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5 Tips for Organizing Your Computer Files

5 Tips for Organizing Your Computer Files

Computer Clutter

Is your computer as cluttered as the rest of your office?

5 Tips for Organizing Your Computer Files

Overall Computer Health:

Back up everything!  You can do this on the cloud which saves data to remote servers using the internet or by keeping physical discs of your data as a back up.

Did we say:  “Back up Everything!”  It is worth repeating, because we know that if you are not running a Mac computer, you are probably not backing up your stuff automatically.

Here are a couple of solutions:

CrashPlan – CrashPlan no longer supports home users but offers a number of suggested alternatives.

Carbonite – Continuous back up for all your files also for about $5 a month.

File Names:

Always name files with highly searchable titles.  A good naming convention is one of the most valuable tools, when it comes to soft copies.  Do not worry about them sounding pretty or succinct.  Include as many words as you think you’ll need to be able to find it later.  If you think of it as “Hostile Correspondence or The Tax Man,”  you should label it that way.

Judith Kolberg the author of Conquering Chronic Disorganization calls this the Muttering Game.  Labeling your files does not have to be serious, it does have to be efficient to find.


Start labeling photos as you upload them.  If you are short on time, which we all are, then at least label the folder with the event title and date so you can search by event.


Create a separate email address for junk email.  Use this email for newsletters, store coupons and rewards, Groupon-type offers.  This will make it less likely that you miss an important email.

Too complicated?  Keep one email address, but create folders and automatic filters so that you still receive the junk email but it doesn’t clutter up your inbox.  Gmail has done an amazing job helping us manage this part of our lives.

Unsubscribe to what you don’t read!  Don’t be afraid to unsubscribe, it won’t hurt anyone’s feelings.

Older Documents:

We all have thousands of files from when we first had a computer.  Are you really ever going to need your English paper on “The Great Gatsby?  Probably not!  But, there are some other files that might be treasures amongst those older files.  As you plan to delete and update, sort documents by date and work backward in time when purging.  Start with files that you will need access to, renaming to make them searchable and deleting old copies.  If you get stuck or bored, take 5 minutes to quickly delete some old files to increase your motivation to continue.

Happy Organizing!


Cris Sgrott

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