Since moving nearly a year ago after living in the same house for more than 10 years, I have been very careful about the amount of stuff we accumulate in our new house. During the course of the year prior to our move, we had dumpsters on three occasions, and I took more than 50 pounds of documents to a secure shredding facility. I don’t want to go through that ordeal again.
But one thing I have a problem with is data.
During our move, I did throw out a bunch of floppy disks, but I have old hard drives that I am carting around with me. I long ago freecycled the machines but I couldn’t let the hard drives go with them. Even if I deleted the data on them, does it ever really go away? As a writer and long-time journaler, there is just a lot of stuff on those hard drives that I never want anyone to see. Heck, I might not even want to see it any more. It’s probably as cringe-worthy as a lot of the diaries I have in a trunk in our attic, that I plan to ceremonially burn…one day…because it’s really hard to think about burning up my childhood hopes and dreams, in spite of it not being a pleasant thought that my kids might stumble across them…well, the ones from college anyway…
Probably most if the data on those hard drives is replicated, since I would have restored the data I’d backed up (yes, I pay for offsite data storage, so my “habit” is costing me money) numerous times, including on the computer I use now.
According to my former employer, every day we are creating 2.5 quintillion bytes of data. I am creating data right now by typing these words here, saving, and publishing this entry. Data is created by social media posts, the selfies and other pictures we take with our phones, and all those e-commerce receipts we generate when we shop online. I save a lot of this stuff.
Some of the things I took to the shredding facility have been replaced by the electronic versions, like bank statements and bills. I have, for the most part, quit saving those on my c: drives unless I need them for expense reimbursement, trusting the institution to keep the copies. That is a big step for me.
The next step might just be to take the old hard drives to Dr. Fixit, my computer guy, because I trust him to wipe them and dispose of them.
The final step will be to quit paying for offsite storage and get an external hard drive and back up to that. Yes, I know if it’s not offsite it’s not disaster tolerant, but what are the chances, really?
Oh, but the actual point of this story was the fact that I cleaned out my personal inbox. I hoard email messages, too. I currently have 18,303 “unread” (it says that but I know it’s not true because I read them in my preview pane. The ones addressed to me anyway…if they’re addressed to someone else, I do not pay that much attention to them) emails in my work account. It was kind of a big deal that I cleaned out my personal inbox (but not really, since that is only one of four places I can check my email. I am trying to wean myself to webmail because my desk top client doesn’t play nice with Windows 8.). I filed a few messages folders, set up some automated message filtering, and then just deleted all of the rest of them — cold turkey.