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Finally recovered from taxes?  Don’t worry, it’s going to be easier next year – I promise.  This month is going to be much faster, too.

Trash and donate task o’ the month:  Bags and backpacks.  Don’t tell me you don’t have them – every geek conference on the planet gives you a bag.  Vendors give you bags.  Hell, they probably multiply in the closet.  Pull them *all* out.  Every one of them.  Including the backpack/laptop bag you currently use.  Pick five.  Why five?  Your favorite travel backpack and a second runner up.  Your favorite back and forth to work and a second runner up.  And one slot for the “just think it’s really cool” bag.  Now, take the rest of the bags – backpacks go to schools, work style bags to to the homeless shelter or local jobs program.

Nerd purchase(s) of the month:  OK, remember what we did with the USB drives?  Time to buy that external drive or home server with a boatload of storage.  I personally wouldn’t go lower than a terabyte – if you haven’t priced the 1-3 TB drives lately, you might be surprised how cheap it is to have all that glorious storage space.  Take it home, put it in that clean space you cleared up in Part 1 of the series.  Back up *every single* system in your house.  All of them.  And set a regular backup schedule.  Don’t sit around and think “Gosh, I need to delete a lot of crap before… blah, blah” – you have LOTS and LOTS of space.  Oh, and if you are thinking “But, but, I’m going to the Cloud!” (cue sound of angels singing), that’s fine but you are still going to want a physical drive, trust me.

Geeky paper reduction task of the month:   Paperless billing.  All your bills where you possibly can, sign up for this.  While you are there, enable text alerts and e-mail alerts.  If you feel comfortable with it, set up electronic payments for everything you can (but don’t forget to at least look over the bills every month for accuracy).  Set up folders on your shiny new drive to store the electronic copies.  Make sure you store them by year, because you are going to delete them when you don’t need them and it will make it much easier.  There is a link to “how long to keep stuff” in Part 2 of the series, but not something you have to worry about now.   This will go a long way to emptying out your mailbox.

The Rulez:

  • Don’t cheat – you don’t need just a couple more bags.  By the time the five you are keeping wear out, you’ll have been to more conferences.
  • If you do accumulate a new bag or backpack, don’t just toss it in the pile.  If it isn’t better or cooler than your current bags, chuck it.
  • Don’t worry about deleting stuff.  Just back up all your systems.  We’ll worry about electronic clutter much farther down the road.