Changes You've Made in Organizing

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Changes You've Made in Organizing

We have a monster thread of many years here about organizing digital supplies. but I was wondering what has changed for you lately in your process. Sometimes it's those changes that are the most helpful when people are looking for advice.

I've been moving my own files around a bit lately. Still haven't settled on something I'm really happy with. Mostly I think it's an impossible task, so I try not to think about it too much. At the same time, I want there to be a solution!

I still use a legacy version of picasa that is only set to search my scrapbooking files (in my downloads and on my portable drive). But I only just realized that it has a visually-based duplicate file finder built in! I was able to free up a good chunk of space on my drive by removing kits I'd inadvertently downloaded twice or had somehow filed in two different spots smiley

I once decided to sort everything out into individual folders. You know, papers sorted by colour and theme, elements sorted by type, etc. I got about halfway through literally over 10000 papers and got bored and decided to just leave everything as it was.

My default sorting is Store - Designer - Kit because at this point there's just too much work involved in sorting it otherwise.

I did, however, grab the previews from each kit and sort them into themes with a shortcut link back to the original folder. That's as organised as my digital scrap collection will get at this time.

My files stay in their own kits. I utilize tagging instead of moving files.

Picasa was such a great program. I'm still sad Google stopped supporting it. They had the best collage maker.

@Marisa - I miss Picasa, too! I downloaded another free program to help me with collages, since I'm not really happy with the way it works on my PSE, but the Picasa one was way better. Unfortunately, I lost that program and several other newer versions of programs in a weird computer crash (I only lost programs, not docs or photos!), and trying to restore it was how I learned it was defunct.

My supplies are organized with a lot of subfolders. I tend to keep blog trains together and then have folders within that for individual designers, and for individual's kits I have it filed by designer, then kit name. I had a tagging system going in my dinosaur version of PSE, but I upgraded to the 2019 version this year, and the catalog that I'd spent hours on refused to import in the organizer. smiley I'm disappointed about that, but since I didn't really have a good efficient way to deal with the tagging anyway, I'm honestly currently just altering file names to add colors and what type of supply it is, and then just running searches in File Explorer when I am looking for something specific. I really have an overwhelming number of files to go, though, so I'm open to suggestions on how to deal with it better!

Oh Becky - that's nasty to have lost Picasa that way! I know there's versions out there to download, but I don't know that I'd trust any of them smiley I've actually never used the collage part of the program (probably because I've only ever kept my scrapbooking supplies on picasa). But I do like that I can search by colour without tagging (or renaming) by colour. I wonder if there's anything supported out there that could do at least *that* so that you don't have to spend all that time tagging or renaming. (On a side note - I sure appreciate designers who name the pieces in their kits well to allow me to search for specific items and to credit without too much hunting smiley )

I used to organise by designer then by the kit and I knew everything inside out and back to front and could find anything I wanted from memory ... then I lost all my files.
Recently I thought that I would try organising by element type and it just doesn’t flow; I spend way too much time trying to decide on what to use and finding items that coordinate well.
Having said that ... I haven’t got anything tagged so that’s definitely part of the problem.

I've gotten more into tagging (of a sort) my digital files to make them searchable in File Explorer without having to move them around. I tend to keep kits in their own folders, though blog trains and other collaborations get dumped together into a single folder since they're (generally) intended to work together anyway due to the shared palette and theme. Those folders may get sorted based on general theme (one parent folder for Autumn kits, another for Christmas kits, another for Spring kits, etc.), and then I have another folder for kits that are papers-only or alphas-only or general "toolbox" items like a kit of stitches or torn edges or something that aren't meant to coordinate with a single thing.

The tagging I do is really just file renaming. I don't change the filename itself, since it often contains creator credit, but I will add a word or two to the front of it to sort it by element type and make the filename searchable. So papers start with "paper-" and stitches start with "stitches-" and staples and paperclips start with "fasteners-" so I can search just that term (minus the hyphen) in a parent folder and see all the results lumped together. I may not do this as much for miscellaneous items (in large kits they just get tagged "misc-"), but for things like fasteners and stitches that I tend to pull from random kits more often, it's very helpful.

An added bonus to putting the tag at the front of the file name is that I can sort collaborative kits like the blog trains by file name and all of the papers and frames and foliage and whatever end up grouped together no matter what the designers named their files, without actually losing credit for who made what. This makes it a lot easier to compare all the papers or frames or whatever in a large kit like a blog train, especially when you might have four different designers with different filenaming habits who each made exactly one bit of stitching or frame or border and you want to decide which one to use. Renaming like this puts them in the same location within the folder. Even with just a single designer, sometimes the designer doesn't name all their papers similarly (instead of "paper1," "paper2," etc., it might be "striped1," "argyle1," "floral1," etc.) which tends to scatter them all throughout the kit, so even in a kit where I don't rename anything else, the papers still get tagged.

Something else I've been getting better about, especially with large kits, is keeping the designer's preview image of the whole kit so I can see at a glance what's in it and a rough idea of how it will look in use as opposed to simply isolated in its own file. These get completely renamed since the designer's information is in the image itself, and half of them are simply named "preview" or "folder" anyway. I rename these with "_Preview" (the underscore alphabetizes them at the beginning of the folder so they're always one of the first things seen), and I'm always glad when the designer actually includes this image in the kit itself. I've got several kits from when I first started collecting supplies for my yearly calendar project that no longer have the preview because I thought it unnecessary, but it's been a real help with even large single-designer kits.

I briefly contemplated breaking all the kits apart and sorting into folders by element, which would be helpful with things like stitching that's pretty universal. But like Anita, it just really doesn't flow for me. There'd be too many options and I wouldn't have a clear idea of what would coordinate well without spending precious time experimenting. Keeping the kits together, I have that starting point where a designer made things that should work together so I have a cohesive baseline, and I can mix-and-match from there.

That's a much clearer way of saying what I was trying to about my file system, Amanda! I have been using File Explorer to do the searching, too. And adding to instead of renaming the file is much more accurate. Adding that info at the beginning of the file name is a good idea, though! I tend to stick the tags at the end, and it doesn't always sort well within folders.

Have you guys discovered the bulk rename utility? I haven't used it for something like this, but I often use it to rename my photos when I collected them from all my family members (so I know who's photos they are and so the dates are standardized). But I think it could probably speed up a process like you're talking about too.

The only thing with bulk renaming is that it may overwrite info you want to keep, depending on what you're renaming. Unless you're referring to a different utility (when I do bulk renaming, such as with photos, I select all the files I'm going to rename, right-click one and select "rename," and then type in the new name, and it appends numbers in (##) format after the file names for me).

Yeah, this is the name of a program that allows you to bulk rename your files by adding something to the front, end or even within a file name. So you could add paper_ in front and _designername behind files named 123.jpg, 124.jpg etc and get paper_123_designername.jpg, paper_124_designername.jpg. It's a basic little program but I've found it very useful (though I've never used it specifically for this)

That does sound handy. I might look into it. Thanks. smiley

I use Bulk Rename Utility for everything. It's a great little program.

I use that program all the time to get my files ready for uploading. It's super handy!

I use that program all the time to get my files ready for uploading. It's super handy!

I'm on a Mac, and have been keeping everything in bundle folders. I keep a master file with all the bundle cover images so I can browse for inspiration, or can search for keywords like "solid paper" or "heart" or whatever I need at the moment and anything with those keywords in the file name shows up. I remove all files from their individual folders within each bundle (elements, papers, etc.) so I can view individual files in the search results as opposed to just seeing the folders that contain them. In the past everything was just kind of in one big folder.

Some great tips here. I have lost anything I had in the past and am basically starting again.. and I dont know what I should do going forward! It's a big task, but technically if I put the system in place now, I should be in a good place later! ha!