Insufficient Disk Space! (How to) Manage Storage

insufficient disk space
Photo by Sander Crombach on Unsplash

Insufficient Disk Space. The red flag warning slid over from the left top of my screen just as I was beginning an assignment due the next day. “Not now! I don’t have time! How could this be happening when I had so much work to do?” My heavy course load includes many reference readings and I’ve been downloading frequently. Still, I didn’t think those documents took up much space.

On their own, they don’t but they accumulate. I checked my storage and sure enough I was down to just over 1 GB on my 126 GB hard drive. The last time I checked, surely not that long ago, there were 20 GB available. I thought I’d done a pretty good job of file management. What happened?

Insufficient disk space results in slow and unstable performance of your computer’s operating system. It can prevent an application from launching or working properly. I would have to offload files before I got into a real bind.

I didn’t have time for a full scale cleaning. But, I could at least free up enough space to let me get my work done without worrying that my computer was about to crash. A quick conversation with a client about large files I was storing turned up a spare external hard drive in his office. He sent it to me that day but I still needed immediate action. I sorted through large files, photos in messenger files, and trashed most of my course files from last term. Many had been downloaded in duplicate, something that happens when you open them with Adobe. I evidently hadn’t stayed on top of them. Those actions were enough to give me some breathing room although I had to keep a close eye on things until the hard drive arrived.

Events in our life do not happen in isolation. As part of my morning meditative practice, I draw a tarot card to prompt my journaling. It didn’t surprise me to see the Tower the next morning, the card that reminds you to eliminate that which is no longer useful from your life so you can continue to grow. We think we need to hold on to old mental, emotional, and physical baggage but eventually, it holds us back. It fills our storage space and there’s no room for movement, let alone growth.

While I don’t ascribe everything to be “a sign,”, this coincidence was too obvious to ignore and I’ve learned to listen to that. I don’t need another message. They usually get stronger. Freeing up personal space involves the same process as I went through with my computer files but the choices are can be more difficult.

How to Manage Your “Storage” Space

Use these brief tips as a guide for further contemplation. You can turn them into questions and use them as prompts for reflection and journaling. The insights that come out of your pen can be amazingly insightful.

  1. Surround yourself with a core group of people who love and support you and whom you can support in return. Spend quality time with these people. Avoid time in relationships that are depleting.
  2. Settle on your priorities. For the next three months, I need to focus on preparing for post graduate studies and completing and doing well in my undergraduate studies.
  3. Spend time every day in nature, even if it’s only a few minutes. That can mean just stepping outside for a few minutes but I try and get a solid forest walk in weekly.
  4. Eat well and walk thirty minutes every day. Combine that with #3 whenever possible.

In spite of my best intentions, there’s still a tendency to push myself but I’m more aware of it sooner. The other evening it was getting late but I was still trying to get some reading done even as my head kept nodding into my papers. From the upper left of my internal screen flashed a warning: Insufficient disk space: Manage storage! I closed my book and went to bed. Overnight I’d get rid of unnecessary files during dreamtime and free up space to be bright and eager to go in the morning.


Author, writer, and student Liz Jansen combines her artistic mediums to create stories that inspire readers to embark on their own journey of self-discovery.