Scrapbook Supplies Reorganization

Organization-title

Header graphic made from Scrap and Snap TDD member exclusive kit and doodle from Scrapping 9 to 5 by Kate Hadfield

A DIGITAL MESS

I’ve been digital scrapbooking since 2006 and my basic folder organization had remained the same until recently: I downloaded new products into a master folder called “Scrap Supplies” and unzipped them there. Once I used them, I moved each product to a folder by type: alphas, kits, element packs, and templates. Fast forward a few years and those folders were getting huge!

A few years ago, I bought the file manager program ACDSee in an attempt to use keyword tags to organize the supplies I had in those folders. When I first bought the program, I used keyword tags on I everything owned. I mean literally everything! I opened up all my kits and tagged them down to individual staples and buttons. I even tagged all my papers with colour keywords. My list of keyword tags was so long that I had to scroll through it!

After a while, I joined some creative teams (CTs) and began to scrap more and more, with several new products a week. I could no longer keep up with tagging every item, so I switched to tagging just previews, except for templates, where I still tagged every individual template.

TIME TO RETHINK

After my Great EHD Crash of 2012 and subsequent restore experience, I decided to reorganize my folders. Why now? Well, I had in my hands a perfect back-up of everything on my computer in the form of my restore EHD. So, I could mess with my folders and if I didn’t like it at the end, I could painlessly go back. The time was right!

My first order of business was to tackle my folder organization. I wanted to have smaller folders (to help them load faster) and make the folders themselves reflect how I scrap.

I really like the idea of being able to pull “this” from one kit and “that” from another kit and make a page. But, that’s just not me. I am a one-kit scrapper for the most part. So, all I really need to tag is the previews of products.

After some reflection, I realized that I also think of my products mostly by store and designer because of my CT commitments. Even when I scrap with other (non-CT) products, I am often participating in a challenge at an individual store, so I still need to be able to find products from a particular store or designer.

NEW ORGANIZATION: FOLDERS

I updated my products so that they are now organized in folders by Store>Designer. As I download new products, I move them right away into their Designer’s folder. This keeps my folder sizes manageable. If a designer moves stores, I can easily drag their folder into their new store’s folder. Similarly, if a designer retires, I can move them to a ‘Retired’ folder.

NEW ORGANIZATION: KEYWORD TAGS

After making the decision to only tag product previews, I was able to simplify my keyword listing substantially:

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You can see that my kits and elements have sub-folders. These are:

Kits: Birthday Kits, Boy Kits, Christmas Kits, Girl Kits, Halloween Kits

Elements: Arrows, Birthday, Borders, Brushes, Butterflies, Christmas, Doodles, Fasteners, Flowers, Frames, Hearts, Journal Spots, Masks, Paint/Glitter, Papers, Paper Tears/Curls, Ribbon/String, Shape Templates, Stars, Stitching, Word Art

(I’m going to see how these tags work for me, but I may reduce the number of element pack tags in the future.)

Tagging just the previews gives my organization a “store” feel. So, if I want to find a template, I select the keyword “template” and here’s what I see:

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And for kits I have something similar:

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This was an excellent start! Next I added in keyword tags for stores and designers. So, if I want all my products by a particular designer, I click on her keyword tag and all her products appear!

The folders themselves are organized by Store>Designer, but it was only a short project to add these designer keyword tags to product previews and a benefit is that I can add multiple designers to each collaboration kit preview without actually storing the kit in multiple locations.

I also like tagging stores and designers so that I can quickly find all their products prior to purchasing new ones – hopefully this will help me avoid duplicate purchases!

Just like for folders, it is super-easy to change keywords if a designer moves stores or retires. (Just select all a designer’s products and ‘un-check’ the old store keyword and then ‘check’ the new store keyword. Done!)

SEARCH POWER

Now that I am no longer tagging individual elements, I rely on the search function within ACDSee to help me find the occasional “extra” item I want on a page that may not be within the kit I’m using. If I search for *butterfly* or *staple*, I’ll get a good list of files in my Scrap Supplies folders. Will I get results showing every butterfly or staple I own? No. Search will only show the ones that the designer has named with the words in the file name. So, if there is a butterfly named “ABCDesigns_el02”, it won’t show up in the search. Fortunately, more and more designers are giving descriptive names to their products.

I haven’t had a chance to do it yet in my new organization system, but soon I’m going to tag all my go-to items – my favourite staples, kraft papers, white papers, plain tags, stitches, etc. Katie posted about the idea of doing that here. It’s great!

EMBEDDING METADATA

One of the pitfalls about earlier versions of ACDSee is that the metadata was not embedded in each tagged file. In newer versions you can embed metadata. I have ACDSee 14 and you do it via the following menu choices:

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If you want more information about metadata, read Steph and Kayla’s post about What Metadata Is and Why You Should Care.

ABOUT A DAY

It took me about a day (on and off) to reorganize my digital supplies and tag everything according to my new system – I’d estimate over 1500 previews tagged in various categories. So, even if you’ve been scrapping for years, I can say with experience that it is not too late to get organized or reorganize!

So far I’m quite happy with it! I can find everything easily and tagging new purchases is painless.

If you want more information about other ways to organize, check out all of our organization posts here.

How do you organize your scrap supplies? Do you use a similar folder/tagging system? Something totally unique? Tell us about it in the comments!