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No Room for a Mouse


It had to happen: a karmic boomerang for a person just too smug in her space clearing, too finessed with the continental Feng Shui.
A few days ago, during an in-house editing job, my laptop wouldn’t boot. The tech guy — stern but understanding, exactly what you need in a person who gets the inner workings — sighed and used some CDs to bring it back to life.
Turns out I had overstuffed the thing: there wasn’t enough memory left for it to function. So my closets were clean, but my hard drive a mess.

It probably wouldn’t have come to a critical point so soon if I hadn’t been working with ginormous Quark files, but it taught me a few things.
This is a cautionary tale, I tell it after spending most of the weekend virtual space clearing: in your New Year’s resolutions, take a couple of hours to organize your electronic brain.
About six months ago, after deciding to downsize and just use a laptop, I tossed a lot of dross. But the trick with keeping a computer neat and tidy is knowing where the junk is.
One problem, shared by many, is the overflowing, disorganized iTunes library. Anyone who provides good tips on organizing this — once there are already 4,155 items most improperly tagged — gets an Amedei chocolate bar for the trouble. After downloading a program to weed out copies, chucking whole albums of stuff I never listen to and consolidating the library, it’s about a third of what it was.
Next up was email. Out with anything dated before 2003, out with folders for dormant clients, out with those newsletter/mailing list archives. (And then made sure to really chuck it by deleting the deleted messages). A lot more manageable, though there are still 5,694 messages.
But the best tip came from kindly tech guy, who advised me to check for saved attachments. This is a little-known computer cubby hole and mine, predictably, was full of junk. I use Entourage, in my computer it’s in documents > Microsoft user data > saved attachments. There were over 500 attachments stored there, needless to say I hadn’t meant to keep any of them. Apparently, the program saves attachments there if you open them from the mail, instead of saving them to desktop.
Once on a roll, all the unused programs also went into the little trash can. Most times, you can keep little oddball applications because they don’t take up that much space, but it was worth chucking things like never-opened Garageband, whose package included something like 50 pdf tutorials.
Now my hard drive is nearly as orderly as my closet. The desk is next.

Share  Posted by Nicole Martinelli at 3:05 PM | Permalink

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