Declutter computer files

How to Declutter and Organize Your Computer Files

With an increasing amount of our personal documents going directly onto our computers, having a plan to regularly declutter, protect, and organize photos and important files is becomingly increasingly important. Anyone who has lost treasured photos or important documents would tell you to take the necessary steps now to save yourself potential heartache or frustration down the road.

Overly cluttered and disorganized computer files can not only cause frustration, decreased productivity and stress in life, but computer clutter can even slow the computer itself. I’m a more visual than technical person. If you are like me you might feel overwhelmed with how to keep your computer files safe and organized. Here are 10 tips that should help get you started and inspired to declutter your computer and organize your most important documents.

Have a back up plan

I highly recommend backing up your photos and files in multiple locations. Most of us simply upload our photos to our computer, but if the hard drive crashes you may lose them all. Knowing your photos are in multiple locations will give you peace of mind and a way to recover them in the event of a computer fail or other disaster. I use an external hard drive to backup my photos and files (the specific one I use is listed in my online shop under “blogging tools”). It works automatically to save files when it is plugged into my computer. I’ve also heard many people like to use an online service called Carbonite. I also use Dropbox.com as an easy way to store photos or documents online and keep them organized. A great feature of Dropbox is the option to easily share large image files with others. I’m able to create specific folders to store images and then choose which of those folders I want to share.

Declutter and identify as you go.

Once you’ve taken the initial time to get your files and photos organized and saved to an external source, start new organizational habits going forward. Organization of your files will be much easier to maintain if you regularly delete what you don’t need rather than letting them clutter up the computer (for example, blurry photos or documents you don’t need to save). If you don’t have time to delete as you go, set aside specific times of the year to go through photos so they don’t become overwhelming.

Take a few minutes each time you import items to name your documents and photos with short, concise, but useful names. Remember in time that a title like “birthday party” won’t be as useful or easy to locate as “Grandpa’s 80th birthday”.

declutter digitally

Photo courtesy of JeanbaptisteM

Do a desktop cleanup once a day. 

I quickly get overwhelmed if my computer desktop gets filled up with random documents and disorganized folders. It only takes a few minutes each day to look over what has landed on my desktop and delete unnecessary documents, rename what I want to keep and put them into useful folders.

I suggest you keep only five or six folders on the desktop with items you may need to use or access regularly. You’ll save time every day by keeping only a few general folders on the desktop rather than dozens of options. Organize and name your files with easy-to-use general category names according to what you need to access and store.

Before you end the day, tidy up the desktop so you can feel organized when you start the new day!

Avoid clutter. 

I previously used folders on my computer to store all of my inspiration pictures, or documents with links to ideas, sites or recipes that I wanted to remember. But now there is an easier way. Pinterest is a fun way to not only find inspiration, but to categorize and save specific links to inspirational blog posts, recipes or photos I might want to refer to later. I love that I can keep those types of documents organized online without having them clutter up my computer’s own storage.

Be efficient.

When I upload my photos to iPhoto (which comes standard on my Mac), it automatically categorizes photos by date. I can even set it up to categorize by specific faces it recognizes in each photo or even by the place the photo was taken. It will save you a lot of time if you let your own programs organize photos for you!

Set aside some time to organize your computer and I think you’ll find your mind and life will feel less cluttered, too.

Main image courtesy of of jamjar
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