5 Steps for Decluttering Your Computer Files

Do you leave your books, clothes, notebooks, appliances, cooking utensils, and various other household items lying around your home? If you do, you’re probably having a lot of trouble finding what you need. Clutter is also a powerful productivity killer, drawing your attention away from tasks and bugging you by instilling a sense of chaos.

Because we spend a large part of our lives in the digital world, the same issue with clutter can be applied to how we maintain our computer files. If your desktop is full of icons, and you’ve got a bunch of folders that feel more like black holes, then you’ve got to make a plan for decluttering your digital life. Decluttering your digital life is a key component of digital self-care.

One of the major aspects of successful decluttering is simplicity. Instead of making everything even more complicated by creating a complex hierarchy of files and folders, you should come up with solutions that will make your daily workflow a breeze.

Let’s take a look at some of the best solutions for decluttering your computer files.

Come Up With a Practical Folder Structure

Before you can declutter your computer files properly, you need to determine where you’re going to put them. This means that you have to come up with a practical folder structure that will make it easy for you to put away different kinds of files and look them up when you need to use them. 

The best solution is to create folders based on a system that you’ll be familiar and comfortable with. This can consist of folders titled Home, Work, Family, Receipts, etc. Start with basic folders that are as general as possible and then create subfolders based on important aspects such as date, event, location, etc. Make sure that the hierarchy isn’t too complicated, so that you can find the files you need easily

You should also create a folder for files that you don’t use regularly but you don’t want to delete.

Consider Alternative Storage Solutions

If your hard drives are packed and you’re having trouble making space for new files and programs, you should consider using cloud storage solutions, such as Dropbox and Google Drive. You can use the same or a similar sorting system for your files there. Keep in mind that you need an internet connection to access these files, so you should store less important ones that you don’t mind getting cut off from temporarily.

If you don’t want to rely on cloud-based options, you can purchase an external hard drive and keep some of your files there. This is a quick and simple solution for storing images, videos, and documents that you don’t use regularly, so that they don’t limit the space on your computer and make it more difficult to find what you need. It’s also one of the best ways to create a backup for your most important files.

Take Care of Your Desktop

For plenty of users, the computer desktop serves as a dumping ground for all sorts of files, folders, and shortcuts. It usually starts with the idea that it’s just a temporary solution before you decide to move them somewhere else. This often ends up turning your desktop into a patchwork of icons covering your background and making it difficult to find what you’re looking for. 

The best solution is to move all those files into the folders you’ve created for specific purposes, and leave only the icons such as Computer, Documents, and Recycle Bin. You can also create a folder for all the program shortcuts that you use frequently. 

When you’re done cleaning your desktop, you should also set up a background that is easy on the eye and doesn’t make navigation unnecessarily difficult. While you may like the idea of using a wallpaper with every possible Fortnite character on it, it’s not the best solution for your productivity.

Clean Temporary Files

Temporary files are one of the primary culprits for cluttering and slowing down your computer. While you can browse your PC and delete some of them manually, there are easier ways to take care of this issue. 

For starters, most operating systems have some kind of in-built cleanup tool. If you’re a Windows user, you can take care of temporary files with the Disk Cleanup tool. It can help you remove a bunch of unnecessary files, such as: 

  • Setup logs
  • Error reports
  • Old Chkdsk files
  • Temporary setup and program files
  • Windows update files
  • Temporary internet files
  • Thumbnails
  • User files history

All you need to do is select the file types you want to delete, and Disk Cleanup will take care of them for you. 

You should also clean up your browser. Browsers keep plenty of leftover files, such as cookies, cached files, and remembered URLs. If you don’t clean them up regularly, they will accumulate and take up a lot of your hard drive space.

Every browser has its cleanup tool that enables you to choose the kind of files you want to remove. Before clicking on the OK button, make sure that the tool doesn’t delete any files that you need, such as stored passwords.

Empty the Recycle Bin

Keep in mind that all the deleted files that end up in the trash still take up space. During your regular decluttering routine, you should remember to empty the Recycle Bin so that all those unnecessary files are gone for good.

If you’d like, you can check out some of our other articles about staying productive and getting your daily tasks done: