How to Organise Scrapbooking Collections

Once you start collecting a few scrapbooking collections and elements, you’ll find it is surprisingly easy to get out of control. You’ll soon discover that it is difficult to lay your hands (digitally speaking) on exactly the flower or background you’re looking for, or to find complementary elements in different collections.

Many websites and groups run contest and challenges in which you have to include a particular percentage of items from a specific supplier or designer. Another issue you’ll come across is that you’ll need to credit the designers used, or check the terms of use relating to particular elements.

I have seen a lot of different ways to organise your elements, and I’m sure you’ll come across many of them in due course. The method below works well for me, but you might want to choose a different method. It’s very personal but the key thing is to get organised from the beginning!

My Folders

Firstly I have one big folder on my computer called Family Photo Scanning, which is divided into two subfolders: Originals and Edits. This is where I keep every single scanned photograph. I name the files with a year at the biginning of the file name, so they are ordered by date and easy to find. Of course, all my photos are backed up to the cloud.

I have a second big folder called Scrapbooking. This is used as a catalogue or library for scrapbooking collections and elements. The top level folders are:

  • Collections – all my elements arranged by collection
  • Elements – all my elements arranged by type
  • Pages – this contains all of my complete psds and jpgs
  • Wish List – here I keep preview images of kits I’d like to purchase

My Library

Each of my elements, e.g. GS_NarcisseDesPres_LDrag_Filename.png are saved in triplicate, in three separate places:

  • Scrapbooking > Collections > Supplier_name contains each unbroken collection or kit, each one in its own CollectionName_DesignerName folder so you can see the contents of a collection or kit at a single glance.
  • Scrapbooking > Elements > All Elements contains every single element, with all the suppliers and designers mixed together, arranged in folders by type.
  • Scrapbooking > Elements > Supplier_name contains every element for a single supplier arranged in folders by type.

My Process

  1. When I acquire a new collection I create a new folder for the collection and a subfolder for its zip files. The path looks like this: Collections > GingerScraps > GS Narcisse Des Pres LDrag > GS Narcisse Des Pres LDrag Zip Files. In this example GS is the supplier (GingerScraps), Narcisse Des Pres is the kit name, and LDrag Designs is the designer. The zip files stay there forever.
  2. I unzip all the collection’s zip files into the collection folder, e.g. GS Narcisse Des Pres LDrag.
  3. Now comes an important step. I rename every single file so they look like something this: GS_NarcisseDesPres_LDrag_Filename. Now I will never again wonder where, or who, a particular element came from. When I place elements in my psd files, all this information is preserved in the layers.
  4. I find the best preview image for the kit, rename it FOLDER and make sure that it is in the the top level of the collection folder e.g. GS Narcisse Des Pres LDrag (this is a really useful way to be able to recognise collections without opening the folders).
  5. I rearrange the contents of the unzipped files so that all the elements are loose in the collection folder, e.g. Collections > GingerScraps > GS Narcisse Des Pres LDrag > GS_NarcisseDesPres_LDrag_Filename.
  6. I keep each alphabet in its own subfolder (with the preview image, if there is one, renamed FOLDER).
  7. I place any information from the vendor and designer in a separate subfolder e.g. GS Narcisse Des Pres LDrag TOU (Terms of Use).
  8. I copy all the loose files in the collection folder (excluding the preview and the Terms of Use folder) and paste them into the relevant element type subfolders Elements > All Elements > Animals folder.
  9. I copy all the loose files again, and paste them into the relevant element type subfolders for the supplier, e.g. Elements > GingerScraps Elements > Animals.

Here’s my list of element type subfolders:

  • Alphabets
  • Animals
  • Arrows and Chevrons
  • Backgrounds Writing
  • Backgrounds Black and Grey
  • Backgrounds Blue Lilac Purple
  • Backgrounds Brown Beige
  • Backgrounds Green Yellow
  • Backgrounds Multi
  • Backgrounds Photos
  • Backgrounds Pink Red
  • Backgrounds White
  • Backgrounds Writing and Print
  • Borders Lace Tape Ribbon Straight
  • Bunting
  • Buttons and Brads
  • Christmas
  • Clips Pins and Staples
  • Clocks and Watches
  • Clusters and Quick Pages
  • Flourishes
  • Foliage White
  • Foliage Black Grey
  • Foliage Blue Lilac Purple
  • Foliage Brown Beige
  • Foliage Green
  • Foliage Yellow Orange
  • Foliage Pink
  • Foliage Red
  • Foliage Victorian Scraps
  • Food and Drink
  • FX Styles ASLs Brushes
  • Frames Mats Doilies
  • Hearts
  • Journalling Spaces and Tags
  • Masks
  • Musical
  • Other
  • Ribbon Curls and Bows
  • Scatters and Splatters
  • String and Stitches
  • Transport
  • Vintage Ephemera
  • Words – word art and journal cards

I now have each element e.g. GS_NarcisseDesPres_LDrag_Filename saved in the three separate places:

  • Scrapbooking > Collections > Supplier_name > filename.
  • Scrapbooking > Elements > All Elements > Animals > filename.
  • Scrapbooking > Elements > Supplier_name > Animals > filename.

I hope you found this helpful! Please feel free to comment. I’d love to know what variations you use.

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