I’m writing this because my laptop’s memory is full. Annoying, to say the least. I have to find a better way to store data – documents, images, videos. The reason I don’t have a single GB left is because I have been filming the Social Squad videos and have been editing them. This got me thinking: I can’t be the only one. You probably have a lot of data on your computer that you can store more efficiently.

Before I started blogging, I was an average user. So, I bought a laptop that would suit my lifestyle. However, I then started Tech in Heels and BAM, pictures, videos, Photoshop, documents everywhere. I wasn’t aware of how much data I had stored until this weekend. While editing videos, I suddenly got the notification of death: “your storage is almost full.” Seriously? Thank heavens for my external hard drive. I solved the problem the quick and dirty way by moving all of my documents there, but of course there is a better, more efficient way to deal with data, so in this post I am going to tell you how to store documents.

Store documents lifestyle image

Identify the “problem”

The first thing you want to do is identifying what most of your data exists of. Is it music, images or applications/programs?

Go to “About this Mac” and click on storage. It will show you how many GB you have used up, how much you have left, and where your “problem” lies. If you use Windows, go to your documents and click on “Computer”. You can see how much GB is stored on different drives.

I find that documents are a bit less of a problem since you can throw away a lot of unused files. However, applications and programs are sometimes necessary. I use Photoshop and Final Cut Pro a lot, but at the same time, they take up a lot of storage room…

Clean up what you don’t need

The most obvious step of all: delete files you don’t need. Take a look at your “downloads” folder and clean up all the GIF’s and cute cat videos you downloaded. Pro tip: sort your files by size, and see if you can get rid of the bigger files first. Go through your documents and images and delete previous versions of that file. For my blog, I often shoot 2 or 3 pictures of the same thing so that I can choose which version is better. I might as well delete the ones that didn’t make it to my website or Instagram. Don’t forget to delete temporary files, as well.

If it’s at all possible, uninstall unnecessary programs. Applications like Silverlight, Flash, and Java aren’t mandatory. Deleting these programs won’t free up a lot of space, but when every GB counts, you can consider uninstalling them. If you use toolbars in your internet browser, you can uninstall those as well. Watch out that you don’t delete applications such as Microsoft.NET. Deleting this will effect other programs. Other programs refer to the Microsoft.Net framework in order to function properly. Instead, look for applications that you’ve once downloaded because you thought you needed them (media players, zip file unpacking software or games), but only take up space in return.

When you’re finished, empty the recycle bin/trash. Bye bye, files.

Typing this, I suddenly miss the old floppy disk. Am I the only one? These were so cute and practical.

Right, now that you’ve sorted the files on your computer, it’s time to find an alternative place to put them. Not all documents should leave your computer. Especially, if you are actively using them. But vacation pictures from 3 years ago, don’t necessarily need to take up room on your drive. Time to show you how to store documents the correct way!

USB stick

This is the least preferable option. USB sticks can’t store a lot of data, and are actually meant to transfer documents, rather than store them. On average, a USB stick has around 128GB of storage, which isn’t a whole lot if you have many (high-res) images or other media to store. You probably have a USB stick somewhere around the house. So, if you need space on your hard drive quickly, you can (temporarily) store some on there. If you’re looking for a more permanent option, you should look into the next few options.

Cloud storage

One of the options available nowadays, is cloud storage. I like storing data in the cloud because I know I can access my documents anywhere. Examples of cloud storage are iCloud, Dropbox, Amazon Drive or Google Drive.

Depending on how much data you want to store, you can pick a suitable plan. Personally, I would recommend pCloud. This service let’s you store up to 2TB of data. You can install it on your computer so it will look like a regular folder on your laptop, but it doesn’t take up any space on your hard drive. Also, pCloud is really affordable compared to Dropbox and Google Drive.

The pro’s of cloud storage are quite simple: the data is always accessible, it’s relatively safe and you have “unlimited” storage possibilities. The cost of cloud storage is quite cheap compared to other options. The biggest con I can think of is privacy. It is possible for governments to have access to your data. You and I have nothing to hide, apart from a few scandalous vacation pictures. But still. Also, you will need an internet connection to access your data.

NAS – Network attached storage

The concept of NAS is similar to cloud storage, but this time, you host the cloud on your own network. A NAS is like an external hard drive with an internet connection. It is possible to connect multiple devices to the NAS at home (or at the office). Most NAS devices use their own encryption software so your documents are safe in your cloud. Unlike the “normal” cloud option, third parties don’t have access to your data. If you want regular and automatic updates, a NAS would be the perfect option. However, it can be a bit difficult to set up.

NAS Storage

  1. WD My Cloud 2TB (NL) or WD My Cloud 2 TB (International)
  2. For a smaller budget, this is a great option as well: Synology DS115j NAS (NL) or Synology DS115j NAS (international)
  3. Qnap Turbo Station TS-112P (international)

External/portable hard drive

An external hard drive is a great option to store data. They range from 80 gigabyte (around €50) to 5 terabyte (around €150). Although, you can also purchase 120TB for around €10.000 if you’re into that…I feel like I’m repeating myself when I say that you have to look at your needs when shopping for an external hard drive. If you stream music and movies instead of downloading them, and you’re only looking to store images and Word/Excel files, an external hard drive between 80 GB and 120 GB should suite you fine.

You can use an external hard drive as a backup for your data, or you can remove the files from your computer if you’ve put them on there. I always get anxious completely deleting things, so I use my external hard drive as a back up. A disadvantage of an external hard drive is the fact that it can get lost. Also, an external hard drive isn’t very practical when you’re out and about. It’s a great solution, however, if you want to store your files or create a back up at home. When buying an external hard drive, make sure it works well with your operating system.

Data storage

  1. Bestseller – Seagate Expansion Portable (NL) or Seagate Expansion Portable (International)
  2. Yes, even external hard drives can match your interior ? – WD My Passport portable (NL) or WD My Passport portable
  3. Easy does it – Toshiba Canvio Alu 3S (NL) or Toshiba Canvio Alu 3S (International)
  4. Or you could go wireless with the LaCie Fuel Wi-Fi Mobile (NL) or LaCie Fuel Wi-Fi Mobile (International)
  5. If you’re on the go – Freecom ToughDrive (NL) or Freecom ToughDrive (International)

About The Author


Co-founder of TechGirl.com. Owner of Tech in Heels. Online communication specialist, a coder in the making & tech influencer. Loves anything pink. Instagram addicted. Purple hair, don't care!

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