Decluttering and Organizing Your Computer Files
Rev. Dr. Kitty Boitnott, NBCT, RScP
Heart-Centered Career Transition & Job Search Coach
Computers are marvelous things. But like many things in life, they have some bad that goes along with the good they offer. They make our lives easier while also making them more complicated. Most of the time their benefits outweigh their nuisance. But we can't afford to take them for granted. They need our attention periodically.
This is on my mind because I recently bought a new computer. It was time. Like cars, computers need to be traded in and updated every few years. They don't age particularly well and they don't last forever. Every once in a while, you need to trade in the old for a new model.
I knew it was time to trade in my computer.
I have had my old 15" MacBook Pro since June of 2013. I have gotten excellent service from it. But six years is a long time in the life of a computer. I wanted to trade it in before it lost all its value.
I ended up buying a sleek little 13" MacBook Pro. I don't need the 15" screen because I do most of my work from a 27" Thunderbolt display screen. And I knew I was going to use the gift card for the trade-in toward a new iPad.
So, I trekked to the Apple store a few weeks ago and made my purchase.
Now, I knew there would be some adjustments to make. Every time you buy a new computer or a new phone, you have to go through a time fo figuring out how the new system works. But boy howdy. I was not ready for the five days that it took to get all my computer files transferred to the new computer and organized correctly. I finally got it done.
But in truth, it took a ton of patience.
With all that said, though, I now feel good about my computer files the same way I feel about my home now that I have cleared out the clutter I no longer need or want. All the old data I no longer need have been discarded. Everything that I have kept is now organized and filed where I can find things I want quickly and efficiently.
And I won't lie. It feels good to have those digital files organized efficiently.
When was the last time you spent getting your digital files organized? Can you find everything on your computer with ease? Do you have things appropriately stored?
If it is time to pay attention to your computer's files, here are time tips on how to organize them for easy access. Computers store digital files in an organized and efficient manner.
1) Simplify the process.
Don't go overboard with the creation of a lot of new folders and sub-folders. Your folders should be easy to remember and keep up with. Storing items on a PC and a Mac requires a different approach. But both need to be cleaned up and decluttered periodically. And files should be stored in a way that makes them easy for you to find when you need them.
2) Organize your file structure.
There are many ways you can organize files on your computer. There is no way I could cover every method that might work for you. The best way is to create folders for broad groups of files. Then move your larger files into them. Label them according to each topic. After you have done that, you can go into each large folder and see which subtopics deserve to have their own sub-folder.
Keep it simple. You are just looking to simplify your system so you can find things quickly.
3) Merge files that are related to one another.
When new software or content is uploaded to your computer, the computer automatically creates a folder for it. While this can be useful, it often results in unnecessary clutter. Be mindful of that as you download new items every time.
The same goes for applications and software that you may download periodically. Once you have completed the installation, it's okay to remove the installer. Failing to do so just takes up extra space on your hard drive.
You can decide to merge your photos if you want. I took the time to eliminate duplicate and similar photos. It saved a ton of memory on the computer. And I did the same thing on my phone while I was at it. And don't forget the convenience of storing a lot of your files on the Cloud. That really saves space on your hard drive and helps your computer run more smoothly.
4) Delete old, useless files you no longer need.
After a while, you forget about some files. It's quite possible that you simply don't need them any longer. But there they sit. They take up valuable space. The solution is to eliminate any unused files. This frees up space, as well as making your filing system run more smoothly.
As I mentioned earlier, the download folder can become a source of clutter on your computer. Take note whenever you download a new application or software program. Delete the installer when you no longer need it.
5) Stick to your system once you have developed it.
Even if you organize every single file on your computer to your liking, your computer won't stay organized for long if you don't stay on top of things. You will need to commit to sorting new files as they come in. You will end up with the same clutter that you had when you started if you don't stick with your new system. When you download new files or applications, make sure they end up in their proper place. Do it immediately, before you forget.
Digital storage allows us to organize our lives in amazing ways. There are many tools built right into your operating system to help you organize the files on your computer. The main idea is to organize them in a way that works for you.
Happy decluttering of your computer. I hope these tips will have helped if just as a reminder.
Until next time.
In a couple of days, we will be celebrating Thanksgiving Day, and we will be reminded of all the things we are thankful for in our lives. Please know that I am grateful for YOU.
As a member of my community, I never take you for granted, and I am always grateful for the fact that you allow me to be a part of your life, even if it is a small part.
Enjoy your holiday and the long weekend (if you have one). Travel safely. Savor the time you have with your family and friends. Life is short. Moments can last in your memory forever. Put down your phones and really talk with the people you may not have seen since last year. This is a time for reconnecting with our loved ones. As my own family grows smaller and smaller, I remember Thanksgivings of the past. Make the most of this one while you can.