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I'd like to find a way to automatically move all the files from the Downloads folder to the trash. Ideally I'd like to trigger this with a keyboard short cut. How should I try this - Automator perhaps? Thanks!

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Hazel will work well but might be more than you require. A simple Automator action could be setup to move all files from the folder to the trash - or specific files to specific folders. You can then use Spotlight to activate it via the keyboard. I do this for multiple folder cleanups (especially download directories). I just hit CMD+Space and start typing the name of the action and then hit "Enter" and off it runs. Only takes a few moments and doesn't require a program to be running in the background.

The use of Automator is pretty easy to handle - but you can check out MacApper's tutorial for some basics (it's older but still relevant).

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Maybe not with a keyboard shortcut, but with a large array of rules, you can use Hazel to control the fate of any file in your Downloads folder or any other folder. Excerpt:

Hazel watches whatever folders you tell it to, automatically organizing your files according to the rules you create. It features a rule interface similar to that of Apple Mail so you should feel right at home. Have Hazel move files around based on name, date, type, what site/email address it came from (Safari and Mail only) and much more. Automatically put your music in your Music folder, movies in Movies. Keep your downloads off the desktop and put them where they are supposed to be.

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As I clicked on this question, I was already thinking of Hazel; +1 to this answer. :) –  Kevin Y Feb 2 '10 at 6:11
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