Digital clutter can leave you feeling stressed, make your devices slow, and create roadblocks throughout your workday. That’s why it’s essential to take care of a clean desktop.
In case your digital space is organized, you possibly can quickly accumulate vital documents, projects, and pictures. This might be especially helpful in the event you use the identical computer for each your skilled and private life.
The excellent news is that keeping your computer’s desktop clean and arranged is less complicated than it seems. This post gathers tricks to provide help to create a clean, organized desktop that supports productivity.
10 Computer Desktop Organizing Suggestions
These organization suggestions will provide help to turn a cluttered desktop right into a clean and productive workspace. Don’t hesitate to check different methods to see what works best to your typical workflow!
1. Create a folder system.
Be honest: What number of files do you may have in your desktop without delay? 10? 20? 100? Have you ever lost count? In case your desktop looks anything just like the image below, start by moving all the things into one folder to clear the air.
Making a Folder on a Mac
- To create a latest folder on a Mac, right-click in your desktop and choose “Latest Folder” from the menu.
- You too can press Shift + Command + N. The folder will appear in your desktop immediately.
- To alter the folder’s name, double-click on “untitled folder.” Then, you’ll give you the option to edit a text box with a latest name.
Making a Folder on a PC
- To create latest folders in Windows, right-click in your desktop.
- Select Latest > Folder from the menu or press Ctrl + Shift + N.
- To rename the folder, click on it, enter a latest name, after which press Enter.
Once you may have your folders created, you possibly can divvy up your files. The way you organize your folder system will rely upon your specific role.
For instance, I continuously write blog posts containing many visual examples. To simplify the method and keep a record of what I’ve included up to now, I’ve created two folders: “Current Examples” and “Example Archive.”
Once I’m rounding up examples for a latest post from the online, I drop them within the “Current Examples” folder. This manner, I can easily locate them after I write the post. After scheduling the post, I move the photographs to the “Example Archive” folder to make room for my next post.
2. Select a naming convention to your files.
One in all my biggest worries about implementing a folder system was that it might be too difficult to search out my files once I got organized — ironic, right?
Between documents, screenshots, and other files for the multiple posts I work on, there are a whole lot of different items I’m dropping into folders. Files can wander away within the shuffle. That’s why I began using a naming convention to prepare my files, which might allow me to locate them quickly.
Select a naming convention for varieties of files, topics, projects, or some other way that makes it easy to look for them. For instance, after I’m creating files for HubSpot Marketing Blog posts, I take advantage of this naming convention:
This manner, it’s easy for me to search out files by typing Command + F (Mac) or Control + F (Windows) and typing within the naming convention to narrow my search.
This manner, I do not have to click into my perfectly organized, but likely very full, folders to search out exactly what I would like. As a substitute, I can seek for and immediately find files using my naming convention.
For those who’re on Windows, search through your files faster by choosing the proper category. You should use the search bar at the underside of your screen on Windows 10 or click on the search icon if you may have Windows 11.
Once the search window opens, you possibly can select one among the tabs underneath the search field. The documents tab will narrow down your search. You too can include the keyword “documents” within the search field.
MacOS has the same feature. When typing a search term in Highlight or a Finder window, you’ll see a + button next to the search field.
Click this button, and also you’ll access different search criteria. You may specify the kind of file you’re looking for or the file extension.
3. Experiment with a sectioned wallpaper.
Need to take your folder organization a step further?
While your desktop wallpaper is a terrific place to display a photograph of your dog or your latest vacation, a ton of wallpaper options can provide help to stay organized. These wallpaper designs — together together with your folder system — make it easy to corral specific sections of your work.
To get you began, we’ve included a couple of options below.
Alt Text: Lifehacker Organized Wallpaper Design
IMG name: clean-desktop-sectional-wallpaper-4
I like using a sectioned wallpaper since it helps you visualize your workday. I’m a fan of using Kanban boards to trace my different projects, and I’ve found that using a sectioned wallpaper is a terrific option to keep organized.
For example, you possibly can create a wallpaper with different columns to your backlog, upcoming projects, WIPs, tasks you need to prioritize, and finished work.
I’ve also seen people use sectioned wallpapers on different days of the week to maintain track of their next due date. I highly recommend this approach in the event you struggle with deadlines!
4. Use a Chrome extension to pre-organize your screenshots.
Screenshots are one among the most important contributors to desktop clutter. While you capture a screenshot on a Mac (Command + Shift + 3) or PC (Alt + Print Screen), the image is saved on to your desktop.
If screenshotting is something you do lots, you’ll notice that it doesn’t take long to make a multitude of things.
To avoid having your screenshots mechanically saved to your desktop, you need to use a screen capture tool comparable to the Awesome Screenshot extension for Google Chrome.
Not only does this tool give you more advanced screen capture capabilities — annotations, selective capture, delayed capture, etc. — however it also goals to simplify the way in which you store your shots.
With Awesome Screenshot, you possibly can manually select where you’d like to avoid wasting your file or create an account where you possibly can save files for specific projects. Here’s how it really works.
1. Capture a picture by clicking the extension and choosing an option from the menu.
2. Select your required saving option from the suitable menu. For instance, in the event you’d like to avoid wasting the image to a project’s folder on Awesome Screenshot, select Save on Awesome Screenshot at the highest.
3. Insert a reputation to your file and discover which project you’d like to avoid wasting it to by choosing an option from the menu.
4. To access your file, visit the suitable project folder in your account dashboard.
For those who’re on Windows, you too can mechanically save your screenshots to OneDrive. As a substitute of going to your desktop or a customized folder, your screenshots will go to a cloud storage account. This solution doesn’t use any storage in your device and permits you to access your screenshots remotely.
Here is how you possibly can configure this setting:
- Click on the OneDrive icon in the underside right corner of your screen.
- Search for the OneDrive Help and Settings icon.
- Go to Settings, then Account.
- Scroll right down to Screenshots. You’ll have the choice to avoid wasting screenshots to the cloud mechanically.
MacOS doesn’t have the same feature, but you possibly can adjust where your Mac saves your screenshots by opening the Screenshot app. Go to the Options, and also you’ll give you the option to decide on where your screenshots go.
5. Get inspired by a motivational wallpaper.
Not a fan of the sectioned-off wallpaper? No worries. Other wallpaper options can offer you the motivation to remain organized.
In accordance with psychologist and motivation expert Jonathan Fader, inspirational or motivational messages often motivate us to try harder.
“There’s a bit little bit of implicit coaching that’s happening if you’re reading it. It’s constructing that self-efficacy in that form of dialogue that you just’re having with yourself,” he explains.
So in the event you’re searching for a bit coaching to provide help to stay organized, adding an inspirational message to your desktop can function a friendly, each day reminder.
Need to create your individual motivational wallpaper? Follow the instructions below to learn easy methods to use Canva.
1. Click “Use custom dimensions” in the highest right-hand corner and add your dimensions. Among the most common desktop wallpaper resolutions are 1024 x 768, 1280 x 1024, and 1920 x 1080.
2. So as to add a background image, click on Elements > Photos. You too can select a plain color or pattern background by choosing Background.
3. Select a photograph and adjust the dimensions using the resizing points around it.
4. So as to add text, click on Text and select a heading or template from the choices listed. Adjust the template text by adding your quote of alternative. (I selected a quote from Barbara Hemphill on clutter.)
5. To avoid wasting your creation, click the Download button in the highest right-hand corner and choose Image: prime quality (PNG).
To set this image as your wallpaper on a Mac or Windows computer, discuss with the next tutorials:
6. Spend money on a storage solution.
For those who’re always managing and organizing a whole lot of files, spend money on an application like Dropbox to administer your assets higher.
The file-hosting service Dropbox offers cloud storage and file synchronization. Users can create a folder on their computers that syncs with the service, making it easy to access the content regardless of what device you’re using.
Quite than dragging all the things onto your desktop, simply store it in Dropbox, where you possibly can quickly and simply seek for it every time you wish it.
You too can share folders with other users to create a central space to your shared files. Having others wait on you to locate a selected file prevents bottlenecks.
For Mac users, syncing content to your iCloud Drive is less complicated to back up vital files. You may save time when decluttering your desktop since all of your files and folders will remain within the cloud. Plus, you possibly can sync different Apple devices and store all of your documents in a single location.
Microsoft OneDrive offers the same service for Windows users. You may activate automated syncing to have your computer back up all your files to the cloud. The free basic plan includes 5GB of storage, but you possibly can upgrade with a paid subscription.
For those who use productivity apps like Microsoft Word, Excel, Publisher, and more, you need to know that Microsoft offers a bundle that features the 365 suite and 1TB of cloud storage. Plus, you possibly can link to files stored in OneDrive in your emails as an alternative of uploading attached files.
Google Docs might be a terrific fit for many who often share files with other team members. You mechanically get 15GB of free storage together with your Google account and may easily upload vital documents to share or access them remotely.
Clean desktop. Organized files. It’s a win-win for everybody.
7. Schedule a weekly or monthly cleansing.
As shown by the instance we used back in the primary tip, it’s easy to your desktop to get form of, well… scary.
To be sure that you’re maintaining with desktop maintenance often, set a recurring event in your calendar to remind you to do away with anything unnecessary. This generally is a weekly or monthly event, depending on how much damage you usually do.
Alt Text: organizing desktop calendar event
IMG name: clean-desktop-calendar
Besides keeping your desktop clean, scheduling weekly cleanups ensures you don’t keep potentially sensitive documents longer than you may have to.
Data breaches went up by 37% between Q3 2021 and Q3 2022. It’s a serious threat. A lost or stolen device can jeopardize personal records and precious IPs.
You may significantly mitigate this risk by moving into the habit of deleting files you not use every week.
8. Delete or pin app icons.
Did you already know that companies often use over 200 apps? It’s easy to find yourself with a cluttered desktop when your employer requires you to make use of so many alternative tools.
You may take control of your app icons by installing Toggl and making a free account. It’s a productivity app that tracks your time on different tasks. There may be a built-in feature that can let you know the time you spend on specific apps and software so you possibly can boost your productivity.
After using Toggl for a few weeks, you need to know which apps you employ essentially the most. If there are apps you didn’t use in any respect, it’s time to delete their desktop shortcuts.
- On Windows 10 or 11, click Start, search for the app, and right-click on it. Select More and Pin to the taskbar.
- On Mac, open the Shortcuts app. Click on a shortcut, select File, and Add to dock.
9. Customize your icons.
You don’t should limit yourself to the default icons in your computer. You should use clean desktop icons to make vital files and documents stand out or create a color-coded organization system.
Here is how you possibly can change icons on Windows:
- Right-click on the desktop icon you need to change.
- Click on Properties, then Shortcut.
- Search for the Change Icon.
You may leaf through the Windows icon and select one which stands out or select Browse to import icon files.
With some graphic design skills, you possibly can download icon packs or make your individual icons. You’ll need .ICO files in 16 x 16, 24 x 24, 32 x 32, 48 x 48, and 64 x 64.
Changing icons can be available on Mac:
- Select the file or document.
- Select File and Get info on the menu bar.
- A latest window will open. Click on the custom icon at the highest.
- Click on Edit and Cut.
10. Organize your desktop with automated flows.
Why do all of the exertions when you possibly can automate your weekly desktop cleanup session?
These tools permit you to create automated flows. For those who set file names, formats, or creation dates as variables, it’s possible to create flows. With these file flows, your computer will mechanically move specific files to a folder, replace their default icon with clean desktop icons, and even delete old ones.
You may run an automatic flow by launching it via a desktop icon or create a weekly routine within the Windows Task Schedule or Mac Automator Tool.
Note: This method is best for advanced users. With this useful video tutorial, you possibly can start creating organizational flows with Power Automate Desktop or learn easy methods to organize your desktop with Mac Automator.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2015 and has been updated and for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.