As the world becomes more digital, there are more documents, images and videos to keep track of, and then find again.
It can quickly get overwhelming, especially when you've got hundreds of files and several devices, and soon you can find your desktop looking like a wall after a paint-gun battle.
The key to any organisation is to develop a system, and to keep on top of the workload.
If you are not in the cloud, it might be time to look at it as an option.
Storing something using a cloud service means it's kept on a server accessible through the internet, rather than on your computer's hard drive.
Most services, such as Google's Drive, Microsoft's SkyDrive Apple's iCloud and Dropbox offer a decent amount of space for free and simple-to-use sites.
If you prefer using your computer's hard drive, then make sure you keep a backup. To be really safe, keep a backup of your backup, especially for important content.
Try to use a logical system for your files, such as organising them by year or subject. If using the subject method, use a few broad terms, such as personal, work and home and then create subfolders within those.
With the rise of smartphones, everyone is taking more photos than ever, which is why you need to get organised.
If you lost your smartphone without backing it up or downloading pictures, that precious moment could be lost.
iPhoto, Apple's free editing software, is simple to use, as is Picasa for a Windows PC.
These programs can organise your photos for you, using events as the basis. However, if you want more control, the best way is to create folders by year and then by month and then use albums for events.
It is also a good idea to keep the original photos organised in the same way and back up both.
Also, don't forget to use tags or captions to label each photo. That way you can do a search to easily find a photo of a certain person or place.
To save time and space, scroll through and delete unwanted photos on your camera or phone before you download them.
If you want to make use of the cloud for your photos, you can use a service such as Flickr to store (and share) them.
Video is becoming an increasingly poplar medium for capturing memories. However, it eats up storage space fast. Your three-minute video of your child's party can take up several gigabytes if using a high-quality camera.
The key here is to be brutally selective. There's no point in keeping every shaky video.
If you are just filing a collection of clips, you can use the year, month and subject technique. But if you plan to make movies out of your clips, you may need a separate folder for finished movies.
To share your movies, you can use YouTube, and this also means there's another backup for you if needed. Once again, make sure you keep your original footage and make backups.
Once you are organised, make sure you put your computer at the top of your list of things to grab when your home catches fire, or all that hard work will be for nothing.
- The Dominion Post