February 11, 2022 3 min read

When February 14th rolls around on your calendar this year, you may be distracted by hearts, flowers, chocolates, and cupid’s bows…but it serves another purpose, too. It’s National Cleaning Out Your Computer Day! Celebrated annually on the second Monday of February, the celebratory recognition promotes taking time to do some basic housekeeping on your computer.

So, if your desktop has so many files on it that you need to scroll three screens over to see them all, or use CTRL+F to find what you’re looking for, we recommend you mark your day planner and take some time to clean it up.

Computer with a planner and cellphone

Keep it Organized

Just as you attack often forgotten areas of your home when you begin spring cleaning, you need to review, organize, and clear files to keep everything running smoothly. Computers are costly pieces of equipment and continuously asking them to do more than they can, will likely result in the blue screen of death we all dread.

Continue reading if the idea of tackling this project overwhelms you. We’ve got some simple ideas to help get you started.

But Where Do I Start?

Following Marie Kondo's advice, you have to start somewhere. We recommend sorting your files and documents into batches/buckets. Some potential umbrellas include work, school, kids, and finances. Once you’ve decided on your buckets, move your files into them. They don’t have to be perfect. You’re just attempting to break them down into more manageable electronic piles. And you can take your time doing this, a little bit at a time will get the job done.

Once everything is sorted, (if you don’t already have one) install and run antivirus software. This will show you everything potentially harmful you need to remove from your computer before you accidentally click on it and give yourself a huge headache.

Take Out The Trash

Next, go through and delete any programs you don’t need or no longer use. This will clear up storage space and operating capacity.

Once you’ve removed everything potentially dangerous from your computer and deleted everything you don’t use, you will have less to sort through.

Folders on Folders on Folders

Then, it’s really just a matter of organizing each individual pile into subfolders. Decide what system you will use within the folders (sorting by date, project, etc.) and start clicking a dragging until you’ve got everything where you want it.

Woman typing on her laptop with a cup of coffee beside her

While National Clean Your Computer Day focuses on the digital organization of your computer, it’s also important to consider the physical cleanliness of your equipment.

Computers have lots of areas where dirt, crumbs, dust, and grime can build up, this can be hazardous to how the computer operates. Restricted air flow can lead to overheating, which can damage your hardware, and lead to lost data or serious malfunction.

Use compressed air sprayers, disinfectant wipes, and dusters to help you prevent these potentially frustrating situations.

A digitally and physically clean computer will benefit you and prolong the performance capabilities of the computer itself. It can also lead to more efficient productivity.

Once you’ve got a place for everything and everything is in its place, consider setting the goal of organizing as you go so next National Cleaning Out Your Computer Day will be more manageable and less stressful.