When you restart your Mac via the Apple menu/Restart (or shutdown your Mac via Apple menu/Shutdown) you’ll get a box looking something like this:
Pay attention to that “Reopen windows when logging back in” checkbox. My advice: uncheck it. That gives you a nice fresh start. If you leave the box checked ALL of the stuff you had open before choosing Restart opens right back up again, and that’s probably not what you want. Most of the time, we restart because we are trying to get a nice fresh start. Unchecking the box will give you what you want.
Of course there are times when the checkbox should be checked. Let’s say you’re working on a bunch of documents at home, and now you’re going to take your laptop to work and you want to pick things up again when you get there. In that case, shutting down with the checkbox checked would get you back in business more quickly next time you start up.