Do people always exclaim, “Wow, you sure have a lot of stuff on your desktop” whenever they get a glance at your computer? Are your folders so full of random things it takes you minutes to locate something as simple as your company’s logo? Is looking at your home screen giving you stress?
If yes, it’s time for a digital detox. And it starts with clearing out all that junk on your computer. Yes, all those old documents, useless folders, and unused apps are cluttering up your desktop and your folders. And that makes it hard to find what you need when you need it.
So, do yourself a favor and spend five minutes removing any of these five things. Have 25 minutes? Well, you’re about to get a whole new desktop.
For starters: Drag all those abandoned screenshots into the trash. Doesn’t it feel better to not have all those icons staring at you from the home screen?
And if you don’t want to remove them forever or aren’t sure if you’ll need them again, make a “Screenshots” folder and house them all in one place.
2. Outdated Documents
Those documents you created back in 2015 that have old account info? That folder of client photos for clients that you no longer work with? That database that you’ve never opened once?
Delete it all.
Worried you’re moving too fast? Create a folder that says “Probably Deleteable” and move anything questionable in there. I’d make a bet you never open that folder, but if it gives you peace of mind to have it there, go for it.
Fun fact: Your downloads take up space. And there’s a good chance you don’t need a lot of the things you downloaded—from emails, websites, other documents—ever again.
So, open up that folder, sort it by last opened, and delete anything that you haven’t touched in a while.
4. Apps You Never Use
Browse your app bar and desktop. Is there an application you rarely ever use? Or, one you downloaded for a specific project and no longer need?
Bonus tip: Remove any apps from your dock that you don’t regularly use. They’ll be there if you need them, but won’t be distracting from what really matters.
5. Old Notes
Whether you use a digital notes system or litter your laptop with physical sticky notes, clear up any old to-do lists, meeting notes, or reminders you’ve already taken care of. There’s nothing better than literally checking (a.k.a., removing) things off your list!
The best thing about cleaning up your computer is that it’s super easy to do, and nothing is truly permanent (which is why I recommend not emptying your trash until you’re sure you’re ready to remove everything). Once you see how satisfying it is to clear up your digital clutter, you’ll be more motivated to tackle other organization projects—maybe your desk, your phone, or your filing cabinet.
And if five minutes is all you want to spend today, that’s OK, too! You’re already way better prepared than you were before.
Photo of person on computer courtesy of Georgijevic/Getty Images.
Previously an editor for The Muse, Alyse is proud to prove that yes, English majors can change the world. She’s written almost 500 articles for The Muse on anything from productivity tips to cover letters to bad bosses to cool career changers, many of which have been featured in Fast Company, Forbes, Inc., CNBC's Make It, USA Today College, Lifehacker, Mashable, and more. She calls many places home, including Illinois where she grew up and the small town of Hamilton where she attended Colgate University, but she was born to be a New Yorker. In addition to being an avid writer and reader, Alyse loves to dance, both professionally and while waiting for the subway.More from this Author