The Art of File and Folder Organization


Can you see your wallpaper behind all the icons on your desktop? If not, then it’s time to purge that virtual clutter and learn the art of file and folder organization. 

3 Signs Your Computer is Unorganized

  • At least half your Desktop is cluttered with icons.
  • Your “My Documents” is bursting with countless files, photos and folders.
  • Any given file that you’re looking could be in one of your many folders.

If you fall into any of these categories, it’s time to declutter your computer.

Tips on Getting (and Staying) Organized

Organizing your computer isn’t as complicated as it seems. It’s easy to set up an organization system on your computer with just a few simple steps. Choosing a file and folder organization system that works for you comes down to personal preference but we’ve come up with a list of suggestions:

Create Personalized Folders for Each User

If there are more than one user on your computer, you should consider creating personalized folders for each person. Doing so will reduce confusion and frustration when trying to find that one document amidst a pool of folders and filters that aren’t yours. Each user’s folder can hold subfolders to group related files.

Create Subfolders

Don’t shy away from creating as many levels of sub-folders as you need. Every time you notice an opportunity to group a set of related files into a sub-folder, do so. For example, if you engage in online banking and bill-pay, set up a main folder called “Finances” – then create sub-folders for each account’s statements.

Always Name Folders and Files

You should never create files with meaningless names like Document1.doc, or folders called New Folder (2). Instead, come up with a name for the file/folder that accurately and concisely summarizes its contents.

Avoid the Urge to Print

Although we like to think we’re moving towards a “paperless” world, many people still print nearly every email or electronic document they receive. If you don’t have a useful reason for printing it out, hug a tree and save it on your computer for later reference.

Clean Out Regularly

Just like paper files, it’s easy for electronic folders to become overstuffed. A couple times a year, go through your computer files and delete anything that has become outdated or irrelevant to your life– think of it as “spring cleaning”.

Back Up Regularly

Have you ever lost an unsaved document to a frozen computer? If you have, you probably understand the value of having a back-up. At least once a week, save all of your files to an external hard drive or a cloud service like Dropbox. By doing this you’ll always have a copy to fall back on should your computer ever crash.

Simply put, decluttering your computer and creating and effective file and folder organization system will enhance your productivity and reduce the amount of time spent scouring through folders for a specific document, making your digital life much more… organized.