Computer Desktop and File Organization

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As we spend more and more time in front of our computers saving documents, downloading pictures, and completing tasks for work, our files and desktops can quickly become a disorganized mess! Unlike home or office organization, computer organization and management may not come as naturally to some of us. Anyone who has spent more than a few hours on their computer knows that computer desktop and file organization is just as important. Learn how to keep your files and desktop more organized than ever before with these simple tips. 

set of hands working on laptop and a different hand pointing to the screen.

In addition to these tips for organizing your computer desktop and files, you want to consider the best practices for creating, managing and storing files, both electronic and hard copy files. 

Computer Desktop and File Organization – Tips For a More Organized Office

Desktop and File Organization – Why It’s So Important

  • It’s less stressful – Your important files will always be exactly where you left them.
  • It increases productivity – Most people work better in cleaner environments, and that includes your computer.
  • It saves you time – Gone are the days of searching for work  or personal files and spending hours cleaning up your desktop.

Simple Tips for Desktop and File Organization

My desktop has the tendency to become a disorganized mess if I let it. Because I work from home, my entire workplace and personal life is right there on my computer – so it’s extra important to keep things organized! Here are some things I’ve learned along the way that can help you too. 

Make Use of Folders

During your desktop and file organization process, you will find that folders are your friends. There are many different ways to organize your files into folders. However, many people, including myself, choose to organize their files like this:

  • Create a folder with a broad topic (e.g. “Work”) 
  • Create subfolders (folders within a folder) with specific topics (E.g. “Client #1” or “Monthly Meeting Notes”) 
  • Update folders as necessary

If your desktop is full of files, it may take a while to sort your documents and pictures into the appropriate folders and sub-folders. However, it will be worth it in the end. For easy access, you may want to keep your folders right on your desktop. 

close up of pink organizing computer wallpaper

To keep your desktop organized with folders, come up with a system that works for you. For example, you could keep all of your work folders on the right side of your desktop and all of your personal folders on the left side. Or, you could use an organizational wallpaper to help you out. This free downloadable option is available in four different color choices.

Strategically Name Your Files

Even with the folder system outlined above, your files can still become a mess over time. The best way to avoid this problem right from the start is by strategically naming your files. Once again, there are a number of ways to do this! Some methods include:

  • Naming by date created or date project is due
  • Naming by topic – be specific!
  • Naming using a code you created 

Whatever method you decide, the important thing is to be consistent and stick with it. If you do not strategically name your files, your folders may end up looking and feeling just like your disorganized desktop – and that defeats the purpose of getting organized.

Regularly Maintain Your Desktop & Folders

Even with all the best strategies in place, your folders and desktop can become overwhelming over time. Imagine every document you’ve created, screenshot you’ve taken, and picture you’ve saved over the last five years.

Even if you do organize all these documents into folders and name them using the most ingenious coding system – you will still have to wade through a lot of files. Just like you spring clean your home, it’s a good idea to clean up your computer every 6 months – 1 year. 

As you go through your files, you should decide what’s important and then delete the rest. A tip from Reader’s Digest suggests you assign each file with the ‘ABCD’ method – A for most used documents/applications and D for least used.

Go through your files and decide what letter each item should get. Your ‘C’ and ‘D’ documents or applications should either be deleted or simply removed from your desktop – if you hardly use them, they shouldn’t be on your desktop!  

Enjoy Your Organized Computer Desktop and Files 

I know that I feel so much better when my life is organized. A well-organized computer desktop and files can make the difference between a stressful or a stress-free day at work. Although this process may take some time and effort, try to have fun with it! In the end, you’ll see that your hard work definitely pays off.  

Author – Lauren Fowler, Profit Works


For more simple and powerful productivity tips, hacks and printables, see the table below. You can scroll though the table and look for ideas or search for specific ideas with the magnifying glass in the upper right-hand corner (on desktop). Click on the topic and then click through the specific article.

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  1. I never thought about separating folders on my desktop into one side or the other! All of mine are just on one side. I do need to go through and organize my things better. Sometimes I can’t find the file I’m looking for! I’m not very good with technology though, so it’s hard to do.

  2. I really like this post. I’m a teacher and if I have to spend time looking for files and links my students get impatient and we all know the attention span of a teenager. Haha.
    Also, you just get a nice sense of accomplishment when you know where a piece of information or a document is right when you need it.

    One lesson that I learned the hard way is to not save ANYTHING on the desktop but to always have it stored in a cloud. Or, if you need it on the desktop for easy access, to back up your folders at least once a week. It is a little bit of a hassle but if you already have a good folder system in place it really doesn’t take a long time.

    All in all a really nice post with a ton of useful and easy to implement information. Thanks! 😉

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