How to organize your digital files and ensure a clean computer desktop

How to organize your digital files and ensure a clean computer desktop

Stress is everywhere and being disorganized doesn’t help. One way to cut back on the stress in our life is by organizing so things are easy to find by being placed in easily accessible locations. Mostly, when we think about organizing our lives, we consider our space surrounding us, our rooms, our office, and that closet you’re afraid to open. We don’t often consider organizing our digital space, despite that computer clutter is one of the most frustrating and time-wasting problems we deal with. It may seem like an overwhelming task, but worry not, we can help you get organized and clutter free!

Let’s talk about how to organize your digital files, and cleaning up your computer desktop. A list of tips to get you organized are below.

Creating & labeling file folders

There are two basic categories to start with when sorting files into folders: Personal and Work. All of your digital files can be divided between these two file types, and organized from there. To start with, make two folders with one titled Personal and the other Work.

From here we will add more folders to continue our organization. Common file titles for work would include labels such as Finances, Contracts, Photos, Advertisements, Vendors, Contacts, Portfolio, etc. which would include your resume, work history, letters of recommendation and work samples.

Your Personal folder would include similar folders with titles such as Contacts, Finances, and Photos which can be further organized with folders for photos by year, of extended family, close family, children, pets and so on.

External devices

I highly recommend backing up your files. This can keep you from losing irreplaceable content should your computer crash or your laptop be stolen! There are several ways to back up your digital content. External hard drives are wonderful as they give you extra space that your computer may not have.

External hard drives will allow you to access your media content from your computer, connect to several computers on a share drive system, and many now allow you to connect via the internet. This may be your most viable option if you have thousands of photos you don’t want to risk parting with. Be sure to follow the same labeling and organization system on your external hard drive as you do with your desktop. Simply copying the originals to your external device is the easiest way to do this.

Web based organizers

This is one of my favorite ways to organize as there is no additional equipment needed and upgrades are easily purchased as needed. Common applications include Dropbox anb Cloud, which is offered through several companies like, IDrive, Google Drive, Microsoft OneDrive, and several others.

These web based storage drives allow you to access your digital and media files from any device connected to the internet. This can be very beneficial if you have multiple devices. The downside of these applications is without being connected to the internet you may have no access or at best limited access to your files.

What should you use?

  • Google Drive is a popular choice. As long as you have a Gmail account, you have access to Google Drive. With excellent search capabilities and nice integration with Google+ and Google Docs, this is one of the leading web based organizers. Without charge, you have 5 GB available of storage, and for a fee of $2.50 per month that can be upgraded to 25 GB. If you are looking to store hundreds of photos or videos, an upgrade is likely necessary.
  • Cloud storage is certainly one of the better-known options. Cloud is most popular for its off-site management, as it’s offered through multiple vendors and is easily accessed from any device at any time. It also makes sharing files and media easy between coworkers, friends or family. The biggest con we have found with Cloud is the long term costs. With so many external devices offering web access to your files, the onetime fees associated with external devices may prove to be more budget friendly than five years of Cloud services.
  • Dropbox is another strong competitor. Dropbox certainly allows for ease of use for uploading and accessing files to the web, and is compatible with most devices. They offer built-in synchronization between PCs, Macs and smartphones when connected to the internet. Once you upload a file, the latest version is available on all your devices.

Security and privacy with organization

Something to remember when using any web based storage is also security and privacy. Simply put, anything that goes online, stays online, and is therefore accessible. Media regularly reports security breaches with online entities. If your files contain sensitive data, this is something to consider. These services may be best used for sharing memories and events with friends and family compared to secure information such as social security numbers, account information, and private legal documents.

Organize your life today

When deciding on your storage options, the choice is vastly dependent on your needs and intended use. If you’re looking for easy access and sharing capabilities for friends and family, free web based storage companies are certainly ideal.

Additionally, for many entrepreneurs working with clients across the globe, these web based storage options can be very be useful if your digital content does not pose security risks. The ability to immediately send files, contracts, images, and media of various sizes can be vital to a business. Thanks to today’s advancements in technology, many external storage devices that offer online accessibility also offer share capabilities as well. For work use, this may be ideal as it does offer some additional security.

Ultimately, the priority is organization! Keeping organized can save you time, and sanity.


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