As independent filmmakers we have a lot on our mind from the beginning of the process with budgeting, scheduling and raising funds (to even shoot the film), through production where we might be forced to wear many hats (line producer, production manager, production coordinator, accountant, production assistant), through post production where we might even edit the piece. With all of those jobs, it can be really hard to keep track of everything. The things that can fall through the cracks are what can hurt you the most.
For example, it is easy to shoot scenes, transfer them to a main hard drive and forget about them. Only, hard drives aren’t forever. They can crap out, or them can break due to mishandling or environmental conditions. You want to have a process and calendar in place where you have regular hard drive maintenance. You need to see which hard drives are holding up, which need to be wiped and how they are all doing. Never just back up data on only one hard drive, make duplications on at least (at least, more are better) two hard drives. Also back up all scenes on a high quality tape (DVC Pro, Beta… not just MiniDV). Nothing is worse than losing all of your hard work, trust me on this, I’ve learned the hard way.
When you are finished with a hard drive and you are 100% sure that all files (and hidden files have been erased), than you can consider going through the process to recycle hard drives, or you can sell them (Ebay, Craig’s List, garage sales, etc).