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Back when I first made the switch to a Mac, part of the appeal of both the OS and the hardware was the minimalist approach that Apple takes. I always hated having to delete the trial software that Microsoft lets other companies dump into their systems. Apple lets you start with a clean slate and enjoy your new machine from the second you turn it on. Unfortunately, though, Macs are just as prone to getting cluttered as anything else over time.

Even if you aren’t a digital neat-freak like me, chances are the available space on your drive shrinks a little bit more every day. If you aren’t proactive, you’re going to run out of space. If you’ve gotten a newer Mac with an SSD or replaced your Mac’s hard drive with an SSD, chances are you’re dealing with less storage on your Mac than you would have expected in the past. While SSD prices are falling, the price-to-capacity ratio still means that space is at a premium, and you’ll need to start keeping better tabs on what is eating up space. Luckily, there are a number of options for cleaning up the clutter, and we are going to take a look at a few that I’ve used in my battle to keep my laptop lean.


As more of our digital lives are transferred from our computers to the cloud, many have claimed that there is a declining need for local storage. As netbooks gained in popularity, manufacturers found that consumers were willing to sacrifice gigabytes for portability. As high performance ultra-portables like the MacBook Air have shown, high performance Solid-State Drives are ready for consumers and have begun to slowly replace the once ubiquitous Hard-Disk Drives in consumer machines.

However, we still love to pack our computers with music, movies, photos, and other space-hogging files. Unless mobile carriers suddenly reverse the current trend of limiting data consumption, cell phone subscribers will not be able to comfortably stream all the content to their mobile devices that they would like. That means that smartphones will need to continue to carry enough on-board storage for average users to conveniently pack enough entertainment until the next time they plug their phone into their computer. The same principle holds true for our desktops and laptops: While the idea of streaming all of your content from the cloud seems quite appealing, it isn’t feasible for many people. Until ISPs stop limiting bandwidth and the cost of renting space in the cloud for huge media libraries and miscellaneous documents becomes cheaper, most users will have to rely on local storage.