Drag, drop and delete: The Clog’s guide to decluttering your virtual desktop

Photo of Computer Desktop
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Imagine this: You’re staring at your laptop at 2 a.m., desperately searching for that one reading you have to do for your assignment due at 8 a.m. It’s saved somewhere on your desktop, but you can’t seem to find it among the sea of other miscellaneous documents and files. You rub your eyes and look again. Not even the search bar seems to be working. Ten minutes pass before you finally stumble across it in some random folder. Turns out it was mislabeled and misplaced. Sighing, you begin the reading, annoyed at how long it took to just pull it up, and wonder why your desktop is so messy …

If this sounds familiar, it’s OK, and you’re not alone. A messy desktop can hinder productivity, especially with all the information we have to keep track of now that all of our classes and events take place online. Luckily, there is no better time to tidy up your virtual workspace than National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day. Read on for the Clog’s guide to organizing your desktop.

Delete the unnecessary

If your desktop is jampacked with random files, start here. Go through all your documents and folders, and delete anything you know you won’t be needing again. Miscellaneous screenshots? Delete. Downloaded readings or assignments from years ago? Gone. If you’re feeling particularly attached to anything, give yourself three seconds to make a decision. Ask yourself: Do I really need this homework from five years ago? Probably not. Once you’ve done your fair share of deleting, remember to empty the trash. By the end of this purging session, you should only be left with relevant files and a clear view of your desktop’s background.

Utilize folders

Folders are a handy way to categorize your virtual belongings. You can create a folder for each semester and make subfolders for each class. I recommend having a general “College” or “UC Berkeley” folder that you can move subfolders into when they’re no longer immediately needed — such as documents from a class you took previously that you think you might want to look at again. Folders are also a great way to keep track of projects, clubs and extremely important documents.

Back up your files

If you’re running out of space or just don’t want to delete anything, back up your files onto a hard drive. This is also great to do if most of your work is solely stored on your computer. Unfortunately, life is unpredictable, and something unspeakable might happen to your laptop. One spilled coffee could cost you photos, essays and other important items that are found nowhere else. On the bright side, regularly backing up your laptop is a solid way to minimize the risk of losing all your hard work.

Make organizing a daily habit

If you have trouble regularly maintaining a tidy desktop, start making a habit of it. Before you turn off your computer each day, take a look at your desktop. Delete screenshots that you no longer need and sort files into their corresponding folders. Before you know it, keeping a neat desktop will become second nature. And being able to see your adorable background will cause you to wonder how you were ever able to function otherwise.

After reading this article, hopefully, you will be motivated to maintain a well-kept desktop and notice some of its positive effects. It will only take two seconds to find your homework, and your productivity levels will consequently soar. You’ll have much more storage space, and your laptop will run faster too. There’s also just something so satisfying about having a clutter-free desktop. So whether you’re a pro organizer or need a little help in that department, take some time today to tidy up and declutter your virtual workspace. Happy cleaning!

Contact Kristie Lin at [email protected].