The wife is traveling this week on a much-needed vacation, so I’ll take over the weekly 40 Bags post. I’m pretty sure I’m doing it wrong, but whatever.
I haven’t been able to actually accomplish anything this week, so here are three organization tips I’ve come up with in the past:
1 – Make a consistent system for backing up photos
Photos are the one thing I can’t stand to think of losing, but I’ve never been interested in managed cloud storage. When all the photos I took were on a single camera, this was easier to manage. Now, our photos and videos are usually scattered across the mobile devices and a camera. So, here’s what I do:
- Once a month (put it on your calendar, or you’ll forget), gather all the devices you take photos or video on, and all their cords.
- Copy all of the last month photos to a single folder labeled with the month. I like to use a yyyymmdd format so that they show up in order automatically. If you’re copying off an iPhone, don’t bother with iTunes, just pull the image files off like a external hard drive.
- Delete the photos you just copied to your computer. You don’t have to do this if you like to keep a lot of photos on your phone, but it does help make it clear what you’ve backed up. My wife’s phone is always out of file space, so she usually doesn’t have a choice.
- For extra safety, I bought two external hard drives and rotate them back and forth to work with the entire photo library on them. That way, if something happened to the house, I’d still have all our photos.
2 – Use a Password Vault
I think that most people have agreed that using varied, somewhat complex, long passwords and changing them occasionally is pretty good practice. That’s basically impossible if you want to actually remember your passwords.
Originally I used a USB-stick password vault (Keepass). That worked fairly well, until I lost the USB stick.
I think by far the best answer is a browser-embedded password vault. I use LastPass. You install a plug-in to your browser, put in a single master password, and it keeps track of any new logins you use, and automatically populates login information when you got to log in.
If you’re on a public computer, you can just go to the LastPass website and access your vault to look up or copy your password.
3 – Use a cloud-based note system
I don’t know how many times a day I need a private place to put notes, pictures, reminders, links to webpages that I don’t need right now but probably will someday, etc.
This includes my favorite, taking pictures of labels or documents that’ll I’ll certainly misplace or forget about but will probably need later.
I’ve tried a few, but Evernote has been the easiest for me to use consistently. They offer a free PC/Mac based program, browser interface, or mobile app, and they all update seamlessly.
As with anything like this, the more you use it the more useful it becomes, so you really have to try to commit to it.