Tightening Your Macintosh Experience


Un-Clutter That Desktop!

Posted by: | Posted in: - Finder, OS X

findericon3d.jpgYeah, I have stuff all over my desktop, too. It’s amazing how fast stuff accumulates, the item count just continues to grow and grow. Eventually, it gets so bad I can’t find anything. There are people who diligently maintain a clean desktop, and then there is the other 99% of us. For the record, OS X does provide us with folders already categorized to store our stuff. But it’s kind of like keeping your room clean, you have to make it a point to put stuff away. Let’s discuss a few things to make our computing life a bit simpler….

Avoid FileZilla

FileZillaNot being able to efficiently find things is a pain, but only one of several problems resulting from a cluttered desktop. Storing numerous items on the desktop can not only slow you and your computer, depending on how many items and the size of those items, your machine can really bog down. As the computer keeps tabs of all items on the desktop, every time you start up, restart, wake from sleep, or perform simple Finder level tasks, the system expends resources and uses valuable memory to do so.

Also, in 10.4 and earlier, Safari was set to place downloaded items onto the desktop. Depending on ones download behavior, this could drastically add to the clutter.


1. Arrange Icons on Desktop. From the Finder’s View Menu, you can choose the Clean up Selection or Arrange By options to physically arrange items on your desktop. Although this will help you find items you are looking for more efficiently, files and folders still remain on your desktop.

2. Create Desktop Subfolders. Creating folders that stay on the desktop and then storing files in them allows us to sort our items more efficiently. It is also more efficient for our computer, as the system only keeps track of the folders on the desktop, not what’s in the folders. To create a new folder, from the File Menu choose New Folder and then when the new folder appears on your desktop, title it what you wish.

3. Create Safari Downloads Folder (10.4 and earlier). Create a new folder as described above and label it Downloads. Then launch Safari, and from the Safari menu choose Preferences. Click on the General tab and then tell Safari to save downloads in this newly created folder. Although 10.5 has a Downloads folder that by default lives in the user folder and has an icon in the Dock, you may change the download destination in 10.5 as well by using this same method.

For additional information on View Options, check out these previous posts:

Finder View Options – Part I>>

Finder View Options – Part II>>

For your viewing pleasure:

Note: I found these somewhere online a while back. If you are the creator of these, please let me know and I’ll either credit them or take them down.

That’s it. I’m off to clean my room…..

2 Responses to “Un-Clutter That Desktop!”

  1. Jane Howitt Says:

    Embarrassment! You caught me at it!! Files and folders all over the place. Not easy, is it?

    I think the Downloads Folder is fab — really helps.

    And your point about collecting things into folders on the desktop works very well. Brilliant for further organising.

    Ooo… love those pics you found. Hope you find the creators!!

  2. Dave Koenig Says:

    Hi Jane!!
    Thanks for visiting. It’s not easy!!


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