Tutorial Tuesday (Potpourri)

Decluttering Isn’t Just for Homes

It’s January. It’s bone-chillingly cold in some parts of the world (like HERE!) and unseasonably warm in others. The holidays are over, and winter stretches out in front of us like a long and bumpy road. There’re no truly exciting events on the horizon, so what’s a girl to do? Well, the flyers are filled with supplies for organizing our stuff… But for digiscrappers, we don’t need to buy anything. It’s all right in front of us! I think now is a good time to talk about organizing our stuff, and maybe actually making some effort to get ‘er done. This is how I do it, but I know y’all have your own way of doing things, The important part is to DO it!

It’s not as important where we start as that we actually DO start. For me, the place to begin will be with all the new kits I’ve amassed but haven’t unzipped. This is actually my New Year’s Resolution, to unzip and relocate my supplies as soon as I download them. I was keeping up just fine until my dogs started fighting in the house and I had to spend a lot of time keeping them away from each other. I have a backlog, and I WILL attend to it ASAP. I use Extract Now, a free rapid unzipping app that makes the unzipping part pretty easy. I make folders within my download folder into which I unzip the new goodies, which eliminates a couple of steps in the process, and it works pretty well. I still go through each of the subfolders, deleting all the duplicate previews and things I know I’m not going to use (like alpha sheets!). If the kit is templates, I delete the PNG files and the TIFF files, and I add to the name of the previews to include single or double and the number of photo spots the template includes. That lets me put a keyword like “single4” in the search bar and Windows will find all the previews with 4 photo spots. Once I’ve arranged my folders the way I like them, I move them en bloc to my digikit folder for the store or designer as appropriate. Then my download folder should be empty. Until I fill it up again!

The way I sort my digikits is primarily by store or by designer’s creative team, with the exception of Heartstrings Scrap Arts… I have so many of Bryony’s kits I need a separate folder just for them. Having said that, my GingerScraps folder is ENORMOUS!  (24.6GB without the kits sitting in my downloads folder. Thank heaven I have a 2TB drive on this laptop!) I rename each kit’s folder: DesignerNameKitName, unless it’s a Buffet kit, then it’s MonthYearBufDesignerNameKitName. That makes it easier when I’m doing a store challenge.

I try to organize my photos as I take them, so the job isn’t too daunting. I don’t care for the Organizer that comes with Photoshop Elements so I don’t use it. But it can be very useful for both organizing and retrieving your photos. The Help menu can give you some ideas about how to maximize your efficiency. The way I file my photos is in folders… what else? I create a new folder for the current year, and a subfolder for each month. I download a lot of photos from my daughter’s Tiny Beans album where she posts pics of my grandchildren. Those I rename with a suitable tag so I can run a keyword search later. If I’m looking for photos of Aaron, I just type in his name. These photos go into the folder for the month and year they were taken so I have some frame of reference later. I have a folder for the photos my friend Sandy takes and graciously allows me to ‘steal’ and one for the photos I download from Pixabay. My Pixabay folder is broken down into subfolders by topic: Kids, Insects/Flowers, Animals, Portraits, Scenic and such. This method of filing makes it a lot faster to find what I’m looking for.

I also organize my layouts. I have folders for each month’s challenges, with subfolders for the challenges themselves. When the year is over, they all collectively are filed in a folder for the whole year. Then again, I have some folders that have copies of the finished layouts for my daughters’ weddings, my grandkids’ first years, all of my Ireland layouts and for the creative teams I’m on. It’s all about finding things later!

Since I set up this new(ish) laptop back in September, I haven’t taken the time to go through my 1400+ fonts and retag them for MainType. That’s something I really need to get on with! It’s a daunting task, but you know what they say. Focus on the first step. I know the time I spend on it now will decrease the time it takes me to find the one font I’m looking for later. The best part of MainType is that I decide what my tags are, based on MY workflow – how I search for things. And like everything else, if I work at it as I add new fonts, the amount of time I spend on it will go way down. But just writing about it is giving me a rash, so let’s move on!

One caveat. If you’re going to delete duplicate files, make sure you only delete the ones you’re not going to want to search for later. I made the mistake of using a Windows utility and chose the wrong metric so it removed a LOT of my original templates and left me with the PSD files for the last layout I used them for. Retrieving the original template takes a lot of time but is necessary when I use the search feature to find previews for my desired number of photos.

I’m interested to hear how YOU organize your stuff. So please, share your secrets!!



  1. I organize all of my digital supplies by folders too. I have a digital folder and then each designer has their own folder, stores included, then folders for each kit. Gingerscraps includes collabs, free with purchase, rewards, and each month of challenges has it’s own folder. I’ve taken to even keeping the buffet items or bought for that month challenges in there as well until I finish the challenge and then that kit will get moved to the designers folder. I put the zipped files right into the designer folder or into a folder under the designer by kit name upon purchase. I tag with ACDSee, and I am so far behind in this. I have thought of moving to Lightroom. However, I still need to figure out what tags will work best for me: I don’t want to overtag, but too simplified isn’t quite enough so they get left untagged. Thanks for reminding me to get on it.

  2. Tanya/TiggerRD says

    Thank you for this article. Always good to take some time to organize the digital supplies and treasured photos.

  3. Definitely organization is the key .. I’ve been doing it for years so now it’s easy to keep up .. my filing system is a bit different. For each kit, I name the kit thumbnails by name of kit, designer, then store. I use that same naming system for the folder that the kit is in (and yes, I delete things that I know I won’t use). So I store all the kits alphabetically in one big Digital Art Files folder with individual alphabetical folders (I.e. one is kits that begin with A or B, etc). But in another folder, I have the individual store folders with folders for each designer in that store and that’s where I put the kit thumbnails for each designer (remember, I have already named the thumbnails). I also have folders for different topics (each of the seasons, Christmas, etc) that I use a lot. And for Ginger Scraps buffets, I have a folder in the Ginger Scraps folder for each buffet (each buffet is in a folder by year and month).. I save the color line of each buffet and put the kit thumbnails in there. It’s a big system but since I’ve been doing this for years, it doesn’t take long at all from unzipping to sorting.

  4. Oh, and for photos .. I just have them sorted in folders by year and then by month. And lately when I’ve been doing layouts, I will put the layout thumbnail in the folder with the photos I used.
    …. and alpha sheets! Good grief, who uses them? ‘This true! There are a couple designers around (I don’t think any at Ginger Scraps) who just give you the sheets and no individual letters … what a pain if you want to use them!

  5. I use folders also to help keep my stash organized. They are automatically sorted by year and date added as a list but then they are in folders named by store.date.event then inside by each designer and kit name. I usually import everything into Photos (originally iPhoto) and group/name similarly with tags of designer, store, kit name, theme and preview. I can search for all. previews by any designer or store quickly. I tried using ACDSee for a while when Photos/iPhoto wouldn’t let me drag-n-drop any more right into PSE (which was SO AWESOME and EASY) I would do anything to be able to still do that. Dragging from all different folders from the finder is a pain in the ***, it was so much easier dragging from the searched results in photos.. 
    My photos are stored by year with subfolders  alphabetically by event or occasion. I use google photos also as a backup and as a means of finding photos quickly by year and date by dragging down the slider to the desired time frame. Having switched to using my cellphone as my primary camera these last few years has actually made it more difficult to group as events, etc because of all the random photos, notes, screenshots et that I also take photos of. Open to any suggestions there…?

  6. “Dragging from all different folders from the finder is a pain in the ***, it was so much easier dragging from the searched results in photos.. ”
    I have a couple of ideas for that. Let me play with them and see what I can come up with. I know there has to be a way…

    “Having switched to using my cellphone as my primary camera these last few years has actually made it more difficult to group as events, etc because of all the random photos, notes, screenshots etc that I also take photos of. Open to any suggestions there…?”
    I don’t use an iPhone but I may have some ideas there too. Looks like I have a tutorial-in-the-making for next Tuesday!

  7. When there’s only the alpha sheets in a kit and I like the alpha enough, I’ll separate them into individual letters/numbers and save the files. But that doesn’t happen very often. (I can think of at least one GS designer who only has the sheets.)

  8. Getting too far behind is the kiss of death for even the best-intentioned of us. The task gets to be so huge to be overwhelming, and it gets pushed off even more. Hence concentrating on just getting started helps to overcome some of that.

  9. As long as it works for you and you understand it, that’s all that matters.

  10. love to read your stories. I’ve developed a good system to organise my digital supplies and templates and can find them quickly. You can read it on my blog: https://tristanvanschie.blogspot.com/2019/01/a-simple-and-quick-way-to-organize.html


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