Inside: Organize your Computer desktop with this simple digital wallpaper hack! This simple digital DIY saves tons of time when you’re organizing and searching for files on your computer and in your Cloud.
Dan used to make fun of me for the state of my computer desktop. It was a mad house of files, screen shots, spreadsheets, design boards, photos of our pets – basically it was nearly impossible to find anything on there! So I set out to find an effective and simple way to organize a computer desktop to keep things clean and tidy. It also means Dan can now use my laptop without getting frustrated. Today, I’m going to show you this simple digital hack that helps keep me super organized when I’m looking for files and sorting things in my Cloud.
You might want to have a look at some of my other organizing hacks and decluttering posts too – like these creative ways to organize the apps on your phone and how I manage to keep craft supplies at bay using the KonMari method.
How to Organize Your Computer Desktop – A digital wallpaper hack
I’ve done this using a free graphics program called PicMonkey. (affiliate) All of this is achievable with their free version, but I do pay the $47/year for the Royale version to get access to all their special goodies like overlays, fonts and a few other handy editing tools. If you like to make graphics for your photos, it’s definitely the easiest program around.
Step one: Purge and Sort your files
You guessed it! Number one is purge and sort. I can’t really help you too much with this step because we all use our computers differently. In my case, my blogging resources and files were out of control. I purchased an external hard drive that I use to back up all my photos and files and set a monthly reminder to do it so I stay on top of it. Then I decided which folders absolutely had to be on my desktop, which ones I could consolidate and which could end up a sub-folders.
I narrowed it down to about 20 main folders each with subfolders.
Step Two: Organize your main folders into Categories.
Just write these down on a piece of scrap paper. You’ll use these categories in a second. The main idea is to figure out what your main areas will be. Mine are:
- Current Projects
- Blog Photos
- Screen Grabs
You might have one for household bills for example or maybe a separate category for design plans or spreadsheets – whatever works for you. I’d aim to have no more than six or seven categories. If you have more than that, reconsider your main folders and try to consolidate further.
Step Three: Create your Digital Wallpaper in Picmonkey
Launch PicMonkey and select ‘Create a Collage’ from the first screen. (If you have the Royale version, it will launch with preselected photos for you. Just hit ‘Clear All’ to get rid of them.)
Navigate to the left of the screen and pick ‘Cards’ under Layouts. You’ll want the third Card layout option – the one with the big square and the four smaller squares.
If you have a standard size screen (I use a MacBook Pro) then you’ll need to resize your organizer before you start to design it. The size you’ll want is 1280×800 or so. You can see there’s a little widget at the bottom of your design edit screen where you can change the dimensions. Just make sure to click off the little lock first.
Step Four: Decide on your Organizing Tactics
Now the fun part to organizing your computer desktop!! Drag and drop or simply fill in each block on the card layout with a colour! To fill them in click the painter’s palette on the left of the screen and toggle on ‘Cell’. Your mouse pointer will turn into a little paint can. Hover over the cell you’d like to colour and then use the colour gauge to pick a shade.
Better yet, if you have some patterns you like, you can upload those (just click the ‘Add Images’ button under the Images tab on the left) and drag them into your cells too! I used a fabric motif as well as stripes and polka dots. I also added in a family photo just to remind me why I hustle hard each day 😉
PicMonkey will let you move the ‘walls’ of each cell to suit your liking and you can add cells in as well. I added one on the top left of mine to put in an inspirational phrase. To do that finish off your colors and patterns and leave the spot for your words blank. Once you have everything the way you want it, hit ‘Export to Editor’ and you’ll be able to add text overlays. BUT – you won’t be able to change anything else, so make sure you’ve got it the way you want it or you’ll have to redo it 🙂 This is also when you can add the titles for your categories!
Step Five: Save it to your Computer and set it as your Wallpaper
Once that’s finished, save it to your desk top and change it to your desktop image. Now you have a nice (and pretty!) grid system to use as categories for your folders!
That is the way mine looks most of the time 🙂 If I’m in the middle of a big project, it’s often a hot mess, but at least this way I can easily and quickly bring things back to order 🙂
Here are some other posts on managing your digital files from other bloggers
- A Dish of Daily Life has digital photo organizing tips.
- A Place of My Taste offers her tips for sorting digital files and photos.
- Organize Your Stuff Now has tips for going paperless with your bills and household files.
- How to Design a Small Home Office
- Organize the Apps on your Phone
- Seven Lessons Learned from Seven Weeks of the Konmari Method
Still want more Organizing and Decluttering?
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