Spring Cleaning for the Digital Age

Courtesy of Jennifer Johnson

It’s that time of year again, when we bring out the Clorox wipes, vacuum and feather dusters – spring cleaning. Besides tidying up your desk and getting rid of the many wrappers of candy hiding underneath your bed, there’s one place you probably haven’t thought of cleaning that you really should–your computer.

According to macpaw.com, some signs that your computer desperately needs a clean-up is when:

  1. You’re running out of disk space
  2. Start-ups take forever
  3. Apps and other browsers never load or take ten years to do so
  4. Your desktop is full of files
  5. Because of this, you can never find anything
  6. Programs quit when you least expect it (bye 10-page paper you’ve been slaving away at for thirty hours)

Here are some tips and hacks on how to get your desktop clean and tidy, as well as free up space on your computer.


Instead of having a bunch of files fill-up your desktop, just put them in folders instead. To create a new folder on a Mac, right click your mouse and select “new folder”.  For PC users, right click your mouse, select New, then Folder. You can also rename it to whatever you want. Say goodbye to a messy desktop!

Image courtesy of Sydney Druckman

Image courtesy of Sydney Druckman


Even though you might have deleted files, they end up just sitting in the trash and continue to take up valuable space. To clear your trash and get rid of those pesky files forever, double-click on your trash can (or recycle bin, if you have a PC) and select “empty trash” or “empty recycle bin”.

Image courtesy of Sydney Druckman


Downloaded images, videos, and other files also take up valuable space. Most of those files you only needed once, and never again. For a PC, open your Downloads/My Downloads folder. For a Mac, open your downloads in Finder and delete the files you no longer need, like that syllabus from freshman year.

Image courtesy of Sydney Druckman

Browser History

You may not know this, but every time you search something, it’s recorded and saved in your browser History. Over time, this builds up and can cause your browser to slow down. To clear your history, go to your browser, click your History tab, then scroll down until you find “Clear History”. You can also select whether to clear data from the last hour, day, week, or from the beginning of time.

Image courtesy of Sydney Druckman


Cookies are like real cookies; at first, they’re great, but if you eat too much of them you get full and sluggish. This is what happens to your computer over time. Cookies store files and internet data from websites you visit, creating a shortcut to access them. After a while, this can build up and can seriously affect your browser’s performance, especially if you haven’t cleared your cookies in years. Think of all the websites you’ve visited! Here’s step by step instructions on how you can clear up your cookies if you use browsers such as Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer or Chrome.

Image courtesy of Sydney Druckman

Cleaning Apps

Apps such as CleanMyMac or CleanMyPC help free up space by getting rid of unwanted files. The app also tracks how much storage you have left on your computer. And it’s free!

Image courtesy of Sydney Druckman

Before you know it, your computer will be running like it’s brand new!

Sydney Druckman

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