Reduce the Clutter With Desktop Groups

My Desktop can start looking pretty crazy if I’m not careful. I try to keep it clean and all of my files sorted and organized, but I’m just as guilty as anyone of creating a pile of files I’m working with on my Desktop. I end up creating folders to sort them, but that defeats the purpose of keeping everything where I can see it.

Enter Desktop Groups, a useful app for organizing all of that stuff that clutters up my Desktop. Rather than hiding everything away in folders, I can keep all of my files out and accessible. I’ll take a look and see if Desktop Groups can really improve my organization and productivity.

Like the article? You should subscribe and follow us on twitter.

Close at Hand

Desktop Groups set me up with some default groups when I first launched the app, but I didn’t have a lot of use for those. Worse, they came complete with image files I didn’t want, so I deleted those groups, deleting all of the files contained inside, too. It was easy enough to create some new groups that I’d actually use, though, up in the Group menu.

Use the app for the stuff that has to stay on your radar.

Use the app for the stuff that has to stay on your radar.

This is an app for people with really cluttered Desktops, and I don’t always fall into that group. What I do is possibly worse. Instead of leaving all of my important files that need attention where I can find them in view on my Desktop, I stick them in my Downloads folder. I never think of them until I decide to clean out my Downloads and find all of those files I should have been taking care of all along.

Desktop Groups handles things a bit better. Each group is a sort of translucent panel that works a bit like a folder. Toss anything important in there, but unlike a regular folder, all of my files stayed visible. I didn’t lose anything to simple inattention or forgetfulness, because everything I needed was always front and center.

Desktop Groups also makes a good catch all for files that need to be shifted elsewhere.

Desktop Groups also makes a good catch all for files that need to be shifted elsewhere.

Because I could create as many groups as I needed, it was a simple thing to get organized. I labeled a group for all of my daily todos, and I created another group for work and project files. My Desktop is constantly covered in screenshots of different apps, so those went in a group all their own, and the surprising number of GIFs and images I’d downloaded to post to my friends’ Facebook walls went into another group.

Fits Right In

I’m not going to use something if it’s unattractive or doesn’t fit in with my wallpaper of the moment, which changes almost as often as I change my socks. That means the default gray isn’t going to work for me in the long term. Luckily, all of that is customizable. It’s not hard to create something hyper ugly, but with some finetuning, it was pretty simple to make a set of groups that worked with my Desktop. I was even able to change the opacity of the groups’ background, which was useful on a busy wallpaper.

Create new groups or edit your current panels.

Create new groups or edit your current panels.

It happened that I didn’t always need to see the contents of all of my groups. In that case, I simply clicked the left hand side of each group’s title bar to toggle whether it was hidden or expanded. There were some more options included in the title bar, including icon size and spacing.

Where Does All of It Go?

When I closed Desktop Groups, all of my files disappeared, which led me to wonder just where my files were anyway. The first time Desktop Groups launched, it created a new folder on my Desktop, and it turns out that’s where it was sticking all of the files I was adding to groups. That’s okay, I guess. One folder is a lot better than the mess a lot of people look forward to, but I don’t even have my disk icons on my Desktop. One folder is one too many.

Hide your groups and files when necessary.

Hide your groups and files when necessary.

You can guess what I did next. Yeah, I put the Desktop Groups folder in my Downloads, because that’s where I stick everything. Documents might be better place for it, and I won’t think any less of you for moving it there instead. In fact, you can put the Desktop Groups folder anywhere you’d like, and all you have to do is drag it in Finder. The app will find it wherever it lands with no trouble.

Final Thoughts

Desktop Groups was incredibly simple to use, and it definitely made me rethink how I use my Desktop. Files languish in my Downloads for months, because they’re out of sight, and so they’re out of mind. Desktop Groups keeps all of the files that need my attention right at hand.

I need to be able to reclaim screen space, though, so I can take screenshots or just focus more closely on the task at hand. When I need a clean workspace, I can collapse all of my groups or just close Desktop Groups altogether. All of my files are still accessible, but my desktop is clean and clutter-free.


Keep your Desktop organized and clutter-free.