How To Keep Your Digital Space Decluttered During Online School

Edited by Jasmine Ryu Won Kang

We all know how difficult it can be to keep our school notes organized during the best of times, but when midterm and final seasons roll around, our entire lives can become a mess. With online school, most of that mess is confined to our laptops. While it may not appear as disorganized as a physical pile of notes, having 20 tabs opens and a downloads folder full of unrecognizable files and images can cause unnecessary stress and can even make you work less efficiently. However, fear not, because there are four simple things you can do to ensure your desktop stays uncluttered throughout your entire online school experience.


Use Google Chrome tab groups


A new feature on Google Chrome is tab groups – color-coded groups you can name and put select tabs into. When you’re working on five different projects in separate classes, you can group all the tabs depending on the associated class. Then, your browser window looks much more organized, and you can feel more organized too. It also improves efficiency when hopping between tabs for a project.


Use a different browser for personal and school-related things


Something that has helped me to focus immensely is having two separate browsers for personal and school internet use. On my MacBook, I use Safari for anything from Netflix to Pinterest, and I use Google Chrome for anything related to my classes. Chrome typically works best for software that my school uses for online classes, and it’s great for grouping together tabs for my different classes (see the tip above). Other browser options include Microsoft Edge and Firefox.


Don’t let your downloads folder fill up


I have made a rule that as soon as I download a file, I either move it to a more permanent folder on my computer or print it and then delete it. If you’re downloading images to use in a project, put them directly into the project, make sure you’ve taken note of their source, and then delete them immediately. If you start letting files pile up, you’ll soon have to scroll through dozens of PNGs and PDFs, named with random combinations of numbers and letters, and you won’t be able to find the file you’re looking for. It may seem tedious to delete things all the time, but it will save you a lot of time and frustration in the long run.


Store old files on an external hard drive


One of the most important things you can do right now is to make sure you have an external hard drive to back up all of your files. If something goes wrong and you lose everything on your computer, you do not want to lose everything you’ve been working on all year. Make sure you have a hard drive for all your files and photos and upload all of your old assignments and documents onto it periodically. Once they’re on the hard drive, delete them off your computer to free up space and keep things organized!