Upgrading to a New Computer? Take the Opportunity to Unclutter

Before moving from one apartment or house to the next, you sell, discard, or donate items that are no longer needed. You unclutter. You don’t move everything over, then discard unwanted items. Why then, would you choose the latter when moving from one computer to the next?
You have three choices when upgrading to a new Mac computer: Transfer from Time Machine or other disk, transfer from another Mac or PC, or start with a clean slate (let’s call this the “unclutter” option). There are similar options for PCs.
During a recent upgrade from my 3-year old MacBook Pro workhorse to a coveted MacBook Air, I chose the “unclutter” option. My decision was aided by going from a 500 GB hard drive to a 125 GB solid state drive. It was also less troublesome because I store most of my files – documents, images, audio, and video – in the cloud: Dropbox, Evernote, Google Docs & Spreadsheets, and Flickr.
After setting up my computer – date, password, etc – which took all of 10 minutes, I downloaded the apps I use every day: 1Password, Evernote, Dropbox, Skype, and Chrome and Firefox browsers. Chrome is my primary browser, but it’s always good to have a secondary one for social media (privacy issues re: tracking web browsing), work vs. personal accounts, etc. I considered using Safari as my secondary browser to save disk space, but missed Firefox. Safari is no Firefox. Chrome browser bonus: All of my 25+ Bookmark Bar icons, including my “Open Tabs” folder are synched and pops up when the browser is installed on a new computer.

As you can see from the image above, with primary apps downloaded, I still have a ton of free disk space. Apps I’ll also download include MS Word (a whopping 1.6 GB) and ScanSnap with Adobe Acrobat Pro.
I digitized most of my music CDs and tapes a few years ago and they’re safely stored in Google Play, with an old iPod acting as a backup hard drive. Like most, I get most of my music today via mobile apps, Spotify, and other online music streaming services.
Pictures are stored in Flickr and with 1 free terabyte, all of the pics snapped by my primary camera – the iPhone – are automatically uploaded.
To maintain a clean, speedy computer, create “to be filed” and “to be discarded” folders for items that you don’t want to delete or assign right away. Check the folders once a month and delete or assign items. I save images, including screenshots, when working on articles, presentations, and blog posts, to my desktop for easy drag and drop access, then move them to the trash when completed. I hate a crowded desktop, so this practice forces me to clear the files almost daily.
If its time for a computer upgrade and you need to unclutter (who doesn’t?), start by moving your information to the cloud (encryption is available in-app or via third-party apps for sensitive documents) for a smooth transition.
RELATED POSTS:
Dumpster Day: Make your Law Office a Less Cluttered – And Happier – Place to Work
3 Free Twitter Tools to Tune Out the Noise
5 Daily Productivity Practices To Reduce Stress and Get Things Done