Cracking Retirement Manage Data

Manage that Data

Why bother with data management? There are two sides to this post. Firstly I am becoming very aware that my digital footprint is bigger than I want. The amount of data that is being collected on us, and our activities, has started to worry me. In addition to that, the amount of time I spend  processing and housekeeping data in all its different varieties is increasing by the day.

 My Online Footprint

To give an example. A few weeks ago, I was researching apartments in Rome for the next stage in our Slow Travels, on the PC in the study. I was on the iPad shortly after, and immediately I got the first of many adverts showing me possible apartments in Rome. Yesterday evening I was looking at apartments in Amsterdam. Guess what Facebook showed me this morning?

Cracking REtirement FB image

However, the ones that worried me more arose some months ago. I was on Facebook  when I was presented with several ‘possible friends’.

  • One person I had exchanged a couple of emails with in my role as a governor. So how could Facebook have known my connection with this person? By looking at my contacts list
  • The other was an old friend of my mothers, who I had rung from my mobile phone a few times. Facebook had looked at the numbers on my phone directory and connected them with the phone registered for this lady.

Big Brother is alive and well, and growing fast. I have now become a compulsive cookie cleaner! I might let Google save passwords for sites I don’t care about, but passwords for anything important are not stored online…..

My Home Digital Archives

I have a PC bursting with information. I also have several backups. But my backups are in this house. I read with sadness about a fellow blogger Dads Dollars Debts nightmare when his home burnt down in the fires in California last October. Now having experienced this myself, many years ago, the things I miss most are the photographs. That very visual aspect which many years later can help you in bringing people and places to mind.

In the pre-digital age, you used a camera, took your shots, sent them off to get processed, and then reviewed them. The ones that were blurred or poor, you just put them in the waste bin. Others you set aside to put in a frame or an album, and the rest, if you were like me, you left in the folder. Over many years, those folders are now in a box in the loft waiting for me to do something with them. One box.

However, on my PC, I have 17 years of electronic photographs dating from when I got my first digital camera. I have just checked. I have 23,498 photographs and I am not a prolific photograph taker. However, I might take 10 shots, where previously I would have taken 1. Do I delete the other 9? sometimes but not very often! I need to be more selective.

Cracking retirement picture info

And then there are all the word documents, excel spreadsheets. Do I need a letter I wrote for my mother to my Dad’s doctor in 1996? I don’t think so. Do you have all the documents you think you have? I recently discovered that I no longer have the soft copy of my MBA dissertation. It must have been there at some stage, certainly on a CD, but I have neither. So at some stage I thought I had backed it up when I moved PC’s, or I deleted a directory by accident? It’s not disastrous, just annoying. I have a bound paper copy, but it would be good to have the original.

As for email…. How many email accounts do you have? How many emails do you keep? How old is the oldest? I have about 6 email accounts that I use regularly. More data.

I suspect I am not alone. When did you last do a clean-up of your data? I suspect you are better at cleaning out your cupboards than your PC.

What Next?

Do I really care about what information on me is ‘out there’. Yes and no. Do I know what is on my PC – yes and no.

What am I going to do about it?

Starting today

  • I will review one folder of photographs a day (With 492 folders, that’s a year and a half!).
  • I will clear out my mailboxes on the various servers. I use outlook, so my PC has all of them that I need or want.
  • Unsubscribe –  I am consciously going to unsubscribe from as many databases as I can, and be more picky about the ones I say Yes – send me your info. It’s a bit two-faced, as I am trying to build up my own subscriber list…..
  • I am going to try and reduce the amount of stuff stored on my PC. Today it stands at

Cracking Retirement - Disk space used

While 132 Gb isn’t massive by current standards, it is far more data than I need or can manage. 37Gb of that is photographs!

  • Security – Time to look at all my passwords. Do they fit current security standards? Are they different for all websites? Time to raise my game.
  • Backups – I have just purchased a new backup drive. Now I have to copy everything onto it, and give it to a friend to keep for me. (I already have one of hers!)

Cracking Retirement Backup

  • I have an online Flickr account. Time to tidy that up too…..

I suspect I am not alone. When did you last do a clean-up of your data? I suspect you are better at cleaning out your cupboards than your PC.

If you would like to Pin this, and please do. just click the image below.


Cracking Retirement Manage Data


  1. You sound just like my husband – he is very aware of how Big Brother is watching us. He covers his camera on his PC and laptop, he has a gazillion different passwords and is very cyber conscious. I’m a bit in the dark ages still – I don’t have my phone details linked to anything, I only have one email account, and a few hundred photos rather than a few thousand. I figure cyberspace isn’t that interested in a middle aged woman – and if they are they can read my blog 🙂 Thanks so much for linking up with us at #MLSTL – I’ve shared this on my social media and look forward to you sharing and commenting on some of the other bloggers who’ve linked up.

    1. Thanks Leanne. I am in the same apace as your husband for sure. I’ve commented and shared about 5 of the Midlife ShareThe Love posts so far. It’s a great idea. Thank you for organising it

  2. Great idea, Erith, to regularly review and de-clutter our digital and non-digital data. I enjoyed your post and found you on Sue and leanne’s MLSTL linkup.

    1. Thanks Natalie. I’ve just found you there too! Loved your post on how to cope with your worries.

  3. Hi Erith, my husband doesn’t like giving too much information away and he is a stickler for backing up vital information including photos on an external hard drive, which he keeps in a safe place. I hear you about looking up accommodation and then being bombarded on your PC or Ipad with adverts that pop up. I suppose George Orwell might have been on to something when he wrote ‘1984’. I read that in high school in the 70s and even 1984 seemed a long way off. We have now passed that date well and truly but society is changing so rapidly, I just found out I can buy a coffee with my phone! Thanks for linking up and sharing this important information with us at Midlife Share the Love party. I’ve been trying to unsubcribe almost daily because for some reason I have supposedly subscribed to so many websites!! Have a great day and hope you link up next week. #MSTL

    1. Thanks Sue. I am torn between sites remembering I have been there, (because otherwise I will forget about them…) and them using my details for an advertising proposition! I am enjoying the sites Midlife Share has introduced me to!

  4. Hi Erith, this was a really interesting read. It used to amuse me when suddenly an advert popped up for dobething I’d been thinking about or researching but now it scares me. I’m thoroughly enjoying the posts at #mlstl linkup and have pinned your post. Nice to meet you 😊

    1. Hi Debbie, like you it was fun at first, now because of the quantity of they ‘hidden’ information that drives the advertising, I am less fond of it!

  5. Hi Erith, I so agree with you about how Big Brother is getting more intrusive. It’s amazing the things my computer and my mobile seem to know about me. I think we need to be vigilant but overall I’m a bit despondent really about the ways we can actually avoid being watched. As long as we back up our important docs, photos and passwords, as long we’re not doing anything illegal, and as long as nothing important gets stolen, I feel that life and the web goes on … and on and on … and as I get older and older (;) I have other more important things in my life to get on with. But a great reminder of the things we do need to be aware of, thank you. #pinned too

    1. Thanks Jo. I agree we have to accept the inevitability of the online intrusiveness. I certainly would not like to go back before the internet – it makes life so easy in many ways. Thanks for Pinning

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