Unless you have changed the destination folder, anything that you retrieve from the internet heads to the Downloads folder by default. Installers for apps, videos, pdf files, documents, images and all types of files are mish-mashed into that folder. And if you are like me, you often save the files you want to download into separate folders. That means that the stuff inside your Downloads folder end up as duplicates, taking up precious hard disk space.
As you know, a Mac is more or less maintenance free. Well, with the exception of the Downloads folder that is. Since it’s not part of temporary memory, OS X does not delete the contents during a restart. Most often we end up forgetting that the Downloads folder exists. And over the time you have your Mac, piles and piles of files just accumulate and end up becoming one big dumpsite, even bigger than your Trash.
The lesson is simple. Do not forget about the Downloads folder. Set up a schedule to periodically go through and delete it contents. The first time I did that, my Mac was about 6 months old. I was able to recover around 6GB of space. It’s up to you how you go about deleting your files. Some people prefer to delete everything in one a go. Some categorize by file type and do a last inspection if they forgot to transfer out some of the files. Either way, deleting files in your Downloads folder should be a periodic thing.