I have a bunch of boxes jammed full of printouts, sketches, and random paper stacked up in the closet. Most of it are boring text and kerning proofs. Some of it is actually pretty interesting though. And the boring stuff adds up to make an interesting record. A few years ago I thoughtlessly tossed all of my early Alright Sans process books and deeply regret it. Since then I've been hoarding everything but it's turning into a lot of stuff.
I'm just curious what everyone else does with their stuff. What do you trash? What do you keep? Why?
Any specimen books or sheets, keep forever. Install disks and serial numbers for older software don't require a lot of space but toss the old printed manuals. Keep everything well organized; it will store better.
Throw away business records after the statutorily required time
Now all proofs go into the recycling bin as soon as I finish the next round of proofs. Some proofs go into the trash the minute I check off the last revision. Random prints go directly to the trash after I look at them. Sketchbooks get saved, and if I think a drawing is particularly worthwhile I put in in a binder, other loose drawings go in the bin.
Once I got used to throwing stuff out I got over not being able to go look at it again. Now I just don’t think about it.
If you really feel the need to archive proofs just create PDFs with time-stamp filenames as you go along.
The only way to store things is to store it on two hard drives and if they are full, buy two lager drives and move everything over. This should ensure two things. First the breaking of the drives and the possibility that the drive interface goes out of fashion (probably do not get FireWire drives for archiving).
Or print out the imported stuff
Just as important, I also keep disk images of all software (plus license keys), as well as operating systems because you never know when you'll need to retrieve something. I recently had to install a very old version of windows into a virtual machine on my iMac, so I could install some very old software, just to open some very old files (whose format was 'obsolete') and print them to a dummy PostScript printer so I could make a PDF because my original paper copies got damaged.
The digital stuff I work on is on Dropbox, some stuff on Google Drive. Everything is TimeMachined. Once I do not work on it anymore, it goes onto an external HD. If that HD ever dies, I’ll say: ‘Good riddance!’ I have found I never look into archived stuff anymore.
My software licenses are kept in my e-mail account.
I only wonder what I will do with all those old binary VFB files, should that day ever arrive that FontLab won’t run on my system anymore…
So, It's time to think about what is really important or not in our daily life 'material' existence.
(or... it's time for a beer)
Generally anything outputted by a computer I recycle. Anything digital goes onto Dropbox, I figure that any archive distributed between three machines and a copy on a cloud is sufficient redundancy.
I think if I used photoshop/raster files more this method would fall apart really quickly.