1. Talk to your site and content owners.

Contacting the site owner about their content is always a good idea. As said before they may not even know

  • that they own this content
  • that versioning is enabled and in which way
  • how versioning works
  • that their workflow actions are logged in files which may grow very large
  • what the policies are

It is also a good way to

  • get to know them
  • let them know that you are willing to help or train them
  • inform them about your guidelines and policies

In general, I have found most site owners to be quite accomodating to my proposals to delete or archive content or reduce versioning. As long as I explain why this is necessary, and help them to do this as painlessly as possible, we always find a satisfactory solution. Sometimes that solution is putting the word “archived” behind the site title, or leaving things as they are for the time being so they have time to think. But it shows them that their content is being monitored, and that generally sets them thinking.

Only in a few emergency sitations have I deleted versions or an enormous history log file without informing the site owner beforehand. (But I exported the log file into a spreadsheet before deleting it, so the history of the process was kept)

Of course it is better to prevent storage issues than to fix them. Here are some tips to do that:

2. Design new sites for the future.

When setting up a site, ask the owner how their content will grow over time, so you know if they (and you) are likely to run into problems. Perhaps you need to set this up in a new site collection, or limit versioning from the start, or teach them how to clear their log files on a regular basis. Your site owners will be grateful for your “planning ahead”.

3. Have a content management vision and policy.

It helps if there is a clear content and content storage vision. How long do you store content before archiving it? Do you allow video’s and “raw” pictures in your document and picture libraries? In which format do you store documents that need to be archived for a long time?
This will help you guide people to the best possible solution. However, the Intranet Benchmarking Forum recently found that more than half of major organizations do not have a content strategy in place.

4. Promote your SharePoint intranet as a dynamic working tool, not as a static archive.

This means you have to keep instructing users on how to manage their content and how to decide when something has to be archived elsewhere. I have heard from peers that any team site that has not changed in 3 months is auto-archived. Everyone in that organization knows that SharePoint is for collaboration and projects, only. That needs communication, policy … and an archiving solution of course. It may need to be on your list for the next version of your SharePoint intranet!

How do you manage your site collection for sufficient storage space? All tips and tricks are welcome!

Image courtesy of kconnors at

Title inspired by book/movie “How to lose friends & alienate people“.