Cleaning Up Google Drive (Digital Decluttering Project #3)

I stopped using Microsoft office a few years back, and thanks to google drive & Lucidpress (which replaces Microsoft Publisher nicely) , I really haven't missed it at all.  

There's a great short article here on tips for basic organizing - renaming, color coding, and how to see how much storage you are using -

How I Use Google Drive

I mention frequently that I like to keep all of my cloud storage separate. for ebooks, for Genealogy files to share, Dropbox for photos...  google drive is for documents.

One of the features I love with Google drive is that my kids can write a paper for school, share it with me, and I can edit it wherever I am at, with them seeing the edits as I make them. As a homeschool mom, this has been really nice.  

TIP - "If you want to quickly create a document, spreadsheet, presentation, or drawing in Google Drive, the links on those words in this sentence will do it. They take the form of ""—you just replace "document" with the word spreadsheet, presentation, or drawing, as needed."

My Favorite Drive Add Ons:
  • Hello Fax - Send Faxes from Google Drive
  • Mapping Sheets - this is what I am going to use to track where all of my ancestors were in the Civil War.  It will take all the info from an excel spreadsheet and place it on a map.
  • Easy Bibliography - My daughters favorite add on

The Folders That Work For Me:

Family -
 one folder for each family member. Each of those folders is shared with the person it is for. Just the other week Luke called me from WA where he is stationed - we live in PA - to ask what the exact date of his graduation for college paperwork he was filling out.  I was in a cemetery an hour from home, but told him to login to his google drive folder, and his diploma was in there for him to check.  As the kids have gotten older, these folders have been REALLY nice to have, and can be accessed form their phones no matter where they are.  In each of those folders are the following subfolders:
  • In The News (whenever they are in the newspaper, I scan the article and put it in this folder),
  • Education (standardized scores, copies of homeschool affadavits, copies of diplomas, etc) 
  • Medical (Immunization records,  reports, notes on any surgeries, and a scanned copy of their PIAA physical & school physical for the year.  This just came in handy when the school sent me a letter saying we are out of compliance in our homeschooling, that they don't have a copy of Matt's physical.  Since he plays football for said school, and had a PIAA physical for that as required, it was a little funny..  but an easy fix, I just printed a copy of said physical and sent it back to them) 
  • Certificates & Awards  - copies of the various certificates they have received over the years.  Extra note here - when my son got married last fall, I created a folder for my daughter in law and added a document with everyone's (extended family) birthdays, addresses, & how they are related. 

In addition to records for each of our family members, there is a folder for our pets in here too - with copies of adoption records, health records, shot records, etc.

Family Recipes - 
The next folder is labeled "Family Recipes".  This is not how I plan to store all of my recipes.  I haven't figured out how I am storing all of those yet.  When my son got married, I typed up my standard recipes, the things I make all the time, and I had them printed as 4x6 photos at Sam's club, then put them in one of the $1 photo albums for her.  I saved all of those to google docs, so when my next child gets married, it will be simple to print them all out again and make another album.  These might be moved once I figure out how to best store my recipes, but for now, they are here.

Heather - 
As I sorted out google drive, I was left with a lot of random documents I was not ready to part with, but did not like seeing in a cluttered jumble every time I access the main drive.  So I stuck them in a folder with my name on it.  :-)  This is stuff like the pdf file of the addresses and schedule for this round of #fmfpartysnailmail , and a standard photo release form that I print and sign when people want to have photos I have taken of them printed, etc.  I've been working on the "perfect" printable score sheet for the card game Hand & Foot (this years new favorite at our house), and that work in progress is in here too.

With subfolders for each holiday.  Under thanksgiving you will find a scan of the prayer Dan's great grandfather used to pray each Thanksgiving - my husband prays it before each Thanksgiving meal here now, continuing the tradition.  Under Christmas you will find all the planning documents I use - forms for how many of each of the kids/familly photos to order for all the family members, a file of our favorite cookie recipes, and there is also a folder in here to store the Murder Mystery parties that we have bought and downloaded.  (We did an Ugly Christmas Sweater Murder Mystery in 3 parts as a progressive dinner with Dan's family this year - it was a lot of fun)

Did you know that google drive works as an OCR Reader?  This is really handy with a lot of genealogy scans, wills, etc - drive can convert the photo or scan to text.  I store documents here that I want to convert, until I take the time to actually convert them.

Take the photo on your phone.
Share it to google drive
Go to your computer (I could not find an option through the app on my phone)
Click the box beside the file.  Choose "more" at the top of the screen.
Choose Open With
Choose Google Docs

This created a new document for me, with the photo at the top, and the text at the bottom.  
For genealogy, this is perfect.  I can copy and paste the text in my blog, and save all the documents with the scanned photo at the top, to check errors if there is a question later.

More about OCR in Google Drive:

PA Homeschool law requires me to submit a portfolio at the end of each year.  I scan in samples of Matt's work, tests, etc - then at the end of the year everything we need to put the portfolio together is right in one place.

This has two sub-folders - Taken, & To Take.  Information I want to save from past trips, and planning information for future trips in the other.  Loose in the trip folder is currently information about the Pine Creek Rail Trail - which we have done part of, but not all of.  In the "To Take" Folder I can plan trips I want to take, like biking the "ghost trail", and then when we have a week-end free it doesn't take long to pick up and go, because the planning is done.  The past trips is reference - sometimes people ask where we ate/stayed/parked for trips, I can just send them the document..  or sometimes we are planning a return trip, and I can find the same information, which I have forgotten, for myself.    There's information in here on things like the best places to see the Elk, and our trip itinerary from our week in South Carolina last year.

When I finished sorting all of these folders out today, I emptied the trash, and found I had removed over 1 gig from here today.  Now I'm only using 16% of my storage - plenty of room for me to do more here.  

TIP - While having Google Drive right on your desktop can be great, it comes with some downsides. If you delete Drive files from the desktop, they’ll still be stored online and take up space in your account. To truly delete files go to Drive on the web and empty the trash there.