I, personally, have about half dozen flash drives floating around among my briefcase, home office and, er uh, my dresser and the passenger seat of my mini-van. Are you starting to get the idea of where I might be going?
Flash drives tend to be just a little too portable. They are easy to lose. It's easy to forget what is on what (they don't come with label-making features).
What to do?
Here are some tips how to store your storage:
1. Color code your flash drives. Flash drives come in all sorts of colors. Take advantage of it. Stick with the common colors that you always be able to find. You can color code by either the type of file (example: blue - documents, red - pictures, yellow - video files, etc.) or by the task (example: blue - internal work documents, red - client files, green - financial files, yellow - personal, etc.)
2. Get a key box! You know; one of these! They come in all sizes and price ranges. If this is just for your home office, you can spend as little as $15 on a key rack and hang your thumb drives like Christmas ornaments. If you have a small to midsize business, you can buy a key cabinet that locks and is even fire proof.
3. Designate a zipper pocket in your briefcase or purse for your flash drive. If you always put it in the same place, you won't forget where it is.
4. Pick a brand and style of flash drive and stick with it. I have a Texas Longhorn flash drive that I got from the UT Coop last fall, while on pilgrimage to the Holy Land (but that's just me). I live in Connecticut. I assure you that no one is going to mistakenly pick up my flash drive for their own and walk away with it, at least not by accident. If school pride is not your bag (perhaps you went to OU or something), you can do something as simple as put a mark on your flash drive with a swipe of nail polish.
5. Get started by taking inventory. Gather them all up. See what's on them. Delete the ballast. Have one basket for flash drives that hasn't been inventoried in awhile. Have another for drives that have been cleaned off and are ready to be filled up again.
Last updated: May 6, 2009
RENEE ORICCHIO is a technology writer and former supervising news producer for CNN Financial News. She has been covering the computer industry since 1987. @oricchio