Organizing Your Digital Supplies

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I'm glad I found this thread early on... I have become a digital hoarder and all of my individual pieces take forever to find! Thanks for all the advise, I will be scouring every post for ideas. Thanks to everyone who posted!

I have been trying for two years to figure out a good system that works for me and I think I am almost done. I have everything on an EHD and here is how I have it broken down.

CU Items

  • Then I have each store that I like listed as ~~CU Digitals or ~~Just Jaime
  • Then its Actions, Alpha, Brushes, Elements (and then that is broken down further - Animals, Buttons, Frames, Ribbons, etc.), Masks, Paper (which is broken down - Overlays, Patterns, Textures, etc.), Shapes, Styles, Swatches, Templates
My work - this is of course broken down to work I am working on, under review, posted at store for sale
Personal Kits
  • Folder for each - Actions, Alpha, Backgrounds, Brag Books, Brushes, Designer Competitions, Elements (broken further down - animals, frames, etc.), Gradients, Hybrids, Kits, Licenses (that don't stay with their kits when unzipped), Overlays, Patterns, Quickpages, Shapes, Styles, Templates, Textures, Trains, Tutorials, Vectors, Word Art
Scrap 4 Hire
  • Folder for each - Actions, Alpha, Backgrounds, Brag Books, Brushes, Designer Competitions, Elements (broken further down - animals, frames, etc.), Gradients, Hybrids, Kits, Licenses (that don't stay with their kits when unzipped), Overlays, Patterns, Quickpages, Shapes, Styles, Templates, Textures, Trains, Tutorials, Vectors, Word Art
Already Extracted Zip Files - which these need to be burned to DVD or Blu-ray

I am actually still working on tagging everything and moving everything around - so these might get compressed again. I did go through my files and get rid of kits that I had collected years ago that I never used and also on quality - went from 880gigs down to 863gigs.. so I still have a lot more to go!

I saw a suggestion the other day to put all your previews in one folder, making sure they are named with the kit name so that when you want to buy something you can do a search in this folder to see if you have already purchased the kit. I thought this was a good idea for those of us who are scrapaholics and forget what we already have.

I use a folder system to organize but I admit I'm not very organized. I'd rather scrap. I've tried a few organizational methods but they all seem to take too much time. I think I've become a "kit scrapper" because of it.

Wow, what a thread! Since I'm aiming to be more of a designer (hope, hope, pray, pray lol), I think I'm going to organize by alphas, bows, buttons, layouts, papers, then by designer or site/blog. I'm also trying to keep things organized similarly on two computers (PC here at work, Mac at home), so I've been taking my time noting how I look for stuff. The method to my madness is that I tend to look for things by item instead of designer or site/blog.

Interesting to see all the different systems!


Thank you Megan for explaining your system. Sounds like something I could very well work with. I'll try this as I find it very OCD friendly (Please take it as a compliment... I'm OCD to the extreme and I need to stop! smiley ) This might very well be the ultimate solution for me! smiley

My files are stored on my computer. I sort them into categories, Paper, Embellishments & Alphas. The paper folder is subdivided by colors, Reds, Oranges, Yellows, Greens, Blues, Purples, Pinks, Blacks, Whites & Grays and then a Multicolored/Patterns folder. Alphas aren't subdivided, I like to be able to quickly browse them. The really big list is of course, Embellishments. I have subcategories:
Animals, Arrows & Brackets, Art, Birthdays, Books, Buttons & Brads, Children & Monsters (hee hee), Clips Eyelets & Staples, Clocks, Dates, Doodles, Envelopes Postcards & Stamps, Ephemera, Felt, Flourishes, Flowers, Frames, Glass, Halloween & Fall, Jewelry, Journal Strips Labels & File Tabs, Love, Mats, Metal, Misc., Music, Photo Corners, Ribbons, Sports, Stars, Stickers, Tags, Tape, Torn & Old Paper, Torn Edges, Wings, Winter, Wood, Word Art, Zippers. A lot of those folders have subcategories like Ribbon breaks down into bows, knots, folds, stitches, string, twill, etc.
The only problem I have found with this system is that if I downloaded a kit and divided it up, I don't always remember that there is a matching rectangular frame to go with the square frame I chose for my layout. I embed all of my elements into my pages, which is nice if anything gets moved in my filing system, but that makes my layouts very large.

I use folders and it works for me. I have all my commercial use in folders like this:

and I do the same for non-commercial purchases and freebies. However, I keep all my project life separate by shops.

I hope this helps someone.

Wow -- Deb Packwood I'm going to swipe your file names and use them! I started out not even knowing if I would scrap much... it grew to needing my last computer's hard drive to save all my files... now I am doing a little commercial work so purchasing CU files. I don't know about some older files (not from here) so all my CU are in a file called: Def CU (definitely commercial use). smiley

I prefer piling to filing, so my digital files are the same sort of mess. I would rather create. But constantly try to get organized.

This is a great thread! Thanks for all the suggestions.

@Deb I do the same thing. I include the file album for complete layouts!

I think I finally have somewhat of an organization thing going on smiley I'm sure I still have some work to do. I recently just bought PSE 12 and I'm wondering if the organizer slows down the program? I have gone through Windows/Picasa and organized folders into what others have done here but my problem is that when I go to scrap I have so many things to look at I get so discouraged and end up just logging off. There is just so much to chose from! I find this all so overwhelming at times and it frustrates me to no end! Not sure if this makes any sense to others but I just had to throw this out there lol!

Sorry about posting in the wrong forum, but I don't know how to delete it. I found the picasa threat and fixed my problem.

Mmmm... thought I saw something about picasa, but can't find it now. I had to load it again to my new laptop and things don't work like there use to (or do they) . I have all my folder I want always see checked, but picasa only shows me the main folder and one subfolder.

My files are sorted by store - desingers - kits. Kits usually come with 3 more folders: papers, elements and alpha. Picasa only shows me the 1st subfolder (paper) of a kid. Before move folders and wanted to find out first if this is normal.

Maybe picasa can help to find things quicker.


@ Tanya Logan - 'I prefer piling to filing' - that's brilliant! I'm just at the tip of my organizing iceberg, and am just plodding along doing a bit here, a bit there... It's such a LOOOOOOONG SLOOOOOOOOOOW process, and I have SO much to go through that it gets a bit disheartening smiley But, it will get done (eventually!) And, at least (thanks to this thread) I know exactly what I'm doing now, so any new downloads are being renamed and sorted immediately. I am trying VERY hard to only download from Pixel Scrapper these days, but even then, there are always so many new and beautiful things from the talented designers here........... (sigh!)

I know what you mean Robyn as far as disheartening with the organizing of digital supplies. I have TONS of IRL paper scrapping stuff still and have been organizing it the past week as we hopefully get ready to buy a home. I'm kind of wanting things to be where they need to be when I unpack. smiley
Anywho... I have a 10x8 craft room full of sewing, quilting, scrapping, & mixed media stuff... and it hasn't taken me anywhere as near as long to go through my entire physical stash as it takes me to go through my digital stuff. I truly wish there was a centralized system of file naming and organization for ALL digital scrapbook kit designers. It would make our digital life so much faster and easier. So, it has pushed me towards purging of digital supplies I don't absolutely LooooVE!!! and I have decided I will maintain my intricate file folder naming system and hope that the windows search can find what I'm looking for. If the names are too vague and I never use a kit and don't feel like adding to the name myself... then they will eventually get deleted, too. smiley

I use the windows photo viewer to organize all my digis. It goes something like this
main folders-my clipart, elements, digital papers, templates, cut files etc.
then i have my sub folders. an example of my subfolders for my cliparts are other folders each labeled based on what my clipart themed items are. eg. pink ballerinas and within that folder there is a mashup of all my pink ballerina themed cliparts (which i store as an svg file so I can edit them if i want) and a zip file containing them all.

might seem confusing but it works for me!

Elle, I think you've 'hit the nail on the head' when you say "It works for me". That's the main thing - finding a system that works for YOU. This thread has been invaluable for me, personally, because reading through what everyone else does has helped my to formulate my own system - which I am still tweaking as I go.

I'm a hoarder for sure. I didn't start off very organized so now I have stuff that I don't know where it came from. I use photoshop 12 organizer. I keep my scrapbooking supplies in a separate catalog from my photos. I use mini albums for my complete kits. I use the tag system, with catagories of paper, colors, other (elements) specialties (like London, Paris, etc) and layouts where I keep my templates.

I download into my windows scrapbooking folder with separate folders for zips (i'll get rid of those eventualy); fonts; brushes, overlays; alphas, paper packs; templates and classes. These I have named with either an AA or AAA before so they sort to the top. the rest of the items are just they way they come after unzipping.

if I want an element I can use organizer to open up the folder.

Like many others, I use picasa to organize digital supplies. I've got picasa set to only scan my scrapbooking files, which I tend to keep in their original folders (what can I say, I'm lazy!) though I do try to keep them in metafolders by download site/store. I tend to scrap with multiple designers on a single layout, so if I need a purple paper, for example, I can just search for "color:purple .jpg" and see what comes up. That does mean that I'm much more likely to use elements that are well-named (they actually show up in my searches) but I've collected enough stuff over the years that if a few don't show up it's not a huge deal. The biggest drawback of picasa is that it doesn't play nice with removable drives - though I haven't tried for a while, so maybe they've fixed that now. I just wish that I could have two copies of picasa running simultaneously on my computer - one for my scrapbooking supplies and one for my photos!

I'm about 12G into scrapbooking, so not too much yet. I just took notes on all 6 pages and am going to come up with my system. Hopefully soon! Right now I just have things in windows folders & subfolders. Some are kit names, some are holiday or seasons with subfolders of kit names. I don't want to break up by elements, so I'm taking a good look at tagging. I'm also going to take that excellent backup advice to heart!

One question, I understand why the designer name is important, but not really why the name of the store where the supplies were bought is important. Especially if, as was mentioned a couple times, designers change stores. Someone enlighten me?


I put the store initials because I like to participate in challenges, especially when my mojo is low. Most stores require that a certain percentage of the layout is using their product**. I sort my folders with the store initials first - that way I can easily find which designers I can use. Designers do change stores, but it seems like a bunch do it at once, and then none for awhile. When they change, they also don't take all their kits, or post them all at once. It's very easy, and quick to change the initials at the beginning for me, and it's also a chance to purge kits I'm done with, or aren't moving to the new store.

**It makes sense, the store is hosting the challenge, typically there's something you get for participating in it, or in so many of them. That prize comes from the designers in some way, so the store wants you to support them.

OOOOOHHHH! That actually makes perfect sense. Thanks for the explanation!

I use that same method as well. I find that it works so much better having everything in it's own place. It cut's down the seek and search time by over half of what it use to be.

I store all my files on my EHD and up load the one's I'm going to be working with when I need them. I always keep an empty folder just in case I come across something that I just have to have. I can always put the "new" items into that folder and sort them out into their proper places at a later date.

These are all great systems/methods but how do you stick with them? I can develop an organizing system but then that system ends up getting sloppy. So I'll have files in maybe a handful of locations.

Anyone have any suggestions to keep my files all in the same place and keep them in that one location?

One thing I do (and I think has also been mentioned possibly) is I keep all downloads in 1 folder until I'm ready to put them where they belong. Then I move them right into their correct folder (within my Scrapbook folder), or make a new folder if needed. If I'm on a big download spree (like yesterday when I found several blog trains that I LOVED), I download all of one type/train, then move, then move onto the next blog train.

As for the rest - I haven't gotten that far yet smiley

Several days now I have been cleaning up my disorganized mess... Now that I have a system in place that identifies both the designer and whether it was a blog train or collaboration I am moving all the files around... It is exhausting. I have now decided that moving anything whether it be physically or electronically is totally exhausting! Sometimes physical and sometimes mental or both!!! I hate to move! smiley

@Cindi - I HATE to move too. So much.

Also - I found another trick. Since I still have a lot to go through, I can't download anything new until I've organized at least 1 folder of my current stash (aka horde). And anything new has to be at least partially organized right away.

I am trying not to download anything new until I get everything organized... I am actually almost done. I have been working almost none stop for over a week!

@Marisa - I just installed & used this rename utility. OMG it's so awesome, thank you! I agree, it does look scary at first, but they make it super easy to preview before you (general you, not you personally) make any changes, so as long as you go slow, it shouldn't be a problem.

I just used it to prefix your name to all the Berlin files, remove/trim extra space at the end of the file name & remove the word copy. And then (after I was done with that of course) I also decided to add the name Berlin between your name & the original file name! With all that I feel I have a decent basic understanding of the tool now smiley

I have a really dumb question. I have had to make the switch from my beloved Windows XP or Windows 7. In XP I could put a picture on the front of a folder so I could see what was in it - for example I would put the jpeg of a template on the front so I knew what was inside the folder. In 7, I can't seem to do it. Instead of viewing the "front" of a folder, the folder appears to be fanned and all I get are the edges of the "papers" inside. Is there anyone out there savvy in Windows 7 that can tell me how I can make folders so I can see inside?