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Dear Aunt TUAW: Help me manage my Dropbox


Dear Aunt TUAW,

I really love my Dropbox account, but sometimes I get frustrated trying to manage my space. I'm at 3.75 GB max storage right now and I'm hovering near the top end of that.

Can you suggest any OS X tools that can help me figure out which files to keep, and which to recycle out of the system?

Your loving niece,


Dear Grace,

Auntie is a huge fan of Grand Perspective. Just open it on the Dropbox folder in your home user directory (/Users/youraccountname) and it gives you a great visual overview of which files are taking up what space. That's a great way to track down Dropbox hogs that are consuming your file allocation.

In this screen shot, you can see that numerous manuscript release candidates are taking up more space than they should. Those extra files are now happily backed to external storage and off the precious primary Dropbox folder.

For dealing with multiple smaller files, look at your folders more holistically and target the ones that seem most ripe for a nice declutter. For example, check out the two folders at the top-left of the Grand Perspective screen shot.

All together, they occupy some significant storage space, even though each file is quite small individually. Regularly targeting large, cluttered folders for scanning and weeding helps reduce Dropbox chaos over time. You might look at the last modified dates or try to toss items you've already processed.

As for those three giant files at the right side and top-middle of the screen? Don't forget to remind people you share big data with to grab the items you're sending them, and then give you a ping back so you can clear them off your allocation.

Hope this helps!


Auntie T.

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