How to keep your computer desktop clean and organized

It’s no secret that clutter is one of the biggest enemies of productivity. When your workspace is crowded and messy, it becomes difficult for you to get any work done. Instead of focusing on your tasks, you’ll waste a lot of your time and energy looking for the things that you need in a million places before you find them. 

But it’s not just the physical mess that can take a toll on your productivity levels. Digital clutter can also influence you in a negative way. Most people rely on their laptops and computers to perform their daily activities, so a cluttered desktop can become a real burden, slowing you down and getting in the way of fulfilling your tasks.  

Unfortunately, the fact that desktops get cluttered with ease and cleaning them feels like such a huge inconvenience complicates things even further. A lot of us run away from this responsibility until our desktops turn into complete chaos where nothing makes sense anymore. So, if you want to avoid this messy scenario, here are a few tips that will help you keep your desktop clean and tidy from now on. 

Do some spring cleaning 

If your desktop is so crowded that whenever you need to find something it feels like you’re looking for the needle in the haystack, the only thing that can restore order is a good spring cleaning. There’s no other way to do this than by going through all the apps, programs, and files that you have on your desktop and deciding what goes and what stays. 

Get rid of duplicate files, apps that you haven’t used in a million years and that you might not ever use again, or files that have served their purpose and you no longer need them. This will help you free up storage space while also making your desktop look neat. For those files and apps that you don’t know what to do with yet, you can create a special folder that you can revisit from time to time, so you don’t have to stumble upon this content daily.  

Develop a file naming standard

A lot of files get lost on the desktop or overstay their welcome because people don’t name them properly, or they don’t name them at all and then they forget what they’re all about. That’s why you should put a bit of thought into naming your files, instead of using random names like file1, file2, and so on that provide no relevant information and will simply confuse you after a while.   

Here are a few tips that can help you develop a proper file naming convention:

  • Keep names short
  • Use descriptive words to help you figure out what they contain
  • Avoid using special characters
  • Use dates 
  • Be consistent with the naming system 

Once you’ve established a file naming standard, you’ll be able to navigate through your documents with ease, without getting lost in a file labyrinth.   

Create a file system 

A file naming convention can help a lot, but it still won’t solve your clutter issues if it’s not accompanied by a solid file system. It’s important to create a system that will allow you to organize files and documents into folders and subfolders, based on specific categories, in a logical hierarchy that makes sense to you. Assess all your files carefully before deciding in which category you should include them.

Also, it’s just as important to ensure that all the files you store are also well organized and ready to use themselves. This means arranging pages in the right order, converting files to a certain format, and so on. If you’re having a hard time staying on top of your PDF files, a tool such as PDFChef can help you manage your files like a pro and make your life a lot easier.  

Manage new content wisely 

When you’re busy working, the last thing you have time to think about is desktop organization. So, just like many other people, you probably have the habit of dumping new content on your desktop, telling yourself you’ll get back to it later and move it to a proper location. In most cases, you’ll just forget about it and do the same thing when the situation repeats. 

New content that you have to manage in a rush is usually responsible for most of the clutter on your desktop. To get rid of this annoying issue you’ll simply have to make an effort to change your habits. It won’t take you longer than a few minutes a day to move all your new files and apps to the right location, so try not to postpone this task. 

Use your start menu and taskbar

Apart from random files, desktops also get cluttered with numerous program shortcuts. People place them on the desktop because they want to reach for them with ease. However, even if you use certain programs on a daily basis, it doesn’t mean you have to keep them all on your desktop. 

The start menu and the taskbar offer a good location alternative, so you can keep your most-used apps and programs at your fingertips, but without getting in the way. Pinning icons to the taskbar will clear a lot of space on your desktop.  

Maintenance is key

Something that you’ll have to accept about desktop organizing is the fact that it’s not something you do just once and then you can forget about. It’s an ongoing task, and as much as you’d like to avoid it, you’ll have to make it part of your routine. 

Maintaining is better than fixing, so if you take the time to declutter and organize your desktop regularly, you won’t have to go through a cumbersome cleaning process anymore. depending on your personal needs, you can schedule a decluttering session once a week, once a month, or as often as it’s suitable for you. Turn this into a habit and you’ll never have to deal with a chaotic desktop again.