The annual cleaning project

Post 199 of 262

Since I got my first own computer back in the spring of 1997, I have made it a tradition to do some cleaning work of the computer during the last couple of days every year. Most often, that has meant to make two backup copies of all the files, then format all disks and re-install the operating system and all software. This has been done for several reasons, where the most important has been that all the software I have tested out during the year has made the computer slower, and that files that I have collected has taken up valuable disk space.

However, the reasons for cleaning changed last year when I upgraded from my then four-year old laptop to a new desktop computer. Despite installing a lot of software I didn’t notice any effect on performance or loading times, and with a Terabyte-sized harddrive space was no longer any issue. But I kept the habit of the annual cleaning project anyway, simply because it is easier to work when everything is well organized and when the tools I need to get things done are put in focus. Here is what my desktop looks like now – the background image may possibly be familiar:

My computer desktop after a day of cleaning, sorting and re-organizing

The biggest mess of all – the photos folder

The one thing that takes up the most time to do is to get all photos and images sorted. My photos folder has grown to be quite big over the years, and keeping over 25.000 images sorted requires some planning and good photo organizer software. In 2010 I took more than 9.000 photos, of which many were pretty much useless. There were a lot of blurry photos and sets of where I had taken several pictures of the same motive (hoping that atleast one of the photos would be good), as well as random pictures which I didn’t want to keep. Throughout the years I had tried over 20 different photo organizer tools without finding any software that I really liked, but this time I gave Adobe Bridge a go – and it worked well even though I still miss some features. After going through all the folders, I was left with 3.900 photos that I wanted to keep. I still have a lot of work to do before I have the photos folder working as I want it to work (images geotagged and IPTC/EXIF data added and adjusted etc.), but it is way better now than it was before the cleaning process.

One of the ideas I have had for is to make some of the images available here, as stock photos that can be used for different purposes. For example for header images, website backgrounds, illustrations and desktop wallpapers. There are plenty of websites and services that offer royalty-free and Creative Commons-licensed stock photos so this is in no way any unique idea, but I think it could still be useful for site builders and designers – and it would also be fun for me to see my photos being used by others. I am still not sure how to add a photo collection in a good way, as the images would need to be tagged and sorted in some good way. But it is one of the plans for 2011, so I’ll find a good way to get it done. Suggestions and ideas on how the photos could be added in a good way would be very welcome!

Graphics design

Along with unedited photos, I also have a large collection of graphics design projects that I am planning to share in a similar way, targeted for designers who need source material for header images and backgrounds. I have seen that the header image pack I created for the andreas01 template has a lot of downloads, and the images have appeared on a number of sites which is not using the andreas01 template at all. For this kind of images, the idea is to make multiple-size versions that are pre-adjusted for my templates, as well as providing a high resolution version (and possibly a .PSD source file for Adobe Photoshop users) from which you can create files of any size for your own project. Just like the website templates, these images would be free to download and free to use – probably through a Creative Commons license. Graphics design articles and tutorials are also a part of the plan, and guest bloggers and artists will be welcome to contribute if there is interest for it.

WordPress themes, Joomla templates, Drupal designs…

I am still looking for designers who work with WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and other open source content management systems and who would want to share their work on I am mainly searching for people who would want to convert my free templates for these systems, but co-operations for unique designs would also be interesting. Get in touch if you want to become a part of, I am all open for ideas and suggestions.

Coming up next…

With my work space in order, I am now working on the first releases for 2011. Within the next couple of days I will release two new website templates and a couple of alternate versions, some created on requests from template users, some created out of pure inspiration. Tutorials and how-to articles are also a priority, especially on how to work with templates. And, as mentioned last year, people who would want to contribute with guest posts are welcome, as well as requests and suggestions on what you would want to see more of here. is all about helping people build better websites, using high-quality resources and (soon) useful tools and services. I am looking forward to continue working with that in 2011, and I hope that you will find to be a good place to start when building your own sites this year as well.

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This article was written by Andreas Viklund

Web designer, writer and the creative engine behind this website. Author of most of the free website templates, along with some of the WordPress themes.


SteinarJanuary 3, 2011 at 16:56Reply

That wallpaper is beautiful! If u publish it in 1280*1024 I would definitely use it.

Facundo GonzálezJanuary 4, 2011 at 04:15Reply

Awesome all you told us!

I see the icon of Reason and I almost cried.

Browsers: I do not see the Opera icon. You should download it to check that your templates work correctly in Opera.

CaritaJanuary 4, 2011 at 11:50Reply

About organizing photos – tried Lightroom? Fantastic! Easy, fast and you don´t even have to bother where you have your photos, Lightroom does that for you. You only have to be able to leave the folder-thinking and go for keywords instead.
You can still go for folder-thinking in Lightroom but then you miss the point of using Lightroom I think. And in Lightroom you can also fix your photos, create slideshows for ex youtube and much more.
If I work at Adobe – no. I´m just a user and a fan of Ligthroom.

husni94January 4, 2011 at 15:36Reply

how beautiful is it..
it’s awesome!!

NicoleJanuary 30, 2011 at 15:07Reply

I usually do ok sorting my graphics throughout the year but I occasionally find them in odd folders. My biggest problem is cleaning up all the little programs that get installed and only used a few times. Even though it’s not enjoyable, I usually try to back-up everything and do a clean install of Windows every year. It’s a chore but once it’s done it seems to run smoother. And it feels good like when I steam the carpets in my house before Easter. Nothing like a good Spring cleaning. :)