How do you organize your documents folder?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by cmm, Jan 28, 2011.

  1. cmm
    macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Location:
    Manhattan & Zürich
    #1
    I have tens of thousands of files in ~/Documents now that have built up over the years. I am sure there are plenty of duplicate files.

    Any suggestions on how to better organize ~/Documents?

    Are there any apps that can easily find duplicate files so I can review and delete what is necessary (usually the older files, but not necessarily)?

    Any general tips on how to organize ~/Documents in the future?

    Thanks!
     
  2. macrumors Westmere

    GGJstudios

    Joined:
    May 16, 2008
    #2
    There are many methods, but one would be to set up a folder for each file type: pdf, doc, spreadsheet, pics, etc. Then search for all files in the Documents folder, sort by Kind, then drag all the pdf files into the pdf folder. When you do, if you have duplicate file names, you'll get a message that gives you a choice to select the older or newer file:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    That will help you clean up duplicate file names, but it may not be the best method for everything. For example, you may have many pics from a camera named something like DSC00035.jpg or IMGP6256.jpg that are different pictures taken at different times, but with the same file name, so they're duplicates only in name, but not content.

    As you can see, there's no simple solution. It takes a lot of work, but you can space it out over time.
     
  3. cmm
    thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2006
    Location:
    Manhattan & Zürich
    #3
    How do you organize your documents folder?

    My ~/Documents folder has grown out of control over the years. I have no idea how to organize it so I can actually use it. Does anyone want to share some wisdom on how to make it manageable, so I don't have to rely on spotlight all the time?

    Thanks!
     
  4. Moderator emeritus

    Hellhammer

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2008
    Location:
    Finland
    #4
    What kind of files/documents do you have? I have mine organized so that school related stuff is in one folder, MacRumors related stuff is in one (I have some links and documents there), pretty much an own folder for each thing. I have three sub-folders in my school folder, current (things that I'm currently working on), old (for already returned stuff) and one for mind maps.

    I used Automator to create a workflow that syncs my Documents and Dropbox folder so I can access them from anywhere.
     
  5. shwc, Jan 29, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2011

    macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2005
    #5
    Bookends
    Non-Science
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    >>Mortgage and utilities
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    >> Misc.

    Science
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  6. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2010
    Location:
    The Netherlands
    #6
    Maybe you could make an automator workflow which saves files with a certain extension to a certain folder. For example: All files with a .jpg extension go in folder called "Images" or "Work images".

    However, the best thing to do would be going through your documents folder and place everything where it belongs and delete unnecessary stuff. It takes a lot of time, but it could be worth it.
     
  7. macrumors 68020

    spillproof

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2009
    Location:
    USA
    #7
    Create some folders then 'sort by kind' so the folders are on top. Lable the folders Work, School, Home, and other broad topics of things you may have.

    Drag and drop files into their respective broad topic. Make more folders if need be, but don't get to specific unless it won't fit into the other broad topics.

    Once your Documents folder is sorted into the broad folders, go into those folders and repeat the process of creating folders with more specific topics this time. You don't have to get extremely specific. DELETE stuff you don't need. If there are things that you want to keep but do not use, sort using "old" or "past" or year designation folder.

    This will take time, but in the end it will make your life easier.

    For example, my broad topic "College" folder looks internally like:

    College
    +Spring 2011

    +Past Semesters
    ...+Fall 2007
    ......+Chemistry
    ..........+Lab
    ...............Reports
    ...............Diagrams
    ..........+Lecture
    ..... ........Slides
    ..............Ch reviews
    ..............Mast Chem
    .......+English
    ..........+Project 1
    ..............Links
    ...+Spring 2008
    [etc]

    +Volunteering
    ....Red Cross
    ....Human Society
    ....USF related
    ....Dr. C

    +FACTS Reports

    +Financial Aid / Scholarships
    ....F07-S08
    ....F08-S09
    ....F09-S10
    ....F10-S11

    Campus Map

    :cool:
     
  8. macrumors regular

    Martin29

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2010
    Location:
    Quimper, France
    #8
    As a new Mac user this is one of the things which confuses me.

    I have created folders and sub folders for my files, but cannot see any way to save directly into those new folders or sub folders. Everything saves into documents, and then I am obliged to manually move it to the appropriate sub folder..

    Am I missing something? Or is it a bit like not being able to maximise a window except manually dragging the bottom right corner?
     
  9. simsaladimbamba

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    located
    #9
    You can save anywhere you want, just click that red circled button or select a previous folder from the blue rectangled drop down menu.

    [​IMG]


    To learn more about how to use Mac OS X and such: Helpful Information for Any Mac User by GGJstudios


    And on topic: I don't use the Documents folder for storing my documents, only for storing application documents like VMs or whatever other application wants to use it.
    I just use the Desktop with folders and subfolders and clean it up every week.
     
  10. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2010
    #10
    There's Liten for one that will help you find duplicates, give you a preview and help you delete the duplicate right away.
     
  11. macrumors 601

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    #11
    Major folders:
    Husband's files
    Jokes
    Letters
    Miscellaneous
    Kid's Files (dormant - flew the coop)
    Northtown (financial stuff)
    Our Finances
    Photos
    Schedules
    Special Files
    TechTool Reports
    Wife's files

    Most of the above also have sub-folders in them.
     
  12. macrumors 601

    Joined:
    May 22, 2008
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    #12
    I see you've cross-posted. (against forum rules) I answered in the other thread, but I have a new answer: It's hopeless. You're condemned to a life of clutter, saving things you don't need in multiple places. Are you a hoarder? Call one of those reality shows. It's your last chance!
     
  13. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2010
    #13
    I've set up a bunch of folders dividing my stuff from notes, letters, financial documents all the way to specific pdf files like the posters above said and have them backed up as well on an external drive. This way, if you don't need to access a certain category for the time being, you can just delete obsolete folders from your Mac to quicker access the other folders.
     
  14. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2009
    #14
    Having been a Mac user since 1987, long before there ever was a "documents" folder, I learned to set up my own system of organizing documents.

    To this day, I don't use the "documents" folder much at all. About the ONLY files I put into it are images that are then used to choose desktop pictures.

    From early on, I created a separate -PARTITION- on my drive on which I keep my data files. Because they reside on a partition of their own (which is much smaller than the size of the system files), it makes it easy to keep this backed up on its own.
     
  15. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2009
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #15
    Personally I do this (Yes, its complicated, but it works well for my main mac):

    Projects
    > Final Cut Pro
    > Motion
    > Shake
    > DVD Studio Pro
    > Archive
    Video
    >RAW Footage
    >iEdits
    College
    >Units
    >>Analysis I
    >>Methods and Applications
    >>Algebra I
    >>Programming I
    >>Algebra II
    >>Programming II
    >Admin
    Personal
    >Junk
    >Sep 2010
    >Oct 2010
    >Nov 2010
    >Dec 2010
    >Jan 2011
    >Feb 2011
    ToDo
    KerNext
    >Kernel.Bin
    >Kernel.Dev
    Java
    >Util
    >Bin
    >Labs
    >>2010S1
    >>2010S2
    >>2010S3
    >>2010A1

    And then I have other machines for other things, each with a different version of this system to hold Assignments and Notes (TabletPC), Java Text Files and Labs (MacBook), AppleWorks and Writing Stuff (MDD), Images and Photography (PowerBook), More Video (Older G4s...)
     
  16. macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    #16
    This one tip is, I think, the most important thing to tell any new Mac user. It's the first thing I tell anyone who switched to Macs. I can even do it over phone now.

    I use the same system for both personal, volunteering, and business. And my business has different aspects so I have a messy Documents folder. Plus I'm consistently behind in my filing. I try to keep things off the Desktop, as much as I can. Which isn't very much.

    I tried once with just two folders. Personal and Business. But then some of the activities I was doing were both Personal and Business (I'm a photographer - so in some cases I was personally volunteering to help organize an annual photography show, in which I had some photos. The photos I submit would be business, but the time I spent organizing was personal, so now a third category.... I have a number of projects that aren't easily pigeonholed, so they get their own top category.)

    Short story, made long... I use Spot Light a lot.
     
  17. macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #17
    Or go with the flow and try tagging, or Finder substitutes. Let the computer do some of the work. Check out Leap for an example of this; the idea is that you can keep anything anywhere and let tags categorize things.
     
  18. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2008
    Location:
    Scotland

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