I have a lot of virtual instruments, libraries, synths, and effects I never use. Over the years, they collect on my hard drives like cat hair on a sweater: freebies, $5 “no-brainers,” things I paid serious $$ for and realized I didn’t like, simply never took the time to learn, or just forgot about. They sit there untouched and, in many cases, eating up precious GBs. If you have been following the de-cluttering guru Marie Kondo and her books and Netflix series, you know she doesn’t say get rid of all this stuff you’re not using. She says lay it out and figure out what you actually like--in her lingo, what “sparks joy”? You put everything out there at once because you might actually like that sweater you bought four years ago and forgot about. Like many of you, I’ve always gotten rid of GB hogging libraries I wasn’t using, because real estate on an SSD is valuable. (I keep the rar files and a backup elsewhere in case I ever change my mind.) But I never cared that when I click on my Cubase compressors folder that there are a quadrillion compressors there. The ones I use are up at the top and I ignore the rest. But what are all those things? There are the ones that came with Cubase and Sonar, there’s Waves Gold, there’s everything in T-RackS, Komplete, there are numerous freebies, like Softube’s Drawmer 73 and that Klanghelm one that’s supposed to be so good, etc). Honestly, when I purchase a big set like Waves Gold or T-RackS, I just don’t have time to learn everything there is to know about every single plugin, and in time, I just move on, and the benefits other people get from them sit untapped. I’m thinking about this now because I just bought iZotope’s Neutron 2/Ozone 8 Advanced bundle. Will I now start favoring their EQ over the ones I use now? Effects plugins usually take up very little space on my hard drive, so there’s no big deal leaving them there, but why are they there if I’m not using them? It’s clutter. What I’ve started to do is to pick an unused plugin and treat it as if I was shopping for it. I watch the videos. I have a demo file that has numerous examples of vocal, percussion, guitars, basses, orchestral, etc. I put it on a bus and compare it to what I always use. This is as much fun as shopping and distracts me from the other kind of shopping, the expensive kind. Another thing this process makes me do is simply walk away from free offers and deals. I never buy a new effect unless I’m able to demo it and compare it to my favorites. It’s got to do something that none of my other stuff does. It’s got to be something that I will use. It’s got to be so much better that it’s worth the money. I don’t care if it’s 50% off. If I decide I’m not going to ever use an effect, the easiest thing is to use the Cubase VST plugin manager to remove it from my folders. Or better yet, hide them from Cubase altogether. However, these unwanted VSTs also load up in Komplete Kontrol, VE Pro, Sonar, my video editor, etc. To really tidy things up, sometimes there are things I just want to get rid of. But what I’ve learned is that getting rid of VSTs is very different from clearing out a clothes closet--it’s dangerous to remove a lot at one time. What I have learned the hard way is to only get rid of one and then make sure that all my other programs load up okay with it missing. And I also make sure I’m set up beforehand to put it back. This can be as easy as putting the .dll and some files back, but I always make a system restore point to be sure. But in truth, best not to bother. Just organize your DAW differently. Generally, my focus on the Marie Kondo-izing of my hard drive is not on getting rid of stuff, but on the rediscovery of my unused plugins. I’d rather explore something that might be really great rather than an obvious target for disposal. But usually, most of them go. Of course, this works the same way for virtual instruments and synths too. For me, this is an ongoing process that will never stop, just like building my template. There’s an organic flow to adding new stuff and getting rid of old stuff. This is all on top of more basic organizing systems like Kontakt quickload, templates, track presets, and Cubase’s VST plugin manager, etc. Do any of you have systems for re-organizing that you’d like to share?