Wednesday, January 27th, 2021

Are you a Hoarder? How-to take charge of your data

By Cathy Kuzel on Sep 27 2010 • Filed under The Connected Woman

They’re there. Files upon files. Folders upon folders. You can’t see them, but they’re taking up TONNES of space on your hard drive AND they’re keeping you from doing what you do best!

As an entrepreneur, you are geared to research, explore new ideas, read everything you can get your hands on in the hopes of finding that ‘pearl’ of wisdom. With every report or article you collected, you saved it IN CASE you ever needed it.

It’s one thing to create and build a valuable resource library, but have you crossed the line from researcher to hoarder? Is the information you have archived relevant or relic? Is it saved with the thought that it might be relevant ‘someday’?

One of the biggest challenges we can face in business is to cease and desist from searching for more and more information; to stop downloading and saving hundreds of ezines, eBooks, audio programs, white papers, blogs, articles and podcasts and instead take action to grow our businesses.

Clutter, in whatever form it takes, whether we can see it or not, uses energy. Energy to find it, save it and search through it. We can become overwhelmed with the sheer quantity of information that we have and the effort that it will take to find whatever it was that we saved that we thought was important three years ago! And then you find not just four references but 40! Now what? Three hours of reading and reviewing to find what’s relevant?

You’re a Hoarder.

But there’s hope. Here are 5 success tactics that can move you from hoarder to focused:

  1. Ancient History – all that information you’ve collected that is three years and older is probably outdated. Unless you’re archiving for posterity’s sake or sentimental reasons, delete it.
  2. Market Niche – everything that does NOT apply to your market niche needs to go. You know, the ones that COULD be used but you don’t have the clients for it or the resources. TIP: Can’t let go? Give it a purpose – send that article, blog or whitepaper to a colleague whose business focus aligns with that piece and who would find value in receiving it. Then delete it.
  3. Unsubscribe – you won’t hurt that person’s feelings if you remove yourself from their mailing list. Really. If the content is not addressing your needs in your business RIGHT NOW then it’s clutter. Having to wade through dozens of ezines every week is counter-productive. TIP: Can’t let go? Create a ‘Favourite’ internet folder titled ‘eZines’ and bookmark the URL of the ezines that are SPECIFIC to your market. Schedule a specific day and duration of time to browse through the ezines for the month. Much more effective!
  4. Dating – when you save information, date it. Name the file with the date preceding it. Ie: Networking Tips – save it as yy/mm/dd 100918_Networking_Tips
  5. GOOGLE – the ultimate archive. You can find anything and everything WHEN YOU NEED IT! There’s no reason to download every piece of information you come across because you ‘might’ need it.

Prioritize, organize and create strict guidelines for the information you feel you must keep. Regularly update and weed out files from your database that aren’t current, pertinent or relevant. This includes your contacts, mailing lists, linkedin resources and facebook friends.

Whenever you clear ‘clutter’, you create space to attract fresh, new and innovative ideas and people.


  1. Hi Cathy,
    I know when it comes to information and resources I collect my best findings like a ‘info hoarder’ and I also create a fair amount of tools and forms in my business, which I keep too. And I have to admit I also have a thing for office supplies, sorting supplies and other various containments. As my profession and my passion is putting things in order and making everything ‘Tidy’ I do good to keep things clean, my electronic files in order, and my tasks in order. Oh and I do purge regularly, so it’s all good. This is a great article and great advice. Thank you for sharing it. You Rock!

    • So good to hear from you Michelle! (I too, have a thing for office supplies!) With so much information available at our fingertips – literally – unless you are organized it can become an absolute case of information overload.

  2. Didn’t mean to alarm you Elizabeth! But I am speaking from personal experience when I ask the question “Are You a Hoarder?” I upgraded my computer and of course, needed to transfer my existing files. Egads! It was then that I realized my hard drive needed a cleanse!
    Regarding your inbox – Prioritize. Most mail programs sort your folders alphabetically. You can get around this by adding a number or asterisk at the beginning of the folder name to have it appear at the top.

  3. That is so scary Cathy, I am taking your advise right away. Any helpful tips on the in’s and out’s of a nice inbox.? The article is very helpful, and I am printing it of for a friend.

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