We do a daily backup of information for staff and students using an offsite backup utility. It was generously donated to us with a 250GB storage limit.
However, I just received a backup error to say that we are over our limit!
I started to look through the directory to locate the source of the problem. Volume for teacher folders is rather large.
They are jam packed full of stuff!
I notice there are the essential files such as templates, lesson plans, worksheets, and assessment tools. Those cannot be deleted. However, there is a large portion of outdated files that can likely be removed from the server. On closer examination, I discover the biggest contributor to the storage capacity issue is PHOTOS! Since most photos are taken in a hi-resolution format they eat up space quite quickly.
Teachers are BUSY people. They barely have enough time to create a file, never mind take the time to delete outdated ones. It is a good idea to clean out your folder at the end of the school year. However, IF you ignored this request last year, it is a good time to do it now!
I know you don’t want to part with anything, because “you might need it”. However, there are definitely some files you can delete.
For example, do you really need the Pizza Day announcement from five years ago? The event is over.
What about the photos from the school trip in 2002? Those children have graduated and left the school.
Here are some suggestions to get and STAY organized:
Sort Files by Date: Open your folder and sort the files by date. Just because the files are OLD does not mean they are unnecessary. Take the time to open up your old files. If they are not necessary then delete them. If you want to keep them, organize them into folders so that you can find them easily in the future.
Transform Documents into Reusable Templates: There are likely parent letters, newsletters, or other publications you created that are reusable. Create a Template folder. Place the “master” files into the template folder and apply a read-only property. Now you can use the file over and over again.
Organize your Files into Folders by School Year: I understand that you want to keep files for the school year in case you need to refer to them at a later time. For example, school calendars or school trip forms might be something you want to store for the year. To stay organized, create a folder that includes the school year as the first label in the name, such as 2012 2013 School Calendar or 2012 2013 School Trip Forms. Store suitable files for the school year in those folders. At the end of the school year, you can quickly sort the folders by name and then delete all of the unwanted folders for that school year or move them to an external storage device.
Zip Old Photos: Today, digital cameras take photos at such a high resolution that the file size for just one image can be quite large. Combine that with all the photos taken over the course of a school year with the photos saved from previous years and your folder can easily reach capacity. If you are storing photos from a few years ago, but you have no immediate use for them, you can compress them. To do this, place the photos into a clearly labeled folder. Right click the mouse and select Send to and then Compressed (zipped) folder. A new zippered folder will appear with all your pictures. You can now delete the original folder.
Use an Image Resizer to Reduce File Size: An Image Resizer is software that will compress your images to make them a smaller file size. The Windows PowerToy and Image Resizer for Windows offer the unique advantage of small file size paired with scalability. Photos can be scaled to fill an entire Microsoft Word page or PowerPoint slide without losing their sharpness. Instructions for how to use these tools to resize batches of photos is explained in the blog, Resizing Images Without Losing Quality.
Archive your Photos to DVD: You are proud of the work you and your students have created. Deleting it can be difficult. A good idea is to archive the files instead. You can transfer the materials such as the school year book from four years ago to a DVD and clearly label the content. Place it in a safe place. Now you can access the files in the future if necessary.
Delete Photos as you Go: Preview the photos while they are still on the camera. Delete immediately any photos that are blurry or have a person’s head cut off. You aren’t going to use them, so get rid of them right away.
Be Selective of the Photos you Keep: Digital cameras let us take many picture of the same subject matter, so that we can be sure we have the “perfect” shot. This means often there are six photos of the same girl smiling. It is a good idea, that once those photos are transferred from the camera onto the computer to identify the perfect photo and immediately delete all the photos you did not like. Then take a few minutes to resize the photos you want to keep. This will keep the storage problem to a minimum and save you time in the future!