ShelleysScribblesgoing-to-iron-a-shirt-vector-character-cartoon-illustration_z1Op3Jud_LDoes anyone really like ironing? There’s a certain satisfaction in watching the iron gliding over those wrinkles, and in creating a lovely smooth finish on your clothes. But the greatest satisfaction of ironing is when it’s finished. The sight of the empty ironing basket is the best part of ironing, am I right? I’ve yet to meet anyone who would voluntarily choose to spend time ironing if they didn’t have to! But we do it anyway, because we like the end result.

Organizing digital content is a bit like that, don’t you think? The actual doing of it is not all that much fun, when we’d rather be creating pages. But it’s very satisfying to finish the task, and finding what you need is so much quicker and easier when it is all organised.

Some people iron in front of the TV, others like to do the ironing in the laundry room. Some wait till the ironing basket is overflowing and they have run out of anything decent to wear, while others (I’ve heard about such people, but I am definitely not in this category) prefer to wash, fold and iron and have everything put away on the same day. Still others iron what they want to wear at the very last minute. And then there are the lazy/busy people like me who pay someone else to do their ironing. 🙂

How we organise our content is as varied as how we iron, and perhaps even more so. There’s certainly no right or wrong solution! Since this month on pixels2Pages.net we are having a focus on Content Management, I thought I might explain how and why I organise my content, and hopefully give you a few ideas you can use.

Library Folders

I have a library folder for each of the Forever designers. It is not necessary to have any extra library folders other then the pre-installed ones, but it suits me to keep all the designer content together.  I find each designer has a personal style, and if I’m looking for a particular kit or style of kit, I’ll usually know which designer created that kit, and I can quickly locate it. If I’m looking for coordinating embellishments or alphasets, for example, I’ll usually stay within the same designer folder. It’s also a quick way to identify which designer to credit for the content.

I download my content directly into the Library folders, so that is one part of my organisation which is always up to date!

Categories

Categories are for whole kits. I find by putting my kits into categories, I can more easily locate content suitable for a page, without knowing specifically what I am looking for. For example, if I am working on a beach page, I can look in the beach category and find kits by several designers all on a beach or seaside theme. Kits mights be papers, embellishments, overlays, alphasets etc. As long as the theme is beach, they are all in that category. Other themes include Australiana, Christmas, travel, babies, garden, graduation, romance, weddings – the list is long.

However, although many kits are themed, many are not as easy to categorize in that way. On most pages, I tend to choose my kits based on the “mood” of the photos – bright and fun, or grungy or calm & relaxing. So I have categories based on colours and styles – blues & greens, pastels, neutrals, mono or metallic, and more.

I also have categories for specific types of content – alphas, masks, overlays, stitching, word art, cards, and of course Blueprint collections.

I’ve also gathered together kits which form a series. For example, I love the Cottage Arts Nature’s Sketchbook kits, so I created a category called CA Nature’s Sketchbook. These kits coordinate so perfectly, I can select that category and then use any paper, embellishment or word art on my page as though it was a single kit. I have done similar with Cottage Arts Everyday Kits and the old Creative Memories Power Palettes.

The beauty of being able to create my own categories is that I am not limited to any single system. I don’t have to force kits to fit into a preconceived array of categories. I sort my kits the way I want to, the way my brain works so when I look for a kit I can find it with ease. Many kits will fit into two or more categories making them even easier to locate.

Tags

The difference between tags and categories is that tags are applied to individual elements. So while a kit might be beach themed, it may often also contain brads, staples, flowers, frames, trees, toys, birds, fish, boats, ribbons, tags, buttons, word art and more. If I want to add a tree embellishment to my page, I don’t need to remember which kits contain trees, I can just click on the ‘Trees’ tag and find every tree in every kit in my collection.

How people tag is probably the area where individuals differ the most. And that’s OK. Again it all comes down to how you create your pages. I’m not a big embellishment user, but when I do use them, I like them to relate to my images, or have a reason to be on the page. So I need my tags to be descriptive so that I can find that frog or birthday cake or border cluster when I need it. I have tried to not have too many tags, so that I’m forever scrolling to find the one I want, but my list keeps growing as I accumulate content. For example, rather than have a tag for each different type of animal, I have one tag called “Animals”. Whether I want a cat or a crocodile I know I’ll find it in my animals tag. On the other hand, if there are too many items with the same tag, then I’ll split that tag. I used to have one tag for frames, but now I have individual tags for square frames, rectangular frames, circle frames etc.

In case you are getting the impression from all this that I am super-organised, rest assured that I am human, too! I would much rather be scrapping than organising but I do really believe that having everything organised makes scrapping easier. One day I might even get caught up!!

In summary then, here are my top tips for tagging & categorizing:ironing-the-cloth-office-character-vector-illustration_zk4KpCvu_L

  • Your projects, your computer, your content. Use a system that works for you, and don’t be afraid to change it if you find it isn’t right.
  • Don’t stress about it. Being organised is good, but being disorganised doesn’t mean you can’t scrapbook. Just pick one kit, and use that kit for several pages. You need to reward yourself with completed pages and not get bogged down in organising.
  • Tag early, tag often. If you tag each kit one by one as you purchase them it’s a lot easier to stay up to date. Even if you are already in a mess, make a point of tagging new kits, and then at least you’ll never get further behind! Then once you’ve tagged all the elements in your new kit, put it in a category.
  • Do your organising in small doses. Spending hours tagging is not much fun. Alternate tagging / categorising between creating pages to keep your motivation up.
  • Create a tag for miscellaneous items you don’t know what to do with – mine is called “Other”. Some things are just very hard to label!
  • Do the easy things first – flowers, buttons, brads, staples – select multiple items by holding down the shift key as you click and you can sort many elements very quickly.

There is one way in which organising content is much better than ironing. You only have to do it once! Unlike clothes which need ironing time after time, once you’ve organised your content it stays organised.

Until you purchase another kit, of course!

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26 Responses to Blog: Organising Content is a Lot Like Ironing

  1. I’m new and just getting started. After the p2P10, I like the idea of organizing my Libraries or Categories by designer. However, I already see that I have a bunch of the “freebies”. Is there a way I can look up who the original designer was, since in Artisan, it only gives the title of the freebie kit. Also, I have some things like masks that are titled, “atp_” at the beginning. Is there a way for me to learn who or what “atp” stands for??

    • Jan says:

      ATP is Across the Pond. You might try looking at the freebies available in the FOREVER store to see if the ones you have questions about are listed there. Also, if you’ve used some of that content on a page, select the element > right click > Properties and you should get the name of the kit and the designer.

  2. Fran Arcoria says:

    I’ve been reading up on expert advise on how to organize my content. Mine is set up so different from others, however it works for me.
    I have lots of categories based on whether the cm content was a digi kit, addition, click n fill, expressions, power pallette…etc. a very large % is original cm product. Also each p2p Blueprint Book/and similiar is listed separately
    As to the newer designers, I have a folder for each designer, listed as PAK – designer name.
    I’ve not tagged anything. If tagged it arrived with tags. This is my current goal. I have about 600 kits with about 14k embellishments.
    I don’t want to re-categorize my library with theme basis but hope to begin tagging so I can FIND my word art, embellishments, etc.
    Thoughts on how to begin? Can I tag with 2 words ie
    Sports- baseball
    Sports -soccer
    Animals – bear

    Any thoughts here? Perhaps a list available?

  3. Penny Andler says:

    I’ll take all tips on organizing! Questions from this:
    1. You have a category for P2P blueprints?? Intrigued! How do you do get them into Artisan as content?
    2. You download kits directly into your Artisan Library? Don’t they come in zip files? How do you do this?
    3. If you put kits into Artisan, does this mean you don’t have the files also on your hard drive? How do you back them up?

    • Shelley says:

      1. I have a category for p2P Kits, not Blueprints. That includes BP collections that are for sale in the store, which are in kit format, and other p2P kits. You can see all our kits here
      2. Kits from the Forever store are not zipped, they are able to be saved directly to a library folder.
      3. You, that’s correct, I inly have the one copy on my computer. I back everything up using Crashplan, plus I have a backup on an external hard drive as well.

      • Penny Andler says:

        Ah, kits. I understand. So glad I asked–when I purchase, I can download directly to my Artisan Packages folder! It’s sort of a “duh,” so thank you for pointing out the obvious-but-never-thought-about tip. 🙂

  4. Phyllis says:

    Thanks Shelley for this tip. Do you have kits in more than one category? For instance, it might be Pastel and Seasonal Spring. Would you put it in both? Thanks.

  5. Rhona Collinson says:

    Shelley, how do you keep a record of the items you have used in a page – blueprints, fonts, etc. I have tried to place them next to the page but can’t make that work. Do I need a word file or similar?

  6. Janis says:

    Why when tagging content do I sometimes get a message regarding permission to tag–and then the program won’t let me tag.

  7. Laurie Crawford says:

    So what about the library’s, personal kits creative memories that are all on the right hand side? Can you put folders in those? Screen shots anywhere or tidbit videos? So many questions and scared to do anything after moving content last time.

  8. Nanette Shipman says:

    Wonderful blog Shelley! I’m always happy to see another one on organizing. I’m still not caught up. But I’m actually better about organizing content than I am about ironing! I like that last idea of paying someone else to do it for me! But I guess that’s not really a viable option. I do find that my system is always changing. It’s nice have the affirmation that it’s ok to change things up. I like your suggestion of making categories for a series and I think I will implement that change. I also think I will start tagging first and then do the categories. There have been too many times when I was looking for something very specific and couldn’t find it. I also wanted to ask you how you handle the goodies from a virtual crop. I want to be sure to put things with the designer, but sometimes I also want a way to find everything from that particular crop. Would you use a category, a tag or make a personal art kit, or something else?

    • Shelley says:

      For crop goodies, where there are a few elements for a number of different designers, I tend to create a personal art kit for that crop. Each element usually has the designers name in the title, so I still know who to credit, but I’d put them in the p2P Library folder if they’re from a p2P crop.

  9. Deanna says:

    OK, Shelley, I hate ironing so I make it a point not to do it. In fact, when it comes to buying clothing we usually search for fabrics that don’t have to be ironed. Truthfully, none of our clothing really needs it. Everything gets laid out on our bed after I launder it or it gets hung up to dry and everyone puts there own clothes away. All that ironing stuff aside, I HAVE to wonder if you have been peeking into my Content Manager!!!! lol! We seem to have very similar ways of organizing our content. Never thought about organizing by color, but it makes total sense! I will have to look into that. I am behind on tagging, but right now it doesn’t make that much difference to my scrapping and I do it in small spurts when it starts to nag on me. Thanks for your wonderful tips!!! 🙂

  10. debbie says:

    All great advice! I think sometimes I get too focused on the organization and don’t leave time to create. Also you need to keep your system fluid and be willing to tweak it as your preferences change. I do agree about grouping kits from the same designer together. For me each designer has their own catagory which makes it easy to see all the papers or embellishments from the same designer. As you note, they are often similar

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