It started out as only having one folder on your desktop. You needed somewhere to put the files that you were using for a project. That was about five projects ago.

Now you have a desktop full of icons and folders. It’s making it hard to find the Mac files that you need for your current project. It might be time for you to clean things up.

You shouldn’t stop at sweeping your desktop. Depending on how long you’ve been using your computer, there’s a good chance that the entire thing needs a good sprucing.

Not sure where to begin? We can help. Keep reading to learn how to tidy up your Mac.


The first rule of good Mac computer management is to always back up your files. The number one way to do that is by using iCloud. It will keep all your files in a neat folder for you.

It also syncs across all Apple devices. This means you’ll be able to work on a project on your desktop and then bring up the same files on your iPad later if you want to work from your couch.

Search for and Get Rid of Duplicate Files

It’s easier than you may think to download a bunch of duplicate files to your computer. It’s like when you go to the grocery store and pick up an item because you swear you’re out of it. When you get home, you realize that you had said food product in your fridge the entire time.

To apply this example to computer files. You download a song more than once because you forget if you have it or not. Many times these duplicate files fall through the cracks and end up forgotten.

If you let enough of them pile up, it can really bog down your device. You can either make it a point to search for these duplicate files on a normal basis, or you can download software that will take care of the job for you. These programs sometimes cost a pretty penny, but they’ll keep your computer tidy.

You can go here to learn more about cleaning up duplicates. For now, we’re going to move on to folder merging.

Merge Your Folders

You don’t need to have two folders on your computer that have the same name. If you do, there’s a good chance that you can combine the contents of both these folders and reduce them to one.

The problem is that if you try to merge these two folders by dragging one on top of the other, you may end up overwriting the files in one of them. We’re here to tell you that there is a way to do it.

Hold down your options key as you drag folder one on top of folder two. You’ll be asked if you want to merge the two folders together. Click okay.

All the files in the first folder will now be a part of the second one. Any files that have the same name will have a 2 beside them instead of being deleted.

Favorite the Folders You Use Often

If you’re working on a big project, you’re going to be using all the folders involved with it a lot. Instead of having to search for them every time you use the computer, do yourself a favor and favorite them. It’s simple to do and will save you tons of time in the long run.

Open up Finder and find whatever folder you want to favorite. Drag it over to the sidebar, and you’re done. We told you it was simple.

Clean Up Your Documents Folder

When you save a file, if it doesn’t go to iCloud, it will save itself to your documents by default. If you’re not careful, this folder can get messy pretty fast.

Make subfolders and drag your files into there. This will be a start to cleaning up your documents, but you’ll need to take it a step further. It will be hard to sort through these subfolders unless you have a naming system in place.

Have a Naming System

Whatever naming system you use is up to you. As long as you can find what you need, that’s all that matters. We do have one recommendation, however.

Your Mac computer is going to organize your files alphabetically by default. If you want to sort them some other way, you can use dates at the beginning of the name.

Tags Are Your Friend

Another way to locate your files quickly is by assigning them a tag or color. To do this, open the Finder menu. Find the folders that you want to tag and right-click them.

You can use one of the tags already in place or click the word “tags” to make one up of your own. When you’re done, the folder will show up in the tags tab on the sidebar in the Finder menu.

Organize Your Desktop

Your desktop is a convenient place to put things. It allows you to have your files right there in front of you, so you never lose track of them. At least, it works that way for a little while.

Eventually, your desktop will become so cluttered that it’s hard to see your screen. Delete some of the icons that you never use. Doing this won’t get rid of the Mac apps themselves.

You can pin any important program that you use a lot to your dock. Create folders for your loose files and give them all somewhere to be.

Don’t Let Your Mac Files Get Out of Hand

After years of using a computer, it’s natural for your files to get a little out of hand. The more disorganized you are, the harder it will be to find the documents you need.

It’s not as hard to clean up your Mac files as you may think. Creating folders and using tags can go a long way. If you’re looking for more ways to keep your computer neat and organized, visit our website for additional articles like this one.