Unclutter Your Mac in One Week – Day 5

In previous days, I have talked a lot about the methods, ideas and choices you can use to reduce clutter. Now, I’m going to talk about tools. There are many third party apps that can help you keep your Mac clutter free – far more then I will cover here. I am also sure that for every one of these I mention, I will get feedback on others that people feel I have missed or should be added. That said, this list is in no way comprehensive. Just things I have used and like. Also, almost everything here will cost some money. Good software generally does:

Hazel – This is a great little app. It can watch any folder you tell it to and automatically organize your files according to rules you create. For instance, I have it watching my desktop and any file that is on there for more than two days, and has not been modified in the last 3 hours, gets moved to a “Working” folder I have. It can also do other magic little things like auto empty the trash on a schedule and delete all the associated apps for an application if you move it to the trash.

Appzapper – The uninstaller Apple forgot. This also will clean up all traces (preferences, support files, etc.) when an application is dragged into it. One kind of nice feature is The Hit List which allows you to sort your applications by most recently used (see: day 4) and zap those you don’t use at will.

Yojimbo – Just about any of the “everything boxes” (Evernote, Shovebox, etc.) will work here. The idea being that all of those items that don’t otherwise seem to have a good place can go in here. Heck, even a good deal of the things that do. I store all sorts of things from PDF’s, eBooks, receipts, serial numbers, bookmarks, web archives. It is a tag and fast search enhanced digital shoebox. Yojimbo gets my vote because not only is it the most “Mac Like” to me, but it also does a good job of allowing you to export your data out in the format it was put in (i.e. TXT, RTF, PDF, etc.).

Daisy Disk – There are many apps that can analyze your disk and tell you what is taking up the most space. That said, none do it more elegantly then this. In fact, the darn thing looks so pretty you may not want to delete anything.

So there is my short list. Do you have any you want to suggest?

Unclutter Your Mac in One Week – Day 4

For someone who is a Mac Consultant by trade and curator of a Mac centric website by labor of love, nothing is more prone to clutter then my Applications folder. Whether it is downloading and installing software to replicate a client’s setup or something to write about here to report to you, it is one of those things I am obligated to do that flies clearly in the face of everything I believe in and espouse here.

Because of this, every couple of weeks or so, I find myself going through my Applications folder and cleaning house. I throw out anything I have installed that does not meet a specific personal need and, while there, taking the time to question everything else as well. The internal dialog usually goes something like this…

Me: Do I really still need Firefox even though I have switched to Safari?
Me Too: Well, I do some web development for clients so I need it for testing.
Me: But can’t I just delete it and download and install it again when I need it?
Me Too: Sure I could but that takes time. What is more valuable, my time or that disk space?

I think you see where this is going. My point being that every need is different and can be apparent and fluid all at the same time. As I have said before, if you need two browsers to get the job done (or three, or four) then it makes sense to have them – but never be afraid to question that decision. In fact, do so as often as it makes sense. For me, and the amount of apps I install on a regular basis, that is once or twice a month. For most, I argue that should be at the very least once a year.

Do it now. Go through your Applications folder. Anything that came with your Mac, leave pretty much without question. For everything else, have this internal Q&A with yourself as you look at every other application you have installed:

Do I need this? When was the last time I launched it? Why? Is there another app that can do the same thing? If I delete it, would it be easy to install again should I need it?

There are no right answers here – unless it is an application you no longer use and have no plans to use again. In which case, the answer should be obvious.

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