If you've ever opened your Downloads folder only to find heaps of files you don't need, Lifehacker reader Márton Mészáros has a simple tip for keeping yourself organised: use your computer's temporary folder.
If you use your temporary folder, it will empty out those old files for you every time you restart:
For long, I've had a massive download folder. I just kept on accumulating stuff. Installers, pictures, music, whatever. I've ended up with TBs of mixed material, which I needed to sort out when my computer was complaining about not enough free space.
For starters, I forced myself to delete everything after I've installed it/viewed it/heard it. It requires huge discipline, and you'll eventually delete the whole folder when your computer needs more space.
Fortunately as a Linux user, I've found a really handy solution. Ever since I've discovered this, I have this problem no more, and it doesn't require me to grow superhuman discipline or to do anything extremely different. All I do now is that I set my download folder to
Easy isn't it? If something is important enough to save it for later use, I have to manually move it out from the temp. If it's not as important, it will be deleted upon a reboot. This works for Macs too, though Windows users will have to find another solution.
Windows users could always set their download folders to something like
C:\Temp, but Windows isn't nearly as good about emptying its temporary folders as OS X and Linux are. If you want to automatically keep your Downloads folder clean, you could always just use something like Belvedere to automate and organise your folders.