Tag Archives: business organizing


If you’ve ever spent a morning trying to track down a lost file on your hard drive or searching through a decade of email, you know that digital disorder can also take a toll on your wellbeing. Most people handle a constant flow of text messages, emails, photos, videos, and other digital information. When all that digital data piles up, it can slow you and your devices down. Keep reading for a step-by-step guide to downsizing and organizing your digital clutter.

Get Organized

Does your documents folder or email inbox resemble a junk drawer with everything tossed in together? Do you usually rely on your search box to help you find files? An organization structure can help you declutter, share, synchronize, move, and easily track down files. Follow these simple steps to get your digital life organized:

Designate Categories

Browse through your files and emails and determine the major and minor categories they fall into. For instance, you may be able to divide photos into “work photos,” “family photos, “head shots,” etc. Within those categories, you may have subcategories.

Make Folders

Once you’ve determined what categories and subcategories you want to use for each type of file, make folders or subfolders for them.

Develop Naming Guidelines

Librarians who manage large digital collections use consistent, meaningful, and descriptive names to identify what’s inside each file. Follow suit, and you’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to track down specific files and photos when you need them. For documents, designate a naming structure such as “descriptive keywords-type of document.” For example, this article might be named “digital-decluttering-article.” For images, create a structure such as “descriptive keywords-month-year.” For example, vacation photos might be named “Hawaii-vacation-March-2017). For emails, use descriptive subject headings.

Automate Email Organization

Email inboxes can become unmanageable quickly. Depending on your email provider, you can automatically filter incoming emails into certain folders. For instance, all newsletters can be sent to a “newsletters” folder, and emails from colleagues can automatically be sent to a “work” folder.

Declutter Your Digital Past

Depending on how long it’s been since you’ve sorted through your digital data, you may need to do a major purge to get back on track. As with any big organizational project, the hardest part can be getting started. Set aside plenty of time, and commit to going through everything saved on your computer, mobile devices, external hard drive, or in the cloud, including photos, files, and personal records.

How Long to Keep Digital Files - Downsize and Organize Your Digital Clutter

Decluttering can be an emotional process. Set a relaxing tone by listening to music and treating yourself to your favorite beverage. Repeat the decluttering motto: “If in doubt, throw it out,” and begin sorting files into folders. If you find yourself deliberating for more than a minute about keeping any item, create a “maybe” folder, and put it there.

Most of us accumulate a lot of photos and videos, because it’s so inexpensive and easy to snap and upload them these days. Photos and videos can hold a lot of sentimental value and can be difficult to downsize. However, it’s worth it! Not only are these files large and expensive to store; you don’t want to have to scroll through hundreds of files to find the photos that are meaningful to you.

Start by purging the following:

Blurry photos
Extremely similar photos
Photos with poor lighting
Poor quality videos
Photos or videos that no longer hold sentimental value
Photos or videos that are no longer meaningful to you
Back up Important Files
Once you’ve purged and organized, you’ll be left with only those files that are important and meaningful to you. Ensure that they’re safe! Computer hard drives don’t last forever and are susceptible to mechanical defects, virus and malware attacks, accidents, and other threats. Most experts recommend saving important data in three locations. For instance, you could save one copy on your computer’s hard drive, one in a cloud service, and one on an external hard drive.
Digital Decluttering Schedule - Downsize and Organize Your Digital Clutter
Make a Plan
Digital clutter builds up quickly. Get out your calendar, and schedule regular recurring dates with yourself to keep your data in order.

Keeping Data Safe Long-Term - Downsize and Organize Your Digital Clutter

Destination Peace of Mind
Decluttering, organizing, and securing your digital data can be a big task, especially if you haven’t dealt with it for a while. However, your efforts will pay off. You’ll not only keep your computer and devices running well; you’ll likely enjoy greater productivity and peace of mind.

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Room to Breathe ~ I Have Now Mastered My Muck!

5.0 out of 5 stars an Amazon Book Review

Kathi Burn’s book is one of the most important “how to” books on the market today. Her step-by-step guide was priceless for creating the needed space I needed in my office so I could write in the state of joy instead of confusion.

My creative work depended upon a space that was clear and balanced. When I adopted her techniques and cues as outlined in her book, my office (and my work) were transformed.

Thank you Kathi, for your wisdom, your expertise, and your good humor!!

By Candace Conradi (Poway, California)

This review is from: How to Master Your Muck ~ Get Organized. Add Space To Your Life. Live Your Purpose! (Kindle Edition)

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Successful CEO buried in paperwork

Before / After Case Study

( Move mouse over picture for after )


Papers were the dominant player on the desk of this busy CEO. Years of inaction kept these papers piling up until they were no longer important. Time was the organizing factor for this desk. Once a few years past, the bottom layer could be removed because it no longer was a pressing matter.


Every paper in the office was touched and either filed or tossed. The Freedom Filer filing system was implemented so that all papers put into the file system would have an exit strategy. This way the folders would not expand into more file cabinets over time.

We created a filling system that kept piles off of the desk and focused on keeping 60% of the desk area open for business. Instead of laying a paper onto the desk surface when in hand, a decision was made as to whether it should be tossed, filed into a hanging folder or moved into one of the vertical desktop folders as an active project. Months later, the desk is still clear and the system is functioning!

What Our Clients Say:

“You’ve been a significant agent for change in our client’s life. He has kept up with your system and his desk remains clear. I’m sure this has increased his effectiveness/productivity.

You’re terrific at what you do, and I thank you for it.”

Marc B.

Posted in Corporate, Organizing Before & After | Tagged | 3 Comments