A clean desk is a sign of a troubled mind, and that is possibly one of the best reasons to let your desktop get cluttered with files and folders. The only problem is that as your desktop continues to gather clutter, it gets difficult to locate a file and sometimes to work. Mac users might still be able to locate files with the help of Spotlight, but that doesn’t make the desktop any easier to work with. If lack of cleanup time is what keeps your desktop looking like a mess, Desktop Tidy is a good solution. It is a Mac app worth $4.99 in the Mac App Store and it periodically cleans your desktop. You can define the time period for cleaning up the desktop and the app will take care of the rest. Files and folders are categorized based on their type and moved to a different folder. You can select any location for this folder and add additional file formats to the ones that already exist. Since not all items on your desktop are trash, the app lets you select items that should be ignored during the periodic clean up.
Desktop Tidy adds a file cabinet like icon to the Menu Bar that tells you time remaining until the next tidying round, allows you to access the files that have been moved from your desktop and open the app’s preferences. Files can be restored to the desktop, grouped by folder, type or alphabetically.
Once installed, visit Desktop Tidy’s preferences and start customizing the Options tab. Select a folder for moving your desktop items and a period after which the app will do a clean sweep of your desktop. Remember that you can restore the files any time you want. If you want those restored files to be ignored when the app next cleans the desktop, check the Automatically add files to ignore list when restored. In the Overwriting panel, choose how the app should treat files with the similar name. Add a postfix to the new files name and keep both files is a good option since it will ensure different versions of the same file are not overwritten.
Next, move to the Quick Filters tab and define which types of files and which formats should be cleaned and how they should be categorized. For the average user, the default categories and formats should be sufficient but you can add more using the plus sign at the bottom. For each category, you can add file formats.
Finally, the Ignore tab is for telling Desktop Tidy which folders it should leave alone. You can update this any time. As you add more folders to your desktop, they are listed in this tab. The ones that are checked will be ignored. You can also set the app to ignore hidden files, all folders and aliases.
The Growl tab lets you control which actions you will get an alert for. Across all four tabs, you will see the Launch Desktop Tidy at login option at the bottom. If you need the app to run the periodic clean up, you should check the option so you don’t forget to launch it.
FolderTidy (previously-called Clean My Desktop) is a similar app that we covered a while back and can be compared to Desktop Tidy. It now costs $3.99, but does not let you add your own categories or formats.