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Declutter Your Computer Desktop in 5 Easy Steps!

Declutter Your Computer Desktop in 5 Easy Steps

Day 5 of the Digital Declutter Challenge

Clean Up your desktop now!

Day 5 of the 7 Day Digital Declutter Challenge is geared more for laptop and/or desktop computers. Today’s challenge is REALLY simple. I want you to declutter your computer desktop in 5 easy steps. So let’s go!

Step 1: Create Anchor Folders

Step 1 of 5: Declutter Your Computer Desktop!
Step 1 of 5 Easy Steps to Declutter Your Computer Desktop

For this step, I want you to create 3-5 (but no more!) new folders that will serve as your main categories for your computer. My main four folders are: “Work”, “Family”, “Blog”, and “Current Projects”. This helps my workflow because when I open one of these folder categories, I’m not distracted by all my “to dos” in the other categories! If you need a tutorial on how to create new folders, I’ve included one here.

Step 2: Delete Files

Step 2 of 5 Easy Steps to Declutter Your Computer Desktop

The time for this next step will vary from person to person. If your desktop is heavily cluttered, you will have to take more time to delete unnecessary files first. This is important!! Do not move on to step 3 until you’ve deleted what is unneeded. Remember, this is only decluttering the look of your desktop. We’re not organizing or “filing” things right now. The goal is to make your desktop as clear and calm as possible. 

Step 3: Assign Files to Anchor Folders

Step 3 of 5 Easy Steps to Declutter Your Computer Desktop
Step 3 of 5 Easy Steps to Declutter Your Computer Desktop

When I first started decluttering my computer desktop, I made one folder and put all the other files in there. I titled it “All the Things” and then mass selected everything and dropped it in there. I didn’t try to make decisions at this point. In one big satisfying swoop, my entire desktop was clear! But, when I went to Day 6 of the Digital Declutter Challenge, I was taking a lot of time to put them all back into the Anchor Categories. So now, my suggestion would be to start with the Anchor Category Folders and drag and drop your files into those. 

Step 4: Clear up your “Doc.” 

Step 4 of 5 Easy Steps to Declutter Your Computer Desktop
Step 4 of 5 Easy Steps to Declutter Your Computer Desktop

Just like Day 4, take this time to clear up some of the superfluous icons in your doc. Only keep the ones that you use the most and for the others, right click and choose “Remove from Doc.” This will save you time in the long run and take away some of the visual clutter while you are working. This should only take 2-3 minutes tops so if you’re deliberating longer than that, move on to Step 5!

Step 5: Change Your Desktop!

5 steps to Declutter your Computer Desktop
Step 5 of 5 easy step to declutter your Computer Desktop!

I created a free desktop background that you can use, but feel free to create your own as well! I love my background because it motivates me and makes me feel like I have a personalized space that is all my own. My work stations for my projects help me stay focused and not distracted by all the little files on my desktop. 

Ooh…doesn’t that look nice? Download free wallpapers for free from The Organized Military Life!

The purpose of today was completely for aesthetic and visual calm. Day 6 of the Digital Declutter Challenge will tackle more of the purging, organization and “decision making” processes of digital files. I hope that this was beneficial for you, and please feel free to leave me any feedback on tips or tricks that have helped you! Also, please let me know if you downloaded and applied the wallpaper for your new decluttered workspace. 😀

Want to read more? Check out my 7 Day Digital Declutter Challenge now. Join my Facebook group at The Organized Military Life to join in on the conversation!

11 Responses

  1. I love using an app called Fences by Stardock. They allow you to segment the desktop quickly. You can easily create color blocks that can be titled. You can quickly move them around in various ways and even develop areas that sync with server file folders. I have been using it for years, and boy has it helped me organize all my clients’ tasks and projects.

  2. This is great advice. We forget to also organize our computer and the documents we store there because they are (for all practical purposes) invisible. I love the way you suggest simple steps. It makes this process easy to do and to understand.

    1. Thank you so much! I didn’t realize how cluttered my desktop was until one day when I was looking for a file that was right in front of my face! My goal is to hopefully make the retrieval process fast and practical. Thank you so much for your comment!

  3. I don’t think I have it in me to go back and transfer files into new folders. Sort of like going back and “renaming” files. But establishing anchor folders today and then using them going forward feels much more approachable!

    Digital decluttering feels more tedious than physical decluttering, but you’ve got a nice way of breaking it down.

  4. My computer is well organized with very specific files and folders. I keep ‘out’ the file folders on my desktop that I’m actively using. While I could sweep them into bigger groups, I prefer to see the folders. On the Mac, I can color code the folders (or individual files) with a colored dot. So at a glance, I know which category each file belongs to, and I have them stacked by groups. The folders are off to the side, so they don’t bother my visual field.

    I love that you figured out a system that works for you, which is the most important thing. No right or wrong, but what is most effective.

  5. Great advice, and I use a similar approach with clients when helping them create a new system. However, on my own desktop, I have a twist on that approach that focuses on categories but keeps essentials from getting hidden.

    On the left side of my Mac, I have about a dozen categorical folders in three neat columns taking up a small space on the upper left quadrant. The desktop photo/wallpaper is a labyrinth, and these folders are on the outer edge. On the right side are temporary documents that tend to stay a few hours and no more than a day or two — they are current projects or downloads I’m reading/using — and they curve around the right edge of the labyrinth. At the end of the week (or if I’m feeling stressed), I tidy them up, but seeing them on that right side tends to remind me of what I should be working on.

  6. These are great tips, as I’m disorganized with my digital space. My desktop was so cluttered that deleting old and unnecessary files was helpful. Also, the idea of anchor folders is a great tip. Thanks for sharing 🙂

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Jana Arevalo

Hello! I'm Jana

Hi! I’m Jana! I have been a military spouse for 18 years, and I am experienced when it comes to PCS moves, organizing new spaces, and creating more efficient systems for my family. I understand the feeling of anxiety and overwhelm that can come with clutter, and that’s why I love helping military spouses, busy moms and small business owners declutter and organize their homes, digital lives and paperwork!

I am an Amazon Associate as well as an affiliate with some AMAZING military spouse businesses. When you make a purchase using my links you are supporting my small business and I am so grateful! Thank you!


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