My desktop was looking a mess, so last night I spent about an hour cleaning up and organizing files on my desktop. I have a bad habit of saving files to the desktop when I’m working. This is a recent bout of laziness. I used to be hardcore about organizing all my data into neat OCD labeled file folders.
I had to do something. The Desktop shouldn’t be a catch all. I took the time to clean it up, delete unneeded files and organize the important files and put them where they belong. The busier I got with my work, the more files started showing up on my desktop.
Now That My Desktop Is Clean
I made a promise to myself to make sure that I keep my files organized as I work – as I go. If I keep everything organized as I work I won’t have to spend an hour on a Friday night cleaning up my files. Not that I had anywhere else to be on a Friday. It’s not like nerds go clubbing. At least not this nerd.
Here’s The Break Down On How I Organize My Files Now
I create a top level folder and name it the name of the project. Next I create folders for Images, PSDs, AI (Illustrator), Documents, Backup, and Code.
Top Level Folder Named After The Project – For example if a company named Dynamic Drive hired me I would create a folder called Dynamic Drive. This is the parent folder.
Inside the pretend make believe Dynamic Drive parent folder I add the following folders:
Images – This folder is where I save all final images used in the design of a website project, for example images for backgrounds that are loaded via CSS, these types of images go in this folder.
PSDs – This folder is where I save all my Photoshop PSD files. From the main design concept PSD, to any required design needed for a project. These PSDs are all safe and sound in this folder.
AI – This folder keeps all the Adobe Illustrator files neatly organized for safe keeping and future editing if needed. The majority of these AI files are for logos and or custom illustrations used in my designs.
Documents – This folder is where I save client content documents, as well as the project contract documents and any other documents needed for a project.
Backup – In this folder I save backups of website files. For example if a client hires me for a website redesign I’ll save their existing website and keep it in the backups folder. I also save SQL database export files in this folder. Anything that has to do with backing up data for a project goes here.
Code – This folder is where I download any PHP files, or CSS files that have to do with WordPress themes and plugins. I also have a folder inside this folder called Code Backup, and this folder is where I keep the original PHP and CSS files, so that if I make a mistake while editing I can revert back to the original.
In some cases I add additional folders within the parent project folder. For example I may add a folder called Video for videos that have been created for a project. Or an additional folder called AE, to save Adobe After Effects files. My method is not an exact science, merely the method to my madness that helps me stay organized now.
Have you ever had a problem with cluttering your desktop with a ton of files? Or problems with file organization in general?
How do you keep your project files organized? Please share your thoughts in the comments.