No pictures for this edition, because today we’re looking at the computer, and quite frankly I don’t need to show the internet what’s on my computer. Yes, virtual clutter can be as bad as the physical stuff. It takes up a lot of room, makes it harder to find things you’re looking for, and can be frustrating. As I’ve been trying to organize everything for productivity and entertainment, it’s time to look at a few things you can do to get your computer organized as well.

  • Folders are your friend: The best way to organize is the use of file folders. You’ve already experienced that. I’m on Windows but I’m assuming the Mac also separates your documents, photos, music, videos, and whatever. Of course YOU still have to put them into those folders. What’s more, you can create subfolders so that, for example, you aren’t searching through fifteen different events to find that one picture of you with your sister’s new baby. Just go into the “Betsy’s Christening” folder (unless you’re really good at remembering dates) and check through maybe 10 pictures to find the right one. Also a must for your documents, so you can find that term paper just by going through your “schoolwork” folder. This also works for organizing all those shortcuts on your desktop. There are programs online that will allow you to create a folder group on your desktop, but why take up more hard drive space with a new program?
  • Burn baby burn: Most computers today come with a CD-RW or even DVD+RW burner. You can save files to a CD or DVD and take them off of your hard drive. I keep all my photos on one CD, video files on another, and so on. For smaller files like written documents I still keep a floppy disk drive. Another option is the use of SD Cards (which requires a card reader) and flash drives (which you can just plug in to a USB port). If you do a lot of projects that require a lot of storage space, look into an external drive. Just be sure to know the difference between CD-R (writable disks but you can’t erase info from it or change the file–it’s there permanently) and CD-RW (rewritable, which means you can change the files and erase files you don’t want any more). Just be careful when you do it. When I was transferring to my new computer I tried using CD-RWs but I erased the files before I was sure the file was safe. I lost a lot of project files to a corrupted disk.
  • Delete, but delete carefully: If you know you don’t need that digital copy of your Christmas list from five years ago, why keep it? Go through your old documents and stuff and take out what you don’t need. If you know how to go through the list of programs and take out outdated software you have a better version of (this from the guy who still has an older copy of Paint Shop Pro on his computer despite having a more recent version), consider removing it. If  you haven’t played a certain video game in a long time, take it out. (And if you won’t ever play it again, put it on eBay or something and clear up your physical space, too. Or even give it to a friend. If you do plan to play it again, save a copy of your game’s saved states, though.) Just make sure you are deleting something you don’t want anymore. You have a second chance while it’s in the “recycle bin” but once you clear out the bin it’s gone for good.

So anyone have some other tips for getting your computer files organized? Add them to the comments.