Get Organized: Start by Cleaning Up Your Desktop

Does your desktop look like City Gate at 4:00 pm on a Friday afternoon? For many professionals consumed with work life responsibilities, one simple task too often slips through the cracks: keeping our desktops clean and organized. Beyond the aesthetic value of actually being able to see your home screen wallpaper and being able to find the file you’re looking for, a clean desktop can also improve computing performance.

Windows XP, which became obsolete on April 8th, included a Desktop Cleanup Wizard. This ran as an automatic scheduled task, moving files or program shortcuts that had not been opened for 60 days to a separate directory. This annoyed many users, who were often left confused when desktop files or shortcuts suddenly disappeared.

Windows 7 and 8 integrated this desktop cleanup function into the System Maintenance Wizard, but a number of easy-to-follow tasks and free apps can also do the trick. Below are some of our favourite recommendations to help you get organized:

1) Rearrange your Desktop but still keep files and shortcuts handy. This is the easiest fix, either by manually deleting all shortcuts and consolidating documents into a folder or choosing between various Sort By options. Right-click your desktop, choose Sort By, and choose from options like Name, Size, Type, and Date Modified. Choosing the View option allows you to change Icon Size, Auto Arrange Icons into Vertical Rows, or Align to Grid so that everything’s neat and tidy. You can even choose to Show/Hide Desktop Icons and Gadgets altogether.