SA_BlogHeader_Dec2013It’s a sad fact but true, that I like nothing better than organising, setting up the perfect system to get my [insert topic of the moment] under control – recipes, pantry, paperwork, desk drawers – you name it! I’m forever devising new plans and I am always convinced that this new plan is THE ONE. You know the one – once I get this system in place, I’ll never be untidy again! In my dreams!! Anyone who has been to my house can testify to the fact that I am better at setting up systems than sticking to them. But I press on in the hope that one day the perfect system will lend itself to perfect organisation.

One area that cries out for systems and strategies is my digital content. I really do have more content than I could possibly use, and I really really don’t need any more!! But then I see new content and I just have to have it!! So my stash grows and the systems I had in place start to burst at the seams. Next thing I know, I’m reorganising. I think it’s an incurable disease. But based on the response to my recent tip, Corral Content Chaos, I am not the only sufferer.

I could fight it, but to tell the truth I don’t really want to. I like having my content well organised! I like being able to find the right paper or embellishment or title when I need it. You know what they say – “Organisation is just for people who are too lazy to look for things”. If you have read my blogs for a while, you’ll know this is not the first time I’ve written about this topic. But this time I really have found a system that works for me! Really! I’m pretty excited so I thought I’d share it for those of you who have asked for details. This is how I do it, and if you find it helpful, feel free to use whichever aspects you find useful. But be warned – if you have a lot of content, this is not a light undertaking. I spent the best part of the weekend setting it up, and I’m not quite finished yet.

In Artisan (and in SBC4) there are 3 levels of organisation – library folders, categories and tags. There’s a lot of details on this website about that (here’s a link) so I won’t explain that now, but I’ll cut to the chase and tell you what I’ve arranged.

Library Folders

These are the folders I have created:


  •  as discussed in the Corral Content Chaos tip, I have created a library folder for each designer. The content is from Creative Memories unless otherwise stated.
  • I have also created folders for each type of content – digital kits, alphasets, overlays etc. I figure this makes it easier to scroll through just digital kits, for example, or just embellishments, when I’m searching for inspiration.
  • I keep my Pixie Dust in a separate folder, with a PAK for each month’s collection.



Here is where it gets a bit complicated, but stay with me. I need to have categories broad enough that I don’t spend forever categorising and never get to make pages, but narrow enough to enable me to find what I need without scrolling through dozens and dozens of kits. Some kits lend themselves to categories naturally, like Christmas, Baby and School. But other kits don’t have such obvious themes, and I used to lump them all in a category called Digital Kits. But as my collection grew, that category became huge and unmanageable. Thinking about how I scrapbook, I tend to look for colour themes and styles. I will look at the photos and then decide if I need a bright, fun page, or an earthy, grungy page etc. Suddenly the lightbulb came on and I realised that’s what my categories should be. Not to replace those themed categories but to augment them. So I created “Bright & Fun”, “Earthy & Grunge”, Mono & Metallic” & more.

That plan came unstuck when it came to overlays, since they are pretty much all black. Again I thought about how I scrap, and created the following categories: Geometric, Floral, Decorative & Patterns.  Patterns being anything that’s not floral or geometric or decorative! I made those categories for overlays, but many kits also fit those descriptions, so they go in those categories too.

Are you getting my drift? Here is a screenshot of all my categories. Essentially I have 3 different types of categories – themes, colour palette and style. I have found that everything will fit at least one of those categories, and theoretically most kits will be in 2 or 3 categories. For example Primary Christmas would be in Primary Power Palette, Christmas, and also Bright & Fun.  I have grouped the colour and style categories by putting “.” in front of the name. “PP” keeps the Power Palettes together.



I have already posted about my tags. I am bravely showing a current screenshot of my tags, to demonstrate the way my ‘system’ evolves over time, partly because I get new kits that need new tags, and partly because I am constantly tweaking and re-evaluating. For example, my “birthday” tag was getting so full, I now have separate tags for “cake” and “candles”. Before you ask – no, I don’t have every single element tagged. But I’m close. If I just stopped buying more content …


I am often asked to share in detail about my tags & categories, so here it is. If you have a system that works well for you, you probably have stopped reading by now. If you’d rather have root canal than tag content, you are not alone. But if you were looking for a few ideas, I hope you have found some here. I’ll finish with a few screenshots to show you how pretty my organised content looks now 🙂

And since this will be my last blog for 2013 (already!!), let me take this opportunity to wish you and your family many blessings over the holiday season. Thank you for being part of our family here at pixels2Pages. Here’s to many scrap-worthy memories in 2014! Cheers!!

Click on the images for a larger view.

Library Folder - Embellishments

Library Folder – Embellishments

Library Folder - Overlays

Library Folder – Overlays

Library Folder - Alphasets

Library Folder – Alphasets

Category  - Sports

Category – Sports

Category - Love & Romance

Category – Love & Romance

Category - Earthy & Grunge

Category – Earthy & Grunge

Category - bright & Fun

Category – bright & Fun

Tag - Birds

Tag – Birds

Tag - Sea Creatures

Tag – Sea Creatures

Tag - Leaves

Tag – Leaves

Tag - Embellishments  - square

Tag – Embellishments – square

Tag - Sun & Moon

Tag – Sun & Moon

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52 Responses to Blog: This time, I’ve got it. I think. I hope.

  1. Terry Vachowski says:

    Thanks, Shelley, AGAIN! I have a feeling this is one I will never read too many times.

  2. Nanette Shipman says:

    Thank you for this tip and so many others. This weekend’s crop made me painfully aware that my content is in serious need of an overhaul and complete re-organization! It no longer works or makes sense to me and I’ve seen numerous duplicates. Is there a particular tip for changing it all up and the best way to do that? I kind of want to start fresh. I’ve been reviewing some of the other organizing tips too.

    • Shelley says:

      As you’ve discovered we have lots of tips on organization. My main advice is to do it in small chunks when you have a few minutes to spare – don’t let organization stop you from making pages.

      • Nanette Shipman says:

        I am working my way through re-organizing and I have a question about Blueprints. We have usually had to get a file from the computer when we want to use a BP. Now p2P also has Blueprint kits available from Panstoria, so those come into the program. As I am looking at my old BPs I see that they have the Artisan icon on them. Can I put them in Library view as p2P Art Kits or Blueprints folders and will they come into Artisan as a kit that I can access from within the program?

        • Shelley says:

          Sorry Nannette, no, that can’t be done. We are able to provide kits through Panstoria in ‘pakit’ format, but our regular membership Blueprints remain as they currently are. It is not possible to bring BPs into the Library as a kit.

          • Nanette Shipman says:

            I am still working on this. Re-organizing is time-consuming. Your tips are such a big help! I must confess that I actually kind of like the organizing, but it never seems to be quite perfect and I’ll get bogged down. I need to just get it workable so I actually make more pages! I was wondering if you categorize or tag your page templates at all? I originally had a library folder, but then I end up with duplicates. So would it work better to categorize or tag them? Or is that just too much?

          • Shelley says:

            I like organizing too! But I think it’s best done in small doses! Do a few pages then do some organizing, then some more pages. Don’t get bogged down. You can tag templates (the ones in kit format) – there’s a tip about it here.

  3. Lynn says:

    Thanks for the information on organiZation!

    I have a question, though… I do not want all of these files on my C drive, but when I moved them to the D drive and tried to import them, it wants to save them on the C … is there any way around this?


    • Shelley says:

      Once you move your files to the D Drive, you don’t need to import them into Artisan. You just need to show Artisan where to look for them, but adding those existing folders to the library. This tip probably explains it best.
      PS I am Australian and in Australia we spell it organiSation 🙂

  4. Dean Hoelscher says:

    I can’t locate my Artisan library??! I have put everything in my document folder – as far as content but Artisan can’t find it – i.e. change background: there is nothing in my personal art kit. I have a personal art kit in my documents folder with the name personal art kit but this must not be where Artisan is looking! Help please!

  5. mindys7 says:

    Hi Shelley, thanks so much for this! It really, really is something that I need to do but don’t want to take time from making pages even though it would help me work faster. I used to have a work rule that before I could make pages I had to tag at least one kit but…that was kind of like a New Year’s Resolution! I have never done much with my library or my categories but now that I see the possibilities maybe I will get to work. I love that you have a tag Paint Chips! Definitely doing that!

    One question I have is: why are some of you tags in all caps?

    • Shelley says:

      I know what you mean – it does take some discipline but it is worth it in the long run! The tags in caps were ones I added myself, to distinguish them from the CM tags, but I have to confess I haven’t been very diligent about that rule so they’re a bit of a mixed bag now!

  6. debzz debzz says:

    Ok…I am definately in need of organization! I bought Artisan…I DON’T want to migrate my content chaos from SBC4. So I am confused on how I move art kits selectively into Artisan in a new organized fashion. I’m confused on how to selectively import kits…I don’t think I want them all until I can do the sorting you describe in your blog. Can I drag and drop them? Do I import them into Artisan from where they are stored on my computer for SBC4? I am so confused….. Can you help clarify? Thanks.

    • Shelley says:

      That’s quite a good idea Deb, and certainly a way to start with a clean slate, although quite a bit of work. I guess you’ve looked at this tip. The best way to import kits one by one is to use the Import Content button in the Content Manager.

  7. sallycm says:

    Enjoyed and learned even more about organizing, again. My biggest frustration though is still not having my categories move over from SB into Artisan. There are five of us that it’s happened to.
    I’ve tried everything, even uninstalling/reinstalling from the ‘free’ trial download. I really miss my categories and my mind. Any new suggestions?

  8. Suzanne says:

    I’ve finally gotten around to reading this post…thank you Shelley! I was excited from the time I saw it, but needed to find time to read and study all the helpful tips you’ve provided. I see several changes I am going to implement to get more organized for the new year!

  9. Thanks again Shelley for sharing your tips! I’ve used your organizing system in the past. Currently I’ve found that in order to match the time I have available, Tags are what I tend to focus on. But, I need to expand my tags as each section is getting harder and harder to filter through! Oh, and were you ever able to figure out why tags are getting “untagged” in the software (I still use SBC). This is probably the most frustrating and time consuming thing ever – having to re-do. And, it’s so random, too!

  10. Lisa says:

    Great tips, Shelley! My content is shamefully disorganised, but you’ve given me some ideas… and some hope! Perhaps after I’ve finished my three currently unfinished books I can start on organising my stuff. Or maybe I’ll just keep procrastinating!

  11. annette says:

    I’m hesitant about “new” designers – because I’m not sure where to file them!! Silly me!

  12. mandypena says:

    Shelley, This is such a great post. There are several things you pointed out that I am going to work on in the coming evenings. One thing I do with my designers is put a 1 in front of their names. This way when they come up in the library view, the designers are all together. Also with all my p2P items I put a 0 in front…that keeps them together. Then everything else is CM(Panstoria). Seems to be working really well for me. Now I need to work on the categories and tags. I have taken some of you other advice on the tags…but I sure don’t want to show them off right now. 🙂 Thanks for all the good info you have for us.

  13. Tracie says:

    This is so helpful! The best points for me: Think about *my* workflow and group accordingly. I definitely go by color/mood. And you are brilliant to use the “.” prefix to keep categories grouped. Thank you!

  14. Anne says:

    So much good information here Shelley – can’t wait to go mess around. Of course NOW I want to go totally reorganize everything so it looks exactly like Shelley’s! This follows me reorganizing everything so it looked just like Kim’s a couple of years ago! I love organization tools. My DH says that I love the ‘appearance’ of being organized and that truthfully I am the most disorganized person with the most organizational tools ever.

  15. Mary says:

    Love this. Feeling better about mine too! Thanks for sharing this wealth of information.

  16. Sheryl Gibson says:

    Thanks for the more detailed account of your system. I am working towards a system like this and your lists will really help. I just started using other designers outside of Creative Memories. I have been tagging their kits with their names, but using the library makes so much more sense! I have really only used tags – adding in the categories and library will help me. I am like you and feel like if the “house” is in order, I can work more efficiently! Wishing the best for you and your family this season!

  17. Carolyn says:

    🙂 “I am bravely showing a current screenshot of my tags…” Just remembering I was the subject of some good-natured ridicule when I did this! Good to see that your list has grown! But, then, so has mine… Oh well. 🙂

    • Shelley says:

      🙂 Somehow I suspect that my list will never be as long as yours! But the beauty of this is that everyone cam make the system that works for them. And you were always able to find content faster than anyone!!

      • Carolyn says:

        Interestingly enough, I think I’m finally content-saturated. I realized that the balance recently had shifted from “making pages” to “content acquisition and organization.” I’ve declared a personal moratorium on new content until I meet my goal of 200 new pages with what I already have. I’ve got 48 of those 200 completed so far. I am somewhat motivated by Jennifer’s new content though… I am hopeless cause, I suppose. 🙂

  18. sistersunshine says:

    Shelley, Peace & joy. I swear we were separated at birth… your labeling looks remarkably like mine… and I too am a tweaking freak when it comes to organizing… and right now I am in overload lol.

    I do have one extra ‘Library’ folder… MISC Designers… This allows me to have one place to corral all those bits & pieces of content that I get from random designers… once a designer folder that I have placed in the MISC folder gets ‘BIG’… I can choose to move it out of MISC to it’s own place in the library… I hesitate to say it but it’s kinda like my ‘junk drawer’ for digital content…

    I do still find that I stick primarily with CM content and JFehr & JCarr but that’s only because they work so well together… (I wonder why lol) but some of the newer (to me) designers are beginning to show up in my books.

    Thanks for sharing your mind and how it works. Blessings this holy day season. *U* Kathleen

    • Shelley says:

      Kindred spirits 🙂 I’ve only started using other designers recently, but that’s a good idea to have a folder for those who don’t have many items from. Thanks.

      • sistersunshine says:

        Often times I will only use one or two pieces from the MISC designer folder… BUT I think they deserve recognition too… it’s a pat on the back kind of thing. *U* Kathleen

        • Shelley says:

          Absolutely! It is usually also part of the terms and conditions of the designers, that they get credited when you share pages using their content. Glad you are making sure to do the right thing.

  19. Kay says:

    Thank you so much! I too am always looking for the perfect solution! This is VERY HELPFUL.

  20. gayneal says:

    Shelley, As a content hoarder this is exactly what I need! I am pretty good about tagging with general terms, but your list is so much more specific. And for some reason I had stopped using categories. Look like I have some work to do 🙂 Let’s see – Shop, organize, create two pages with the kit, Shop, Organize, create, repeat. I can do it!

  21. Linda DeLaughter says:

    A Big thank you, Shelley! I have been furiously working on my organization for weeks now. I have a great deal of content (not all CM or Panstoria). I also made Library files for my different designer sources and type of kit, but did not break it down by Power Palette or Kit. Well, I finally figured out how to include my non-CM alphasets, papers and embellishments into my Artisan program! Previously, I just could not accomplish this task, so I dedicated some quiet time and I read and re-read the P2P directions before I got it right! So happy now! My creative juices can flow and I can see the content right there in Artisan!!!

  22. adakallen adakallen says:

    Shelley, I think that you must be the twin sister that I never had! Except that you are further along in organization that I am BUT I am still working on it!

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