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I’ve always worked hard to keep my computer’s desktop well organized. My entire day is spent working on the computer, so I can’t afford to misplace a file or spend precious time searching for graphics. Desktop organizers have helped me to organize the clutter that usually resides on my desktop. They’re genius in their simplicity. In today’s post I’ll share exactly how I use them, and how you can use them to streamline your teaching.

The screenshot below is from my large monitor, which is where I do the bulk of my work every day. Under Reference, I store the folders I use every day. In Progress keeps the screenshots I plan to use in my blog and social media posts. The middle portion of my screen is usually covered up by PowerPoint or idraw files, so I left it empty.

I used one of my original four-column organizers on the smaller monitor. File holds the folders that I reference throughout the year. Notes keeps the items that I want/hope to explore later, such as a list of music education apps and other techy stuff. In Progress holds my unfinished projects, such as my clipart sets and teacher binders. Reference stores the items I use on a daily or weekly basis, such as a text style guide, which has the coding I need to bold or italicize words in programs that don’t automatically allow for those options.


Your Organizers
You can download these desktop organizers for free by clicking on one of the pictures above. You’ll receive instructions in the download that will tell you exactly how to customize your organizers to best fit your needs. While there are many ways to organize your files, here’s an idea from one of my customers:
“I created a column for “school” and put a folder for each grade in it. Then, I’ll put copies of the files I’m using with my kids in the appropriate folder each month so I can easily find them…. I think it will help with my planning time :)”
~Primary Pond
Customizing Folders
Once you have your desktop organized, you can go a step further and create custom images for each folder. Instead of seeing the ubiquitous blue folder icons, you can replace them with images of what’s actually in the folders.
Tanya (over at Teaching Music) shared the following video in a Facebook group I’m in:
It was a lightbulb moment for me. I immediately applied the method to every folder on my desktop. It’s already saved me the hassle of searching for a specific set of clipart. I can see at-a-glance exactly what I want.
The screenshot below is an example of what my “Backgrounds” folder looks like after I’ve customized each one with an image of its contents.

However, I know this probably doesn’t apply when it comes to a folder that contains your music lessons. In this case, you can create your own images using PowerPoint. Read my tutorial here to learn the basics. I’ve also created a few screenshots for you to use in case you’re in the midst of concert season and don’t have time to make your own. Then again, when do you ever have extra time? Like most teachers, my guess is never.

Simply right-click (for mac) or control-click (for PC) and select “copy image”. You’ll want to watch the video from above to learn how to change the folder icons before copying the images.







If you decide to try out the desktop organizers or any of my other ideas, please leave a message in the comments about how it goes. I’d love to hear if these tricks help you out as much as they do me!

Clipart and fonts used from:
Fonts by KG Fonts
Backgrounds by Steach4fun
Musical Clipart by Dancing Crayon Designs
Patterned Bunting by Digital Dollface