SLT 003: Why We Can’t Let Go of Our Clutter, Backing Up Your Digital Information, and A Little About Dropbox


Why We Can’t Let Go of Our Clutter, Backing Up Your Digital Information, & A Little About Dropbox

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In Episode 3 we discuss reasons why some people can’t seem to let go of clutter and some tips that may help you decide what to keep and what to let go.  We also talk about some lessons learned from a catastrophic hard drive crash which sparked the “Your Backup Strategy’ strategy segment, and we wanted to sing a few praises for Dropbox. Dropbox is one way to save documents to the cloud and sync them across all your devices simply.

Main Topics:  

Vanessa’s Topic: Why We Can’t Let Go of Our Clutter

  • We feel the need for abundance. We are a consumer-driven society and conditioned to think more is better…it’s all about quantity over quality.
  • We’ve lived a life “without” and find security with having more. Living through the Depression, growing up in a modest or poor  household, or surviving a rough financial patch can play a huge role in why folk don’t ever want to “live without” again.
  • Forget Justin Bieber…we’re more influenced by Justin Case.  You know, “I might need this someday…just in case.” Some folks want to be ultra-prepared for any scenario. It’s ok to be prepared, but try to be realistic…especially if all that stuff is getting in the way.
  • We feel a sense of obligation. Many feel a sense of obligation to keep every gift. It’s ok to hold on to things but you do have the ability to say no.
  • We fear losing the memory if we get rid of something. Many of us have had wonderful and meaningful experiences throughout our lifetime but we fear that if we get rid of a gift, we’ll forget that person, experience or important time in our life.
  • We want to pay tribute to our past experiences.  Like from our childhood, past careers or travels.  It’s easy to go overboard on collections but try to be mindful of collecting too much.
  • We’ve spent too much money and feel like it’s a waste if we give it away. Let’s face it. We’ve all probably spend a good fortune on things that we never used or never really liked. Boy does that sting! Chalk it up as a lesson learn, be more frugal and research before purchasing another product and find comfort in donating your goods to folks who are less fortunate.
  • We’re holding on to the past. We tend to keep things that remind us of times when we were happy, the most confident, or the most successful.
  • And sometimes we hold on for a deeper allowing our things to define our self-worth…or define our happiness.  Many folks believe that shopping and having more makes them happier but often times it’s just a temporary fix to “fill the void” of something else that’s missing in their lives.

 Simple Steps to Help You Let Go:

  •  Start with the space that’s causing you the most grief or anxiety. This could be the home office, the kitchen, the laundry room, the bedroom etc.
  • Then start small. Pick a small area to work on like a drawer, a shelf, a cabinet, one spot on the kitchen counter, one filing drawer.  You wouldn’t eat an elephant in one sitting right?  You’d take small bites and eat a little at a time.  (Not sure I like that analogy…the thought of eating an elephant is stomach wrenching but you get the point right!)
  • Then ask yourself these questions when deciding what to keep or not to keep:
    • Do I love it?
    • Do I need it?
    • Do I use it?
    • When was the last time I used it?
    • When do I plan on using it?
    • Can I borrow it?
    • Can I rent it?
    • What’s the worst that will happen if I got rid of it?
  • If you answered “yes” to the first three questions then you should probably keep the item. If you answered “no” then considered letting it go.  If you’re still struggling then ask the other questions and you’ll more than likely find your answer.

Dan’s Topic:  Backing Up Your Digital Information and an Intro to Dropbox

Backing Up Your Digital Information: 

  • As anyone who has experienced an unrecoverable hard drive crash knows, your first thoughts are “oh my gosh…what files did I just lose forever?”
  • The reason I lost some files is boils down to one thing…I failed to make the process simple.

Negative Lessons Learned

  • I took too long to make my decision on which backup system to use for my huge video files
    • Foolish rookie decision making mistake.
    • George S. Patton: “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.” (when it’s too late)

Positive Lessons Learned:

  •  My routine of using Dropbox (and Google Drive) for all my important work docs proved a complete success.
  • While all docs, pics, vids, etc, that were hosted in my iMac are gone, every single one I had on the Cloud (whether Dropbox or Drive) are intact and those workflows are seamless.
  • I use Dropbox and Drive as much for convenience as I do as a part of my backup plan. I love to have my docs accessible wherever I am and it’s so convenient to be able to share docs with clients.
  • By having everything in Dropbox intact reinforces a solid backup strategy: again, ensure you have your info backed up to an external drive, and be sure you also have an off site/cloud storage backup, as well.
  • Ensure you test your strategy from time to time.

 Your big takeaways!

  • Follow the 3 S’s…Make your backup Simple, Seamless and Solid.  
    • Simple…so you don’t have to think about it, it just happens in the background. If you do have to think about it, set reminders in your calendar. If you use Google calendars, send text message reminders to yourself.
    • Seamless…if you have regular backups to an external drive, make sure that drive is also backed up off site.  Initial backup to the Cloud can take up to a couple weeks, depending on your connection speed and how much data you have, of course.
    • Solid…evaluate that your system works. Try to download files from your backup system and see if there are bottlenecks or barriers to your system. How easy would it be to do a complete system restore if you lost your hard drive?
      • As I reevaluated my backup strategy, I added immediate (and blazing fast Thunderbolt external backup) that can handle my huge video files, followed by nightly off site backup with DollyDrive.
      • As I mentioned in Episode 002, I chose Dolly Drive because they’re Mac specific and I really couldn’t find any complaints about them anywhere!
      • I can’t endorse DollyDrive yet because I just started using it, but I’ll be sure to give updates.
    • Make sure your backup plan is simple but complete…
      • On site backup to an external drive
      • Cloud backup off site.

A Little Bit About Dropbox

  • Dropbox is probably not your total backup solution. Use Dropbox to supplement a good backup plan by storing docs there.
  • You can earn up to 18 Gb of additional storage through referrals, too.
  • They have paid plans if you use LOTS of storage space (that’s what we use)

How It Works:

  • What dropbox does is simply add another folder on your computer that acts as a virtual drive.
  • You can load Dropbox on your PC, Mac, smartphones, tablets, etc, and have everything synchronized on every device.
    • If you change or edit a document in Dropbox while working on your laptop, it will automatically update everywhere else.
    • Even if you’re on someone else’s device, you can log in to your Dropbox account on the web and access your information there.
  • You can even share documents or folders with others so they can have access, too.  And it’s all done seamlessly…on the Cloud.
  • You can use it for photos and videos, too.
While Dropbox isn’t our backup plan, it supplements our plan since I host most of my everyday documents on it, making them always available on every device and always synced.

The “Thing” Segment:

Vanessa: ANALYSIS PARALYSIS: Too many choices can be overwhelming and frustrating…life is much easier and simpler when choices are few.  This strategy works great with kids too!

Dan:  EVERNOTE!  We both use and LOVE Evernote!  It is what they say, an external brain.  If you’re into David Allen’s Getting Things Done system, or any other productivity system for that matter, then you know how every system touts “ubiquitous capture,” aka “getting everything out of your head or your environment and getting it recorded somewhere (notebook, 3″ x 5” cards…or Evernote). We plan on doing a future podcast(s) dedicated to how we use Evernote, but in the meantime, check out and see if it might just rock your world like it has ours.

Closing Thoughts:

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Links We Mentioned in the Show:

Get Vanessa’s article on Letting Go of Your Clutter

Dropbox: You can learn more and download Dropbox at

Evernote: Your “external brain”

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4 thoughts on “SLT 003: Why We Can’t Let Go of Our Clutter, Backing Up Your Digital Information, and A Little About Dropbox

  1. Just ran into your site through your YouTube videos. I am so impressed. This is what I have been looking for. You combine technology with basic organizing techniques. So many organizers are so paper-orientated as if they are still in the 1980s that it’s refreshing to find a dynamic duo that blends the two together. I’m winding my way through your podcasts online and enjoying every one. Thanks!

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