How I cleared 30 GB of memory on my Macbook in 30 minutes

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Despite the fact I took the plunge and upgraded the memory space on my laptop.... and despite the fact I keep all of my videos, pictures, and audio files on an external hard drive.... the disk space on my Macbook pro is perpetually on the brink of being full, and has been for two straight years.

It's very frustrating. 

Every couple of weeks the darn thing slows down beyond a usable point, and I get this dreaded popup:

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Usually, I can nurse it along for a few more days by restarting it and emptying my trash, but yesterday the situation came to a head when I was unable to crop an image in photoshop because my startup disk was too full.  

SMH, Apple.

Despite my frustration (which was A LOT), I sprung into action and was able to clear over 30 GB of disk space in only 30 minutes! Here is how I did it:

Easy way to clear memory space on your macbook pro laptop:

Using the program disk inventory x, I was able to see a visual representation of everything taking up space on my laptop . The larger the colored square, the larger the file.

cleardiskspace

Before the cleanup I was using 105 GB of memory on my laptop. See that big, cobalt blue rectangle? That's where we're having a problem.

When you click on a colored box in disk inventory x, it tells you exactly what the file is, and where it is located on your computer. This is great because once you realize what is taking up space, you don't need to hunt through your computer to find where the problem file is stored. 

On my laptop, by far the biggest issue was the fact I was storing backups of my iPhone and iPad in my disk space. This was taking 29.9 GB of memory. Deceivingly, these backups are labeled as a "TextEdit" document. (This is the cobalt rectangle). 

cleardiskspace

I'm also using a lot of memory by storing video in iMovie (red square). However, that's another problem for another time. I'm currently editing a video, and will delete all of those files once I'm done.

Using this article from iMore, I successfully moved my iPhone/iPad backups FROM my laptop, TO my external hard drive. This instantly cleared up 30 GB of space!  

Almost all of the other large files were programs. For example, iMovie, Photoshop, InDesign, and Garageband all take up a few GB. I won't delete those programs, as I use them every day, but here are several other programs I've given the axe to in the past:
+numbers
+keynote
+dropbox
+Adobe InDesign and Illustrator trials (yes, you still need to delete these after the trial expires!)

I record and edit a podcast, and those files are huge! Also, restarting your computer DOES HELP! It's hard to explain, but there are some temporary backups that your computer makes and stores on your HD in the short term. These are deleted when you restart the comp. 

Voila! After some serious clean out, I'm now only using 78 GB! That number hasn't been that low in years. 

cleardiskspace

Hope this helps!

What tricks do you do to free up space on your comp? Leave them in the comments below! 

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HAPPY GALLIVANTING!