3 Simple Ways To Clean Up Your Mac’s Cluttered And Messy Desktop (two think very different, one is free)

Modern life can be full of physical clutter. We’re a species of collectors who adhere to a version of Parkinson’s Law.

Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.

For Mac users who collect apps and folders full of files, I would modify Parkinson’s Law.

Files expand so as to fill the space available for storage.

You get the idea, right? There once was a time when we Mac users worried about disk space, so we carefully pruned and trimmed to growing number of apps and files to only those we needed or found useful.

Today’s Macs come with so much storage that instead of curating our files and folders, we simply collect everything, and the prime location for clutter is the Mac’s Desktop.

Here are three ways to manage the Desktop clutter.

First, create a single folder on the Desktop. Then drag and drop all files into the folder. Click. Done. The Desktop is clean of clutter. Yes, there’s still a need to file away all the files in the aforementioned folder, but clean is clean.

Second, add one of these two apps to your Mac. DesktopShelves and Desktop Groups. They do something similar but in different ways.

DesktopShelves creates shelves for files and folders on the Desktop.


In true skeuomorphism fashion, it also comes with multiple shelf styles.

Simply drag and drop files to their respective shelves. Like a bookshelf, they can easily be viewed without opening a folder.


On the other side, the same Mac developer created Desktop Groups. You know what it does already, right? It creates groups of files and folders on the Mac’s Desktop; again, highly visible, easily accessible without opening a folder.

Desktop Groups

Desktop Groups gives you a few extra features, too. It’s drag and drop, yes, but groups are easily moved around the screen, quickly renamed, and with a few customization options.

Desktop Groups

Groups can be minimized, titles can be changed, reflections toggled, and the grid resized. The end result in a Desktop that’s less cluttered, more manageable, and visually easier to find often used files.