SL for Nowt

Living a digital life with empty pockets

Inventory Management: Brushing it under the carpet

Edit: As I was proof-reading this, my webhost started acting up, so if the images aren’t showing for you, come back to the page in a few minutes and try again. It seems to be off and on, but I have to publish this post now I have it ready! OK, peeps. I looked at my inventory the other day and I got the heebie jeebies (and it’s not even Halloween yet). Not only has it crept back up to a frightening amount, but I had hundreds of unfiled folders, and that amount was growing every time I logged on. That calls for drastic measures, so if you’re struggling with hundreds of unfiled folders, too, and looking at your inventory in utter despair, hop behind the cut. We’re going to tackle this together, and I promise you that you’ll feel much better after just a couple of hours working on it.

OK, the first thing you’re going to do is create five new ‘covering’ folders. These are based on a filing system that I’ve used time and again in my life; so much so that the letter combinations are ingrained on my memory. Each new folder in your inventory should begin with an exclamation mark, followed by two or three spaces, then the letters, thus: !   0 – 9 !   A – D !   E – K !   L – R !   S – Z (I didn’t have 0 – 9 on my original list when I took the above screencap, but I found I needed it later.) Once you’ve done that, create one more folder, thus: !   Hunt prizes to be sorted I also created the following folder, because I needed one: !   SL Marketplace/XstreetSL items to be sorted

Okay, you’re all set. Open a second inventory window (File > New Window) and we’re ready to start dragging and dropping. First, we’re going to scroll past all the ‘outside’ folders whose names begin with punctuation, so ignore all of the ! and the * and the + and get to the A’s. Click the first ‘A’ item, and then scroll down to the last, then hold down Shift and click that. With all of the A’s selected, click and hold in the selection and then drag them across to your A – D folder. Do the same with the B’s, the C’s, and the D’s. And then move on to the other letters, dragging them all into their relevant ‘covering’ folders. Some folder contents won’t be obvious. You’ll probably have folders like the image below, simply called ‘Hunt Prize’ or ‘Freebie!’ so you’ll need to look inside these to find out what’s inside them. While you’re there (if possible) rename the folder. If there are a lot of folders for, say, a store hunt, just create a new folder in the relevant ‘covering’ folder, call it ‘[Name of store] Hunt Prizes’, and drag all the folders across into that. You can sort and rename those later. You may also find some folders named one thing but inside the store name is completely different! Don’t worry too much about this; just be aware of it and try to check whenever possible.

Because you’re working with so many folders, you will end up missing things and mis-filing. Again, don’t be too concerned with this for now. We’ll deal with that later. Here are two items I put into A – D because, at first glance, they began with C and B:

If you have tons of folders from hunts, create individual folders in your ‘Hunt prizes to be sorted’ folder for each hunt, and drag those across. Okay, by the time you’ve reached Z your inventory should be looking a lot less chaotic. I suggest taking a short break now, because you’ve probably been concentrating pretty hard on your screen. Step back and make a cup of tea, walk the dog; just get away from the screen for a few minutes. There’s more concentrating coming up. Ready? Right, scroll back up because now we’re going to tackle all of that annoying punctuation, so you need to focus a bit more here. Try not to see the punctuation marks, and instead look at the first letter of the folder name. This time you’ll be finding stuff all over the place, so I suggest taking it one letter at a time, as you did before: finding as many of the A’s as you can, then the B’s. Naturally, you’ll miss some, but you can come back to them later. Some stuff you simply won’t be able to file. Got a generic box of freebie clothing, simply called ‘Free dresses’? Bung it in the F folder for now. The aim here is to clear out the main part of your inventory. You can get down to the nitty gritty later on. (Another tip: any stores that begin ‘The’ you should file in the letter folder for the next word in the name. So, for ‘The Great Store’, file in G, otherwise you’ll have far too many items in your T folder.)

So… deep breath and take a look at your inventory. You should now just have the main folders, and all your messy folders are (relatively) well-organised in their covering folders. Give yourself another break, because next comes the fine-tuning. Now we’re going to open each ‘covering’ folder and create individual letter folders, as in the pic above. So in A – D you need: !  A !  B !  C !  D And so forth. You can do all of the letter folders first, or you can make them as you work through the covering folders. And now, you start dragging across by letter. Again, begin with the non-punctuation folders, and move onto those with punctuation. Be careful here, as some folders will be named by outfit first, then creator, and some will simply have the outfit name. Don’t worry about renaming for now; just check inside to find the creator. (A big hint here, if there’s no LM or notecard inside: look for a piece of system clothing [pants, shirt, etc], right-click it and select ‘Properties’. Look for the creator’s name, and click the button, then see if their store name is listed in their profile or picks.)

Again, I’m going to stress this: don’t fret too much over getting everything perfect first time. As you’re dragging across into the individual letter folders, that is when you’ll notice some things you’ve filed wrongly (like the outfits I put in A – D a few images ago). Now’s the time you can push them into the correct folders. OK, now give yourself a reward and don’t do any more! Stop there and go have some fun in-world. Because now everything is sorted, albeit only alphabetically, but now when you’re stalking a lucky chair or item camping, you can open up one of those letter folders and start filing just that folder, which is a lot less overwhelming than looking at hundreds and going, “ACK!” And, if you have more time and privacy, it’s a good time to go through those individual folders, try stuff on, and have a good throwing-out session :)


October 19, 2010 - Posted by | inventory management


  1. I love reading your blog.

    Thanks for taking the time out to go into so much detail for those of us who are a bit lazy and need a prod!


    Comment by Paula | October 20, 2010 | Reply

    • Thanks, Paula!

      I’ll admit that I’m lazy and need a prod, too, so some of these inventory tutorials are just as much for me as they are for my readers ;)

      Comment by Mar | October 20, 2010 | Reply

  2. Great idea. My inventory is starting to look like your first picture, too.

    It seems like at the beginning you are saying to file the folders alphabetically according to whatever letter is first in the folder name, but then later you seem to be saying that you recommend filing them alphabetically according to the creator’s name?

    Comment by AK | October 20, 2010 | Reply

    • Sorry; it does come across that way, yes. Since the bulk of the work is in that initial sorting section into the covering folders, I thought it best to just go with “all the A’s, then all the B’s”, leaving the fine-tuning for the second round. Mostly, content creators in Second Life tend to put their store name first, so the amount of mis-filed items in the initial round hopefully wouldn’t be too excessive.

      Basically, I was worried that if I suggested checking each folder name individually at first, those people with massive inventories might go at it with a will for 15 or 20 minutes and then give up. So, bulk was the way to go, to begin with.

      It doesn’t really matter which way you file them, because when you eventually get around to sorting through all of the individual folders you’ll be putting them into your personally-organised inventory (as I always suggest: your inventory filing system should make sense to you, because you’re the only one using it); thus by-store or by-item is sort of a moot point. Given the folder-naming conventions held by most creators, I figured by-store was the better option :)

      Comment by Mar | October 20, 2010 | Reply

  3. I have probably 42,000+ items and have started sorting them, but it was so overwhelming. This is very helpful info and I will start working on it tonight!

    Comment by Anya Navarita | October 20, 2010 | Reply

    • You’re welcome, Anya. I hope it helps you feel less overwhelmed and more able to cope with sorting. Once an inventory gets that high it can be like opening the shed door in the spring to look for the mower, then shutting it pretty damn fast again! ;)

      Comment by Mar | October 20, 2010 | Reply

  4. Hi there! Reading this kicked me into sorting mode too. I have been meaning to do it but I am oh so lazy. Here’s my system. i have a folder labeled “STUFF TO SORT” And as I get stuff I drop it into there until I get un lazy. Then I have subfolders. CLOTHES TO TRY,HAIR TO TRY,OBJECTS TO TRY, SKIN,etc. I go sort my STUFF folders into there and then when I have idle time I try stuff on and keep or ditch.
    That’s as organized as my little life gets :)

    Comment by Ember Adored/ Randt | October 23, 2010 | Reply

    • That’s a good start, though, Ember! I know that having gazillions of folders is overwhelming when you can see them piling up in those ‘outside’ folders, so as long as they’re not out of mind while remaining out of sight in your ‘stuff to sort’ folders (and as long as you do actually sort them!) then you’re well on your way to getting more organised :)

      P.S. I edited your name here to remove the bit you mentioned in your second comment. Hope that was how you meant it?

      Comment by Mar | October 23, 2010 | Reply

  5. Yes thank you so much!

    Comment by Ember Adored/ Randt | October 23, 2010 | Reply

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