It’s been a (very) long time since I actually took the time to clean house on my Address Book. Quite frankly, it’s one of those things that sits very low on my priority list, and I never seem to get around to it. This past week, I finally decided that enough was enough. It had to be done, so I scrounged up a few spare minutes to make it happen.
If you’re like me, you collect a lot of contact info for a lot of people. The best way to store that info is in a centralized contact list (whether it be Apple’s Address Book, with Microsoft’s Outlook or even online). The problem with that, is that over time, it gets very busy and messy. This can result in a situation where it’s hard to find the important information you really need quick access to.
When I started the process of cleaning up my Address Book, I had 1,374 contacts. I knew that a good chunk of those needed to be deleted for one reason or another. There were several ways I could have gone about cleaning house, but I chose the brute force attack (start in the A’s and work through to the Z’s, hitting every single name). Let the fun begin!
In the process, I ran across people that had moved, changed their contact info, and even some who had passed away many, many years ago. The entire process took me about 90 minutes, and by the end, I was down to 850 MEANINGFUL contacts in my Address Book.
I didn’t stop there. Apple’s Address Book (like almost every other contact manager on the planet) has the option of storing a photo along with the contact. This is extra cool if your system integrates well with everything else. For example, when I store a photo in John’s Address Book entry, I see that same image when I IM him, send/receive email to or from him, and even get phone calls. It’s very handy. Before I started, I had a photo for maybe 30% of my contacts. By the time I was done, I am at about 70% (and I expect that number to be near 100% over the next few weeks as I add more photos and logos for contacts).
In short, cleaning house on your Address Book should be like cleaning your room... it’s not top priority, but it needs to happen (maybe just not as often as you clean your room).