Cloud services, such as Dropbox, provide you with the ability to view and edit your files anywhere from any computer or device. This weekend in the Weekend Series, you are going to organize your cloud files.
Strategize Your Cloud
Before you organize your cloud files, you need to devise a strategy for how you want to use various cloud services. You have three options when it comes to your cloud strategy:
- Maximum Freedom – You want to spread your files among several cloud services so that you get lots of free cloud storage.
- Expensive Simplicity – You want easy access to all of your files on any device, regardless of the cost.
- Simplistic Freedom (Suggested) – You are willing to spend a little time keeping your cloud service clean and organized and want to use only one free service.
If you want to access more documents, photos, videos, and files than you can store for free in a single cloud service, you might consider it worth your time to manage multiple cloud accounts.
To get the most out of your free cloud storage, see this Lifehacker article about How to Maximize Your Free Storage Space on Every Cloud Service.
To simplify the management of your cloud files, you should organize your files so that you don’t have to pause to consider which service houses a particular file. You could sort files by type, using one service for documents, another service for photos, and so on. Alternately, you could sort your files by project, using one service for files about your home, another for work files, and another for family-related files. Determine the strategy that works best for you.
Additionally, you might consider using a cloud management solution to get the most out of your cloud accounts. MultCloud is a free web-based application that provides a single location to manage all of your cloud files. If you are a Mac/iOS user, Cloud Commander has a nice interface for managing all of your cloud services.
If you’re willing to commit to a monthly or yearly fee for your cloud storage, you might also consider your backup needs. Before you choose a service to give your hard-earned money to, evaluate what documents, photos, and videos that you use regularly, and determine the size of the files that you want to store in the cloud.
If you’re looking for a cloud file synching service such as Dropbox.com, see the About.com article about the Top 7 File Syncing Apps.
If you find that you have a lot of files, including old photos and videos that don’t need to go into your cloud storage, make sure that you back them up, and check back next month when we cover how to Organize Your Backups.
Simplistic Freedom (Suggested)
If you don’t have a lot of files that you want to sync across all of your devices, and you want to maintain a simple setup, consider syncing to one or at most, two cloud services. This recommended method requires a little maintenance, but is still free and simple.
About.com keeps an updated list of Free Cloud Storage Services, including a comparison chart of the top 5 services to help you decide what service is best for you. Additionally, Lifehacker has a great article about How to Maximize Your Free Storage Space on Every Cloud Service.
To manage this method, complete the following tasks:
- Choose the documents and files that you access regularly and sync them up with a service such as Dropbox.com.
- Choose a second cloud service such as OneDrive to back up photos and videos from your mobile devices.
- Set alerts on your cloud services to remind you to clean out your accounts when you approach your free cloud storage limits.
- When you receive an alert, go through the files in your cloud folders and organize them into your local file system.
- Back up your files regularly to a local and a cloud backup system. For more information, see Organize Your Backup.