Inspired by, and shamelessly riffing on, the wonderful Unclutter Your Life in One Week, the next 5 days will show you how you can apply some quick and simple steps to get your Mac into ship-shape.

We are going to start with cleaning up your Desktop (and keeping it that way). A computer desktop can get cluttered very quickly with files and folders. After all, it is intended to operate just like a real world desktop – a place to hold items you are working on. But, just like the real world, that spot operates best when it is being used to hold only the items you are working on. Luckily, the Mac makes it easy to file and organize these items into fairly logical grouping which will make them easy to find should you need them again. Much of this may seem rudimentary to you but, trust me, there are many that can benefit from this info.

  1. In the Finder, go to the “View” menu, click on “Arrange by” and choose “Kind.” This will group items based on the type of file they are.

  2. Open a Finder window and navigate to your “Home” folder. One of the nice things about the Mac is that it actually encourages you to organize into some logical groupings. Documents, Pictures, Music… It is all right there ready for you to get your org-fu on.

  3. Take the files on your Desktop, now grouped by kind, and organize them into these folders. Place Documents into Documents, Pictures into Pictures, etc. Don’t worry about their final resting place (iTunes, iPhoto, etc.) right now. The goal here is simply to get your Desktop cleaned up.

  4. While doing this, think about the things you don’t need to keep and can go straight to the Trash. This includes .DMG files for applications you have already installed. .ZIP files for archives you have already unzipped, etc. If you don’t need it there is no reason to file it anywhere but that circular file in your Dock.

  5. A clean Desktop is easy to keep that way. Commit to taking a few seconds at the end of every day to file away items no longer needed at the ready using the steps above. The fewer the items, the less time it will take.