by Scott Blenkhorne on Aug 13, 2013 at 2:32pm

In this entry, I will be explaining just some of the basics of how to keep your files organized and easy to find.

The importance of organizing your files is important for 3 reasons (atleast).

  1. It makes it easier to find the files you need, when you need them.
  2. When the time comes for you to share your files with someone else, you don't have to spend any time organizing the files for them, because they are already!
  3. When your friend or family member uses your laptop, their response will be "Ooooooohhhh Awwwwwwww" rather than "How can you find anything in this mess?" 

To begin with, I would encourage you to be very choosy about which files you keep on your Desktop. I have seen far too many people who by default direct every file to the Desktop, and as a result they have a screen that looks like what you see above. Think of your computer's Desktop to be similar to your desk at work or at home. The more cluttered it is, the less you are able to use it for its intended purpose. The Desktop on your computer is meant to be a place to easily transfer files/folders from one place to another. For instance, when you plug in a USB stick or hard drive, it is much easier to select the files you want, gather them on your Desktop, and then organize them into their appropriate places, as opposed to copying them to their places individually one at a time. When your Desktop is cluttered with the majority of your files, it can no longer be used for it's intended purpose.


"Then where am I supposed to put them?"

I'm so glad you asked. I'm amazed by the number of people I have helped who had no idea that they had folders in their home folder for the very purpose of organizing their digital life.

These are easily found by just opening a Finder window.

To open a new window you can either click on the Finder icon  or select New Finder Window under the File menu.  

(Notice that the Finder is the active application, since it says 'Finder' next to the Apple icon).

In the left-hand column, you should see a list of different icons under the word 'FAVORITES'. The one you want to use to store all your Microsoft Office Documents and most other files you work with on a daily basis is .

Once inside your Documents folder, you now want to take your hands off the keyboard and think about what kind of a folder structure you want to create. The folders that reside in the Documents folder should be the biggest and top level folders, in which everything else will reside in subfolders. 

For instance, in my Documents folder I have the following folders: Personal, Work, Education, Finances. I use my Work folder to store all of the files I use for my web design work. I use my Education folder for all of my teaching files. Etc, etc. Of course, you can do what you want, but I would suggest you try and keep your top level as simplistic as possible. 

Well, that's all for this entry. Stay tuned for my next entries on organizing your files where I will talk about organizing your photos, videos, etc.

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