While it’s obvious that one should keep the files on their work computer neat, tidy, and organized, not many people apply the same principles to their home workstations. Truth be told, it’s a little odd. Keeping all your files where they can be easily found should be second nature to most people. Using the Windows search tool is a terribly inefficient way to seek out your files, and a disorganized computer, like a disorganized room, can work hell with your mood and efficiency. Plus, there’s something satisfying about having every last file arranged in a clear, clean matter- with everything where you can find it.
Some of you are probably a bit overwhelmed, and not entirely certain where to start. That’s fine- it’s not terribly difficult once you get down to it. If you’re just planning on using the organizational framework provided by Windows, the first thing you’ll want to do is organize all your files by type. All audio files in My Music, all movie and video files in My Videos, all photos and pictures in My Pictures, and…everything else in My Documents. Otherwise, go ahead and start creating categories.
You’ll want to start with broad strokes, then move down into the finer details. For example, let’s say you’re a graphic designer who also does web work. You can thus separate your files into “Work” and “Personal.” Next, you can go into your work folder, and arrange the files there into either web design, graphics design, or misc (a catch-all for anything that fits both categories). Finally, you can arrange those files within each folder by client.
Your personal files are a bit trickier. I’d recommend starting by arranging them by what they are- creative work, movies, music, sound-effects, installation files, photographs, pictures, et-cetera. Once you’ve done that, you can proceed to get more specific- such as movie genres, music albums/artists, comedic pictures and art…again, you get the idea. It’s pretty overwhelming when you first consider it, but once you look at it a bit more closely, it’s actually pretty simple.
Now, chances are good that while you’re doing this, you’re going to come across a few old install files and archives- stuff you’re probably never going to use again. As a general rule, if something like that is more than a year old, delete it, unless you absolutely must keep it. Same goes for old pictures you don’t like, songs you don’t listen to anymore, movies you don’t think you’ll ever watch…you’re not just organizing, you’re cleaning up.
That’s pretty much all I’ve got to say on the matter. Hopefully the basic concepts I’ve provided here are of help to someone. How-to Geek has a much more comprehensive guide (with a list of around forty organization tips) for those of you who want to get a bit more hardcore about it.
Oh, one last thing? If you have more than twenty shortcuts on your desktop…clean it up. There’s a good chance you’ll find you never use half of those shortcuts, anyway.
Image Credits: [Veryicon]
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