We’ve traded in our snow shovels for lawn mowers; wind chill for pollen index; winter socks for flip flops. At least here in North Carolina, it’s officially spring, which means it’s time for spring cleaning! There is nothing more satisfying than cleaning out my closet to purge the old and make room for the new. The goal is to have all of my clothes in order by sleeve length and color.
If that sounds like a chore that you will most definitely procrastinate, try something else. There’s something super easy you can check off your to-do list: file organization. As daunting as organizing your computer files seems, it totally doesn’t have to be. There are tons of tools out there to help make organizing files painless. Here are a few of my favorite tips to organize digital files, and kick-off spring cleaning (sneezing not required).
File Organization Tip #1: Use the cloud to backup all of your files
Before you get started organizing your files, protect your future self by backing up your files in the cloud. For ShareFile users, you can either use desktop sync or drag and drop your files into the web app. If you don’t already use ShareFile, you can try out unlimited cloud storage for free for 30 days. There are also free cloud storage solutions, like Google Drive, although they tend to skimp on functionality.
File Organization Tip #2: Clean out junk files
It’s super exciting to get a new laptop, but oftentimes it comes preloaded with bloatware. And even after you think you’ve cleared everything off, there are still zipped folders, download files, and miscellaneous programs that impede your ability to effectively organize your files. Become one with your device and achieve file organization bliss by referencing Should I Remove It? This is a site you’ll want to bookmark to find out what programs on your computer you need, and what you don’t.
File Organization Tip #3: Get rid of duplicate files
There is definitely such thing as a black hole, and it is known as the Downloads folder on my PC. It houses loads of PDFs and Word Docs downloaded multiple times from the same. exact. source. These tend to pile up and before I know it, I have tons of duplicate files. This takes up way too much room on my computer. To aid your organization process, I recommend using a duplicate cleaner app such as DuplicateCleaner by DigitalVolcano Software.
File Organization Tip #4: Perform a disk cleanup
Every now and then, it becomes time to do a deep clean of our homes and offices. We do it because it is good for our health and hygiene, right? The same is true for our PC. If we want our devices to live a long healthy life, you need to routinely do a deep clean. During spring cleaning, when you’re getting ready to organize all of your files, start with a clean slate by performing a disk cleanup.
File Organization Tip #5: Streamline the way you name files
There is nothing more frustrating when you are trying to collaborate with colleagues or clients, and you have no idea what file to even search for. I am not ashamed to admit that I have named a very important spreadsheet “Book1.xlsx”. Yikes. Even if you’re in a hurry, if you streamline the way you name your files, your files will naturally become organized from here on out. Figure out a way that works best for you, but my preferred method starts with the date of the version – YYYYMMDD. Then, I insert any commonly used terms, such as the department name or type of document. So, instead of “anonymous spreadsheet number 53”, it’s “20170411_Marketing_Report”.
With these tips in hand, set aside a few minutes to clean up your files to set yourself up for a successful spring.