How do you organize your files

I need to get my life and my files organized, but there are 2 different ways. what do you do?





I hope you see what im getting at. you can organiza bye CATEGORIES OF LIFE and have subcategories of things like pictures, documents, music. OR you can organize by THINGS like pictures, music, documents and have subfolders like personal, school, work under each category.
what is the best way in YOUR experience. Windows tends to organize by THINGS (my documents, my pictures etc. But Im wondering if its better to organize by AREAS OF USE or categories of life, however you want to put it.

either way, the setup es nested only 2 deep

I worked with a guy who organized files based on the medium. Newspaper clippings in one file, photographs in another file. Letters from outside the company in a third file, memoranda from inside the company in a fourth file. Drove me crazy. I’d need to know about some subject, and Louis would pull a piece of paper from here, a photo from there, a couple of letters from over there, and assemble it all into a coherent whole, but he was the only one who could, because he was the only one who knew where everything was. Great job security, I guess, but a really rotten way to keep things organized.

If you wanted, you could get really fancy and make a work partition instead of just a folder. Like, keep all your personal stuff in the “My ____” generated stuff on C:, but make a new work partition like W: and add you folders there. That’s probably a little more in depth than you’d like to go though.

Otherwise, I’d do the first one.


That’s about as sophisticated as i get. Everything else just gets tossed into the home folder. My Blender folder is very neat and organized, tho. I guess if it was a work computer you could just remove the porn…

My method works perfectly, and everything is always exactly where it should be. I never have to look for a file, there’s only one place it can be. Unless it’s music or porn. Then there’s an alternate place.

This is what I tend to do:

E:/Home/New – Downloads, File Transfers

E:/Home/Workbench – Contains images (any format), text (txt or rtf or whatever) I’ve made but aren’t done with or haven’t sorted off into another place yet. Mostly projects that don’t have more than one or two files.

E:/Home/Archive – Empty and I don’t remember making it
E:/Home/Art – Done art; mostly PSD or XCF format originals; many catagory folders
E:/Home/Code – Coding projects cuz they take whole directories
E:/Home/Data – my %home% for .dot_files and emacs directory and logfiles and stuff
E:/Home/Game Screenshots – Probably belongs somewhere else
E:/Home/Other – A few music and mod files I’ve made
E:/Home/Photos – Gillion digitial phot
E:/Home/Public – Theoritical LAN Inbox
E:/Home/Vault – Downloads; software, images, books, text files, whatever, it’s a mess
E:/Home/Web – Really old website projects and custom python templating
E:/Home/Writing – Done writing filed by fiction-universe/poetry/essay/etc

E:/Home/Workbench/Blender – Contains a Projects dir, a Playground dir, a Vault of it’s own, and some other stuff, and should probably be somewhere else.

Generally I like to group things by project when the projects are large, and by kind for projects that only consist of a few files. Blender would be the one big exception to this at the moment, but it also feels different since it puts out a lot of files that are meaningless to anything else, unlike a text editor (or even word processor) or most 2d art programs. I would also be more likely to put blender files elsewhere if I could tell blender to go shove all the .blend1s and .blend2s and so on in some directory I never had to look at.

Grouping things only by kind would drive me nuts, and grouping them by filetype would make me run screaming.

Ramble ramble.

One thing I learned from accountants: avoid folders called “other” and “miscellaneous.”

Probably doubly true when they’re the folders UNDER /home/porn …

I don’t have many files - so I don’t need to!

Its normally easier to find if things related to a particular job or “thing” are in the same place.

This would be Categories of Life by your method.
For example:
-------------- Joes House
------------------------ Info
-------------------------Dox (All doc and xls files)
----------------Jacks House
------------------------- Plans
------------------------- Info
------------------------- Images
-------- General (Not related to a particular job)

-------------- Images
-------------------------Vacation 2007
------------------------- Barbie
--------------- Dox
------------------- Attorneys
------------------- Party

-------------- Music

You will always want to relate to an event rather than a file type… unless its music.

Such and such happened… Now where are all the documents relating to that event???
So, relating to work, if a client comes in and wants to know something about their job, ALL the info should be in one place, not scattered all around. They might want before and after images of a worksite etc or analysis sheets, or plans, or test results, cable runs, color charts, or whatever. All related to that job. All in one place.

There are many different ways to organise stuff. Generally though, the best approach is to think in terms of which files you use together, and then just split them up to keep things organised, narrowing down based on how you use stuff. Windows doesn’t really provide proper organisation facilities though.

On unix, you’d ideally make a user account for work and private life stuff, then break it down further into working sets, as needed.

With lots of files, I’d probably use an arrangement like projects/models/furniture/thirdparty/3dcafe/bear.blend and projects/mountainscape/scene1.blend. In a simpler set of files on windows, you’d probably start in your documents directory, and consider it a “projects” folder.

Again, on unix, you have some advantages. You have proper shortcuts (“links”), so you can organise both (or any) way(s):

personal/projects/x/3D (link to projects/3D/x)

I think Vista is a bit better with shortcuts; might be worth trying. If not… get a decent OS :wink:

And… yes, avoid “other” and “misc”. If it’s truly just a few other things, they can stay in the “higher” directory: 3d/somefile.x 3d/otherfile.x. Once they start to show a pattern more specific than 3D, make a new folder and put them in: 3D/oldwork/ or 3d/unfinished_ideas/ or whatever.

One thing I’ve learned with windows: Don’t save anything worthwhile in their “My Documents” folders.
If ever your windows crash, or you do a reinstall, that folder gets summarily replaced.

i have a separate /home partition

-----------------/WORK(collage work)

all of my blender files are arranged in a library simmaler to the ED files

ive been thinking, really labes seem to be a much better way of organizing things on a computer. I love my gmail labels, because its like having the “files” in two places at once, so either way Im thinking about it will work. Is there a way to do that with files? use labes instead of folders?

Here’s how I organize stuff:


I start by defining between things I work on and things I want to hang on to: data and projects. We do have a NAS, and it’s set up the same way. I’ve found that simple distinction helps a lot for me and is perfect for what I spend most of my time doing, and makes it an easy way to start organizing files.

Data generally contains all of the stuff that I didn’t make. So music, videos, copyrighted photo reference, and other downloaded stuff goes here. Data has the following directories: __sort, audio, documents, downloads, images, music, preferences, videos. Again, this is all stuff that has nothing to do with my projects. If I use something in my library as reference for one of my projects, I’ll make a copy and put in in the “references” folder in my project.

Projects contains the stuff I’m currently working on. Projects has the following directories: __sort, 3d_animation_workshop, freelance, personal, photos, projects-archive, studio.

Some projects are so huge that I give them their own directories, such as the 3D Animation Workshop. I do a lot of little freelance projects so inside of that I’ll create a folder for each project. After it’s done I’ll move them to the projects-archive folder to be backed up regularly. I also take a lot of photos so I have a folder for that, which is especially good for reference. Personal projects that I’m doing for myself have their own directory, as well as stuff we are doing for our studio if it’s not on the NAS for some reason.

You’ll notice I have a __sort folder everywhere. It’s basically a misc or temp folder, but it serves as a note that it’s not organized.

Each folder also has it’s own organization scheme depending on the project. Music is organized in a certain way, as well as movies, documents, etc. I’m not really anal about organization after the first few levels because it is so specific to each project. And sometimes I have to work so fast I just put everything into one folder and don’t worry about it.

I would talk about organization for my library but only if someone asks because it’ll take a while.

One thing I am anal about is nomenclature. You might have noticed that all my file names are lower case and have no spaces, just dashes and hyphens. Aside from the usual things that can go wrong with using filenames that have spaces and caps in Unix-based systems and on the web, having good file names helps me search for files. I use the search a lot to find old files, and I actually find them without fail very quickly. Because I’m anal about the first few levels in the directory structure I can search for a video file really quick because I know that it will be in /data/videos/reference/. That’s a lot faster than searching the whole hard drive.

That’s the general organization for my computer. Data and Projects are on different partitions, while my operating system and applications are on another hard drive. So If I need to make a backup of my system I know I can just completely erase that whole drive and not worry about a thing (I have the drivers and install files under /data/downloads/program_installs/ so I don’t have to worry about my applications either).

THATS WHAT IM LOOKING FOR:yes: As I mentioned, this is not only about my files, but MY LIFE, hehe. I need to organize everything, and I want a very obvious but practical way that wont need to be modified every year.

PLEASE TELL ME ABOUT YOUR LIBRARY ORGANIZATION. I would really appreciate it, as I spent several hours researching internet for methods of organizing
I know the solution is a balance between 12-nested folders with 2 files, and just one C:\stuff folder :spin: And the key is CLEVER NAMING. please expound, I think you just might inspire several people around here.

Okay. Here it goes. I’m going to go over my music collection first.

in my /data/music/ directory, I have my music collection split up by genre.


Notice that I’m not too picky about the genres. Trance, Drum and Bass, Industrial, and House all go under Electronica.

The NEW folder has the same structure as this one. I just make duplicates of new albums that I’ve bought and put them in there. The idea is that once the NEW directory reaches 4GB (or whenever I feel like it) I’ll back it up to DVDs. Then all I have to do to build my library is dump all my music into the same directory and the directory structure is still retained, and my files are still organized, even though it can span many DVDs worth of backups.

Inside each folder I have it separated by band, and inside of each band it is separated by albums.

Occasionally I will have an unsorted folder. That’s okay. There’s no real point to creating an artist and album folder for only one song that you found, especially if you don’t know what it’s from. For example, I saw a video once that had this awesomely silly song in it. I had no clue what it was or who made it, but I recorded it and called it “silly song wtf,” and put it into the unsorted folder. I played that song all the time (mainly to annoy people). Most music players have a search function, so I was able to find it at any time by searching for “silly.” It wasn’t until a couple of months later that I discovered that the song was actually “Yakity Sax”, the Benny Hill theme song. I renamed it and changed the tags but I still left it in the unsorted folder, and it will probably stay there forever.

So, if you use WinAmp, Rythmbox, or something else like it that has a search function, that’s how you’ll be finding your music. Having them in structured on your harddrive is mainly for backup convenience and being able to remove a whole band’s music if you’ve gotten sick of it, and add a new band to your harddrive from your archives easily.

Now, even though I have all these bands organized into folders, most important is that the songs are tagged properly. Foobar2000 has a masstagger that makes tagging really easy. Make sure the title, album, artist, genre are in there.

Since buying that new Iris album (great indie electro-rock band) I’ve started including the lyrics inside of the OGG (or MP3) tag comments. Kinda handy, if you want to sing along. I used the Leo’s Lyrics site and then copy-and-pasted it so I didn’t have to type it myself.

The other odd folder in there is the /data/music/glens_remix folder. Sometimes I’ll edit a song for whatever reason: take out the parts I don’t like, shorten it for an animation, etc. If I modify the music I’ll put it here.

For audio stuff I have a /data/audio/ folder. These are for things such as comedy routines, books on tape, language training, Riff Trax, podcasts, GDC presentations, etc.

I used to have a /data/sfx/ folder for sound effects, and a /data/samples/ folder for sound samples (for music composition).

Now on to nomenclature. I’ve said previously that I only use lowercase letters, dashes and spaces, and numbers in my filenames. This makes it easy to look through a folder and type files in.

These are my rules of nomenclature:

Use underscores rather than spaces. And use dashes for versions, variations, and grouping files together.


In this example, I know what the file is, I know that is the version of that has all the fonts outlined for sending it to the press. the PSD files have the 3d_animation_poster prefix so I know they are part of the 3D Animation Poster, and that I’ll need those image files because the AI file links to them. The nice thing about this is they are going to be grouped together when I view the folder, because files are sorted alphabetically. I use the dashes to make a mini-outline to structure the files.

Thankfully, now that I’ve started using the simplified Dvorak keyboard layout the dashes and underscores are actually easy to get to. So that’s handy.

When rendering I’ll do the same thing. I’ll have the scene number, shot number, comp layer, and then frame number. For example: 01-03-matte-0023.png.

Just use common sense. You don’t have to be anal about it, because I know my naming schemes change all the time from projects to project. I just make sure the filenames make sense but are not too long, that they show what files are variations of which files, dependencies, and don’t have any offending characters that are bad for unix and web. Having all my file names lowercase is just a preference because I do use linux and things are case sensitive in the console.


I use the ISO standard for dates in file names and directories, which is yyyy-mm-dd. The main reason for this is that it will be sorted properly in alphabetical order.

Occationally, when I sort things by date they are done by season. For my 3D Animation class for example, I do this:


The reason why is because summer, fall and winter will not sort sequentially, but alphabetically. So I just put a number at the beginning for every semester I’ve taught so they are sorted the way I want them too.

Again, use common sense.