Does your current computer filing system consist of putting everything in a folder on your desktop to “sort out later”? Don’t worry; you and every other computer user on the planet likely have the same system!
And before you know it, you are drowning in hundreds of thousands of unorganized computer files. And you have no idea where or how to start with a file organization system.
It may seem like a never-ending, unnecessary task, but there are many benefits to having a clean computer. You will lower your stress, save money on storage, and maximize productivity.
Organizing your computer folders may not be easy, but it is simple. This guide will show you how to do it in only six simple steps.
Step 1: Remove Duplicate Files
First, download a duplicate file and photo remover to source any files which are copies or similar.
It is easy to re-copy the same photos from a memory card or drag files from one folder to another by accident. Using software that can do this will decrease the risk of human error and make your task less daunting. This link has more information on removing duplicate files.
Step 2: Create Top-Level Folders
The next step in computer file organization is to create your top-level folders. These are around five to 10 folders within your documents folder that represent significant areas of your life. For example, these folders could be:
Go through all your files and, for now, move them into one of these top-level folders. For photographs and videos, it might be best to organize them by year and month.
Step 3: Create Sub-Folders
Once you have moved all your files, it should be easier to see what sub-folders you need in each top-level folder. For example, in the finance folder, you could have sub-folders for:
- Bank statements
- Tax returns
Try not to have too many sub-folders within sub-folders. If your filing taxonomy system is too complicated, you will not stick with it.
Step 4: Rename Your Files
As you file your documents into their sub-folders, rename your files to something simple and easy to find when you use the search function.
This will remove the need for tons of sub-folders. For example, name your bank statements “June_2016_Bank_Statement.” Dating your documents will keep them in chronological order, too, if necessary.
Step 5: Delete Files You No Longer Need
When you are filing your documents into sub-folders, consider whether you still need that file. If you have not opened it in years, you likely don’t.
Unless it is a tax document, of course!
Step 6: Invest in a Backup Solution
Once you have organized your computer files into a neat and easy-to-use system, invest in a backup solution. Hard drives and computers fail all the time so storing everything on one hard drive is a recipe for disaster.
Choose a cloud storage solution or a hard drive backup system, whichever works for you.
How to Tackle Computer File Organization in Six Steps
It may take you days, or it may take you weeks, but digital clutter is still clutter that can cause you stress and anxiety. Once you nail computer file organization, organizing the rest of your belongings will seem so much more manageable.
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