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Are You An Invisible Hoarder?

Recently, Jennifer commented on my Idea File blog post about the notion of a "Invisible Hoarder." 

She said…I use Evernote and my Iphone to capture images of articles that I want to keep. Then I don't even have the paper around, can get rid of the magazine and have access to my saved ideas on my phone or computer. That way, I can be a high functioning, invisible hoarder without having to rent extra space or make my family live in tents on the lawn (I jest but it came close–it was the magazines or them) Evernote is a great capture and idea storage tool.

I love that term.  While I actually think Jennifer is very practical in her methodology, it made me realize this fact about myself:  While I am a purger and hate hanging onto physical things at home, I am very much a hoarder at work with electronic documents.  I have things saved 8 years back.  And, the biggest issue is that I don't know how to easily find them.  And, a lot of them are useless, thus adding to the clutter and complication in finding things.

Many times, Erin or Jim will ask me for a file or PowerPoint and I know I have it, but it can take me 10-15 minutes to locate it, wading through folders and files on my laptop.

Does anyone else qualify as an Invisible Hoarder?  Anyone have any solutions for us IDs??


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10 Responses to Are You An Invisible Hoarder?

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  3. renee December 22, 2010 at 5:25 pm #

    Ok I have all the same issues. Real life is organized but digital life is held on a 600 gig hard drive that is full!!
    For me just naming folders doesn’t work because i might have 7 folders starting with S or only one folder starting with b but that is gigantic with many files.
    Currently my hard drive is labeled by the letters of the alphabet.
    A=artists and animals
    C=camera stuff, crystals and my current folder linked to my desktop
    All the way to Z which is Zip files and Zomg for funny articles.
    Inside my letters or other folders I do like to subdivide just like Allison suggests.
    I love how I can arrange certain letters to really be a folder for a certain part of my life. Rather than having to check several location for materials for 1 project.
    Like P for example has everything I need to do paintings and my future ideas and references. T holds all my tutorials for when im in a learning mood.
    I do as well name folders for large amounts of documents like pictures by the year. Then once that year is in the past a bit I just drop it in a archive folder.
    The biggest most important thing!! Is not just tagging files but being sure that your naming them well. No need to tag etc if you can search and come up with well named files as opposed to untitled (1) – untitled (337) 😛
    If you can use it, stick it in the 2010 file or something along those lines.
    I had to do this years back when I finally discovered what kind of document filing I like on my computer.
    Ideas you can sub sort into:
    life learning
    how tos
    — Allison Carter

  4. lauren October 25, 2010 at 6:25 pm #

    Chelle – Glad you found the post helpful. I recently got Office 2010 on my work laptop and love the One Note program which is similar to Evernote. it integrates with my email as well so i can send things straight to the program.
    Good luck with your organization!

    • Joi A. Cardinal October 29, 2011 at 4:39 am #

      Even though OneNote is made by Microsoft, it is a far superior program to EverNote. I have used both extensively in my 19-1/2 years as a home-based medical transcriptionist and writer. ON’s system of files and folder strikes most people as more intuitive than EN’s continuous roll of adding machine concept. I love how I could set up a standard folder for, say, magazine article ideas.
      The first page would be the description of the article. Then a log of all action — emails sent, contacts made.
      Then would follow many note-taking pages and first draft pages, leading to final, corrected draft and log of submissions.
      There’s too much to tell about the color-coding, the highlighting, and the ability to automatically print out to-do lists.
      But I don’t use Windows anymore, so I’m using Google Docs to organize and store my writing.

  5. Chelle October 25, 2010 at 6:14 pm #

    Omigosh this is me. I have enough favorites for the whole world. It takes me sooo long to rifle through them an they even have their own categories and sub-categories. I should look into something better. I also hold onto too many magazines…

  6. Jennifer Einolf August 30, 2010 at 1:47 pm #

    Allison is right that because what I do isn’t causing me grief, it isn’t hoarding. What I was pointing to (with a flippant tone, I’ll grant) is my methods for finding healthy ways to reassure myself that I won’t lose things (or control) as much as is possible. That has helped me to alleviate some of the anxiety I do feel about getting rid of tangible items.
    As I said, I use Evernote which I love because its ability to search for key words even in images and its nuanced tagging help me keeps everything where I can find it.
    The other practice that I’ve adopted that really helps is a systematic purging routine. I assigned two letters of the alphabet to each month and in that month I purge my Evernote tags, my contacts, my personal files and my spices (hee hee) that start with that letter. It doesn’t take long to go through everything A and B in January. I make sure that the contacts are still folks I would need to find and that, to the best of my knowledge; the info is correct (“Oh, that’s right, LuLu moved in November. I need to call and get her new address.”). I go through my reference files and see if the things I’m saving are things I will still need to find. I go through Evernote the same way. By only doing two letters worth each month, my system is ever fresh and I never feel overwhelmed with the volume of info I need to go through to make sure that things are relevant.

  7. Jim Deitzel August 23, 2010 at 2:50 pm #

    I’ll admit it. I have sometimes deleted a document knowing in the back of my mind that if I ever need it again Lauren would have it. My secret it now out 🙂

  8. Lauren Spahr August 23, 2010 at 11:44 am #

    Wow; these are amazing ideas Allison. Thanks for the great organizing advice for electronic files.

  9. allison carter August 23, 2010 at 11:25 am #

    I don’t think that saving documentation and ideas would qualify as “hoarding” unless there is a fear and anxiety associated with hitting the delete button. *But it’s a darn cute name for it!
    All you need is a day to re-map your documents in your computer.
    Start by making new empty files.
    Create files like:
    Arhive ideas
    Archive presentations
    Archive work docs
    Presentations 2010
    Ideas Rubbermaid
    Ideas personal
    Work docs 2010
    Photos archive
    Photos 2010
    After the new files are created, then fill them with the appropriate docs as you find them around your computer.
    If you have time, glance at the doc and see if it has any use any longer.
    If you just want it for historical documentation, it goes into the archive file.
    If you can use it, stick it in the 2010 file or something along those lines.
    I had to do this years back when I finally discovered what kind of document filing I like on my computer.
    Ideas you can sub sort into:
    life learning
    how tos
    — Allison Carter

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