Decluttering Your Desktop

Oh, that dreadful computer desktop. It's my go-to place for saving photos, design files, links, notes, and everything else under the sun, but it is always a cluttered mess (just like that junk drawer in the kitchen). Most days I leave my browsers up so I don't have to look at the 75+ icons staring back at me, waiting to be filed away and organized. And oh how I hate hunting down files - things are never where I need them to be. Can you relate?

Lucky for both of us, I've come up with a solution for battling the stress and the chaos of that cluttered desktop.

Today I'm going to show you how I went from this...

This is a slight improvement from last week. I got so fed up with a screen full of little icons that I created a "to file" folder and dumped them all in. Not the best solution...Β 

This is a slight improvement from last week. I got so fed up with a screen full of little icons that I created a "to file" folder and dumped them all in. Not the best solution... 

to this! And guess what? It took less than a half hour from start to finish.

STEP 1 : Categorize

First, I created folders and categorized them into broad subjects. I created a "Design" folder for all of my freelance design work, an "Elle & Co." folder for Daybook files and blog photos, and a "Miscellaneous" folder for all other odds and ends.

Your folders might look a little different depending on what works best for you. If it's a shared computer, it might be easiest to create a file folder for each family member. If you use your computer for business, you could organize them into folders for invoices, clients, or forms. However you categorize them, it's best to keep the number of folders at a minimum.

Designating a different label color for each file helps me easily differentiate between the three.

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Then I created subfolders under each main category. 

STEP 2: Sort

Then comes the fun part - placing your files into the categories you created (yes, there was some sarcasm in that statement).

I found it helpful to rename files as I was putting them away; I knew it would benefit me in the long run. Photos were renamed according to date (year/month/day) and files within folders were given new names according to how they related to the whole group (for example, separating design files into "draft 1", "draft 2", and "final").

I also took this opportunity to weed out files and delete some that were out of date or no longer needed, then I said goodbye to the files in my trash can and deleted them forever.

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Step 3: Download

After all my files were snug in their folders, I needed to make sure that things never went back to the way they were before. So I came up with a pretty solution for keeping my desktop clean - this lovely wallpaper!

CLICK HERE to download this wallpaper for your desktop!

Now all of my files have a place to go when I save them to my desktop. Files that I'm working on go right into the "Work" section, articles and blog posts that I want to read later go right into the "Read" section, and that cute idea I found on Pinterest today goes right into the "Misc." section.

A clean desktop is a happy desktop. Happy organizing, friends!

As a recovering desktop hoarder, I would love to hear your tips! What helps you keep your desktop clean and your files organized?