One of the top questions I am asked regularly is how to get and stay organized when it comes to digital scrapbooking supplies. There are so many ways to answer this question. Your personal answer to this question will depend on your organizing style, the way you use your supplies and how you scrap. That said, I’ve noticed five patterns in the creative flow of students that get and stay organized:
#1 Do Something Consistently
It’s nice to THINK about getting organized. It’s fun to TALK about getting organized. Sometimes it’s even cool to build a PLAN to get organized. The problem with all this is that unless you actually DO SOMETHING to move forward, you get nowhere.
Doing is great because you move forward. However, it isn’t until you do something consistently that you will begin to see exponential improvement to your system. Set aside time to stay organized. You don’t expect a scrapbook layout to build itself – it takes creativity, application and time. It’s the same with organizing your supplies.
The scrapbookers who are happiest with their organizational system are those who consistently work to keep their library organized. Just 15 minutes a day while getting organized and then 5 minutes a day thereafter can make a big difference.
#2 Think About What You Acquire
It’s easy to stay organized when you aren’t adding new supplies to your library. In fact, I’ve had quite a few students tell me that when that last keyword was added to completely organize their library they felt like they never wanted to shop again.
The reality is you are always going to buy new product. This is why you need to find creative flow with your supplies. One of the biggest parts of your creative flow is being selective in what you decide to acquire so you spend less time organizing it.
I am a sucker for new kits from designers I love. One of my best gatekeeping methods is searching my current supply library for keywords I would apply to things in the new kit that have me wanting the kit. Often I find that I already have items in my supply library that are close enough to those in the kit I was dying to buy. This seriously saves me more than you know.
Another item to watch are freebies. While they are fun to collect and FREE, are they really? Every item you acquire takes time out of your life to download, move around and organize and store. The cost of hard drive and subsequently backup space can add up quickly.
#3 Make Technology Do The Heavy Lifting
Use Windows Explorer to add a few keywords to make it easy to find your files next time. To add information, right click on the kit preview file and choose Properties. Click the Summary tab or the Simple button. Add information to help you in future searches.
For Mac, right click on the kit preview in Finder and then choose Get Info. Click in the Spotlight Comments box and add keywords or any information you wish to help you find the kit again.
If you want to go all out, find a good digital supply organizing program. I highly recommend Lightroom for Mac users and ACDSee for Windows users. You can find my Creatively Organized class and Lightroom for Supplies on my site.
This can be the most painful thing to do and also the most liberating. It only requires one key – Delete. At one point in my digital scrapbooking life I think I could have been considered a digital hoarder. I had so many supplies there was no way I could ever use them all in years. It wasn’t until I started consistently dedicating time to delete the supplies I didn’t love that I got a lot more out of my supply library.
The easiest way to delete is when you first download a kit. See a ribbon you’ll never use? Word art you hate? Delete. Let it go. It’s like downloading photos. You don’t have to keep them all. I promise there is no gremlin in your computer that will eat the rest of your files if you delete the things you’ll never use.
My second easiest way to delete is to do a search in my library or computer folders of items by year. This has been by far the best thing I could have done. Going back to 2007, 2008, 2009… Styles have changed a lot. It is easy to delete. During this process you will also find items that you love – flag them so you can use them again soon.
The amazing thing about the delete key? As you get better with it, you will feel liberated. Spring cleaning your supply library is a little like the feeling you get when you clean out a huge closet. It makes it easier to enjoy the supplies you have.
#5 Take Inventory
If I asked you today how many kits you have, or where all your digital supplies are on your hard drive, would you know? One of the biggest obstacles to getting organized is making sure you know where all of your supplies are.
Many students leave unzipped kits in download folders for months. Sometimes they even unzip a kit to use it in a quick project and then leave it in the download folder for months. It happens to everyone – so what can we do?
Set aside time each week or month to take inventory of the supplies you have and where they all reside on your computer. By taking inventory I don’t mean counting each item – just make sure you have a file folder system that works and that things are where they belong.
If you tag items with keywords in a software program, create a folder like To Be Organized and then file kit folders needing to be tagged in that folder. That way your download folder is free and clear and you can get things organized when you find some time.
One More Thing…
Remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day! Pick just one thing to work on and you’ll be that much closer to finding your creative flow.