PreTrash (for safety)

In earlier years, I would do as many others would do and put things in the trash whenever I wanted. Then from time to time I might - look in the trash and notice tremendous amount of old stuff before I deleted the trash - this could get scary and confusing.

And another fear was that you might empty the trash even accidentally without checking first and who knows what got deleted?

So I came up with a different system: a PreTrash Folder

I simply create a folder on my desktop called ‘PreTrash’. Anything I ever wanted to throw out would go into this folder. Then, from time to time I could review its contents and trash anything I wanted and then delete the trash safely.

So this is very simple but it provides safety check regarding accidentally emptying the trash and losing potential important data.

Just passing this on - Dave


There’s an app for that … TrashRecover.

If I put something in the Trash, then I’m confident I want it gone.

Worst case, there’s always TimeMachine :slight_smile:



I’ve been a computer user long enough to know that the trash can get emptied without my control at any time. If it’s in Trash, I know it should be deleted. Stuff doesn’t stick around long there because I don’t like seeing a full trash can icon!

When I’m doing big clean-outs, or fixing some duplicates, nothing goes into the trash until I’m done. So that’s when I’d use a “pre-trash” folder, as you suggest. I also have a “will expire” folder that lives where old work files are located. I use it for stuff that’s nearly done, but I’m waiting for confirmation from someone else before I can confidently delete it. I look at it a few times a year and clear it out.

I also have a “will expire software” for .dmg files and “will expire fonts” (mostly filled with old Postscript fonts that I really should delete as I’m not working with those clients any longer, but I hang onto them just in case).

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Hazel is doing a great job in preventing me from recovering anything, I placed in the trash, and did not recover within 24h.

And in the worst case, there is still a backup…

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I just don’t put anything in trash unless I intend to delete it.

Then nothing important gets deleted when Hazel automatically empties my trash.


Alas, I am human and sometimes make mistakes.

And have thrown away stuff I did not want to.

Having been burned once I’ve made sure to have an insurance policy.

Thus I completely understand @dealtek’s reasoning.

I also have Hazel empty the trash as it gets old. Hazel also tosses old scanned credit card receipts and even cleans my desktop and download folder, but to a separate location I can inspect.

I’ve been around from before the advent of trash and recycling bins, so I’m careful about what I delete.

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I think that is a good idea. For me, ‘trash’ always meant trash, I knew folk who used the bin as a kind of ‘not that important folder’. Paper mountains and yellowed letters were the old way. Even with paper there was and is, a point of no return and has to be. Will we save literally everything we ever write, say and do? Every meal documented and posted to Instasomething or other?
Not to get too far off topic but today I was really wondering about the amount of material we save and archive. Including but not confined to large GBs of text messages a colleague has: for ‘gotchas’ and ‘proof’. I am a bit tired of it because I am getting tired of the gotchas and endless litigation about records and so on now. I am deleting more and more and doing more and more on more ephemeral mediums. I use Confide, not so much for secrecy, because that is always a vulnerability, but so that the messages disappear.

I also use Hazel for this, it’s worked great for me. Everything sits in the Trash for a week, then gets deleted. I never manually empty the Trash at all any more.

Downloads is my pre-trash.