Data lifecycle management is one of the buzz words of this year. But in the current marketing lingo, this refers only to enterprise grade systems and structured data. You have to have very much data in order for this to be worth the trouble. But what to do on a small scale? Ignoring the problem is the worst thing to do. The amount of data is never going to decrease and sorting out what to do with the pile of documents when nothing can be found is a frustrating labor. If using a document management solution is out of choice, then structuring the data by hand is the only choice left. It is definitely worth the hassle, but how to sort it all? For projects it is easy, just pack everything into one folder (structured or not) and keep it on a read only media after the project ended. For all the other data, retention periods are the way to go. No one really needs all data ever created. Most of it can be discarded after a certain time, especially revisions and slightly modified copies. The rest of the unused data can be put on slower, read only media to protect it from bit-rot and accidental loss. Hence, the main goals of data management don’t differ much between large integrated systems and small home made rulesets and neither do the counter measures. So before going into summer holidays, it is a good time get rid of all the unnecessary data lurking around. You surely want to come back not only to a clean desk but also a clean desktop!