How to Clean Out & Organize Your Computer

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Deep cleaning your computer of unwanted files and streamlining your folder system can not only free up storage space, but improve your computer's performance. From decluttering tips to apps that do your organizing for you, here's how to spruce up your computer and make sure it stays that way.

I have a condensed list of tips below:

Cleaning out your computer

  1. Find duplicate files

You'd be surprised how much storage is used up by duplicate files, whether they're files you saved twice to different locations or multiple downloads of the same file.

  1. Delete temporary files

The processes your computer runs through when you use files or programs creates tons of tiny, temporary files that help it retrieve the information you need faster.

  1. Clear the downloads folder of unnecessary files

The Downloads folder can be expunged of detritus such as PDFs of old plane tickets, GIFs and humorous cat pics from emails, torrent links to files you now have, .dmg (Mac) or .exe (Windows) installers of apps you now have, and so on.

  1. Delete unused applications

Alternately, try out App Cleaner PRO ($9.99), which lets you delete apps with one click. You'll need to upgrade to the Pro version after downloading the free app to delete programs.

  1. Should you still defrag your drive?

In general, Mac computers don't need to be defragged, especially newer Mac laptops that have solid-state drives (SSD), use a different method of maintaining data. Windows 8 and Windows 10 automatically run a disk defrag (now called disk optimization) on a weekly schedule for machines with hard drives.

  1. Zap spyware and trackers

It's possible that in the course of your internet browsing, you acquired some trackers, spyware or even minor viruses (unless, of course, you have been using up-to-date security software).

  1. Finishing touches

Don't be afraid to remove applications from your Dock unless you really need daily access to them.

Organize your computer files

  1. Merge duplicate folders

If you have two folders with the same name and they should really be the same folder…

  1. Find a home for photos

A cloud storage service for your photos can be a handy means of ensuring a backup even if your devices are lost or damaged.

  1. Move all your documents to the Documents folder

Sounds obvious, but I have docs floating on my Mac desktop, in my Users folder and in Downloads.

  1. Move all songs to the Music folder and all video to the Movies/Videos folder

Sort each file type into its appropriate “master” folder, and further sort the files into sub-folders later.

  1. Build a folder system

Make a nest of folders and sub-folders.

  1. Organize new files as they arrive

Consider a couple different apps for setting up rules for different file types.

  1. Back up efficiently

Setting up a backup system is crucial.

Happy Spring Cleaning!

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