Time to reduce that desktop clutter (the automated way)

automation clutter

As many of us are spending even more time on our computers than usual in the midst of global restrictions, there’s a high chance your desktop or documents folder could be looking a little… cluttered. There’s a magic group of humans who keep their computer files in tip-top shape, carrying out regular clean-ups, following standard naming conventions for files, and making sure that downloads are assigned a new home the moment they join the local computer. For the rest of us, it can be, at times, a little bit more of a digging process, swearing we’ll reform as we go on the hunt for one specific Word document yet again.


If you fall into the latter camp, it’s time to stop telling yourself off, and to instead embrace the benefits of a tool that can take care of all of that clean-up for you.


Enter the world of automated file organization. Whether you’re on a Mac or a Windows device, there’s a plethora of great apps that can pull a Mary Poppins when it comes to hunting down old and obscure files and sending them quietly into organization submission. Here’s some tools that can automate the creation of clean, organized digital workspaces and easy access to the files you need, every time you need them.


For Mac: Hazel


Hazel is an app developed by Noodlesoft that watches the files you direct it to, automating the organization of files based on your custom rule set. If you’d prefer Hazel to move files around based on name, you can do so – but you can also ask Hazel to work based on date, type, the origin space or any combination of filters that makes sense for your workflows. 

Hazel’s capacity doesn’t stop at file organization, but also extends into the space of archiving, uploading, and subfolder sorting and creation. Hazel’s all about creating custom workflows that make sense for you and then setting and forgetting, moving forward with the peace of mind that your new and existing files will automatically be right where you expect them to be, based on your own custom logic.


For Windows: DropIt


DropIt touts itself as a ‘personal assistant to automatically manage your files’ and is a Hazel alternative for Windows-based users. DropIt offers the same kind of file organization automation as Hazel, eliminating the grunt work of manually opening folders and moving files, and instead, sorting files based on custom rule sets. 

Let DropIt know how you’d like to filter your files and then associate that filter with up to 21 available actions (including move, copy, compress, extract, rename, delete, split, join, encrypt and more) to send files scattering into their new homes the moment they hit your Downloads folder. 

With a drag-and-drop interface, automated updating and a useful reference activity log, DropIt’s a great solution to the desktop clutter that threatens to overtake.