How I organize my digital scrapbooking supplies
This is a topic I get asked about a lot and I've also written about several times before.
Several years ago I wrote a post for The Daily Digi that explains the system that I still use to this day. Different organizing trends have come and gone. I've experimenting with tagging (I have enjoyed tagging previews, but the rest of it drives me crazy) and sorting using different methods, but I always come back to my tried and true system. It works for me. That's all I need - something that works. It's not fancy. It's not for everyone. Many people get hung up on the idea of my specific folders and say that it's hard to decide where to file more general items. I've loosened up my own standards on this over the years and I will say that the majority of my supplies are probably just sorted by designer now. I do still believe in the theme folders and I do still REALLY love my system for filing templates.
I'm not going to re-write the same post from The Daily Digi because there's no need to do that. I'm just going to share a few screen shots and notes about how my system has evolved over the years while basically staying the same. I'm also going to share some great links at the end to help you find the method that works best for you.
FOLDERS and MORE FOLDERS
On my external hard drive AND also replicated in non-syncing dropbox folders, I have my basic folder system set up. I've already explained how I organize my photos and my scrapbook pages. I've also posted about how I organize my documents. Now I will let you peek at my digi supply files. It feels like I'm letting your look through my closet or something. LOL!
The numbers in front of each folder name ensure that they sort themselves in the order that I want them to appear. I have folders for holidays and themes throughout the year that I have named according to how I want them to appear.
- 01 Birthday
- 01 Winter
- 02 Valentines and Love
- 03 St. Patrick's Day
- 04 Easter
- 06 Asian (I have a lot of Asian themed kits to scrapbook some travels in Asian countries)
- 06 Scouts and Camping
- 06 Disney
- 06 LEGO
- 06 Summer and Beach
- 06 Travel
- 07 Independence Day
- 08 Cooking and Food
- 08 Music
- 08 School
- 08 Sewing and Crafts
- 08 Sports
- 09 Fall
- 10 Halloween
- 10 Harry Potter
- 11 Thanksgiving
- 12 Christmas
I have so many people tell me that they are not chronological scrappers so they don't need these types of folders. Even if this is the case, I still think it's very handy to have things sorted this way. Even if I'm just scrapping a picture that has a lot of fall colors in it, I can quickly find a kit or supplies that will work well because of this system.
Next up are the folders with basic digi supplies in them. I don't put every piece of digital stitching I own into the stitches file, but if I do buy a pack of stitches, that's where they get filed.
- 13 Buttons and Brads
- 13 Frames
- 13 Numbers and Dates
- 13 Pocket Scrapping BH (Becky Higgins Project Life digital supplies)
- 13 Pocket Scrapping - all other journaling cards and supplies that will work on pocket pages
- 13 Stitches
So many of my digital supplies fit into one of the above categories. For everything else, I use the catch-all of folders named by designer. You might ask why I don't just file everything that way and skip the theme folders? I may not always remember the designer who made a Harry Potter theme kit and so I would have to look through a ton of folders to find that. Also, I think the folders would get too full to manage if I didn't use the structure I have in place. Again, it's something that works for me. It might not work for you.
As you can see, I'm a huge supporter or the digital scrapbooking community. I love SO many different designers and I enjoy a wide variety of styles. You are also looking at purchases accumulated over a long period of time. I've been a digi scrapper for TEN YEARS!
When I buy something new, I try to file it (and also add it to my backup file) as soon as possible. It really takes very little time to keep this system up to date and tidy. I will admit that it took quite a while to set up all the folders the very first time.
One of the biggest time/sanity savers I have come up with for my system is the way I file templates. I always count the potential photo spaces (doesn't mean I have to use them all) and file them in the appropriate folder.
This makes it SO easy when it comes time to scrap! If I have nine photos of an event, I just open up that folder and look at the templates that will fit nine pictures.
If I don't find anything that will work, I might look in my 10 photo or 11 photo file and just fill those extra picture spaces with journaling cards or patterned papers.
My last few files are named as follows:
- 15 my templates (designed by yours truly)
- 16 other templates (from other designers)
- 17 actions and presets (misc. photoshop tools)
Digital Supply Organization Resources
There are many great programs and ideas out there to help you tame your digital supply collection. During my time as a writer for The Daily Digi and as the co-host of The Digi Show podcast, I ran into some really great resources that I want to include links to here so you have plenty of support material. Here are some of my very favorites:
- Episode 109 of The Digi Show where we discuss our organization systems (among many other things)
- Episode 56 of The Digi Show has some discussion about organizational systems
- Episode 29 of The Digi Show has organization software as one of the topics
- Episode 5 of The Digi Show is all about organizing digi supplies
- Organizing Previews in Lightroom by Steph on The Daily Digi
- Organizing in Picasa - a post I wrote for The Daily DIgi
- ACDsee for Organizing by Steph on The Daily Digi
- Digi Downloading Tips from team members at The Daily Digi
- 5 Ways to Keep Digital Supplies Organized from Kayla L. for One Little Bird Designs
- Downloading, Unzipping, and Organizing Digital Elements by Ali Edwards
- Using Organizer in Photoshop Elements video by Melissa of Digital Scrapbooking HQ
- Organizing Digital Supplies for Pocket Scrapping from The Pocket Source
The last thing I want to emphasize is that it is really easy to get overwhelmed with the task of organization and spend so much time on it that you never get any scrapping done. Don't feel like you have to be the poster child for organization! I spent a lot of time on my own system because I was teaching others how to do this. I've also spent years refining it and I worked on it slowly over many months. At times, I put the effort in. Other times I ignored it and just threw everything in a folder to sort later. That pretty much sucked. Then I learned that just doing a little bit at a time is SO much better than doing nothing at all. Eventually, it adds up to something useful.
And if what you are currently doing for organization is working for you - no need to change it!