Left alone for long enough, even the most organized system will become chaotic and overgrown. This can be especially true for work computers, as the hectic work environment leads to extra copies of files, useless files left on the desktop, and random data scattered across the file system. This chaos makes you less productive, and may actually be slowing down your computer.

Looking at the mess can be overwhelming, and starting to correct it can be even more daunting. Here are a few tips that can help you get started on your digital cleanse:

  1. Clean up your temp files
    • Operating system updates, program installs, and software updates can fill up your temp file folders. Clearing these out can return substantial space to your hard drives
  2. Clean up your downloads folder
    • We all do it: download a file or email attachment, and leave it in the downloads folder. Leaving all these files (aside from being a waste of space) can make it hard to find the downloads you need, slowing down your workflow
  3. Organize your files
    • Think of the data in your computer like files in a filing cabinet. Treat your digital files just like you would your paper files: place them into logically named folders and put those folders into the right filing cabinets.
  4. Organize your Desktop
    • Downloading and installing programs can leave your desktop littered with shortcuts and files that you don’t need/use. Think of your desktop like your actual desk: if it’s clean, it’s much easier to find what you need, when you need it!
  5. Clean your emails
  • Create sub-folders in your inbox
    • You can make folders in your inbox to organize your emails. For example, you can create a ‘Vendors’ folder that holds all your correspondence with your vendors
  • Start each year off with a clean slate
    • Create a sub-folder called .2017 and put all your 2017 emails in that folder
      • The dot is important! It will sort the folder to the top of the list so you can access it easily
    • This allows email hoarders to have a clean inbox while still retaining all the old emails
    • This helps keep the inbox count low, as you can process emails as they come in (instead of trying to handle a mountain of messages)
  • Create a folder called news letters/junkmail
    • After you’ve created this folder, you can create message rules to automatically move annoying newsletters and junk mail to the folder.

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