Solving The “Out Of Space On Dropbox” Problem


A free Dropbox account only provides 2 gigabytes (gb) of store, which can be used quickly when collaborating for work. This can be a problem because Dropbox will no longer sync once you’ve exceeded your storage limit. There are 3 possible solutions to this problem:

  1. Pay for a “Pro” account, which provides you with 100gb of storage, instead of 2gb, for $8.25/month ($99 a year) - this is my favorite option and I believe well worth it, but I am a long time Dropbox user. 
Here is the link to upgrade:
  2. Start referring friends to dropbox, as you receive additional space for each person that you refer that signs-up (even for the free account). You get 1gb extra for each person and the person that signs-up gets an extra 500mb also!!!
Here is the link to the referral page:
  3. Clear space in your Dropbox account by archiving files and folders that you are no longer actively working in.

The following is a step-by-step tutorial on how to prevent old files and folders (that you are no longer actively working with) from taking-up your precious storage space by archiving them (solution 3 from above).

Step 1: go to in your internet browser of choice (e.g. Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari…etc). Once there, click "sign-in" (arrow 1 below) and then enter your username (email) and password for Dropbox (arrow 2 below).


Step 2: once signed-in, click "sharing" on the left sidebar (arrow 3 below)


Step 3: Find an old folder that you are no longer actively working in (don't worry, we will have an archive, in case you need the files later). Once you've found the folder (in our example it's called "An Example Shared Folder"), click on the "Options" link to the right of the folder's name and date last modified (arrow 4 below)


Step 4: After clicking "Options", you should see the dialogue box below pop-up. In that box, click the "Leave folder" button (arrow 5 below-left). When the confirmation pop-up appears (2nd image below), be sure the "I still want to keep my copy of these files" box is checked (arrow 6 below-right) and then click "Leave folder" (arrow 7 below-right)

Dropbox Leave Folder.jpg

Step 5: Close your browser. Next go to your Dropbox folder on your computer, probably in your Home folder (on PC use Explorer, on a Mac use Finder). Once in your Dropbox folder, right click on the folder you just "left" on and compress or zip the folder. On PC, you will click on "Send to" -> "Compressed (zipped) folder" (arrow 8 below-left).


On Mac, you click on "Compress "[insert name of your folder]" (arrow 9 below-right).

Dropbox Archive Compression.jpg

Step 6: A new file should now appear in your Dropbox with the same name as the folder you compressed, but it will have ".zip" at the end of it (May not be visible on PC, but a little zipper icon should be visible on the file). See PC example below-left (arrow 10 below-top) and Mac example below-right (arrow 11 below-bottom).

Dropbox Archive Windows Zipped File.jpg
Dropbox Archive Mac Zipped File.jpg

Step 7: You may now move that newly created zipped archive anywhere on your computer outside of Dropbox. I recommend creating a folder in your Home folder (maybe called "My Documents" on PC), naming the folder something like "Dropbox Archives", and then moving the zipped archive files there.

After the zipped file is moved, the original folder can now be deleted from the Dropbox folder. If a copy of the zipped archive file remains in your Dropbox folder (i.e. you copied it to the "Dropbox Archives" folder instead of moving it), you may also delete the zipped folder from your Dropbox folder (but do not delete it from the "Dropbox Archives" folder that you created in your home folder).

TA-DA! That folder will no longer take-up space on your Dropbox! I hope this helps!


Jeremy J. Taylor

Stats Make Me Cry is owned and operated by Jeremy J. Taylor, Ph.D. Jeremy completed his doctoral training in Clinical Psychology at DePaul University and completed his pre-doctoral internship at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He is currently a Senior Research Associate at the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning. Although Jeremy's background is in Psychology, he consulted on dissertations for more than 100 students, from 13 countries, and from a variety of disciplines.