Monday, September 1, 2008

Organization, please!!

As digital scrapbookers, it's not only important that we keep our files organized, but it's equally important that we keep track of everything that goes on our page. Although there are various ways to organize, and a lot of it depends on the organizer and what works best for them, these are the ways I have found work best for me. I hope they are helpful to you.

**I seem to be catching a little heat for this one. Hahaha. Just remember as you read through this tutorial, as I said above... I have tried SO MANY different ways of organizing. This is the BEST way I have found so far that works for me and the way I scrap. I have tried organizing by color... splitting paper and elements up... by theme and mood. However... the way I scrap and with the way my mind works... none of these worked for me. Sorting by color and splitting kits up between paper and elements simply kept me from finding the paper I "had in mind" as I sifted through the bazillion different papers I had accumulated. It drove me crazy going down a list that never ended. Sorting by theme and mood did not serve me well, again because of the way I scrap. I am not an event scrapper... therefore theme doesn't mean much to me when going for a paper... in fact... I don't really own a lot of "themed kits" for this reason... I don't really use them. When I get a new kit, I immediately open it up to reaveal all of my new goodies. This somehow "stamps" it in my mind and I can remember when scrapping... "Ok... let's try that fabulous new orangy-yellow paper by Paislee Press." Again... it's just how my mind works. :)

Organization, again depends a LOT on the organizer. My methods will probably not work for some because our scrap style is different. I just know that I have had MANY requests on a tutorial for organization because no one can seem to find them. I think it is simply because so many people do things differently. Also, being a designer myself... it may be a little more important to me to document what I am using, who made it, and where it came from. As a designer, it means a LOT to me when someone uses my products on a layout and they list those items in their layout credits. The galleries are not only the biggest form of advertising for designers, it is the BEST way to show how versatile our products are, and we want people to know exactly where they can go to get these things. This is the way I do it and I so hope that it is helpful to you.

In the meantime, I will compile a list of the most frequently asked questions I have gotten so far about my methods of organization and I will try to get that posted for you in the next day or two. Hopefully, that will help as well. THANK you soooo very much for ALL of your feedback. That is so important to me and I appreciate every bit of it, so keep it coming!!




Scrapbook Supplies
It is really important that we keep track of the elements we use as we are scrapping... ESPECIALLY if we post our pages to scrapbook galleries. This serves 2 purposes. It allows other digital scrappers to see and identify exactly what we are using and know who made and where they can get it. It also allows us to give each product's designer "credit" and helps promote their products and show how versatile they can be and how they can work with virtually any style. I've tried MANY, MANY, MANY different ways of organization before I was finally able to serve these purposes with the least amount of time.


I organize my scrapbook supplies by SHOP, then by DESIGNER, then by PRODUCT. This allows me to quickily document where I got it, who designed it, the name of the kit it came from, as well as the exact element I am using from that kit. Here is what my files look like.

I start with a file saved in My Documents called 0_Scrapbook Supplies (and 0_Pages for organizing my layouts). I put the "0_" (that's the number zero and an underscore) in front of the file name so that it always appears at the top of my list of files. This way, I don't have to go searching for it no matter how many files I have saved in My Documents. (Be sure to notice the "file trail" along the top of the screenshots... this will help you keep up with where I am.)







Within that o_Scrapbook Supplies folder, I have folders set up for the different websites I shop at.





So let's take Oscraps as our example. Within that folder, I have seperate folders for each designer I buy from.






So using my Joanne Brisebois folder (a FABULOUSLY talented designer at oscraps from which I use a TON of stuff!) Within that folder, I have a seperate folder for each of the kits I have downloaded from her designs. (Note: You can change the view of your file folders by clicking the "Views" button. I usually keep this part of my folders as "View Large". This way, i get a glimpse of the items inside... usually the preview.)






Now... let's she puts out a new kit that I must have... which she, of course HAS with her new Lost in Translation kit. (hahaha) Here's a preview... YUM!




Now, since the files are zipped when I download them, I keep a folder within each designer's folder called ZIPPED. This is where I save any new products that I download until I can get them unzipped and ready to use. This way, I can find it easily when it comes time to unzip it. Here are the steps I take when downloading something new:

Once I make my purchase, I click the Download Link:






Then, when the File Download box pops up, I click Save.







When the Save As box pops up, I choose 0_Scrapbook Supples --> Oscraps --> Joanne Brisebois --> ZIPPED. Then click Open.







When the ZIPPED folder opens, I just click Save.






Repeat this step for all files that come with that kit. Once I have them all saved to my ZIPPED folder, they are ready to be extracted. I pull up My Documents --> 0_Scrapbook Supples --> Oscraps --> Joanne Brisebois --> ZIPPED. Then, I double-click on one of the zipped files and then click Extract All Files.





Now, when my Extract Compressed Files box pops up... instead of having to click Browse and go through all of that again, since my ZIPPED folder is located within my Joanne Brisebois file, I can simply highlight and delete everything after Joanne Brisebois. Then I simply click Extract and it places in my Joanne Brisebois file.







That's it. Now my new goodies are easily accessible and ready to be used.








Can I just say here that since they *were* so accessible... I IMMEDIATELY pulled them out and scrapped a page... I couldn't help myself! HA!





Now... say that what you are using is a freebie on someone's blog, not an actual shop. Let's take the amazingly talented Vinnie Pearce for example. Within my 0_Scrapbook Supplies folder, I make a separate folder just for her.






Within that folder, I have separate folders for each of her products that I have.






Now... notice the little Word document I have in her folder. This simply contains her blog address so that when I use her elements, I know exactly where to direct others to grab it for themselves. :)









I just open it up, copy and paste the url address and paste it into my credits... as you can see in the credits for this page...






Anyway... as you can see when you click on the above images... I have the credits all listed out. Thanks to this filing system, I knew exactly who made what I used, what it was called, and where others can find it. :) It makes life much easier. :)




SCRAPBOOK PAGES:
Also, as digital scrapbookers, we need to be able to easily keep track of our pages. Since we have to save our pages in several different formats and sizes, this is essential. We need to be able to easily and quickly locate our layered files to make any necessary changes if need be, our JPG pages to be used for printing, and the low resolution JPG pages to be used for posting in galleries. I have certainly found that taking a few steps for each and every page I do as I do them makes keeping track of these things very easy.

First, I start with a folder in My Documents called 0_Pages. Again, using the "0_" so that it is always located at the top of my folder list (as well as to keep it right there with all of my supplies).





Within that folder, I have separate folders for each different type of file I need to save.




Now... I name mine a bit differently than others might. This is only because I learned the hard way when placing my pages into a printed Shutterfly album, I wanted for them to go in order by date to act as sort of a timeline of my children's lives. But before, when I simply named each file as the title of my page, that was near impossible to do because when uploading them to Shutterfly, they are by default sorted in ABC order. You can change that, but only by date uploaded. But since I print my books annually, they were all uploaded to the site at the same time... so that was no help. So I started naming my pages with the date I completed the layout listed before the title. Now when I upload my pages to Shutterfly, the ABC order works perfectly. :)






Last, but CERTAINLY not least... our photos. How I keep up with these is simply the way that works best for me and fits very well with the "way" I scrap. Hopefully, it will be of some help to you as well.

I organize all of my photo by Date Uploaded. This is because I upload literally hundreds of photos every month and upload about every 7 to 10 days. (hahaha.) So if I need a specific date, then I can just go to the photo and right-click and choose Properties and get the date it was taken.







Now... I am VERY MUCH a "real-time" scrapper. Meaning I LOVE scrapping something that happened yesterday or last week. Therefore, I only keep about 2 months (3 at the MOST) worth of photos on my computer and easily accessible. After that though, if I haven't scrapped it, it gets moved to the external hard drive. This way, I can still get to them if I want them, but they're not overtaking my computer and slowing it down.


I do want you to notice above though that I save the original photo AND the "processed" one that I scrapped. 2 reasons. 1.) Because if for some reason, my computer freezes or if I decided 1/2 through the layout that I hate where it's going, at LEAST I don't have to start over from scratch with the photo. 2.) I still have the original to play with in case I want to scrap that photo again with a different feel, or use it for other things (like blog headers... teehee).

I hope this method will help some of you. Again... it may not be for everyone, but I have tried sooooo many different methods, but have stuck with these methods now for almost a year. So it totally works for me.


I would LOVE to know what you think of this tutorial, so feel free to leave comments!!! If you have any questions about this tutorial or any of it's contents, you may certainly email me at taylormade8330@yahoo.com.

You can also find a printer-friendly version of this and all of my tutorials in the Tutorial Section at Oscraps!

30 comments:

Jeannette said...

Amanda, I found your Organization Post very interesting. I pretty much Organize the same way you do, which makes me feel a whole lot better about my Organization. The only problem I have when finding some Designers kit is when the have moved from one Supplier to another. Also I have a question, when mentioning Kit used do you always mention the Supplier or is it OK to just mention the Designer and Kit Name?

Erika said...

It's always very interesting to see how other scrappers sort their things. I have also tried a lot, found a way that works, but always looking for ways to improve it! :)
A tip if you didn't already new: in picture 4 you mention with large folder view it is possible to see what's in the folder. I always rename a copy of the preview to 'folder.jpg'. Then windows will show this picture as the folder picture, if you know what I mean. Makes it very lucid, I think.
Thanks again for your wonderful tutorials!!

Anonymous said...

Amanda -

I like to consider myself pretty organized, but I am *so* going to add some of your steps.

I'm really enjoying these tutorials you put together. I'm visual so having step by step instructions + photos is exactly what I need.

Love these - More More More! :)

*the one thing I cannot figure out is your folder view. I can get folders, but not the cool open ones. :)

Debra
inhousetranscription at yahoo dot com

*because I don't *want* to be anonymous!

MariaT said...

I will definitely be using some of these tips for my own storage needs. Especially saving photos with the date first for Shutterfly, I've been wasting hours going through with a Shutterfly window open and a photo folder open so I know how to organize a book. Thanks much!!

Rebeckah from WI said...

Oh thank the Lord that you addressed this!! I've been pulling my hair out trying to figure out how to start to organize my items. I started to go by shop and then pulled them out by item type... but I wasn't sure this is the "best" way... it's good to see that you also organize this way... now, I feel better knowing I'm on the right track!

Tali said...

LOVE this tut!! I especially love your tip on naming layouts, that will make things way easier. I gotta go back and do that on the ones I haven't printed. I think I'll start organizing more stuff by designer than I am. I have a lot of my stuff that way (especially when it is someone like you or Vicki or Liz, where I have a lot of their stuff!) but it will be easier to do that with most of the people. THANKS for another awesome tutorial!!

SuzyQ said...

I used to organize this way. But when I got PSE 5, it came with an organizer that allows me to tag everything with different categories, so I can easily identify "who, what, where" without having to organize my folders too much. Saves me loads of time. (Plus, I can tag by color and quickly find all of my blue backgrounds, for example--without having to copy files into a new folder.) Love it.

Leah said...

I feel soooo much better about my organizational skills now. Although I organize by designer, I organize my photos by date and keep copies of the processed photos too!! This was a fun tutorial.

Here's a question. How long before a design is retired to your external hard drive or disk? I have MANY disks as I am always afraid of losing supplies and having a very SLOW computer. I would just like to know what you think.

AnneMarie said...

excellent- love your zipped tip- thanks!!

SHAUI said...

hey A! we are so the same at organizing our scrapbook supplies! and the way i name my scrap pages too! i use dates and then the title! i wanted them arranged chronologically so its easier to have them printed! great info!!

Church said...

We are definitely on the same wavelength! I organize almost the exact same way!! The only problem I have is that I have a huge "downloads" folder for all the blog stuff I find (darn that Ikea Goddess). It's huge because I just keep adding to it and don't take the time to unzip and put it where belongs!

Anonymous said...

Okay, where do you put a credits page. I couldn't tell by your example how they're set up. I was keeping my stuff in such a way that I pretty much had no idea what belonged to whom. I had it so all my backgrounds, for instance, whether they were from one person or another, all went into the same folder. All birthday stuff might have gone into another. I felt so bad for not giving people credit, I just stopped using my scrapbook programs.

rayesranch said...

I have been working on getting organized. I have found some good info here. The only thing I would not do is use the store name since designers move around. I no longer mention the store if I post. People can google the kit name and designer.
Thanks so much . I know this took some time to share !

lianemily said...

Wow great tutorial! I love to organize too. I have a problem though. I tend to buy too much! Then sometimes I find that I have similar products. Simply cannot remember everything bought. Any tips to help in keeping track of what we already have? I have actually started to organize according to types eg papers, overlays, wordart, elements, etc but the I loose track of where and who these are from.

Serenity Sheri said...

this is how I have mine set up too! and here I was thinking I needed to reorganize LOL

Thanks Amanda! and I love your folder view!!

Linda M said...

I enjoyed reading your ideas and they certainly make it easy to document whose kit you used. However, how do you find things? Do you just use one kit at a time? I have mine filed by paper, element, etc., so I can match different kits. I'd love to hear a response on this one. Thanks for all the time it took to make this great and explicit tutorial.

wendyk4171 said...

I thought your tutorial was interesting, but, how do you find what you are looking for? I sort my kits by theme so that I can find the kit I need for specific pictures. Otherwise I would never be able to find a specific kit that I know I have. I keep the TOU intact so that I can give credit to the designer. It is the only way I can find what I'm looking for. My photos are organized in iPhoto so that I can tag them or sort them by date with just a click.

Barb said...

Good tutorial. If you're looking for a specific element and can't remember which kit it's in, how do you find it? For instance, if you want a blue paper and want to find all of your blue papers

I just started using Bridge, which comes with PS and PSE and am in the process of using Stacks to group all elements within a kit. I promote the folder.jpg image to the top, so I can get a quick view of the kit/stack, but then I also can tag each and every element within the kit/stack so that I can use Bridge's filtering feature to drill down to only those elements I'm looking for. My big problem is that as I complete my organization project, Bridge is getting pretty slow.

rayesranch said...

I totally agree that it's hard for me too as far as splitting up color, elements , all of that.For me it's so overwhelming. That is why I am out here looking to see if someone has a better idea than I do. I think the trick is to see what others do and make your own system with what will work best for you. I just wish I had known about this before I started buying kits a year or so ago . Now I am overwhelmed !

jkuoha said...

Love this tutorial! This is EXACTLY the same way I keep my files sorted - but my photos I keep sorted by subject. I am think that the way you are doing it would be so much better! Thanks for this great tut!

Wendy said...

Thanks for sharing, Amanda. I love the idea of organizing by designers. Right now I just organize by site and have to search thru all the designers from that site, which is starting to get cumbersome. Looks like I'll be busy doing some further organization!

Country Liv . . . said...

Amanda, I think you did a wonderful job on this tut! I also organize by shop/designer/kit and find it works best for me. The other thing I do that helps me even more? The organizer that came with PSE5! I no long use PSE but I do use the organizer. All my folders on the drive are like yours but with the Organizer I tag my elements as to color/type (flowers, borders, etc) /designer or shop. You can then pull up all your i.e. "yellow solid papers" or just everything "red" or even everything that you have from 'O Scraps' or "Taylor Made Designs!" -it really speeds up the designing on the layouts and I keep a running total of who what when and where under file info on the layout. Works for me, but then again, I have been accused of being 'anal' when it comes to organizing!
Hugs,
Liv

No Reimer Reason said...

I don't organize by shop, but I do organize by designer and kit like you do. It works well for me and makes giving credit so much easier!

Anonymous said...

I organize my kits pretty much the same too, except I don't separate by shop. That info is in the TOU, so in the unlikely event that I am published (ahem), I can always look it up. I'm not as organied with my scrapbooking stuff - where to file? with the photo(s), or in a separate folder? - and I have no hard drive room to save .psd files. Once I'm satisfied, I save as a jpeg and delete the PSD. Sometimes I regret it, when I would have liked to make a change, but in general it works for me.

vinnie said...

Your totaly making me blush!! Thank you for that sweet comment. Its an honour being mentioned on your blog. This is a great blog, by the way. Thank you so much for taking your time out to share. Your a gem!

Jen said...

Thank you for this tutorial... When you have unzipped a kit, do you still keep the ZIP-archive of that kit?

Sasha said...

How did you get that LO to look so vintage with her picute popping through .. I cannot get mines to work AAACK ...

evanwick said...

Hi Amanda! I'm always reading your blog although I'm not as active these days with comments or posts. Anyway...I was rereading some of your posts and I was surprised that you got some heat for this. I have a similar system for organizing too! It's the only thing that I could get to work for me. I loved the tip about putting a *0* in front of files to bring them to the top of the list...Why didn't I think of that?!!
Great job!
Laura

Anonymous said...

I have now read 2 of your tutorials and really want to say Thank you! Your blending has helped take my scrapping to new levels, and your Organization takes what I already do to the next level (or will when I apply it). We apparently scrap very similarly! LOL!

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