The last three articles in this series about file organization have included disk drives, drive letters, files and directories. Now that the groundwork has been laid it is time to move into the last step organizing your files. Taking the skills that have been introduced and adding in some guidelines and suggestions organizing your files should be a snap!
First, you need to know that there is no right or wrong way to organize your files. What works for one person may not work for another person. My recommendation is to try to organize your files in a manner that make finding and backing up quicker and easier for you.
- Develop a directory plan and setup before storing or moving your files - it will be easier than trying to create as you organizing.
- Try to group your directories and files by a central theme, category or subject.
- Keep directory and file names short and concise when possible.
- Do not create too many subdirectories as it will make saving and finding files more difficult.
- Suggested file grouping include type (word, excel, spreadsheet, graphic), date, client, household, games, applications, updates and receipts.
Examples: (Taken from how I organize files)
On my desktop I have several folders work, games and applications. These folders hold shortcuts to my most used work files along with shortcuts to my games and applications. You know the shortcuts that applications install on your desktop instead of deleting a move them into a folder so that you have them if you need them but they are not cluttering up the desktop.
At the root of my C: drive I have a folder called downloads which holds the files that I download off the Internet. I keep these files separate from my main files as they dont always need to be backed up as they often are system updates and patches.
Also at the root I have directory called work where I organize my remaining files into subdirectories which include: (not a complete list)
- Receipts under this directory I have created subdirectories for the payee and then a subdirectory for year. Looks like c:\work\receipts\electric\2008
- Clients this folder contains subdirectories for each of my clients. You could use this type of structure for friends, family or basic files.
- Photos all of my photos are located in subdirectories under this directory. They are either grouped in folders by date or subject matter (flowers, family, etc.) A lot of cameras and Windows download group photos in directories by date. You can either keep the photos in these directories or arrange by subject which ever you prefer. I personally like to group by subject but it takes a lot more time and effort than I can always give.
- Music all of the music that I download or move from CD is located in this directory. Depending on the software, and preferences, that you use the music may or may not be stored in subdirectories such as artist or album.
Now you have all the skills and knowledge, along with some suggestion, on how to organize you hard drive, directories and files. Start organizing!