How to Organize Computer Files to Find Them Easily

It’s hard to imagine but 1.7 megabytes of data are created per person in the world every second.

When you consider that floppy disks used to only hold about 1.2 megabytes of data, it’s clear how far we’ve forayed into the world of technology.

With our increased reliance on data and the files that hold it, it’s no wonder why so many people can never pull up the photos, documents and applications they’re looking for.

If your computer starts and you’re greeted with hundreds of icons littering your desktop, it’s time you learned how to organize computer files. In this post, our team shares some simple tips that can help you turn your data nightmare into a dream!

1. Limit Your Desktop to Twenty Icons

Our desktops tend to be our favorite place to store files. To help move you away from that “dumping ground” method of data storage, we recommend limiting yourself to only twenty desktop icons.

With a twenty icon limit, you’ll be forced to stick files into folders and limit the number of shortcuts you use, which is important for your organize computer files step.

2. Get Familiar With Your Computer’s Finder

Even with a clean desktop, it can be hard to find the files that you need. That’s where your computer’s finder comes in handy.

A finder is a search bar that lives in the lower left-hand corner of your screen if you’re running Windows 10 or in the upper right-hand corner of your screen if you’re running a recent version of macOS.

To use your finder, click into it. When you’re prompted for input, start typing out the beginning of the file’s name you’re looking for. If you get the first few characters right, your computer should turn up helpful results.

3. Start Grouping Files Into Folders

You’ve limited your desktop real estate. You’ve familiarized yourself with your finder. Now it’s time to start getting folder fluent!

You should be able to right or control + click onto your desktop to create a new folder. Once one is created, put a category name on it and start putting files and programs that fit that category inside.

Typical folder categories might include documents, applications, and photos.

Don’t worry if you’re unsure about how a particular piece of data slots into a category. For now, just place items in whichever folder you think best suits them.

4. Sub-Categorize

With your files in their broad category folders, consider niching down by creating folders within folders that will help you organize your files even better. The more detailed you are with your folder structure, the easier you’ll be able to manually locate files in the future.

Just make sure you remember how your folder structure works. If you go too deep down the organizational rabbit hold and forget your methodology, you could complicate your file storage woes.

5. Get Inspired by Celebrated File Storing Systems

If you’re having a hard time cooking up the best way to organize your files within folders, you’re not alone. Some people just don’t have the kind of mind that’s required to hatch detailed yet approachable storage solutions.

Fortunately, there are several file storage methodologies that you can learn about online and copy!

For a few suggestions, consider examining the workflows discussed here.

6. Back-Up Your Directories

Imagine taking the time to learn how to organize computer files, getting all of your data in order and then enduring hard drive failure. Believe it or not, data loss due to malfunction or user error happens to even the most tech-savvy of individuals.

To avoid that fate, back-up your organized directories after you’re done shaping them. You can back-up your directories locally to an external hard drive or in the cloud via services like Google Drive, Dropbox or iCloud.

7. Stay Disciplined

It’s harder to stay on the file organization train than it is to get on it. All it takes is you blowing off organizing just one file to eventually get too lazy to keep up with your file storage rules going forward.

Don’t let yourself off of the hook if you’re slipping.

Just like exercising, staying organized takes a constant commitment to enjoy results. The fewer cheat days you give yourself, the easier it’ll be to form an unbreakable organization habit.

8. If All Else Fails, Hide Your Desktop Icons

When your desktop is messy, you find duplicate files everywhere you look and you can’t muster up the discipline to fix those issues, a band-aid solution is to cover your problems up.

Both PCs and Macs offer the option to hide icons on your desktop which will make your computer look clean at the click of a button.

Of course, hiding your issues isn’t going to make finding your files any easier. For some though, the illusion of a tidy workspace is enough to make them happy.

If you’re one of those people, by all means, sweep your issues under the rug.

Now That You Know How to Organize Computer Files, Get to Work

Many people will learn how to organize computer files in their lifetimes. Few of them will put the effort into getting their digital footprint whipped into shape.

We hope you end up being one of the few because a life that’s free of digital clutter is one that has less stress and higher rates of productivity!

If you’d like more advice on how to streamline your life through helpful tips, products and more, check out additional content on our blog!

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