Top 5 tips for organizing your computer files

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Posted 09 Jul 2007 in Geek Girl

Geek GirlLast week, I gave you some advice about how to increase your office productivity. The next step is to organize your computer files! Lifehacker posted some interesting advice – but I think their method attempts to change our trained habits a bit too much and could cause a lot of problems for those of us who are less technologically advanced.

My top 5 tips for organizing your computer files:

1. Have a “temp” file on your desktop. I frequently download email attachments and other files. Instead of having them download all over the place, I save them to a folder named “Attachments to View” on the desktop. Now, I have just one location to find these files. Once I finish looking at it and don’t need it anymore, I delete it. If I want to keep the file, I move it to another folder. More about those in a moment.

2. Make hierarchical files in My Documents. In my “My Documents” folder, I only have 4 main folders. I left the media folders (My Pictures, My Videos and My Music) in the My Documents folder because I frequently access these files. The fourth folder is “Docs”. This is where I keep all of my other files. See the screenshot below and click on it to see a full-sized version.

3. Sort and file away files immediately. Don’t leave until tomorrow what you can do today! At the point of moving from Attachments to View or creating a file, each file should have a home. For example, every “work” file should be in the “Work” folder inside of “My Docs”. All “school” related files should be in the “School” folder. Feel free to add more folders to divide the folders into “Spring 2006” or “Marketing Launch Summer 2007”.

4. Create shortcuts of files that belong in more than one place. I have some files that deal with work and school, or web design and finances. So, I create a shortcut to these files in the other folder(s). This saves me a ton of time from clicking and looking for files. To create shortcuts, right click on a folder or file and press “Create Shortcut”. Drag the shortcut to the other folder. Or, you can click on the shortcut to select it and click “move”. Go through the file hierarchy and select the appropriate folder for your shortcut.

5. Periodically clean everything out! Every month, delete or backup to an external hard drive the files that you no longer need. This will make the second step – a disk cleanup and disk defragment – go more smoothly. The longer you wait between your housecleaning, the longer it will take – so do it more often!

Do you have any additional tips??? Leave them in the comments.

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  1. anne

    the shortcut idea is very clever. thanks!

  2. sixfooter

    I recommend software named “RoboBasket” to do all the filing things.
    It really saves me a lot of time.

    • I will definitely check this out!

  3. Very good article. Thanks for the good information!.

  4. Marty

    I just found Clutterkiller on snapfiles. Filed all the crap in my downloads folder in seconds. Was pretty amazed actually. I can actually see my whole desktop now!!!

    • Checking this out now! Thanks for the suggestion!!!

  5. Organizing! I really love sorting things out into proper order. I hated it when my documents are messed up.
    Your suggestions are very straightforward though this is already my practice but I have to say that you did come with a very good tips.


  6. My document files always messed up. My desktop also so messy. Sometimes I fell want to format my pc to make it as new again.

    Halim – Belajar SEO’s last blog post: Belajar SEO getting confuse now…

    • A lot of people reformat to get a “clean” start. I just like going back in every week and moving things around. It makes me feel a lot better!

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