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Use a Smart Playlist to clean up iTunes (pictures)

Quickly pull together all the lame, forgotten media clogging up your iTunes collection, and purge it from your computer.

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Donald Bell
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1 of 6 Donald Bell/CNET

iTunes is overrun

If you're looking for some extra room on your hard drive, one of the easiest places to trim the fat is your iTunes library. It's probably filled with music that you never listen to, not to mention old podcasts, TV shows, movies, and audiobooks.
To see a video version of this tutorial, head over to the original blog post on CNET How To.
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2 of 6 Donald Bell/CNET

Smart Playlist to the rescue

So how do you carve out the rotten stuff while saving the media that you can't live without? Here's where a Smart Playlist comes in handy.
Go up to the File Menu and select New Smart Playlist. We're going to make a Smart Playlist with three rules. Rule No. 1: the media in this playlist will have been played less than two times.
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Smart Playlist rule No. 2

To make our second rule, hit the "+" button on the right side of the first rule. Set the second rule to wrangle up any media that has been skipped over more than five times.
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4 of 6 Donald Bell/CNET

Smart Playlist rule No. 3

And just in case you've been rating your songs, let's make a third rule that collects all the songs that you've rated between 1 and 2 stars.
Because there probably won't be many things that satisfy all of these requirements, go to the top of the window and change "Match all" to "Match any." Then, hit OK.
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5 of 6 Donald Bell/CNET

All the duds

You now have a playlist filled with all of the bad, ignored, or frequently skipped media in your iTunes library. If you don't see much, you can right-click on the playlist, select edit, and adjust the numbers to pull in more media.
Another useful trick is to right-click the column headers and add a column for size, so that you can sort by file size and delete the big stuff first.
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6 of 6 Donald Bell/CNET

Delete away

The problem is, if you've ever deleted a song from an iTunes playlist, you probably noticed that it just deletes the song from the playlist -- not from your computer. In a Smart Playlist, the delete key is basically useless since you have no manual control over the list. Unless, of course, you know a trick.
This keyboard shortcut comes to us from our friends over at Lifehacker. It turns out that you can delete iTunes media from your computer directly from a playlist by holding down the Option key on a Mac while pressing Delete, or Shift + Delete on Windows.
To see a video version of this tutorial, head over to the original blog post on CNET How To.

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