Don’t Fall Victim To Chaos

Don’t Fall Victim To Chaos

So, by now you’ve surely been doing some shopping.  Or perhaps you already had a “stash” of digital supplies.  Now I’m going to give you what I believe is the most crucial tip for either digital or traditional (paper) scrapbooking…

Step #8: Staying Organized

If you’re a beginner…now is the time to come up with a good organization plan.  Trust me, doing it sooner rather than later is going to make it so much easier.  This was one lesson I learned the hard way (at least digitally).  You certainly don’t want to amass multi-gigabytes worth of supplies and THEN decide to organize.  It can quickly become a very daunting task.  Trust me…I’ve been there.

If you’ve previously been a paper scrapbooker then you know organizing is often all about making the most of the space you have.  First you start by sorting/categorizing your supplies.  Next you typically look at finding the best storage method for each of your various supplies.

Craft Room

But often the toughest part is just keeping everything in its proper place.  I can’t emphasize enough the importance of staying organized.  It’s the key to making it easier to find what you’re looking for on any given project.

In digital scrapbooking it’s probably even more important to be organized.  When all of your supplies are stored on an electronic device, you can’t even see the stuff at one glance.  It’s not at all like walking into your craft room and immediately seeing all the papers & embellishments that you have.

Physical Storage

Digital Devices

Even though we’re talking about a digital world…you still need to figure out a physical storage method.  And what you choose will likely be dependent on what type of device you use.  Specifically, are you using a desktop computer, a laptop or some other mobile device like an iPad or other tablet?  This will dictate what storage media you’ll use.

One bit of advice.  If you are using either a laptop or desktop PC/Mac, consider storing your digital supplies on an external drive.  Unless you have a massive amount of RAM, you may find that storing all of your supplies on your PC/Laptop could affect the performance.

Categorize Your Supplies

Recipe Box

I know this might sound a bit silly but I want you to think about your storage media as you would a recipe box.  You have the box (hard drive) in which you will have different types of categories (folders).  Within each category you’ll have different recipes (files).  Within your recipe box you can easily find all your cookie recipes.  The same should be easy to accomplish with your hard drive.

There are many ways to go about creating this recipe box method for your digital supplies.  If you haven’t already read the “Organizing” page, please check that out.  That’s where you’ll find a lot of information about how I organize.

Please bear in mind that organizing can be a very personal and subjective process.  Just because one plan works for me doesn’t mean it’s going to work for you.  The key is really to just come up with a plan and then stick to it.

Little Details

All About The Details

When organizing your digital supplies, it’s easy to forget about what may seem like trivial details.  Many often forget to keep track of simple things like place of purchase & designer name.  I mentioned this in an earlier post about shopping.  I pointed out that it’s not always easy to identify the designer simply by looking at file names.  And someday that may be important for you to know.  One of the easiest ways is to do this to save a copy of the product preview! 

And now you might be wondering where that “preview” is.  Generally speaking, every designer includes a preview (cover photo) of the product somewhere in the download files.  Often times it’s simply named “Folder”.  Don’t disregard this.  These almost always include not only the designer’s name but sometimes the shop at which it was sold.  If you save that preview in the same folder with your product…you’ll always have a record of the designer & shop. 

And if the preview doesn’t contain that information, it’s easy enough for you to include those details by renaming the preview to include it.  This would also be a good way to permanently record the date of purchase if that’s important to you.  Sometimes recovering files from a backup destroys the original creation date.

In that same shopping post I also mentioned licensing.  This too is something every designer I know includes in their download files.  This information is also important for you to have if you think you might EVER be doing any projects “for profit”.  It never hurts to keep a copy of this information in the same folder with your product.  Typically, designers name this file with TOU (terms of use) somewhere in the name so it should be easy to find.  If you don’t see TOU look for “license”, personal (PU) or commercial (CU) that should get you what you need.  If not, go back to where you bought it and double check.  You can always take a screen shot of whatever licensing information you find there.  Then just save that in the product’s folder.

Organize Your Photos

Organize Your Photos

And organizing shouldn’t stop with your digital supplies.  Whether you do it digitally or manually, it’s equally important to organize your photos in some fashion.  Organizing my photos by year works best for me.  If I tried to organize by event, I would never find what I’m looking for.  There are a few exceptions, such as milestone events/birthdays for my grandkids, special family photo shoots and vacations to favorite locations, which I typically keep in their own folders because they occur frequently.

Within each of the yearly folders, I keep everything by month and then sometimes by event.  I love doing it this way because if I ever need to redo a layout from a particular month, I can easily get exactly what I need.

But as with supplies, this can be a personal and subjective process.  Do whatever works best for you.

Most Important Tips!

Data Backup

Rule number 1: Backup…backup…backup!  I cannot emphasize this enough.  There’s isn’t anything much worse than having all your organizing go down the drain when your computer or hard drive crashes.  As with organizing, everyone seems to have their preferred backup method.  The single most important thing is to ensure you backup your files as often as you make changes to them.  And backup your backups!  I know that sounds redundant but I’ve known more than a few people over the years who’ve suffered when they had only one copy of a backup & it was “bad” or lost. 

And don’t forget to backup all of your external drive(s).  Those fail more often than they should so you need to be sure you have good backups of those.  And if this also sounds a bit redundant remember this…redundancy can be a blessing in disguise.  And isn’t that the whole point of doing backups?  In my opinion, it’s hard to have too many backups!

And just a word of caution on one backup solution.  I know a lot of people have started using “cloud-based” backup solutions.  I have to be perfectly honest with you on this topic….and it is just my opinion.  Please be very careful about: 1 – picking a good, reliable, secure “cloud” provider; & 2 – if you do backup on the cloud. PLEASE…PLEASE…PLEASE do not use this as your sole backup solution.

I don’t mind admitting that I’m not a proponent of anything cloud-based.  Mostly because I believe it’s the least secure way to store ANYTHING!  Just think back to the last time you heard about a cyber-attack.  Do you really want to risk all the work you’ve done to preserve your precious memories by keeping them in some location over which you have virtually (no pun intended) zero control?  Please just be careful!

Staying Organized Requires Discipline

Whatever plan you come up with stick to it.  This requires discipline.  If you start to let things slide, you’ll ultimately end up with chaos.  A good rule of thumb…buy a kit – organize it!

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