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Everyone sans the cleanliness freaks would agree with me on the two most cluttered and unorganized folders on our computers these days – the desktop and/or the downloads folder. Well the downloads folder if you are a download junkie like me.

Ever wondered why it is that the desktop gets cluttered very easily? Maybe because it is the one folder that is visible and easily accessible. So you end up putting everything you think you need on there, not realizing that most of them will only be needed once or twice in a week. I mean really – take out the web browsers, an important document or two, perhaps the ‘computer’ icon and what else do you need on the desktop?

For the download junkies – there is the Automatic save folder extension for Firefox. Now let us look at some ways to clean and organize your Windows desktop.

Desktop Teleporter

Desktop Teleporter is a software that constantly keeps an eye on your desktop and quickly moves various files and items on the desktop into folders. You specify rules, and Desktop Teleporter waits for any new additions to your desktop. The rules are then applied to the new item and it ends up being moved from the desktop into the appropriate folder automatically.


The software doesn’t require installation, just click the executable and you can find it running in the system tray. By default it is configured to move everything except the items in the exclusion list from the desktop. So anything that you would like to remain on the desktop should be added to this exclusion list. The interface has a strange Mac OS-like feel, but then you don’t have to look at the UI often if the rules you specified are working as expected.

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If you need greater control on the rules and want the magic on other folders as well, have a look at Belvedere.

Fences

Desktop Teleporter helps you move things from your desktop and organize them into other folders. If you would rather keep all the stuff on the desktop then I suggest you have a look into Fences. You can download and use the community (personal) edition of Fences for free, only thing is it starts bugging you after a month or so to re-install the latest version.

Fences lets you organize Windows desktop items into different categories. It does a great job and picks up items to put in different categories automatically. For the ones that are left out, you should evaluate if that item is worth being left on your desktop and then either move it or categorize it into one of the default categories.

In addition to that you can create your own categories and layouts. The thing with using Fences is that you can have a desktop full of junk and still make it look pretty. How is that you might wonder? Well just double-click on the desktop and Fences will hide all the icons and files on the desktop. Double-click again and you have them back.

While this may appeal to many, it is another reason for lazy people like me to dump everything on the desktop. After all who is going to see it?!

Wallpaper

The wallpaper can be very effective for de-cluttering and arranging items on your desktop. Drawing inspiration from some GTD wallpapers like these, you can easily create some for your screen resolution.

Creating such wallpapers is easy peasy. All you have to do is think about the various categories you would like to arrange your desktop items into. Then using any image editor create a new blank image, and then simply draw rectangles depicting the various categories. That is it, you are done at this point.

If you are feeling creative you can add different colors to the background, rectangles, some drop shadow perhaps and throw in a quote or line that gets you working. There you have it, your very own customized desktop de-clutterer that looks amazing. It is just like having virtual trays on your desktop on the screen.

So how do you keep your desktop neat and clean? Any special tools or tricks that you would like to share with us?

  1. 1101doc
    December 18, 2009 at 5:20 am
  2. ska
    December 17, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    Fences looks cool. On the KDE post earlier this month there seemed to be something similar. So my question is: is there a similar program for linux running GNOME?

  3. Lee
    December 17, 2009 at 10:43 am

    I recommend fences to all my contacts and clients. It is a great way to reign in clutter on your desktop and the hide/unhide option is great too.

  4. Alain Pierre
    December 17, 2009 at 10:16 am

    You forgot Bumptop! http://www.bumptop.com, very useful and beutiful 3d desktop with ability to make piles of icons.

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