How To Clean Your Computer Files, Programs and Images

How To Clean Your Computer Files, Programs and Images


How to Clean Your Computer

Do you have any idea what is on your computer? We’re talking programs, temp files, support files, toolbars,  updates, coupon printer software, registrations, enhancements and even downloads you used once a long time ago. Yeah, us either. Let’s be honest, most of us don’t know even know what half of those are.

You’re not alone.

There are so many files on your computer (likely in the folders you pass over all the time) that are sitting on your hard drive, taking up room and even running in the background. This slows everything down and takes up room.

We’re purging all month and the computer isn’t exempt. If it’s not helping us, it’s hindering us so GET RID OF IT!

YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A COMPUTER GENIUS

There are so many ways you can get rid of the unnecessary files that take up memory and they are easy. All you have to know is if you have a Mac or a PC. If that question even has you wrinkling your forehead, an apple = Mac. Everything else is a PC. There, that was easy.

We’ll provide multiple SIMPLE ways to clean your hard drive. All resources will be summarized at the end with a list of links (in case you missed them the first time through).

DELETING FILES MANUALLY

A very simple way, and something that should be done on a regular basis, is disk cleanup. It’s already on your computer and it is a simple process. But no matter how simple someone says a task is, there are always questions. We’re famous for having a question that is NEVER found on a list of FAQs. WikiHow walks you through the disk cleanup step-by-step for a PC with images included. Bless their hearts for what they’ve done. Then, there’s the hard drive cleaning and physical cleaning of your PC. Don’t be intimidated by the wording if you’re not the computer savvy type. Just follow the steps and you’ll be just fine. “Shhhh shhhh shhh shhh, there-there, it’s okaaaay”. Hey, it calms my 5-year old son; I figured it would calm you, too.

FILES TO REMOVE AND FILES TO KEEP

Unless you are some computer genius or you built your own, there’s no way to know every little thing about all the programs and files you have on your computer. Some support programs you use on a daily basis while others are parts of a program you may have deleted a long time ago. It’s just taking up space. We’ve run across a FREE program for PC called Should I Remove It? It tells you exactly that. This is like a treasure hunt. Or better yet, a way of reflecting on what you’ve been doing on your computer. Sometimes our downloads get tricky and install a bunch of crap on our computer that we don’t want.

SOFTWARE FOR FILE CLEANUP AND ORGANIZATION

Talk about simple. There’s software you can download for a very reasonable price (none over $30) and even FREE that will constantly run on your computer and organize as you go. When you’re looking for a file, you don’t have to try and remember where you saved it, you just go to the folder you know it should be in and BOOM, it’s there. Think of these programs as a super-assistant. Everything you do on your computer just magically ends up in the right place without any effort on your part (after setup).

If you have a Mac: Hazel is “Automated organization for your Mac”.

  • Hazel allows you to set up rules (tell it what to do), make comments on your files, color-code your files and tell her to archive in a way that works best for your brain. She’s quite a lady, that Hazel. The Hazel software is $28, which is a one-time fee, and it does all the work for you. As far as we know, Hazel is the be-all, end-all for Mac. Nobody seems to want to take the ol’ broad on.

If you have a PC: Belvedere, FileJuggler and DropIt are options.

  • Belvedere allows you to set rules so your files go where you want them but the maximum amount of rules, at last check, was six. If you use the rules wisely, you can organize the rest on your own. Just find your trouble spots (after the disk cleanup) and assign rules to those. Belvedere is FREE.
  • FileJuggler works in a similar way as Belvedere and is being compared to Hazel for Mac (refer to the paragraph right above this one). The FileJuggler software is $25 but they do offer a 30 day free trial so you can test it out.
  • DropIt does claim to have a lot of features and is simple to download. DropIt is also FREE (they do ask for a donation if you feel so inclined – not mandatory). You can customize the options within the software to show you what it’s doing by showing you a progress bar or you can disable it knowing that it’s doing work in the background and you don’t have to deal with it.

CLEANING OUT YOUR EMAIL

This is a whole new project, wouldn’t you agree? Patti walks you through email organization and purging HERE. It’s less of a task than you might think and it’s totally necessary.

FINDING A PLACE FOR PHOTOS AND IMAGES

Photos take up a ton of room on your hard drive. Especially with all the selfies we take in one day. What? Don’t tell me you don’t flip that phone camera around to snap a shot of yourself because you think you owe it to the world. Is that just me? Whoops.

If you sync your phone with your computer, your images have to go somewhere. For iPhone users, you can put those photos on iCloud. I have yet to talk with someone who has plenty of room on iCloud for their images without paying extra. I upgraded one time and refuse to do it again.

If you upload photos from your camera on to your computer, you can literally see your hard drive shrink in memory. I was using DropBox but, again, I was having to continuously upgrade to make enough room for everything. It’s expensive!

Our solution: External hard drive and/or flash drives. It may seem old school for some but we can’t justify spending $20 or more to hold photos we will need access to maybe once – in about 10 years. While it’s not the case for all our photos, it’s the case for most of them.

We’ve purchased an external hard drive which is (in simple terms), a piece of equipment you plug into your computer. Just drag the images over to the folder created by the hard drive. It’s like packing your images in a box and taking it to storage – just digitally.

Viola, you’ve freed space on your computer. You can do the same with flash drives.

Once you’ve completed your necessary steps for cleaning, you can sit back knowing that you’ve eliminated the crap on your computer and you’re ready to add more to it!

tawsha connell

Summary of links:

 

Paperwork: How Long to Keep it, What to Toss, What to Shred (Printables)

Paperwork: How Long to Keep it, What to Toss, What to Shred (Printables)

Paperwork: How Long To keep it, What to Toss, What to Shred (Printable Guidelines)

The hardest part about purging for me, especially purging paperwork, is being afraid that I’ll get rid of something important that I’m going to need later.

With the identity theft increasing, especially the recent Target one – come ON people, really???, I’m also a little freaked out about not knowing for sure what needs to or doesn’t need to be shredded. The whole need for hyper-privacy really pisses me off to be honest, but obviously it’s a necessary evil, so we need to take steps to protect ourselves.

To make our lives a whole lot easier, I checked in with the Attorney General’s Office and found the following information. Knowing it came straight from the horses mouths (no disrespect intended), it set my mind at ease that they’re pretty accurate guidelines,

.

So, print these two lists out, put them somewhere you can see them, plug in your shredder, then tear through that paperwork and purge, purge, purge!

How Long to Keep Documents - Free Printable Guideline[paiddownloads id=”36″]

What to Shred, What to Toss - Free Printable Guideline[paiddownloads id=”37″]

Patti signature

Purge Your Closet: Simple and Guilt-Free

Purge Your Closet: Simple and Guilt-Free

simple and guilt-free way to purge your closet

Purge your closet. You can only avoid it for so long. Eventually it will swallow you whole and all that will be left is a pair of old bedazzled jeans and a shirt you saved in your “I’ll wear it one day” pile.

I love to be organized but the thought of purging my closet makes me want to jab my eyes out and take a nap instead. Probably not in that order. With that in mind, I was determined to find a quick way to complete this project and not regret any spur-of-the-moment decisions I made while doing it.

By the end of this post, you’ll have all the steps to purging your closet, ideas on what to do with the items you’ve purged and even a way to deal with those “I can’t make a decision today” clothes.

PREPARATION

What You Will Need: 

  • 4 large containers (boxes or Rubbermaid bins). These will hold your closet items temporarily.
  • Labels or sheets of paper for your containers. Get labels here: [paiddownloads id=”33″]
  • Tape.
  • Hangers.
  • Full-Length mirror
  • About 1-2 hours (after you gather the supplies). Let’s plan for one hour, shall we?

With a determined attitude and your bins labeled DONATE, TOSS, NOT CLOSET ITEM and CAN’T DECIDE, it’s time to face your closet. Don’t look at the big picture, just take it step by step – shoes included. 

Questions To Ask Yourself:

  • Do I like it?
  • Is it flattering?
  • Have I worn it in the last year?
  • Would I buy it today?
  • Am I keeping it because of the emotions/story associated with it?

 

clothing in a bin for closet organization

IT’S TIME TO PURGE YOUR CLOSET

While asking yourself those questions, start going through your closet items piece by piece either keeping them in place or tossing in a bin. Take no longer than 30 seconds to make a decision. Don’t know the answer? Try it on. Still unclear? Just choose a bin because we’ll address what’s in each bin after you sort your closet. This whole project could take you a short lifetime if you dilly dally. Move quickly.

Once you have made it through your entire closet, you should have far less clothing available in your wardrobe and full bins. This is a good thing.

How To Sort Clothing In Your Closet:

Hanging your clothes is the most simple way to keep everything in order. If you don’t have enough room, consider folding (or rolling) tees, tanks and workout clothing. Stack them (beware of their tendency to topple over) on a shelf or in a drawer. You don’t have to get all Martha Stewart, just do it in a way you can continue to do later on. Today may be purge day but when you are rushing through chores and you need to put something in your closet, you won’t have time for perfection. Folding tips can be found here: How To Fold Laundry Quickly.

How To Arrange Clothing In Your Closet: 

This is a custom experience. How does your brain work? Would you rather have outfits grouped together? Would you rather have ‘like items’ grouped together? Would you prefer all of your clothing grouped by color? Make a decision and go with it. My closet is arranged by t-shirts, sweatshirts, dress shirts, jackets, jeans, yoga pants, pajama pants, formal pants, short dresses and long dresses.

MANAGE BINS

Your bins need to be dealt with. This can be a quick process. Here are some suggestions and things to keep in mind:

Donate:

  • When donating clothing, keep in mind that you are doing it so other people may find a good use for your fashion. This isn’t a dumping ground. Would you give that item to a friend? If your clothes are in really poor shape, find another place for them. Perhaps you can tear up a shirt and use it to clean. If not, just toss it.
  • Having a hard time parting with clothing because of how much you paid for it? Sell it on Craigslist, host a yard sale or get friends together for a clothing swap. Plan a date, meet at one person’s house and have each guest bring a stack of great clothes they don’t wear because of fit, style or because they purged, too. Each friend gets to shop the other’s wardrobe for free.

Toss: 

  • It’s likely that your toss pile is a bunch of damaged clothing. Turn it into cleaning rags or toss ’em.

Not A Closet Item:

  • Take your bin and start unloading the items into their correct places. Chances are, you’ll be organizing that room in the near future.

Can’t Decide:

  • A lot of times it’s hard to part with clothes that have some sort of sentiment attached, your “skinny wardrobe” or items you think will come back into style.
  • Sentiment – Store these in a bin with a lid that will lock into place. When you’re ready, read What To Do With Sentimental Clutter.
  • “Skinny Wardrobe” – When you reach your goal weight, would you like to pull something out of your closet or celebrate by purchasing something new or do you truly want to wear the items you’re saving? If you want to wear the items, consider how long you’ve been saving them. If it’s longer than a year (pregnancy doesn’t count, here), don’t torture yourself. Donate the clothes.
  • In a year from now, pull out the “Can’t Decide” bin and see if any of your thoughts have changed.

 

Now that you’ve completed all the steps, take a look in your closet. Nice work! Give yourself a pat on the back, grab a drink or tell everyone else it will last all day and spend the rest of the time doing whatever you want.

Any questions?

tawsha connell

How to Keep Sentimental Things, But Reduce Your Clutter

How to Keep Sentimental Things, But Reduce Your Clutter

What To Do With Your Sentimental Clutter

photo credit: Easy Giving

I went to a Catholic school through the 8th grade. Nuns enforced rules and punishment. It was a life of rituals, uniforms, memorizing prayers and strict education. I learned piano. I made lifelong friends. I won a National penmanship award. I kissed a boy for the first time. We hid on the back of the church steps and played poker during recess. It was a life that isn’t seen today. I went on to public school and became social. I met new friends, fell in love (several times), played sports, was a cheerleader, went to prom. I loved those years. My mementos let me relive those years of being young, having a strong athletic body, not being able to imagine myself at the age I am now, and dreamed of a future that resulted in a totally different reality.

My mom was my best friend. When i married and had kids, she was who I called first to share good or bad news, get advice, or just to gossip. We sewed together once a week in our BPFC (Be Prepared For Christmas) club. We shopped. We shared recipes. Mom died on my 28th birthday, when my kids were 2 and 3. I was devastated and it took me years to feel halfway normal again. Holding on to some of mom’s stuff, in an odd way, is holding on to a piece of mom.

I married at 21. We had a good couple years of marriage that produced two great kids. His job took him in and out of town. We grew apart. The marriage ended 9 years later. That was years ago, we remain friends, and each of us are happily remarried, but the things I’ve kept from those years are tied to a marriage and time when my kids were part of a two-parent family. So I feel I need to save those things to pass on to them.

I was a single mom for most of my kids school years. It was us against the world, creating memories, tackling life head-on, and living our lives to the fullest as best we could. Although those years were a struggle financially, they were some of the best years of my life. I’m proud of the adults my children have become, and I’m proud of myself for powering through some really difficult years that resulted in the relationship I now have with my kids. The “things” I’ve saved from those years are precious to me.

So… how do you get rid of sentimental things? First of all, who says we have to? I’m an extremely sentimental person and have trouble letting go…of anything. When I love someone (or something), I love it hard! I cry easily. My kids “I love you, mom” produces a lump in my throat. Seeing the 12th man set Guinness noise level records when watching a Seahawks (GO HAWKS!) game makes me cry. Holding a baby, ANY baby, brings tears to my eyes. I’m a sentimental hot mess. So I’m sorry to all the minimalists who advise getting rid of sentimental clutter because they’re just “things”, but there are just some things I will NOT and CANNOT let go. I say, if you’ve got the room for it, and it means something to you, keep it.

I do agree, though, that saving everything that holds a memory can get out of hand. So here are some ideas for choosing what things to keep, uses for the things you save, and minimizing the space needed to store those things you can’t let go of…

Sentimental Paperwork

Elementary school artwork and projects, report cards, detention slips, essays, etc. Letters, cards, and notes.

  • Pull out your favorite few, or one item for each school year. If you can’t dump what remains, pack them all in a storage container and label it. If you don’t revisit that storage container in the next few years, throw it away without looking through it again, or ask your kids if they’d like to have them.
  • Take pictures of your favorite ones. Store the pictures on a disc or jump drive. Make them into photo books and gift them to your kids.
  • Make a scrapbook or shadowbox.

Sentimental Clothing

Your wedding dress, the bunting your baby wore home from the hospital, the t-shirt you bought in Mexico, your grandma’s pillbox hat, your cheerleading sweater, your dad’s favorite belt buckle, your favorite jeans from four sizes ago.

  • If they make you happy, turn them into display pieces. Make a shadowbox with pieces of these items grouped with pictures of you/them wearing them. Turn all those memorable t-shirts into a quilt.
  • If you’re saving clothing you hope you’ll fit into again, GET RID OF THEM! Although they may be holding on to them for motivation, I don’t know about you, but if I get back down to that size, I’ll be celebrating by buying NEW clothes!

Sentimental Items

Your grandma’s china, your dad’s favorite belt buckle, the framed picture of your great-aunt, your mother-in-law’s wedding ring, your mom’s old cookie press.

  • Use it. Even though these are close to your heart, they are just “things”. Things are meant to be used. Memories of those things will remain with you forever. So, use grandma’s china. If you break some pieces, it’s okay. Mom would get a kick out of you struggling to make spritz cookies using her old cookie press, and you KNOW she’d be okay with you eventually replacing it for a new one.
  • Display it. Hang that old picture of great aunt Hilda. Pull out other vintage photos of relatives and group all these together on a family wall.
  • Wear it. Have dad’s buckle shined and polished. Wear it yourself or give it to your brother, husband, son. Use it as an embellishment on a purse or clothing. Wear the ring on a chain, or take out the stones and have it reset in a more modern setting.

Don’t let anyone guilt you into getting rid of things that are important to you. Give yourself as much time as you need to let go. I feel that allowing yourself moments to relive and revisit memories can be healing. It can ground yourself by giving you a chance to revisit your past and pat yourself on the back for the progress you’ve made. It can remind you of plans you had for your future, and inspire and re-motivate you to attain those dreams.

I say that if you’re thoughtful about which items to keep, take steps to preserve them properly, and organize and label any containers where they live, if you have the room to store them, then do it. Who are you hurting? I don’t think it  means you’re living in the past. It’s true that these things are just “things”, but things, just like smells, taste and touch, can morph you back to a memory or a time that is close to your heart. My mom touched that sewing pattern, studied it over a cup of coffee, made notes on it, and was excited to start sewing it once we were all tucked away in bed. My kids held the crayon that colored that picture of the three of us, carried it home from school and proudly handed it to me with their little 1st grade hands. I’ll be damned if I’ll let those things go.

Am I wrong?

Patti signature

 

Quickly Turn Your Recipe Collection Into A Book

Quickly Turn Your Recipe Collection Into A Book

quickly organize your recipes

 

I have a cabinet full of recipe books but over time, I’ve collected random recipes from Pinterest, family members and magazines. I was shoving them into a folder because it looked organized. The problem was that every time I went to find something it was useless. I spent more time digging and then reorganizing into a folder than cooking the actual meal.

In keeping with the purging theme and respecting the fact that we all have about zero extra minutes per day, this recipe organization is quick, efficient and costs very little.

My recipes were gathered in one hot mess.

recipes in a folder

Then I stacked them in piles. The key to organizing anything is putting “like” with “like”. What do they have in common? Here, I stacked in recipes labeled chicken, pork, fish, salad, etc.

stacking recipes for organization

Now I need something to put them in. Ah, a binder with tabs to separate the types of recipes (the piles). I also grabbed some page protectors (not pictured).

binder-and-tab-oco

Done deal. Just like my jeans, this binder can’t take one more recipe. I should have purchased a much bigger binder and another set of tabs. I also want white, not green. But, hey, this was a quick project so I can quickly access my recipes. Maybe later in the year, I’ll pretty it up. For now, I’ll eat.

TIP: Add extra page protectors to the binder so when you add to it, you can easily slip the new one in the correct place.

quickly make a recipe binder

Aaaaand, the amount of time the project took (including Instagramming a picture) and grabbing not one but TWO drinks for my son, starting a movie and digging Play-Doh out of his dump truck was:

time to organize recipes

A 5-year old threw off my game. I mean, seriously. He gets thirsty while I’m working? The nerve.

Will this work for your recipe collection?

tawsha connell

 

Note from Tawsha: 

Each time I dive into an organization-type project, I have these big beautiful plans that, in the end, aren’t realistic. I want a great end result that is pleasing to my eye but not at the expense of losing efficiency – the reason I started the project in the first place. I see it everywhere and I, too, want a picture-perfect result. Well, for us, it’s just not the truth 100% of the time and we won’t hold back if it’s not perfect. We’re committing to offering a realistic approach to creating structure and order in life. We’re busy, you’re busy and none of us are made of money. 

Your comments and feedback have been awesome. We will continue to strive to be true to you, true to ourselves and not just go for the pretty picture each time we post a new blog. Your trust is important to us.