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Lifehacker: The Guide to Working Smarter, Faster, and Better, Third Edition by Gina Trapani, Adam Pash

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Hack 63: Automatically Clean Up Your Mac

Level Medium

Platform Mac OS X

Cost $21.95

Just as in the physical world, it’s easy to let digital clutter accumulate on your Mac. Chances are, your Downloads folder contains no-longer-relevant files, or your desktop is covered in documents, images, and songs you finished with last week. Hack 62, “Automatically Clean Up Your PC,” features a Windows program that cleans and organizes your PC based on a set of rules. That program is based on Hazel, an automated, rules-based file manager for Mac. That means Hazel does essentially the same thing for Mac users as Belvedere does for PC users. Download a 14-day free trial of Hazel, available at http://www.noodlesoft.com/hazel.php. (A license costs $21.95.) Here’s how Hazel can keep your Mac’s hard drive free of files you don’t need anymore.

Empty Your Downloads Folder with Hazel

After you install Hazel, go to its pane in System Preferences. (It will be listed under the Other heading.) To add a new folder rule, click the + button under the Folder list (bottom-left pane) and choose a folder, such as Downloads, to add it to the list. Select it and then, to create a new rules-based action, click the + button under the Rules box (bottom-right pane). Here you can set up automatic actions based on file criteria, as shown in Figure 7-9.

Think of Hazel’s rules as email filters: They work according to simple if-then logic. The rule pictured in Figure 7-9 says that if a file in the Downloads folder were added ...

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