How to Declutter Your Computer and Keep It That Way

Most of us are on our computers daily, especially if you are working from home. Whether you are writing, editing photos, creating presentations, or simply shopping online it’s bound to happen. Your desktop may look like your toddler got a hold of your mouse when you weren’t looking and decided to drag every file out like they were dumping a basket of toys. 

A cluttered computer can distract us from our tasks, decrease productivity, and slow down software due to low storage space. When we sit down to work we want the freedom to focus and complete tasks without interruption.

No worries! Here are 10 simple steps to help tidy up and keep your computer healthy and clean longer. 


  1. Declutter your email.
    • Create folders for any emails you consistently receive and know you want to easily find later. As you open your emails drag them to your folders to maintain an organized inbox. 
    • Unsubscribe to junk emails. We all get them! Instead of continuing to archive and/or delete, simply unsubscribe to each one as you receive it. A program like can simplify this process.
  2. Organize your computer desktop and/or documents areas with folders. 
    • Create folders for your pictures and documents based on events and general topics. 
    • At the end of each day make sure all documents created, downloads, pictures, etc. have been placed into their appropriate folders.
  3. Close all running tabs, apps, and programs.
    • Before closing your laptop and setting it aside for the night be sure to close out all your running tabs, apps, and programs. If a website is important, bookmark it. 
  4. Shut down your computer at the end of each day.
    • Your computer needs a break too! Although modern computers have power saving features, shutting down regularly clears the memory. 


  1. Update your calendar.
    • Add any important meetings, phone calls, medical appointments, or social events scheduled for the week.
    • Delete/cancel any events you know you will not be attending. 
    • Block out your working hours or periods of time you need to dedicate to specific tasks. 
  2. Organize your photos.
    • Some may not have a problem with photos filling up their hard drive, but others do. Instead of dragging them straight to your desktop, place them in a designated folder on your desktop. Depending on how much space they take up, consider moving them on an external hard drive to allow for more storage on your computer’s internal hard drive. You can also have them automatically synced and stored to Google Photos.
  3. Physically clean your laptop/computer screen and keys. 
    • We are touching these surfaces for multiple hours every day. These and other cleaners designed specifically for electronics safely remove dust, dirt, smudges, and fingerprints. Keep a container in your bottom desk drawer for easy access.


  1. Delete browser history and cookies.
    • To help maintain your privacy, particularly if the computer is shared, consider periodically deleting your bowser history and cookies.
  2. Delete your downloads.
    • Take anything you want to save and move it into an appropriate folder. Toss the rest. Your “downloads” folder is another place we tend to forget about that can needlessly take up storage space.


  1. Review and consider deleting any apps or software you have downloaded and do not use at least once a week.
    • Oftentimes we are quick to download an app or desktop program thinking it will be of great use. Sometimes it’s a hit and used regularly, and other times it needlessly takes up space.

Download and print our graphic below. We recommend keeping this checklist close to your desk to help keep yourself accountable. 

Following these 10 simple steps can help maintain an organized and healthy computer by keeping your distractions low and productivity levels high. Happy decluttering!


February 8, 2021


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