Monday, March 19, 2012

Digital Supply Organization - Step 2 - Categorize your files

This is part of a series on digital organization of scrapbooking supplies.  To begin, I talked about why I'm "Going Green," and then I talked about some different ways to get digital images of your supplies in Step 1.  This week, I'm going to talk about how to build a system to categorize your supplies.

Know your software

How you categorize your supplies will depend a little bit on what software you use, but there are some general similarities. I'm going to use Evernote, which I'll talk more about next week.  In Evernote, everything can have these features:

  • Notes - these are your individual items
  • Notebooks - a collection of notes
  • Each note can also have the following attributes:
    • Title
    • Description
    • Tags
    • Date added/edited
A different system might use a different setup.  For example, in iPhoto, the following are available items to categorize photos (and similar in all other photo filing software like Lightroom):
  • Picture - these are your individual items
  • Photo albums - a collection of pictures
  • Events - these are also collections of pictures
  • Each picture can have the following attributes that would help me sort/search for them:
    • Date
    • Faces
    • Places
    • Ratings (1-5 stars)
    • Keywords (similar to tags in Evernote)
    • Description
If you have no software, or don't know what to use yet, you could think about creating folders on your hard-drive. On the Mac, I can assign colored labels to each file, which could correspond to tags.  It's not as elegant as using Evernote or iPhoto (what does red mean?  how will you remember?), but it's an easy way to get started. On both the Mac and Windows platform, the view of a folder can be changed to show larger icons of each item ("filmstrip") so you can flip through your supplies.

Know yourself

I like to browse through things. I like piles that have similar stuff in them. I like to keep it simple. If I have too many categories, I will drive myself nuts trying to categorize everything. To satisfy how I craft, I'm going to do the following:
  • Create one notebook for all of my supplies so I can browse through them easily
  • Give each item a title that allows me to search for the things I think are important
    • Kit name
    • Kit date
    • Manufacturer
  • Tag stamps with three tags
    • UM (unmounted) or WM (woodmounted) - narrows down where to find it
    • Category - mine are very broad and match the binders I use for my UM stamps
      • All Occasion (doesn't fit into a category - graphic images, sentiments)
      • Borders and Backgrounds
      • Card Verses (ex: mostly text, or for a specific event like graduation or Father's Day)
      • Christmas and Winter
      • Great Outdoors (ex: trees, scenic stamps, skiing, sports)
      • Hobbies (ex: theater, crafting)
      • Nature (ex: flowers, birds, butterflies)
      • Nostalgic (ex: steam punk, vintage sewing)
    • Company name - if I don't have many by a company, I'll use "other." 
  • Tag other stuff as needed. I'm just starting to get into "other stuff," so this is pretty fluid at this point.  What I have so far:
    • Catalog - I love my Stampin' Up! catalogs, and now I can take them all with me (and find them!)
    • Embellishments - for those little bits
    • Paper - for packs that I pick up, particularly from Stampin' Up!
  • Add anything else to the description
    • For my sheets of stamps, for example, I'm trying to type the sentiments into the description. Evernote will do text recognition on images and PDFs, but sometimes stamped sentiments are in a script font, or other strange things happen.
    • For paper from Stampin' Up!, I'm going to try keeping track of the coordinating colors

Learn from others

If you're a digital scrapper, what I'm describing above should come as no surprise to you - most digi scrappers have been adding notes and tags ("metadata") to their photos for a long time.

If you're looking for a different scrapping perspective on organizing digital supplies, the Paperclipping group and The Digi Show (produced by the Daily Digi) have had some great discussions on this topic.

What's next

Next week, I'll focus entirely on Evernote, and why I think it's a great piece of software for your crafty organization. I'll show you some things I've learned along the way on the different platforms I use and share my tips and tricks.

How do you organize your supplies? What works best to inspire your creativity?

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