workspace wednesday | how I organize my files.

Posted on: Wednesday, April 9, 2014

How I Organize My Files | Ann-Marie Loves

A few weeks ago when I posted about three tips for faster blogging, I received a lot of comments and e-mails asking me how exactly I keep my files organized. So today, I am sharing a brief overview of my system and why it works so well for me.

How I Organize My Files | Ann-Marie Loves

To begin with, I only keep one item on my desktop: a folder that says ALL. Within that folder are all of my files, broken down into smaller folders. Much like having too many tabs open in my browser window, I can’t stand desktop clutter. Whenever things start getting out of hand, I take a few moments to put files in their proper places and trash anything that I don’t need. The cleaner my digital workspace can be, the happier and more productive I am!

How I Organize My Files | Ann-Marie Loves

For the most part, I keep my personal photos and my blog photos separate, so within the 2013 and 2014 folders, I store all of my personal photos from each month of the respective year. Each month then gets broken down into events that I will remember by the name I assign it (i.e. Balboa Park).

How I Organize My Files | Ann-Marie Loves

Since I edit nearly all of my photos (at least, the ones that I plan on using), I always make two folders when importing files from my camera to Finder (by way of Image Capture): EDITS + ORIGINALS. Everything starts out in the ORIGINALS folder, but once it’s been edited, it gets moved the EDITS folder. Pretty self-explanatory, right? This makes the process of finding my favorite photos so much easier since I don’t have to dig through every single file in search of “that one image.” Once I’m done going through all the originals, I chuck the files that I know I will never use and back up the rest on my external hard drive every month or so.

The secret to having a system that works is to make it as fool-proof as possible. The more you can narrow down your folders (i.e. 2013 > 01 | January 2013 > Rose Bowl Flea > ORIGINALS > EDITS), the quicker you will be able to pull up any given photo at a moment’s notice. I will admit that I have not always been so organized, but now that I have this system in place, I can’t imagine ever going back!

  • jenn shurkus

    love, love ,love this post! thank you! My computer is always a HOT mess with multiple folders on my desktop and in dropbox for the same thing… I NEED to tackle this and get it in order.
    Thank you again!

  • Sarah

    Hey I am not sure if you are aware but your sidebar buttons seem to not be working. I keep getting a 404 message when I press them or search for something.

  • andrea

    Thanks for this inside view. Just a quick question? Why don’t you use iPhoto on your mac? I also have a mac and I only use iPhoto. Is it better to put them into Finder?

    • Ann-Marie Morris

      Hi Andrea – I’ve never really liked iPhoto. It doesn’t allow me to categorize my photos the way that I like them to be categorized, so I just made Image Capture my default application whenever I plug my card reader into my computer.

  • erin m.

    SO helpful! I struggle with desktop clutter and this just might be my perfect solution. Thanks!

  • Kory

    Wow! This is genius. I’m so happy you shared! Do you keep that same structure in your client work folder?

    • Ann-Marie Morris

      Hi Kory – my client folders are definitely similar. Each client gets their own folder, broken down into smaller folders based on the amount of components in each project.

  • Laura

    Wow so much ‘file envy’ right now. Time to do some serious cleaning of my PC I think! Thanks!

  • Erin

    The fact that it’s all linked from the desktop gives me anxiety lol.
    I do love the way you’ve organised by year/month/event though. :)

  • Vanessa

    Girrrrrl! That is organized! I think I have to go do that right now because my computer is a mess and it’s such a pain to sort through files. Question: If you store it all on your desktop in the ALL folder, do you think it affects how quickly your computer runs? I thought lots of stuff on the desktop slowed down a computer. Could be mistaken. Also, how many of the “originals” do you typically keep of your photos? I have such a hard time deleting old photos JUST IN CASE, you know? Especially now that I have a baby… Plus finding the time to edit photos never seems to happen.. Thanks

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  • Renae

    Duh! Just totally had a light-bulb moment!! I organize my pics by month but putting the month number in front is total genius to keep them in the proper order! Why didn’t I think of that?? Also love the separate edit and original folders. Genius. Thanks for sharing!!

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  • aimee

    Hi there!

    I was just wondering if you could tell me how you get that really cool color fading effect on some of your graphics? For instance the “digitizing hand lettering” title with the yellow and pink fading form the corners. I’d love to know how you do it! I use Illustrator and photoshop. Thank you!


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