Inventory Management: Getting Organized

The Plan

Your inventory is constantly changing. Items come in & go out, get attached & unattached, are changed, modified, updated, used, reused, & moved about. Looking in your inventory & seeing hundreds of items is not useful. Scanning overwhelming lists in search of items all the time is frustrating. So what is the best way to deal with all this? We need a way to keep track of all this without getting overwhelmed, as well as a way to store our items in a way that we can quickly locate each item as we need it.

I’ll cover creating a visually clear workspace & getting your inventory organized, making it easier to find new items you receive. You’ll also learn how to find & deal with duplicate items to lower you inventory count without giving up the items you love. For those of you who have so many items that sorting them is overwhelming, I’ll show you how to create folders to put clutter into until you can get it sorted out & put away. Next, I’ll cover more about getting things put away in an orderly fashion. If your inventory isn’t cluttered & you just want to set up a custom system to stay organized, go ahead & skip to ‘Deleting Duplicates’.

Clearing Clutter

To clear the clutter & prepare to get organized, create folders to temporarily hold items that need to be sorted & put away. These folders need to be where you can easily access them. To do this you can set up your inventory to sort alphabetically with System folders to the top. Go to your Gear icon in the inventory window & tick ‘Sort by Name’ & ‘Sort System Folders to Top’. We’ll also need to make sure you will be able to view empty folders. Go to your Gear Icon in your Inventory window & check ‘Show Filters’ to open the Filters window. Tick the ‘Always show folders’ box & close the filters window.

Character Ordering

Keeping in mind the sort order of keyboard characters, you can control where folders are sorted by using these characters to your advantage. When sorting alphabetically or ‘by name’, blank spaces are always sorted to the top but you cannot start an item or folder name with a blank space. The ! mark is sorted next after space. The ~ tilde is sorted to the bottom of the barrel – the very last character.

New Folder

Right click your top level folder, ‘Inventory’ & select ‘New Folder’. Name this folder something like: “! TO BE FILED”. You can name the folder something different that makes sense to you, if you prefer: ‘! IN BASKET’, ‘! TO BE SORTED’, ‘! OMG CAN I KILL IT?’, will all work fine too. Whatever works for you. Use all caps to make the folder more visible. The exclamation point & space will help assure that the folder always remains at or near the top of your list of folders, above any other folders.

TIP:There is a limit of how much you can put into a folder. To be safe, do not put more than 5000 items in a folder. That’s a lot & I wouldn’t recommend having that many items in a folder. Other folders don’t count in the 5000 item limit. Subfolders can also have 5000 items each.

Right click the new folder you created & choose ‘Copy’. Right click & paste a copy of the folder into each of your System folders:

  • Animations
  • Body Parts
  • Clothing
  • Gestures
  • Landmarks
  • Notecards
  • Objects
  • Photo Album
  • Scripts
  • Sounds
  • Textures

Move to TO BE FILED Folder

Select all folders & loose items directly under the top level Inventory folder except for the new folder you just created & your system folders. Select only about 20-40 folders at a time. If you have them also leave your ‘#Firestorm’, ‘#Phoenix’, ‘#InWorldz’ and/or ‘#RLV’ folders: they are special viewer & world specific folders. If you have any folders or items that you feel you must keep at this level then you can leave them unselected as well. When you have all your clutter selected, drag & drop it into the new ‘! TO BE FILED’ folder.

Muahahahahahaha! This is where everyone freaks out. Seriously, trust me here & don’t panic! You’ll get back to those items after you have your organization system setup & ready for sorting items. Meanwhile, you can see what you are doing more clearly as you work on sorting out that overwhelming mess!

Go to your ‘Received Items’ & ‘Lost & Found’ folders & move any items you have in those folders to your new ‘! TO BE FILED’ folder as well. Both the ‘Received Items’ & the ‘Lost & Found’ folders should be kept empty so you can quickly recognize when new things show up in them.

Decluttered Inventory Folder

Now stand back & look at your top level of folders. Much better visually! Of course, you just swept the mess under the carpet but we will get to that soon. Your system folders are all at the top, then the trash folder, & now the new ‘! TO BE FILED’ folder. Your ‘Received Items’ & ‘Lost & Found’ folders are empty. Now, when new items come into your ‘Inventory’, ‘Received Items’ or ‘Lost & Found’ folders you can easily spot them. When you create folders for getting organized, they will be easy to see & drag items too.

Deleting Duplicates

Open your ‘! TO BE FILED’ folder & look for duplicate items. Because you are sorting alphabetically, like named items will be together & you can investigate to see if they are unique items or duplicates. Double click to open files with the same file name to see if the contents are the same or different. Look through loose items below the folders for things with the same name & investigate those. Are they the same item or unique items with the same name?

TIP: Delete items you don’t want by pressing the ‘Delete’ key while they are selected.

When you find duplicates, check if they are copy. After the item name it will say, ‘(no modify)’, ‘(no transfer)’ &/or ‘(no copy)’ if any permissions are limited. You can also right click items & choose ‘Properties’ to see permissions. If any items are No Copy & they are something you may need more than one of then, by all means, keep the copies. Delete duplicates that you don’t need or want.

Now that you can see your top level Inventory folder contents better, take a look at your System folders at the next level. You can work on these folders using the same method. Repeat this process with each of your cluttered system folders. If you have any organizational folders already set up that are cluttered, do the same process with those as well.

Delete Delete Delete

Lego Dexter

Checking lists of items for duplicates when you move things around, with your sort order set to ‘Sort by Name’, is the most effective way of finding & deleting duplicates. As like items get sorted together in their custom categories, you will be able to spot them. Scan, find, investigate, & delete duplicates as you work.

Delete by Search Terms

Look for unwanted junk with search. Search terms to try: hover, floating, unpack, delete, give, gift, free, hunt, demo, rotat, read, info, shop, store, sale, tos, eula, bald, pose, posing, thank, thanx, welcome, resize, change. Not all of these will be unwanted but a good many will be unneeded items you received in folders from purchases & gifts.

TIP: When receiving new folders of items, always look inside & delete unneeded hover, giver, & other scripts that aren’t important.

Also search for instructions, how-to’s, & directions that you get from your HUD’s, toys, furniture, & gadgets. Many of these can be gotten again by clicking your items’ info or help buttons. If you don’t need to keep them in your inventory, delete them. Narrow down your search by setting filters to view notecards if the search return is too long.

WARNING: Be sure to save one copy of important instructions you can’t get again.

Delete by Search Terms

Also search for anything called object, primitive, or prim0-mesh, depending on what your world’s default name is for primitives & mesh objects. Check those items out to see if they are anything you want to keep. If they are, give them a name other than ‘Object’, ‘Primitive’, or ‘prim0-mesh’.

Search for the word ‘New’ and investigate things named ‘New Notecard’, ‘New Socks’, to see if they are things you want to keep. If so, name them something sensible.

Try using your filters to see only landmarks. Slide those landmarks into your Landmarks ‘! TO BE FILED’ folder & delete, delete, delete those duplicates! All those spammy landmarks you receive when you acquire folders of items can pile up fast!

Other culprit duplicates to consider deleting:

Your favorite sellers’ duplicate landmarks, instructions, scripts, & other items included in boxes when you acquire new items.

Notecard notices you get for sales, store specials, & events.

Prim hair in colors you don’t wear.

Eyes, skin, shapes, avatars, non-prim hair you will never use. Seriously? Do we ever wear non prim hair after the first day inworld? Not even newbies appreciate non prim hair….so why you keeping those? Do keep the bald bases you do use, of course.

Clothes, accessories, & shoes you will never wear. If it’s a past trend or just plain ugly & you honestly can’t think of a single reason to put it on – delete it!

Those demos you tried out….those demos you’ll never bother with now that you’ve forgotten them so long…..

You can box up & make newbie packs of hair, clothes, & body parts that you don’t want but someone else can use. Give these to new people you meet! Be sure to refer them to this tutorial for when all those freebies get out of hand….

Taking Out The Trash

WARNING:[/highlight] Once you’ve emptied your ‘Trash’ folder the items in there are gone forever! It’s permanent-nada, zip, zilch, gone! Do make a habit to double check the trash contents before you empty it.

Restore Trash Items Phx

You can easily delete selected single or multiple folders & items by pressing the ‘Delete’ key or by selecting ‘Delete’ in the right click context menu. It’s easy to do by accident! If you do accidently delete content it will be sent to your ‘Trash’ folder. Items in your ‘Trash’ folder can be restored. Locate the item or folder, right click & select ‘Restore Item.’ It’s a good idea to empty your ‘Trash’ folder often.

WARNING: Another caution to watch for: If you right click your ‘Lost & Found’ folder & select ‘Empty Lost & Found’, all items in your ‘Lost & Found’ folder will be permanently deleted. They will NOT go to the trash folder!

Delete Confirmation Notice

You will get a popup warnings when you try to delete items, multiple items, or a system folder. You will also get warnings when you empty the Lost & Found & Trash folders. That is, unless you disabled the warnings. I suggest you enable them if they are disabled. Popups might be a nuisance but they do give you a chance to think twice before taking an action that can’t be undone.

WARNING: When deleting items in the contents of prims in the Build window, those items will also be permanently deleted. They will not go to the trash folder. Fortunately, you will always receive a confirmation beforehand because that notification cannot be disabled.

Confirm Notices in Preferences

To enable them again go to Preferences or Ctrl-P (PC) / Cmd-P (Mac): Notifications tab. Move ‘Are you sure you want to delete multiple items?’, ‘Confirm before I delete a system folder’ , ‘Confirm before I empty the Inventory Trash folder’, & ‘Confirm before I empty the Inventory Lost & Found folder’ from the ‘Never show’ to the ‘Always show’ box by highlighting them and clicking the up arrow button.

Also move ‘Confirm before deleting items’, if you don’t find it too annoying to get a popup notification everytime you hit the delete key….I prefer to leave that one in the ‘Never show’ box myself. When you get these alerts in the future do NOT tick the ‘Don’t show me this again’ box so you’ll always get these confirmations before accidentally deleting something important.

Setting Up A Custom Organization System

It’s time to create a custom system of folders & subfolders to get & keep all your items organized so you can find what you want when you want it. By the time you finish this part of your inventory clean-up, you will have accomplished a major decrease in the numbers of items you have & have a system that will save you time everyday.

First let me outline the system concept so that the steps you take along the way make sense. These are guidelines. You will need to make a custom system that works for you.

Top Level Organization

Create up to 10 special folders in your Inventory folder. Less is better. Limit this to a short list that is easy to scan & navigate. These need to be for your most frequent activities. Things you need to access daily & that you want to keep close at hand.

You can use these folders to hold everything you need for a particular activity. Clothes, tools, gadgets, records, landmarks, notes, contacts’ calling cards, schedules, supplies, animations, whatever you use in that activity. Sometimes you may only want to keep a copy or a shortcut link to an item such as calling cards.

Subfolder Organization

Create categories of subfolders in each system folder & the new category folders you created under the Inventory folder. They should make sense for you. My subfolder categories make sense to me. They work the way I think & the way I accomplish my tasks. Yours need to fit you & how you think & work.

Create a balance between the number of subfolders in each folder & the number of levels your folders go down. You don’t want long lists to have to scan when looking for what you want. But neither do you want to be clicking all day to get to the lower sub levels of your inventory.

Try to not have more than a dozen or so folders at a level. Half a dozen would be even better.

Try not to have subfolders go more than four or five levels deep. Two or three would be even better.

Try not to have more than about 20-40 items in a folder. The idea is to avoid a lot of scrolling & long lists of folders & items to scan.

Notice I keep saying ‘try’. You will not always be able to succeed at meeting these goals, especially for large collections.

Over time, you will need to add or subtract category subfolders to suit you needs. Keep in mind the goals of keeping the number of Special folders, category subfolders, & items in each folder to workable numbers. Are your items easy to navigate to? Can you remember where everything is? Are the folder titles descriptive enough?

Name these category subfolders with an exclamation point ! & a blank space so the folders sort to the top alphabetically. Capitalize the folder names so you can spot these folders easily.

Once you have your Custom folders & subfolders created you will need to go back thru the ‘! TO BE FILED’ folders that you made in the Clear Clutter class & start working on sorting thru those items. Decide which items are highest priority & start there, working your way thru each ‘! TO BE FILED’ folder. Start with the type of items you find yourself most often digging for.

When a subfolder gets too many items in it, create a new set of subfolders, being even more specific.

Have It Your Way

List your top activities inworld. No more than 10 if at all possible!

Do you enjoy building? Making textures? Sculpties? Or are you into role playing, clubbing, hanging out, or other activities? Do you have a job inworld? Do you bring a rl activity like writing or photography inworld?

Are you a bargain hunter or a shop owner? A teacher or mentor? Do you buy & sell property or rent to others? Are you into an inworld sport or enjoy contests or games? Do you make animations or gestures? Are you a scripter?

What do you do inworld the most? Write your top activities down. This will help you work out a system that you won’t end up having to reorder again & again. Get it all worked out on paper, thinking of your interests & needs.

Next, consider what each activity requires in the way of organization. What do you need for these activities?

Ask yourself:

A place to keep items you wear, use, or share when doing the activity?
A place to store things you create from the activity?
A way to keep track of special records, correspondence, notes, friends, or dates?
Are there special clothes, tools, textures, objects, or information you need to access for this activity?
Are there landmarks you use or friends you contact while doing these activities?
How do they naturally fall into possible subcategories? By type, color, style, date, creator, or theme?
The important thing is that the categories fit how you think about the items you need for each important activity.
What items do you find yourself most often looking for? What items need to be conveniently on hand?

Do some of your activities overlap & need only one folder? Like property rentals & rental property management might? Or more than one role playing scenario that shares some items such as clothing? I find that my journalism & my creative writing endeavors certainly need only one folder. They use similar tools & resources. They involve many of the same locations & people.

You need to set your system up your way! Decide how you work on your most frequent activities & how you might create folders for them that help you be more efficient. What do you access most often? What things do you usually use together or during a particular activity? It doesn’t have to be perfect. As you see things you need to change you can change them. But, the more you think this through now, the less work you will have to do in the future rearranging things to suit you better.

I find that my builds, my building supplies & tools, as well as my buildings, landscaping items, & furnishings all get used together. They all get one folder with subfolders to categorize the items. It helps to have these items all near each other so I don’t have to go from one area to another during a busy build.

On the other hand I don’t like to dig through that big folder when in the middle of a project so I keep current projects in a Current Builds folder right next to the Building folder. My current project folder holds temporary items I won’t be keeping once the build is completed like textures & building components. When I’m all done with a build, all my supplies I used are in one folder. I can box them up with a backup of my build & store it in my main building folder.

I collect a lot of how-to articles & notes. Instead of keeping my notes & how-to’s in a special folder I keep them in subfolders in my system folders. Script how-to’s in the Scripts folder, texture tutorials in Textures, & so on. This makes more sense to me because when I am working with a particular type of item is when I need to find information about working with that type of item. Same thing for tools. Tools specific to scripting, textures, & animations are all in subfolders under the appropriate system folder.

Some activities stand alone & need their own space. Are there some items you like easy access to that just don’t fit into a system folder or elsewhere? I made a ‘! GADGETS’ folder where I keep HUDs, AO’s, Security, Communication, Navigation, Media, & all sorts of gadgetry. Most of these items don’t really fit anywhere else. So, they have their own home in my ‘! GADGETS’ folder now.

A subfolder of the ‘! GADGETS’ folder is my ‘! TOYBOX’ folder where I have categories for everything from Toys, Vehicles, Weapons, Dance Accessories, Drinks, roses (so many rose bouquets!), & so forth. This is my avatars lil’ toybox & she likes to be able to locate her things when she’s ready to play!

Clothes: If you’re a clothes horse, I suggest that you think hard about how to organize your clothes folder. Mine is done like my rl closet and drawers: categorized by type of items, then by whether they are casual, costumes, formal, business, etc.

I’ve heard a dozen ways of organizing clothing including by complete outfits, by color, by avatar type, by activity they are used for, etc.

I suggest that you organize your Outfits folder just as it’s done automatically when saving outfits with the outfits editor with one exception:

Consider deleting the links to the items such as skin, shape, HUDs that you use everyday and making a ‘! BASICS’ or ‘! FOUNDATION’ folder for those.
That way, you will save a lot of links being used repeatedly and if you do decide to change your shape, skin, or HUDs, you only have to change one link…..

If I have something I’m not sure if I’ll use again, I keep it in a ‘! OLD’ folder. It I don’t use items in this folder within a month or so, out it goes!

     ! TO BE FILED
Body Parts
     ! MY BODY
     ! TO BE FILED
     ! FAV HAIR
     ! FAV SKINS
Calling Cards
     ! TO BE FILED
          Hair Accessories
          Hand Held Items
     ! DRESSES
     ! JACKETS
     ! PANTS
     ! SHOES
     ! SKIRTS
     ! TATTOS
     ! TOPS
Current Outfit
     ! ACTIVE
     ! TO BE FILED
     ! EXPLORE
          (13 Landmark notecards)
Lost And Found
My Outfits
     ! TO BE FILED
     ! HOW TO’s
     ! READ ME
          (objects I’m not sure about & want to look at)
          (stuff i bought & need to put away)
     ! TEMP
          (stuff I need temporarily – mega’s mostly)
Photo Album
     ! TO BE FILED
     ! FRIENDS
     ! MISC
     ! MY PHOTOS
     ! TO BE FILED
     ! SCRIPT FAVs
     ! SCRIPTS
          Animation Scripts
          Door Scripts
          Gadget Scripts
          HUD Scripts
          Payment Scripts
          Prim Animation Script
          Rezzer Scripts
          Scanner Scripts
          Texture Scripts
          TipJar Scripts
          Vendor Scripts
     ! TO BE BOXED
     ! TO BE FILED
     ! RoseCityDesign
     ! TOOLS
     ! ALPHA
     ! AVATAR
     ! METAL
     ! OTHER
     ! PHOTOS
     ! STONE
     ! TEXTILE
     ! WOOD
     ! TO BE FILED
     ! MY BUILDS
     ! TOOLS
     ! TORTURED PRIMS     
~ See the ‘Office’ section next to see what’s here ~
     ! INFO
     ! HUD & SKATES
     ! TEAM
     ! UNIFORM
     ! MY HUDs
     ! TO BE FILED
     ! AOs
     ! PETS
     ! TOOLS
     ! TOYS

     ! DATE BOOK
          Builders Brewery Class Schedule
          ! SUNDAY (Notecard)
          ! MONDAY (Notecard)
          ! TUESDAY (Notecard)
          ! WEDNESDAY (Notecard)
          ! THURSDAY (Notecard)
          ! FRIDAY (Notecard)
          ! SATURDAY (Notecard)
          Online Schedules (Notecard)
          Roller Derby Practice Rota 2011
          ! PRODUCTS
          ! SALES RECORDS
          ! VENDORS
               ! CLASSES
               ! CORRESPONDENCE
               ! EVALUATIONS
               ! LANDMARKS
               ! RECORDS
               ! TIP NOTECARDS
               ! TOOLS
     ! WRITING
          ! JOURNALISM
          ! REVIEWS
          ! TUTORIALS
          ! WEBSITE


This is another whole tutorial itself but I’ll briefly touch on the subject here. Basically, you can use prims to box items that you don’t need to access often such as holiday items, building supplies like animations, sounds, etc that you don’t use frequently, old items, items you want to keep to give to newbies, etc.

Use organizers. In SL I use texture organizers but in InWorldz, where uploads are free, I keep most of my textures on my hard drive which is much easier to peruse & keep organized. In both worlds I use sculpty organizers because they allow me to see the shape of my sculpt inworld. You can get either type of organizer free. There’s also special systems for storing clothes and other items although they tend to be spendy.

You can also use notecards to store full permission landmarks, calling cards, animations, sounds, textures, snapshots, gestures, clothes, body parts, & objects. Putting scripts into prims for storage is, well, asking for trouble. Notecards are a great way to store them. Create & name notecards for each category of scripts you save & drag the scripts onto the cards.

Landmarks are a great item to store on notecards. I have a couple dozen notecards of them now. Everything from shops, freebies (good to give to newbies), builder resources, schools, clubs, to specialized builders’ supply sources. The only loose landmarks I keep are ones I use on a regular basis. When someone is asking about places to find particular items I can send them a whole notecard of suggestions. *Super Avatar: expanding clutter wherever she goes*

TIP: Did you know that you can put your calling card into a notecard? It’s a great way to sign your notes to others in a way that allows them to easily reply. Try using this technique on promotional, informational, & other business related notecards.

Daily Maintenance

Don’t burn yourself out. It took you how long to build up all this stuff? It will take you a while to work thru this stuff again & get it all sorted. I suggest you set a certain amount of time each day for working on getting your inventory in shape. When that time is up, pack it up & go have some fun & relax, knowing you’ve made progress toward your goal.

Getting organized is a step-by-step process & you don’t have to do it overnight. I suggest you spend a small amount of time each day you log in rather than trying to do it all in one day, one week, or even one month. That will just melt your mind & give you mush for brains! The idea of getting organized is to make your inworld experience better & more productive – not to burn you out & make things decidedly not fun.

Make a resolution to complete these tasks over a period of time, not in one big rush. Don’t overdo it & don’t procrastinate. The key to good organization is setting goals & keeping a balance. Work on it when you aren’t busy or have a little extra time. With a little effort each day, soon you’ll be sailing through the busiest of sims & the biggest builds with a smooth breeze at your back! And, by that, I don’t mean the lag breeze that can make your avatar sliiiiide around rather than walk!

When I log in, I move my ‘Received Items’ & any ‘Lost & Found’ items into my ‘Objects’ folder & work on getting them all put away pronto. Check your Recent tab to find more new items that need to be inspected & given a good home. Don’t let new items sit around until you forget what they are & don’t even let those babies pile up creating yet another clutter catastrophe. Before you log off again, be sure to take a few minutes to go thru your folders & your ‘! TO BE FILED’ folders & put your toys away! Naughty avatars who don’t keep up their daily maintenance will get lag in their stockings!

Staying Organized

If you go on hunts, shopping sprees, freebie foraging, etc. go thru your new items immediately. Delete what you don’t want. Delete unneeded notecards such as thank you notes, landmarks you already have or don’t want, & redundant posing stands. Put the items you are keeping in their new homes – in the folders where they belong permanently.

As soon as you complete a build, archive the build & the items you used for it & put it all away. Be sure to archive the textures used on the build if you, like me, keep your texture collection on your hard drive.

Your end goal is to eventually have all the items in your ‘! TO BE FILED’ folders put away in permanent homes, & to make it a habit to keep incoming items put away daily. Once you achieve these goals you can graduate to the next level & delete those ‘! TO BE FILED’ folders because you won’t have anything to put in them anymore – will you?

Woo hoo! Time for an organization graduation party I say!

Remona Stormborn

Co-Owner of Gaia Foundation in the Great Canadian Grid. Owner of the Builders Resource Center, Rose City Design, & IDEA! in the Great Canadian Grid & InWorldz.

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