Digi Scrap Organizing: The Project Folder

Digi Scrap Organizing: The Project Folder

Discussing organization methods is a favorite for Digi Scrappers. How to handle that enormous hoard? There are so many ways to address this issue, especially since it's very personal and dependent on your scrapping methods. So today I'm going to give a little tour of one aspect of my organization/work flow system. This does not cover my whole system, nor do I think it will work exactly as I've set it up for anyone else. However, I do believe that something in my system could inspire yours.

In my mind everything digi falls into three categories:

  1. Things Downloaded
  2. Things Made
  3. Working

I rarely use my "Things Downloaded" folder because I just don't download that much stuff and rely primarily on my "Things Made" folder. In the "Things Made" folder I store all the templates I've made so that I can easily find them to use in a new project. The organization in this folder is still somewhat in flux, I'm not totally happy with it, so I won't tell you about it today. Instead, I'm going to focus on my "Working" folder, which I recently reorganized to an extreme work-flow boost and happy inside feelings.


The "Working" folder is where I keep projects I'm working on (kits, layouts, assets); basically everything. This means that it's a very overwhelming place. I used to organize by year, with all the projects from one year in one place. However, once I started redoing things to upload to the site, my brain just about exploded. I simply could not keep track of what was finished, what was in in progress and what was "almost" finished (ie finished, but not uploaded to the site yet). There was about a month when I was a crazy person trying to keep track of about 50 unfinished kits.

At this same time I was also reading some business books, since we're trying to run a business and I have a degree in Physics (not, it turns out, super helpful for anything). One of these books mentioned the Kanban system, created by Toyota for their factories. You can Google it if you want more details, but basically, as I understand it, the idea is that you have a couple bins (ex: parts, assembly, and packing in a manufacturing system) and each bin can only have a certain number of slots. When it's full, you have to stop until there's room to move it into the next bin. This method keeps you from over-extending yourself and getting too far ahead and causing problems.

In my case, because of all the reworking, I was hopelessly over-extended. However, the system still worked wonderfully to help me weed out what I was doing.


I have 3 main folders again (the zip files folder is just finished zip files waiting to be uploaded).

  1. Upload Ready
  2. In Progress
  3. Archive

Once I finish a project from the "In Progress" folder, I move it to the "Upload Ready" folder where it waits until I add it the site. Once that is finished I move it to the "Archive" folder and then it's "out of sight, out of mind." Here's a peak into my "In Progress" folder so you can get an idea of what's going on:


All those projects are ones that I'm working on. I've actually cleared out a significant amount, and I'm starting to look forward to the day when I can have a proper bin system, with only a few active projects.

If you have any questions, please ask, as I'll probably be working on some more organizing posts in the future.

Special Note: Sometimes I hear about people flattening layouts when they are done to save space. Every time I hear this my heart stops beating and I feel sick. I personally think this is a terrible idea. I often revisit old layouts for numerous reasons, and if for some reason I can only find the .JPG I'm always really frustrated. Buy an external hard drive, delete some of your stash, but flattening and deleting things you've made is a poor space saving solution. Honor the things you've made by allowing them to grow in the future. Sorry for the strongly worded caution. I know at the beginning I said everyone could have their own way, and you should of course do whatever works best for you. But think hard about deleting and flattening. I've regretted it every time I've done it.

Recent Comments

Pichi Sockenbart
Pichi Sockenbart Mon, 07/06/2015 - 01:47

this was helpful!

Shaival Designs
Shaival Designs Thu, 05/30/2013 - 12:00


sara starkenburg
sara starkenburg Wed, 05/15/2013 - 15:21

I have folders in my computer, but not made into three caterorgies. I have folder for: overlays, embellishments( includes bows and frames etc),PNG flowers -flowers that are used for embellishments etc,papers,word art. SO i have 5 folders total and when ever i download a kit i literally do sit and sort each part out into the folders.

Arimbi Kuntjoro
Arimbi Kuntjoro Fri, 05/10/2013 - 00:07

about flatteninf. it's so true..bcause sometines we need to modify things we've made, and its cutting time.

Jennifer Sanchez
Jennifer Sanchez Wed, 05/08/2013 - 05:29

thanks for this information

Kate Teske
Kate Teske Sun, 05/05/2013 - 08:16

Thanks so much for the info. I'm just getting into the digi side of scrapping and have a hard time remembering what I have and where it is. This is sure to help me :)

christy cole
christy cole Fri, 05/03/2013 - 14:15

Awesome info!!! Thank you so much for sharing!!!

Eileen Garrastegui
Eileen Garrastegui Wed, 05/01/2013 - 21:22

Fantastic organization method, I will use some ideas to improve my storage drivers. TYVM for sharing this.

Margie DuSell
Margie DuSell Fri, 04/26/2013 - 06:48

Always interested in organizing.

Sandi Terry
Sandi Terry Thu, 04/25/2013 - 16:12

I have a Portfolio File divided by year where I keep 300dpi JPGS for printing. There is also a WEB File for images processed to be uploaded. In my Archive I keep the project files for finished work containing all their bits and pieces and also the final PSD. In my files all the most important things are prefaced with 00_ so they will be at the top of the list. This has been really helpful because I don't have to scroll through a long list of files to find what I'm looking for. The system is still evolving, but it's working better all the time!!

Liv Hudson
Liv Hudson Thu, 04/25/2013 - 13:31

About your note of caution: I am with you! I don't know how many times I have gone looking for something I used or made in the past only to find I flattened, downsized (to 72px!), or deleted what I wanted! I refuse to do that to myself anymore; it is kind of like when I clean out my junk drawer and throw away that knob that I cannot remember where it came from-next day or week, I need it! Great info in this article!

Giada Erre
Giada Erre Thu, 04/25/2013 - 04:17

This is so useful!!

Sunny Faith Rush
Sunny Faith Rush Wed, 04/24/2013 - 22:05

I read this article over a couple of times. I am going to look into the Kanban system - Sounds like it is just what I have been looking for. And I support what you say about flattening and deleting files - I don't. I've learned a lot from you and this group about file naming and organizing - always invaluable information!

Keisha Dawson
Keisha Dawson Wed, 04/24/2013 - 19:33

Wonderful tips! I'm an an extremely organized person, and lately, I have been so overwhelmed with organizing my digi scrapbook files that I was about ready to give up. My OCD can be a little overwhelming at times. This totally give me hope!

Lizanne Killian
Lizanne Killian Wed, 04/24/2013 - 17:47

Those tips are great, Marisa - especially the ones on "Working." I'm not really a designer (only created that one mini kit for the blog train - still not sure I'm up to being a designer) but, if I ever do decide to go that route, your system sounds like it would alleviate a lot of frustration & that is priceless IMHO! =)

Melissa Bechtloff
Melissa Bechtloff Wed, 04/24/2013 - 13:40

Wow, that a great idea. I can't wait to find out how you do your things made system. I'm currently (can't determine whether its smart or stupid yet) going through all my old stuff ... ALL. Anything that was improperly labelled goes in the trash ... as well as any kits labelled tagger 72dpi. Its cleaning out a lot of stuff and giving me more space. I've started with kits, but am sad to say i'm still only on the letter B. When I first started learning a couple years ago, I downloaded everything I could get my hands on (big mistake) and didn't label anything. So now I'm paying for it. But it is nice to get rid of some stuff.

Beth Bayer
Beth Bayer Wed, 04/24/2013 - 12:18

Sometimes I feel like I am getting buried by a million downloads that I don't even know what the name means anymore. That is the most frustrating, along with identifying the difference between CU and PU downloads. I am super grateful that all of my downloads from PS are CU as that is the format I have decided to use my credits for. Thank you Marisa for making it soooo easy. xoxox Beth

Lana Fischer
Lana Fischer Wed, 04/24/2013 - 11:43

Thanks for the tips..this is the biggest issue I have with scrapbooking. I have only been at it a little less than two years and already I can't find things I know I have.

Cynthia Arnett
Cynthia Arnett Wed, 04/24/2013 - 11:18

Thank you Marisa, there are some great tips for organizing and handling those large digital working files.

Meg Bertapelle
Meg Bertapelle Wed, 04/24/2013 - 10:22

well that's an excellent idea! I actually do something similar with work files, but it's hard to keep track when there are soooooo many projects, I agree. Here's hoping you're able to streamline & regain more sanity soon ;) (I'm not holding my breath for myself...) ;)

Jennilyn Thiboult
Jennilyn Thiboult Wed, 04/24/2013 - 07:08

Love it! Organization is the key to staying as sane as possible and you've definitely got a well thought out system for your projects. Also, I lOVE Kanban! It has really helped me focus on keeping things focused and organized in my professional and home life!

Sarah Lewis
Sarah Lewis Wed, 04/24/2013 - 06:32

Thanks for sharing your system. I really enjoy hearing/reading how others organize. I have my method. Not really fond of it but it sort of works for me. I am like to take bits from others to formulate a new plan, one of these days.

Brooke Gazarek
Brooke Gazarek Wed, 04/24/2013 - 04:49

I can definitely use ideas from this post! Thanks for sharing!

Betsy Bush
Betsy Bush Wed, 04/24/2013 - 03:43

Marisa, I feel so good about my organizing style now because it is just like yours. I thought I was crazy to move things so much but I really do know where to put my hands on everything. I would like to echo your caution at the end. My designs are greeting cards mostly but when I first started a few years ago I hardly ever saved my work as I went, or when I learned all about layers I still didn't save them, just the jpg. Wow,This is where formal training would have been a benefit! I go back now to something to see if I can revamp it and I have virtually nothing to work with! Two years ago I bought a 1TB. hard drive and am blissfully filling it with practically every step I take as I never know when I will need to go back. Thanks for the great advice!