family being a slave to it.  So to best utilize it, I need to start with a clean slate.  Over the holiday break, I began my physical house cleaning.  Managed to accomplish cleaning, decluttering & organizing the entire main floor.  Anything I hadn’t used or thought about in the last year was history (with the obvious exceptions of family heirlooms etc).  I got out my horn and played it, just to make sure I’d touched it, and I wore my Stetson around the house for about 15 minutes.  Ultimately, my husband and I took a big vanload of things to a donation center and 4 carloads full of trash to the dumpster.  My main floor is now lean and mean and I plan to keep it that way.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have an empty house with walls, floors and furniture.  I love my *stuff* (nod to George Carlin), I just ditched the *crap*.

I also re-organized my computer, and it’s something I highly suggest to anyone reading this.  Here are my tips:

1. If you don’t have a complete and current back-up, do that first.

2. Start with your downloads folder – did you know that everytime you download something…ANYTHING, it’s saved in your downloads folder?  I’d be willing to bet that the average user carries around at least 250 items in there (probably over a gig of digital crap) that they NEVER need.  THink about it – every time you view a PDF of something, it downloads to your computer and then opens automatically.  You look at it, print it, whatever, and close it.  You think it’s gone?  Nope.  There it is, in your downloads folder.  So start there.  I like to use the list view and then sort by date modified so I can see just how long that *crap* has been there.

If it’s worth keeping, move it out of your downloads folder to the more appropriate place for it to reside.  Apple starts you out with some common folders to begin with: Documents, Movies, Music, & Pictures.  Don’t be afraid to create new folders, but do pay attention to WHERE you create them.  Some folders in your computer shouldn’t be messed with unless you know what you’re doing.  (Oh, and BTW, the folder called “Library” is not for books…)

3. Next move to your Documents folder – this is a prime location for clutter.  Go through there and group like items together, delete stuff you don’t really need, or archive it

4. If you do anything with iMovie at all, your Movies folder is a huge hard drive drain.  Those movie files take up a lot of space.  Once the movie is made and exported, you really don’t need the raw footage anymore.  I mean, are you REALLY going to go back and make a longer directors cut or release a disk of special features including “deleted scenes”?  Didn’t think so.  Keep the final product in iTunes or iPhoto or QuickTime and delete the project and project files (besides, you’ve always got that backup if you do change your mind, right????)

5. Music and Pictures folders should be pretty clean except for holding your iTunes Library and media and your iPhoto Library (which you can’t see the raw files for unless you know the trick) respectively.

6. Go through iTunes – for some people this is a HUGE undertaking.  Start by using the iTunes Display Duplicates menu command:

Then you might consider going through each genre and scanning the artists within it to make sure they are organized correctly and the way you want them to me.  Trust me, it’s worth it.  You certainly don’t want to have your Mom come over and be piping your classical music genre through airtunes when all of a sudden a Sarah Silverman song about Matt Damon comes on because you THOUGHT you selected comedy when you imported it to iTunes, but your finger slipped and you didn’t notice and..what? oh, um, never mind….

7. iPhoto – With 3 kids, this one was huge for me.  Took the better part of an afternoon, but it was fun work as I revisted all the old pics of my kids when they were cute, little and well-behaved (ok, I put that last one in there for me, it’s fiction, I know)

8. Last but not least – your desktop & dock – maybe it’s just a/r little me, but I don’t think your desktop should be where all of your files live, just the “in-progress” stuff you are accessing regularly.  So from time to time, I move stuff that is no longer needed to its appropriate folder.  I do the same with my dock.  I go through application phases, so the stuff I keep on my dock changes pretty regularly.  On the left is what my desktop looks like right now, and by comparison, my husband’s is on the right.  Far from messy, but still kinda cluttered (especially the dock.  No way he uses all that stuff, but I digress):

(and yes, those are my crazy kids in the center)

Final thoughts for this episode – if you want to be more digitally organized but don’t know where to start, stop by and see us.  We can do a one to one session on organization and help you learn how to best organize your computer to suit your needs, so that you can make your computer your servant, and not be a slave to it.  If you mention you read this blog article, we’ll give you 25% off the session!

2 thoughts on “Operation: Organization

  1. Phew! I’m a little exhausted just reading this. But at the same time, strangely energized to tackle (at least parts of) this effort, myself. Thank you for providing a road map on the most efficient methods. 🙂

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