Organizing Your Digital Supplies

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I delete the .zip files to save space on my hard drive. We work with some very big files.

Okay, I will do the same. I wasn't sure if somehow I'd still need them. Thanks!

When I discovered the fact that I can use the search engine on my computer for digital files it was a total game changer! Makes organizing feel a little less necessary...

I know how everyone here feels. I have honest to goodness an entire dresser of scrap book supplies from before my girls were born and kept adding stuff to it when they got into toddlers and my mommy started watching them more for me, that allowed me to get back to scrapping. I can remember when I could sit down and spread everything out around me and just scrap a page, but now there are so much stuff in that dresser it would take me a month to organize that. Then when I got sick and went on a huge buying spree back in Feb of 2016, I had no idea on the importance of keeping files straight. It was a mess that I couldn't wrap my head around. Then upon me dropping my EHD coming back from a treatment and thinking to myself it was ok because it worked for a day then just gone. Thousands of dollars stuff just gone...(crying) lol!! But thank goodness that most of the designers I bought stuff from allowed me to re download all of it, the task of getting it all started all over.

I have tried to keep everything seperated by designer, but it is overwhelming even that way because I too have not even close to having all my files unzipped. Just have everything downloaded and into folders by designers. I am trying to figure out if I should do sub folders inside each designers folders or should I do it another way. My head just spins at the thought what to do.

My problem is I too like others I have met am a scrapping horder. I download everything I see that I love. I am trying to just get cu and cu4cu stuff now and not any pu because I won't use it, but commons have so many great things. I have found a thread on doing layouts with just commons items so that is awesome that I can now go through and find things I love and have a use for them. I just feel as though I am being bad person in downloading so much stuff. I go on downloading streaks of just downloading and being new here I have done that several times. I only hope I can figure out using all your guys suggestions in trying to figure out what and how to organize eveything for use.

I have decided to go and make subfolders like flowers and then going into colors and so on. I am keeping seperated by artists though, do you guys think this is a good idea or should I go about it different? Also how do u guys suggest to go into like kits that can be used as cu/cu4cu..should I seperated those into subfolders or how have you all figured out the best way to keep you supplies after all...thanks so much guys...big hugs

I keep a master folder of all kits I buy. I had them arranged by shop AND by designer (yes, all those kits in two places) but thanks to running out of room on my EHD, I deleted the shop files & just kept the designer folders. I mention this because - I don't keep any kits together & I toss everything I won't use so it's nice to have the extra backup of kits by designer (I'm a hybrid scrapper so everything 3D gets either flattened, like flairs & non-clustered word art, or tossed).

As for my organization - I have folders for types of digi supplies. To avoid eyes glazing over, I won't list all the folders but things like brushes, paper, word art, paint, & cards each have a main folder & then I break them down within those folders, if necessary. For example, paper has sub-folders including floral, stripes, painted, dots, solids, & so on - the basic styles I know I'll use over & over. Cards is broken down into filler (cards with sayings or illustrations), journal (large space to journal in), title/date (space too small to journal in - I write a lot - but large enough to put a title or date in), & lists (currently, numbered lists, wish lists, any card that calls for a list). Paint is broken into strokes, spatters, etc. Word art into word art, word art in circles & in shapes, & word strips.

I spent a good bit of time thinking about what supplies I use as well as what I use most & then thought about how I would look for it & made the main folders & sub-folders based on that.

I also have folders for topics - travel, gardens, motivational (cards, mostly), books/reading, & many others. I picked my topics based on types of scrapping/topics I scrap I frequently - these are specific things I use a lot & wanted all the bits for each topic in one spot. I also have main folders for holidays (christmas, nye, fourth of july, thanksgiving, valentines, & birthdays) & seasons (fall, spring, winter, summer). I put all supplies that are specific to these topics in sub-folders (brushes, cards, paper, etc) so everything for that topic is all together & I don't have to go looking for it in the general supplies folders.

If something can be used for any time of the year, it goes in my general supplies. If something is specific to a topic, it goes in that topic's folder & sub-folder.

thank you so much @Sarah this is kinda what I have been trying to do, so I think I am on the right path, but my goodness..i had no idea how much time and patience this was gonna's crazy seriously crazy, but i have got to get things in order so i can put things straight and know where all my stuff is..thanks again so much, have a blessed night and BIG HUGS

You're welcome, Lisa! I totally hear you on the how much time & patience this takes - I'm on my third go-round of organizing my supplies. My first two times, my EHD died & nothing could be recovered (the first time, I was almost done but I had no backup - I mourned all my lost files & work for months; the second time, I had a backup but still lost a lot of my organizing, though not supplies, as I didn't back up frequently enough). I'm now on my THIRD run through of organizing (note to you - do NOT be me, make sure you are backing up automatically &/or often *deep sigh*). The bright side of this is I am now very sure of my system. smiley

One thing to consider for specific topics or types of things is searching The Great Unsorted Masses by whatever key words work for the topic. For example, for my winter topic folder, I searched for winter, cold, snow, ice, icicle, ski, anything I could think of that might be used in a kit name or an item name. I did one word at a time, pulled all of what showed up into the winter folder then went on to the next word. Not everything with the words fits the topic but it's soooo much faster to dump everything that shows up in searches into one folder & then run through it all tossing what I don't want & moving what doesn't belong. I just wish I'd thought of this three organizings ago!!

If you have any questions, feel free to PM me. I love organizing things (though not the same stuff three times smiley ) & have been known to file for relaxation purposes so I'm happy to help in any way I can (lists of my files? lists of my sub-files? other??) or even just listen to you venting!

Take care of yourself & whenever the going gets tough, remind yourself how wonderful it is to find what you've already organized even if everything isn't done yet! Can you tell I give myself pep talks, too?!

@Sarah, I will take you up on contacting you sometime. I know all too well about loosing stuff. I didn't think about it when I had like 40 buy my stores and thousands of dollars worth of stuff, I thought if I just put it on my EHD I was in good shape, nope wrong!! I lost everything, so now I have 2 EHD and keep backing them up from one to another as I add from my own laptop hard drive to them. I have dropbox but oh my goodness, it literally takes so many hours to get anything uploaded there. I am just going to keep my fingers crossed and work organizing till I get upset or overwhelmed with it and then going to work on kits or layouts. BIG HUGS hun and plz feel free to contact me any time as well...have a blessed night

I store my items by theme in folders. I have a Digital Scrapbook Folder and inside that are other folders with items. Nothing very fancy but it works smiley

Oh yes! The struggle is real!

Backups are a pain but I'm terrified of losing anything so I have 2 ext HDs (1 is for backups and 1 is for daily use). Plus now I'm trying to get everything onto the cloud "just in case" but that's a very slow process. The stores that keep your downloads forever I just love... but sometimes stores close *sigh*...

As far as organizing my ext HDs, I started out trying to organize things by type of resource (flowers, buttons, etc.) but I hate pulling kits apart, so I made "theme" folders (autumn, winter, baby) but sometimes they don't have a theme that I really care about ("good day" & "bad day" kits... where do you put them? LOL). And names of individual resources within a kit don't always have a name that is search friendly (flowers might not be named "flower", and just because the designer put it in an autumn kit doesn't mean I might never want to use it in a summer or spring kit)... grrr!!!

For things that I've purchased, I tend to keep them in folders by store and then by designer, because I usually buy things for a specific reason (I only buy CU and CU4CU stuff and I try not to buy just because I love it - I need to know that I'll actually use it, or at least be able to convince myself that I WILL use it... eventually...) So if it's a specific flower by a specific designer, or a Photoshop style, I usually remember that it was by Mommyish or whoever, and I do a search for the designer's name so no matter where I bought it, it'll pop up. But what if I can't remember who it was by, or where I bought it? Argh...

If it's a kit I got from Pixelscrapper it's easy because I use the Pixelscrapper website to search for resources, then I look to see what kit it's from and that way I can find it by kit name on my ext HD (or if it's a kit I don't have yet, then I can download the individual thing that I need, and I put it in the appropriate "individual resource" folder (flower, button, etc.)

If it's a non-Pixelscrapper item then I have to just hope that I can find it when I need it. LOL! I envy the people who use Photoshop Essentials because it apparently has a built-in organizer thingy that makes searches easier, but I use the full version of Photoshop and I can't see installing PSE just because I want to use the organizer. I found out recently that you can put tags on files in Windows, so I'm doing that SLOWLY... because who has hours and hours to just sit there and tag all of your gazillions of resources with every word you think you might want to use to search for that flower or button or whatever, sometime in the future...

...and what happens when I DO dedicate a block of time to organizing? I see something that I forgot I had, or didn't realize I had, and just really HAVE to stop what I'm doing and use it right this minute in a kit I'm making...


I've just started to actually organize all of my kits and things, so this is perfect! Thank you all for sharing your ideas!

Thank you for all these ideas! i will have to see what works for me, since i am only starting right now smiley
so far i own a big chaos smiley

I have several folders organized like this:

  • My Art - I keep the PSDs here as well as the jpgs/pngs that I will upload to Flickr, etc.
  • Unsorted Downloads - things I haven't unzipped yet
  • Full Kits - everything is organized by designer and kit in this folder
  • Stock - this is subdivided into CU and non-CU. Once I've used a kit then I COPY everything from the kit here. I have only basic organization here - clusters, borders, word art, etc. I learned this from Tangie Baxter. Just a big file with tons of things so you can scroll through and choose things that catch your eye. I love doing it this way.
  • My Papers - I keep the digital papers that I make here

I need to learn how to use Adobe Bridge at some point as well.

Thanks for sharing. I am always looking for ideas for this!

I organize mine by store then designer. I create folders for each designer in the store and number them. Then as I get kits they get the designer number and kit number, i.e. in Pixel Scrapper I might have folder 01 Marisa Lerin, then inside her folder 01 01 State Shapes Templates. When I unzip I take everything but alphas and templates out of the folders and make the kit one large folder and put the kit number on the preview in front of the name, also on the TOU (this puts the preview and TOU at the front of the folder. I copy the main preview, and put that copy in the Pixel Scrapper main folder so I know where to look and with a preview for each kit there, I can glance thorough and see what I want. When I have done that, I go tot eh kit folder, right click and select Properties>Customize, select optimize for Pictures, then select the main preview in the folder, click apply and OK. This lets me know I've completely processed the kit and gives a view of the folder contents (you need to select view large icons) I also have an Excel Spreadsheet that I enter the kit on along with the store I bought if from (or if a freebie, I have a column marked Freebie Not In Store), other stores it's in and what kind of kit - Artistic, Heritage, Children, etc. Those are column headers and I just put an x in the cell. I can use the search function or I can sort by designer name and look from there. If a designer retires, I slide the folder into a retired designers folder for the store, or if she moves stores, I move the kit and previews to the new store. If there are just a few items, I will renumber for the new store. If there are many I just leave it alone.

Organization is such a big task. I really appreciate all the great ideas I've picked up here. I finally found a system that works for me (mostly) but I'm using some of these ideas to improve it. Thank you again!

Great idea this looks like something that would work for me.

It sounds like I do it a little differently, so I'll describe my system. smiley I've been using it for about 4 or 5 years and like it a lot.

I use PSE. Knowing that I overwhelm easily, my outer folders are quite broad. There are around 50 of them. I have folders for : New Downloads, then item titles like Floral & Leaves, Buttons & Bows, Birds & Butterflies. Just big categories. Inside those I have a breakdown. The Holiday has a folder inside it for each holiday. The flowers folder has grown and needs more organization, right now I have watercolor, vintage, and other. I need to break them down by type or better yet by color.

So when I bring in a new zip file, it goes into New Downloads. When I unzip it, I delete the zip and move all the parts to the folders: Buttons, Floral & Leaves, Papers, etc. My catch-all file is called something weird, like Elements. If I want a kit, I search with Windows Explorer for the Designer and kit name, which brings up all the parts. If I want something pink, I can search for that tag using the Organizer.

This is working fairly well except right now I need to go back over everything, I got a new computer and it seems like things are getting thrown into wrong folders. Moving them will take maybe one evening in front of the TV. Also I might make copies, for example a piece in Travel could fit with paper, texture, or flowers and leaves.

I don't keep anything PU. If I don't have CU, I don't keep it - that way I won't use something by mistake.

I organize mine the same way. I am a designer and do not scrapbook, but my files are set up the same way. I save my styles, my patterns, save objects by folder, holiday, etc. It makes it so much easier to work and saves a lot of time searching.

It took a lot of trial and error to get to this organization style I am using right now, I have 3 main categories, and all the subcategories go as follow below:

  • DESIGNER RESOURCES: layout templates, templates in general (elements, journal cards, clusters, etc), fonts, textures, overlays, Photoshop files (patterns, shapes, styles, etc) and lots of vectors and illustrations sorted into future projects. I only have CU and Public Domain stuff here.

  • BY THEME: everything that can be easily recognizable as a themed design, so I have here Year in Review (it includes themed layout templates), Theme Parks (Disney World, Universal Park, Legoland, etc - it includes themed layout templates), Decades (50s, 60s, 70s, 80s), Holidays (Christmas, Valentines, Halloween, etc- it includes themed layout templates), Genealogy (it includes themed layout templates like family trees and timelines), Cities and Countries (only the ones not included already in the Epcot park), Baby, Kids, Farm, Zoo, Beach and Nautical, Steampunk and Victorian, Geeky and Video Games, Carnival and Circus, etc.

  • BY COLOUR: anything that cannot be sorted into themes is sorted by colour, for example, Blue, Blue and Green, Pink, Pink and Blue, Red, Purple, etc.

I also never dismantle kits, I used to, but that proved to be an organizational nightmare, at least it didn't work for me. Also, at the moment, the layout templates I have are organized by designer, I am considering sorting into 2 main categories: Regular and Pocket, and then the subcategories stemming from those would be the number of picture spaces that said layout template offer.

I hope my organizational style may be useful somehow, cheers!

I've been using Lingo. Its very expensive but I have a Virtual Assistant that needs to access my Photos.

I starting using Photoshop Elements Organizer recently and I'm blown away by all the ways to easily tag hundreds of images. So I love it but I still need Lingo for my VA.

What is a good method for organizing Word Art? I organized my elements into Kits/Bundles, then copy each individual element into folders for "flowers", "buttons", "string", "butterflies"; you get the idea. But with Word Art, there exists a possibility for too many sub-folders and categories. How are others sorting their Word Art? Right now, all my word art is in 1 unorganized folder called "Word Art". It's a bear to scroll through looking for that just-right-quote. I end up typing it out changing the font. I've considered sorting by theme or renaming the files to what the WA actually says and listing alphabetically.

I'm open to any and all suggestions.

This is super informative! I was having trouble figuring out how I wanted to store everything so that it was easily accessible and organized. I just love everything about this site! All of the elements and digital items that can be downloaded (AND FOR FREE!), the rules are simple, and everyone is super helpful! Thanks for this thread as it helped so much!

I use "Picasa 3" for my supplies. I keep my kits together in folders in a big folder called "scrapbook supplies", and load the folder in Picasa. I can do a search for a particular word and it will find it. I can also put tags on my words or anything to help search for it later.

Thanks for the tips and tricks!!!

Great tips! This really helped!

I probably need to come up with another way to organize my digital kits. Once I get them all back on my computer it will be hard to find things without looking into each folder. Right now I just have all the pieces of each kit in one fold labeled with the name of the kit and the name of the designer.

I should really sort through mine and get rid of kits I don't ever use or will never use.

At the moment, things are a bit disorganized. I have one folder for older kits I've used in the past (since I generally only use them for the photo calendar I do each year), and another for newer kits I've downloaded since then (though I didn't move any kits since the last time or two I did a calendar, so there's the mess). Each of those folders is sub-divided into folders for themes (Autumn, Summer, Christmas, Beach, etc.), with another folder for kits that were papers-only, and another for "toolbox" kits (overlays, stitches, tape, torn edges, and so on).

In order to make things easily findable, I "tag" things by adding tag words to the front of the file names, which not only allows me to use the File Explorer's search feature to find, say, all my "stitches," but also sorts files within a kit's folder so all the papers are grouped together, all the frames, all the word art, etc. Maybe not so important with single-designer kits, but it's very helpful for blog trains, where I dump all the train pieces into the same folder because ostensibly the point of the color palette is to have one large workable kit. Tagging just the beginning of the file name keeps the designer's info in the file name (if they've included it), and then I have all the preview files re-named to "_Preview ##" which sorts them to the top of the folder. I can scroll through the preview files to see if the kits are right for what I'm working on, and go from there.

Mostly the cleanup I need to do is purge kits I don't and won't use, and then combine the two folders back down to one.

Like others, I organize by theme (and often have nested subtheme folders). Within that, I organize by kit.

As I like to pull different elements from different kits, I use a program called ACDSee to organize my supplies as well as photos. I have a series of categories like colour, type of supply (ie. paper, fasteners within that subcategories like button, staple etc), material (gold, denim etc), pattern, (ie stripes, floral, heritage etc.), theme (subcategories like events ie. birthday, places ie farm etc.) Often many of the categories have subcategories. This organization allows to find a very specific items quickly ie. a gold button or pink polkadot paper.

Having recently gone through a series of computer crashes followed by getting a new computer, I'm in the process of reorganizing my stash with ACDSee. (I didn't lose anything as I had it on multiple portable drives.) It's a lot of work although I do it gradually. However, the results are worth it!