Spring Cleaning

forgetmenots

The exact origin of the dreaded ritual known as “Spring Cleaning” is unknown.  Wikipedia cites several different possibilities, each of them fairly reasonable.  Regardless of how it began, it’s a permanent fixture in our culture and can have a great impact on our lives.

During the spring cleaning of our home, we open the windows and let the fresh air in while we dust, sweep, wash and wax the various surfaces and items in our house.  We organize and clean out our files and important documents. We also take time to collect the items that we haven’t used in more than a year and either donate them to charity, place them on FreeCycle, or toss them out.

All of this cleaning and organizing provides us with a clean home, a sense of accomplishment, gives us some entertainment (when we find things we haven’t seen in a while) and helps us eliminate the clutter that makes us unproductive.  If this is not a perennial ritual in your household, I highly recommend it.

Although the tradition is well entrenched in our society, it doesn’t seem to have been widely extended to cover the digital aspects of our lives.  When you consider it, in these days, many of us store more digital files than we do physical ones.  It only makes sense to consider including our electronic assets in the process.

Recently, we have expanded our spring cleaning to include our email, social media, data storage devices and cloud storage accounts as well as our online store accounts.  I was surprised by the volume of old, useless, and/or duplicate files spread across the various storage media.  I was more surprised by the outdated information contained in many of our accounts.  Some of the information was sensitive and was erroneously stored in non-sensitive containers, which, if compromised, could have led to serious consequences.

This year, I discovered 20-year-old email messages. incorrect address data in online accounts and stale profile information on some social media accounts.  I also found some old digital photos of friends and family that brought back some very fond memories.

I now have a current inventory of my valuable electronic assets.  I know where all of my important data are located and am certain that they are reasonably secured. I’ve even managed to generate some smiles and laughs in the process.  If you are not applying spring cleaning to your digital life, you have no idea what you’re missing.

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About Michael Hios

Michael Hios is a Business Technology Professional in the Raleigh, NC area with expertise in Travel Technology, Data Analysis and Management. Michael has 20+ years of Information Technology experience, specializing in system implementations and data management and analysis. He was most recently Vice President of Analytics for Yankee Leisure Group, a Massachusetts-based travel company.
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