When was the last time you organized your computer? Getting all of those stray files and folders in order can seem like a painful task. However, there are many benefits to cleaning up a cluttered or disorganized computer. With an organized computer, you can easily find the files you need instead of hunting through folder after folder, or going through a long list of search items.
While putting your computer in order can be time consuming, it doesn’t have to be. By following three painless steps, you’ll break down the cleaning and organizing process so you can do it all at once, or over the course of a few days.
Step 1: Clean up the desktop
As a general rule, the state of your desktop is a pretty good indicator of the overall organization of your computer. If your desktop is littered with shortcuts and files, getting rid of that clutter is a good first step to take.
- Treat your Windows desktop like you would your physical one. You wouldn’t keep stacks of old files on your office desktop, so why clutter up your virtual one? Important reference tools, immediate-response items, and frequently-used files can stay out on your desktop, but old documents, files, or programs should either get deleted or moved elsewhere.
- Take out the trash. Emptying the Recycle Bin—especially if you haven’t done it in a while—can free up hard drive space on your computer that could be better used for files and programs that you use and need.
Step 2: Clear out old and/or unnecessary files
Over time, we may tend to amass all kinds of documents and files on our work computers. Some of them are important to keep around, while others are not.
- Determine which files are important for you to save.
- Determine which files are dispensable.
Step 3: De-clutter email inbox
Your email inbox is one of the places that can amass the greatest amount of clutter in the shortest amount of time. De-cluttering your inbox is a matter of organizing your folders, deleting old emails that are no longer needed, and emptying out your Deleted Items and Junk Email folders.
- Delete old emails. Go through your inbox and delete old and unnecessary emails.
- Organize folders. If you haven’t done so already, creating and using email folders to sort your mail into different categories can help you organize your emails more quickly and easily than before. Some people like to sort their email by project or category, while others prefer to sort their email in order of urgency.
- Empty your Deleted Items and Junk Email Folders. Over time, these two folders can get pretty large in size. It’s a good idea to empty these folders regularly, to avoid wasting space on mail you no longer need.