Unclutter Your Mac in One Week – Day 3

On day one of this series, we cleaned up your Desktop and had you organize your files into the already built in groupings on your Mac. The main goal was to get them off of your Desktop and into manageable bunches. Today, let’s take the time to put some of those items where they ideally belong. Once again, I wish to preface that this series may seem rudimentary to some of you “pros” but hang in there with the rest of the folks (Who knows? You may even learn a thing or two).

Just as Apple has created ready made folders in your “Home” directory to sort like items into, they have made applications to help you further organize and enjoy those files. Photos and Music are two obvious examples (iPhoto and iTunes). Here is how to handle these:

Photos

If you moved any photos into the Pictures folder of your Home directory on day one, consider adding those to iPhoto (Choose Import to Library… in the File menu). This is really where photos belong. Once they are in iPhoto you can safely delete the originals from your Pictures folder.

There may be some images you wish not to have in iPhoto. For instance, lots of people I know who do design work keep ious images for ideas and inspiration. There are a number of 3rd party tools for that very thing that I won’t cover here, but I will challenge you to add those to iPhoto instead.

If you don’t want certain photos mixed in with the family photos, no problem. After adding these, select them and choose “Hide Photo” from the Photo menu. Then, create a new Smart Album (File: New Smart Album) and set the criteria to “Photo is Hidden”. Now, these photos will only show up when you click on the Smart Album. This tip is also good for all of those other photos you grabbed off the net that you don’t want to show up when showing off your new puppy… Don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about.

My point is this, there is nothing that should stop you from storing any photo you wish to keep in iPhoto and not keep any stray ones around elsewhere.

Oh, and here is an iPhoto pro-tip: You do know that photos you “delete” in iPhoto don’t really delete but get moved into iPhoto’s own special Trash, right? Well, now you do. Go to the iPhoto menu and choose “Empty iPhoto Trash” and get back a bit of disk space. You’re welcome.

Music

Similar deal here. That Radiohead album that you downloaded, unzipped, and added to iTunes. Yep, that one. Are you still holding onto the downloaded copy? Even the zip file? Why? Once it is in iTunes, trash the original. If you are worried about having a “backup” have a real backup of everything on your hard drive – one onsite and one off. That really cool mixtape.mp3, that audio interview with the productivity guru, that ringtone of your buddy’s pet bunny sniffing into a mic – stick that stuff in iTunes (File: Add to Library) and then delete it.

Also, just like iPhoto, Smart Playlists are your clutterphobic best friend. Create a new Smart Playlist where the criteria is “Playcount is less than 1”. These are all the things in your library you have never listened to. As I see it, you have two choices here – Hit the play button or hit the delete key. Perhaps you might even find some things where you hit the delete key moments after hitting the play button.

Next up…

Tomorrow, we will do a little “getting real” with your Applications folder.

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