Friday, February 03, 2023

Organize it or trash it? Taming My Download Directory Mess

Every so often my S22's Downloads folder becomes a tangled thicket of files. When I looked yesterday, it had over a hundred files and it was impossible to know if any were worth keeping.

Rather than sort this mess out, I prefer an easier route: push the files to an Amazon S3 bucket where the mess can live safely out view. Amazon's pricing makes it so that I can store a gig of questionable files for .4 cents(!) a month. At that price, it's much easier to sweep the files under the rug, knowing I can get back to them if needed, then to spend any real time doing cleanup.

Using FolderSync, this process happens in a reliable and automated way. Here's how.

First off, I defined a Amazon S3 account in FolderSync. I then created a new FolderPair with these properties:

The most useful settings are:

  • Sync type: Remote. This is a one way push from my phone into Amazon S3.
  • Sync deletions: (unchecked). It's important to leave this unchecked, as we'll be asking FolderSync to delete the files after they are uploaded.
  • Move files to target folder: (checked). This setting ensures the phone's download directory will be empty after the sync procedure is done.
  • Copy files to a time-stamped folder: (checked). This helps organize our clean up efforts, making a directory in S3 for each time we perform the sync process.

Once set up, I can click the 'Sync' button and have FolderSync work its magic. When my last cleanup effort finished, here were the results:

On the S3 side of things, I can access the files by browsing a date of interest:

One helpful feature of S3 is the ability to set up life-cycle policies. I'm using this, for example, to tell Amazon that the items in this archive bucket aren't going to be accessed frequently. Amazon will then store my files at a much cheaper rate.

I could use this facility to delete these files after an extended period, say, 1 year. While that's tempting, I'm interested to see what I make of my Downloads directory in say, another decade. Will I find some hidden gem in there that at the time seemed like junk, but is now invaluable? Time will tell.

If only IRL de-cluttering could be this easy!

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