You’re logging onto your laptop or computer — already overwhelmed by work — only to feel more overwhelmed by the number of files on your desktop.
Everything is in disarray, and you wish you could get it all organized… but how?
Well, it’s actually pretty simple. This guide is here to give you 9 tips on how to organize files.
1. Find Duplicate Files
There’s no shame in this. We’re all guilty of needing to access the same file that requires us to download it, forgetting we’ve already done 6 other times.
They need to be gotten rid of, though.
The first thing you should do is find duplicate files stored away on your computer. They’re usually simple to find because they have the same file name, but are followed by the number of times they’ve been saved.
2. Create Large Main Folders
Start with larger, main folders that live on your desktop.
Stick with simple titles like, “Work,” “School,” “Photos,” “Projects,” other generic words.
Their titles can be as generic or as specific as you’d like, but the point is to keep things basic for your desktop, and then get specific in the next step.
3. Divide Smaller Subfolders
These smaller subfolders will be what you see when you click on the main folders on your desktop.
If you’re a freelancer, that “Work” folder could then open up to all of the projects you’re working on, or separate folders for every client you’re working with.
If you’re a student, that “School” folder could open to smaller folders for each of your classes. In those smaller folders, you can create other folders like, “Homework,” “Class notes,” or any other sections you’d like to keep separate from one another.
If you simply a “Recipes” folder on your desktop, you could split those subfolders up based on the meal they’re for, or what kind of food they use (“Chicken,” “Turkey,” “vegetables”).
This part is truly meant for you to customize and get creative with. You can even have fun and change the icons for each folder!
4. Delete Your Downloads Folder
The dreaded downloads folder is an abyss filled with random things you’ve collected over the years. From concert ticket PDFs to photos you’ve needed for projects, chances are almost everything in there is unnecessary.
Take a few minutes or a few hours (depending on how much has accumulated in this folder) to go through it. Delete what you don’t need, and put things you do need into their corresponding folders.
5. Choose a New Desktop Background
Once you’ve done all this, find a new desktop background.
There are organizational ones you can download, or you simply choose an image that brings you happiness or calm.
The image should be clean and simple, but represent something you love. They have the ability to be useful to you and your computer’s organization, but they don’t have to be.
Recommended Article: How to Change Icon Shapes on Your Android Devices
6. Optimize Your Computer
There are all kinds of hidden programs, disks, and caches eating up extra space on your laptop, therefore making it run slower.
It happens on both Mac and PC systems and is just as annoying no matter which one you prefer.
These Mac cleanup tips are here to help you clean up your Mac and have it running like new again.
Downloading various apps, or just learning the ins-and-outs of your computer system, can help you stay on top of your storage space. They can also work together to help your laptop speed stay exactly where you need it.
7. Create a Working File
This houses all the documents you actively need say for current projects or reports.
Instead of keeping these documents in their separate folders, you can place them into this one for easy access. When you’re done, they can be placed into the folders they belong to until you need them again.
This also goes for files that need to come out of folders they’ve lived in. Place them back into this working folder for as long as you need easy access to them, and the files back once you’ve finished.
8. Delete Old Emails
Get that inbox to zero. Archive emails you need to save, delete the ones you don’t.
Make sure you’ve read all the important ones and responded. Don’t forget your spam folder as well.
An empty inbox helps to give you an empty mind. It also erases the stress that comes with trying to find that one email that’s buried under all the others.
9. Back Them Up
Create different locations for your files.
Ideally, there would be a version on your desktop, a version on some kind of cloud storage, and a version on an external hard drive. Two of these would give you plenty of backup though.
Having more than one version of all your files creates an added layer of protection on the off chance that something happens to your computer, or just the files themselves.
Better safe than sorry!
Create a System for How to Organize Files
Learning how to organize files is easy. It’s keeping them organized that can feel complicated and tedious.
Creating a system for your files and sticking to it helps eliminate all the stress that comes with organizing, allowing it to get messy, and then having to organize it all over again.
This personal system also gives you the opportunity to get to know yourself better and think of new ways to keep your productivity (and creativity) levels at an all-time high.
If you enjoyed this, and are curious about other worklife news and hacks, check out the rest of our blog.