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To Purge or Not to Purge–Are You a File Hoarder?

Too Many Files

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been in a panic a number of times over lost files. I’ve had a little extra time on my hands because my student teacher has all my classes right now, so I’ve tried to organize my computer and sort them out.

First, there are my teaching files. 19,572 to be exact. This includes full curricula in chemistry, physics, algebra II, algebra I, biology, integrated science, geometry, precalculus, and anatomy. Not to mention syllabi, parent logs, grade records, PD power points, etc.

Next, comes my writing folder. Almost 2,000 files there. I have saved every single draft, every single critique, every single revision–for whatever paranoid reason, I hold onto all these files in case there’s one little phrase I want to bring back. It’s insanity!

So, I’m considering a purge, now that Cavernous is fully edited. I have numerous digital copies of the whole manuscript in various safe locations. The Cavernous folder itself has over 200 files, and that’s not counting the Cavernous files in my contest folder. Twice, I’ve selected all these files, considered it, and chickened out before choosing to delete.

I must confess. I’m a file hoarder. And a terrible one. I’m not sure what to do about it. On the one hand, those critique files have a lot of value. The early draft files have some of the phrases that inspired the story that I’ve since cut. If I delete this old teaching file, I might need to retype it later. On the other hand, I can never find anything within 2-3 minutes anymore.

I’m considering a five file per day purge. The thought is already making me tremble. Does anyone else struggle with letting go? What do you do to keep your writing organized?