This is the second part of the Organizing Your Inventory short series.
I suppose that you have already cleaned up your inventory of all the unnecessary stuff you don’t need, use or love, and you finally don’t have anything superfluous left inside. If you haven’t done it yet and your inventory is still overflowing with possesses in excess, you would probably want to read the first post of the series, which gives advice on how to declutter your inventory and get rid of the junk inside. This is the necessary thing to do if you want to make your organizing task easier.
It’s time to create categories for the useful stuff you own to make your inventory more searchable. (It’s all about spending less time trying to find this gorgeous hairstyle you bought just yesterday, and more time actually showing it to the world, awe-inspiring and receiving compliments on your look.)
The main ingredient of the organizing task is creating folders, as the title says. Any folder represents a category in your organizational system.
Ok, let’s start, shall we? There are a couple of general guidelines you could safely follow:
1. Use categories that make sense to you and are specific to your needs and the activities you engage in.
If you are like me, probably you like the diversity of looks Second Life is able to provide, and you own a large collection of anything appearance related: skins, shapes, eyes and hair. If this is the case, it does make sense to assign a particular category for each of these in your “Body Parts” folder. For the sake of convenience, let’s call the “Body Parts” folder a “parent” folder.
So in your “Body Parts” parent folder you can also create the following folders: “Shapes”, “Skins”, “Eyes”, Hair” etc.
If you need to, you can further sub-divide each of them in even smaller sub-categories assigning separate subfolders to them. For example, if you have a big collection of eyes, you could categorize them by colour (creating the subfolders “blue eyes”, “green eyes”, “brown eyes” etc.) In the same manner, you could sub-divide the folder “Hair” by colour (“blond hair”, “red hair”, “brunette love”, “raven hair”, “rainbow-coloured hair”), by length (“short”, “shoulder length”, “long”), by style (“up-do”, “pony tails”, “dreadlocks” and the like), or even by creator’s name (for example, I am a fan of Truth, so I have a special folder for their hairstyles).
By the way, if there are certain creators you love buying from, you could assign special folders for their content only in any category (like I have folders devoted to “LAQ skin” and “Redgrave Skin”).
Anything said so far can be applied to just any other category. For example “Clothing”. You can designate subfolders for “Dresses”, “Tops”, “Pants”, “Lingerie” etc. Or, if you prefer, you can categorize your clothing based on occasion (“Formal”, “Casual”) or style (“Goth”, “Punk”, “Ethno-Fashion” etc.) You can also mix and match the different variables of categorizing, in case you own really many clothes (for example, “Formal Gowns” subfolder in the “Dresses” folder, or “Visual Kei Tops” subfolder in the “Tops” folder).
Maybe you are not interested that much in avatar’s appearance, you own a single shape and skin combo and you feel ok with it. That’s fine, let’s see what else do you have. A huge arsenal of building items, tools and textures probably? The same principle applies here. You simply create folders containing subfolders. You could categorize your prims by shape, size etc., your textures by type (“floor textures”, “wall textures”), style and whatever. You could also categorize the buildings you have created by prim count, building type (“shops”, “residential”, “skyboxes”), style (“Victorian”, “European modern”, “traditional country” etc.) You know what to do better than me as you are the building expert here.
Use your common sense, don’t assign categories that don’t mean much to you only for the sake of having them; the more useful and specific to your needs is the system of folders you create, the greater the chance you are actually going to use it. And this is what really matters in the long run. The best possible organizing system in the world is useless if it doesn’t suit your specific needs and style. Which brings us to the next guideline:
2. You have to actually USE your organizing system to benefit from it.
As soon as you buy a new item you have to quickly decide which category it goes in. If you are not able to make a reasonably quick decision, probably your organizing system is not working (too complicated, too few categories etc.) and you have to change it.
If you bought item has come in a box, you’d better rez it, right-click on it and “copy to inventory” right away. Then immediately put away your newly created folder in its designated place (for example, if it’s a new skin, obviously it should go to your “Skins” subfolder inside your “Body Parts” parent folder). If the item you’ve just purchased comes in a folder by default, just do the final part of the previous assignment. It’s that simple and it takes just a few seconds to complete (compare that to the HOURS of nervous bustle this small change of behaviour is going to save you in the long run.)
The point here is to do it now and prevent the inevitable overflowing of chaotic content in your Inventory while it’s still easy.
Other Tips and tricks
How to make a better use of the “Objects” parent folder?
- I have made a subfolder inside called “Useful Objects”. This one contains stuff like a flying feather, a language translator, a photo sphere, a personal building box and the like – things I need to support my SL experience and use on a regular basis.
- I have also a separate folder for all my business related stuff, from back-ups of the ad boards I have in my shop to the Subscribe-o-Matic package to Lucky Letter boards to Magic Boxes to Model Stands etc.
- I have also the “Furniture” and “Buildings” folders here; “Furniture” is sub-divided into “Business Furniture”, “Home Furniture”, “Wall Art” etc.
What if there are items you just bought and plan to use in a photoshooting session tomorrow (or another soon-to-be project)?
It’s wise to have a “To Work On” or “Recent Projects” or a similarly named folder in your main Inventory. Again, use the naming that works best for you and the work you do in SL. Probably “Photoshooting” or “To Shoot Tomorrow”, if you are a photographer or take screenshots to showcase your business?
Yes, I have created one located in the main Inventory directory. The Accessories folder contains subfolders for “Tattoos”, “Jewelry” and “Clothing Accessories”. The “Jewelry” folder is further sub-divided (you already guessed that, didn’t you?) into “Earrings”, “Necklaces”, “Rings” and “Jewelry Sets” subfolders. And what does the “Clothing Accessories” enclose in? “Belts”, “Scarves”, “Socks” and the like. Of course, you could include the “Clothing Accessories” subfolder into the “Clothing” folder. Just do what seems best and reasonable for you.
The Archiving Trick
Suppose you have a huge collection of textures or anything else you don’t regularly use but you don’t have the heart to trash or possibly think might need later. A trick I learned recently through Annaluisa on flickr is that you can put all these textures (or whatever) in a single box and give it a proper name (let’s say, “Hair Textures Archive”). Then you will have one single item in your inventory instead of 155 hair textures! Again, you’d better create a folder called “Archive” or “Archived Content” in your Objects parent folder.
I’d like to hear what you think. What are the organizing tips and tricks you apply to your own inventory in SL?