Assignment #18: Digital Dump

In previous years, this assignment was dedicated to digitizing files, which I had been dreading and looking forward to in equal measure. When Justin and I first got married, I was obsessed with keeping hard copies of everything—bills, receipts for paid bills, rental agreements, amendments to same, every version of every insurance policy document—because I was mortally afraid that I’d pay a bill online, the transaction wouldn’t be completed, and then collections would come to knock down my door and repossess my furniture. Money was tight, and I was afraid that one wrong move would ruin our credit forever.

The result looks something like this:


As it turns out, we managed just fine. A few minor slip-ups were easily corrected, and nothing money-related we did online ever failed catastrophically. And yet, the paper remains. Sorting through everything, digitizing, labeling, and filing the important stuff—and then shredding everything when I’m done—is going to be a monumental task.

Luckily, the assignment says to spend only 30 minutes focused on improving one area. Since digitizing will definitely take more than one evening, I decided that I had a more pressing issue to address: the fact that I haven’t back up anything in an appalling long time.

I started by ripping two CDs that I received for Christmas to my computer. Then I pulled out our external hard drive, wiped all of the outdated information saved on it, and promptly copied over my documents, pictures, and music. It certainly doesn’t capture everything, but it does provide a stop-gap for my most important data.

When I have a solid weekend that I can dedicate to it, I plan to do the following:

  1. Research options to backup my computer and Justin’s to the same device, automatically.
  2. Research cloud storage options for additional protection.
  3. Digitize all physical files, preserving the ones that are smart to have in hard copy and shredding the rest.
  4. Review documents and photos; purge anything that is no longer needed/wanted and improve the organization of everything that remains.
  5. Check smartphones for photos or information that should be backed up on a less lose-able/less drop-able device.
  6. Fine tune our home network to better share information across devices.
  7. Clean everything inside and out: wipe down keyboards and mice, blow out cases, replace old fans, run disk defragmenter, etc.

I’m sure I’ve missed something, but it seems like a solid start anyway. What things do you do to protect your data and stay organized at the same time?

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