How to Easily Clean & Organize Your Digital Files
Everyone’s digital life and needs are different. Consider this a very basic guide on how to do a little digital cleaning and organizing of your computer in a couple of hours so you can have a system that runs a little smoother and so you can find files you need a little easier.
1. Backup now!
Before you start doing any deleting, fiddling, cleaning or sorting — backup everything important to you, whether in the cloud, by syncing with another computer or by using an external hard drive.
2. Start by cleaning out
How you go about this step will depend upon the type of machine you have (PC or Mac), but you can start by going through your computer and deleting files you just don’t need. You can also uninstall programs you don’t use. You can empty your recycling bin. You can use what came with your computer (Disk Utility for Macs, Disk Cleanup for PCs). Or you can download third-party disk cleaning apps that will delete unneeded files from your computer (though be wary of only choosing those with good reviews and ratings). And don’t forget to go into your web browsers and delete cookies, the cache and your internet history. Gizmodo UK has more advice for Mac or PC users here.
Remember: Don’t delete anything unless you’re 100% sure you can. If you’re unsure, leave it!
Want a five-minute cheat? → 3 Tips to Declutter Your Digital Life in 5 Minutes or Less
3. Design a file structure that works for youThere are many ways to structure the files on your computer. In fact, you can get fairly technical with this task (we like articles like
Photo organizing help → How To Organize Digital Photos
4. Backup important files again (and backup regularly!)
And make sure you set your files to either backup automatically at regular intervals, or set reminders for yourself to back your files up at regular intervals.
Bonus ideas if you are feeling extra inspired:
→Declutter your inbox
If you’ve still got energy after tackling your file structure, work on making your inbox a sleeker place. Sort by size and delete big ones. Delete emails you no longer need. Set up filters or folders to organize incoming messages. Consider an app like Unroll.me to get an handle on all your subscriptions.
→A smartphone sweep
Tackle the small computer you take everywhere with you by deleting unneeded photos (you do not need those 30 blurry photos of your cat) and deleting apps you don’t use.
Okay so this was a really, really basic guide, but feel free to share in the comments below digital file cleaning and organizing tricks that have worked for you!