Photo: Dave Lauridsen

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STEP 5: Back Up Your Files
Because 70 percent of businesspeople lose computer data at a cost of about $18 billion a year, Peter recommends his clients invest in a backup system. Joanna chose an external hard drive for her computer (left) (Seagate 1TB Hard Drive, $130;; she'll schedule a regular time every week to back up her files. An off-site Internet service can do the work for you for a price. Peter opts for this labor-free choice with ($55 per year).

STEP 6: Overloading anything is a bad idea. Planes crash. Ships sink. Significant others run screaming from the home office. So Peter says that when your space reaches capacity, it's the one in, one out rule: If you buy a new book, out goes an old one. When, like Joanna, you discover a trove of pens or blank CDs, you can donate them to a school ( The average teacher spends $659 of her own money on supplies and will be grateful for your castoffs.