Time to Spring Clean your Cloud Storage

April 5, 2024

If you’re looking for a sign to begin spring cleaning, this is it. But instead of pulling out your mop and duster, pull out your computer to spring clean your cloud! You have probably experienced how easy it is to accumulate files on your computer, and we all know someone – or maybe we are someone – who is convinced they will someday need their outdated files. In most cases, that simply isn’t true. By taking some time now to spring clean your cloud, you can either avoid or resolve the chaos threatening your cloud storage. 

As a preliminary step to tidying up your cloud storage, you should verify that all your important work is stored in the cloud instead of your desktop. Using cloud storage allows you to access your files from anywhere with an internet connection and from any device. It also increases the security of your files and prevents data loss should something happen to your device. As a faculty or staff member or student of Weber State, you have access to both Weber Box and Google Drive for cloud storage. The same principles for decluttering your files apply whether you do so before or after moving them to the cloud.

Removing the Clutter

Deleting outdated or irrelevant files is a great place to start your digital spring cleaning. Approach each file by asking yourself if it should be deleted, and be mindful that the cloud-storage-hoarder mentality does not creep in! Not only will you save space by deleting obsolete files, but you will also decrease the surface area of data open to cyber attacks. Also, your trivial files could distract you and take up brain space as much as digital space. Delete these files permanently by emptying your deleted or recycled folder to go the extra mile. If you’re not quite ready to delete any files, create a new folder to store them in, label it appropriately (“archive,” “should I delete these?” etc.), and revisit it at another time. 

Eliminating Duplicates

Additional files to consider deleting are duplicate files. Perhaps you have multiple versions of the same file showing its progress to completion (“draft_1”, “draft_2”, “final,” “final_revised,” “actual_final,” etc.). Now’s the time to delete those extra versions! Storing multiple file versions can be confusing, especially when collaborating with others. Keep in mind that cloud storage tools like Weber Box and Google Drive automatically store a history of file versions, which can be viewed or restored at any time. Your collaborators will thank you for removing confusing duplicates, and you can impress them even further by removing their access to files they no longer need, which will help them tidy their own cloud storage. Also, if you have duplicate files stored in Weber Box and Google Drive, establish guidelines for what kind of data you will store in each and delete the duplicates in the other.1

Retaining Important Documentation

Before deleting your old files, remember that the university has some retention policies. For example, purchasing card documentation (before November 2023) needs to be stored for four years, expenditure documentation must be stored for seven years, and personnel files must be stored throughout the duration of employment.2 Keeping these files organized and aligned with the retention policies will prepare you for an internal audit. 

Organizing Folders and Files

Throughout your spring clean, examine the overall organization of your cloud storage. Are your file names consistent? Is your folder structure coherent? A few simple steps can go a long way to reduce the clutter and improve your productivity. Try establishing a simple naming convention to bring order to your files and simplify the searching process. One way to do this is by using dates (YYYY-MM-DD) or keywords in your file names. Put an end to all documents titled “untitled document”! You may also want to try setting up your folders using a logical hierarchy, ensuring that there is a place for every file you decide to keep.3 Creating such an organizational system for your cloud storage makes it much easier to stay tidy in the long term. 

Like spring cleaning your physical space, spring cleaning your cloud can significantly improve your productivity and peace of mind. You might even experience the spring cleaning momentum that motivates you to tackle your inbox!


About The Author

Emily Miller
IT Learning and Development Specialist

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