43 Folders

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In praise of the junk folder

I often end up using my Desktop as a parking lot for current files. Not exactly an inbox, but given how easy it is to hit CMD-D in a dialog box, it’s where a lot of tmp files, exported jpgs, and assorted stuff naturally ends up. Still, I find it distratcting when too much stuff accumulates there, so I also keep a “Junk” folder on the desktop.

“Junk,” my mounted drives, and my downloads folder are all I want to see permanently on the Desktop, so I label those items a certain color. When things start feeling a bit crufty, I open a new list-format Finder window showing the desktop, sort by color, and grab anything that’s not my permanent label color.

I drag that all into the “Junk” directory, which I’ve set to do an automagic PsyncX backup to an external drive every night. That way, I can prune the local junk folder without ever worrying I’m throwing out something important.

It’s more of a mental crutch than a really useful hack, but I find it an efficient way to deal with stuff I don’t want to devote much thought to. And, at least once a month, I do end up wanting something that I thought was “junk,” in which case I always know exactly where to look.

[BTW: this is a classic TMTOWTDI: there are a bunch of OSX apps and Applescripts that can help you do this automatically. I just prefer this more hands-on way. Feel free to nominate your own cleanup tips in comments, of course.]

nick's picture

it's crazy that I found...

it's crazy that I found your site/this post today (through Quicksilver's forum btw), as I was just thinking this morning about how to clean up my desktop. i'm in the same boat as you, and I suspect, many others. the solution I'd come-up with this morning was to create a folder that contains alias's to the directories I use most (for the 'junk' that ends up on my desktop). Because it turns out, that that 'junk' is stuff I mostly need/want, just don't file properly. So the folder with the alias's - in spirit of keeping the desktop pristine - would go in my dock, next to the trash can.
now as I build up stuff on my dsektop I can quickly pop open my folder with the most used alias's right there for PROPER filing, instead of the gawd-awful mess I've been creating.

And I think i'll steal your idea merlin, and color label my alias's for quicker identification. thanks for the post. I'll definitely be a frequent visitor to your site - as many of the topics seem to mirror my own- I'm just not disciplined (driven) enough to write them up.




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