Trying to create a new desktop Cleanup automation

A little background
Right bow I have a workflow that moves all items currently on the desktop to a folder within my Documents folder called “Desktop Clean up.” Those items can be moved back. But if I move everything back the desktop becomes unruly.

My Problem now
I can no longer manage the items in that folder because it’s just a dumping folder. I can’t find anything easily in that folder

What I want the new automation to do
Create a new folder daily named with the day’s date. everything that is placed on the folder that is moved to the day’s folder.

Then something can have in to all folders at the end of the week, is that something possible?

Do you have Hazel? Sounds like it would meet your needs.

  1. I have Hazel

  2. But automating creating the folder and naming it with the date

  3. And making Hazel place items created that day in that day’s folder

The last two points are what I don’t understand.

Wow, I think you may be making a bad decision.

Squirreling items into daily folders will not make things more visible for you to triage. Finding items will be more difficult. Recognizing that you have un-handled items will be more difficult.

I’m speaking from experience: I’ve got a “file this stuff” folder that Keyboard Maestro reminds me about every weekend. (Similar your idea, but a single folder instead of daily ones.)

With those prompts, I sometimes triage items.

I’m sure it’s a common problem. I’m not sure what the best solution might be.

Do you have a workflow that you can share?

I do, but dial down your expectations.

I dump everything that needs to be triaged into a single folder. (Really, you could just use the Desktop and that might provide a more urgent “nag”) I have a Keyboard Maestro macro run every Saturday morning. It opens the folder and then a dialog that says “Clean this stuff up!” The same message comes up at other times, as I have a random rotation of jobs I should spend some time on that makes as daily suggestion as well.

I can’t say that it’s very effective. But I think it’s better than dumping everything into a different folder every day.

I’m curious how other automaters handle this problem.

^ This.

If you are not triaging one folder, what will change to have you triage a daily increasing number of folders?

Is this a problem that automation can solve? It would seem to me that unless one has the discipline to clean out this folder on a regular basis, one either has a system that nags, or that just fills up a folder, or both.

Moving things to a “to review” folder makes sense and can be automated. Setting reminders to review the these items on a regular basis makes sense and can be automated. Doing the actual review is something that can’t yet be automated.

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I have two Hazel rules to keep my desktop clean; like others on here, I suggest weekly instead of daily.

This one will take any inactive files from my iMac desktop and put them into a dated folder:

Then this rule will move that folder to an “action” folder in Google Drive. This was especially helpful before I worked from home because I could sort through this folder from anywhere since my file structure is all in Google Drive. Now that I work from home, it’s less helpful but not burdensome, so I haven’t changed it.

Can you explain the sub-folders within the iMac desktop clutter folder?

This rule is set up to run on my desktop. In this situation, the “Sort into subfolder” action to creates a new folder (current date- Home iMac Desktop Clutter) on my desktop and moves all of the matching files into it.

I got it. Thank you! I have one more question though. Is a folder that syncs to Google Drive still available in a similar fashion to Dropbox?

It’s been a while since I have used Dropbox, but I believe so. My Google Drive folders are all available via macOS Finder. I can force folders/files to be available offline, but mainly they are downloaded on demand.

I run most of my Hazel rules and Keyboard Maestro file/folder commands on these Google Drive synced items with no trouble.