Hallo, Hunters, and welcome to Inventory Control 101. I'm Professor Shadow, and today's lesson is how to wrangle that inventory monster back under control. Okay, so this isn't really a class on inventory control, but I thought I would share a few tips with you guys on how to keep somewhat of a handle on your inventories. Hunting is a rapid-fire way to build up huge amounts of stuff that you will never, ever see again after opening it. In any given month, my inventory fluctuates between 5 and 10K just from hunt items. In self defense, I have worked out a few methods that help me keep my numbers manageable and the stuff in my inventory easily accessible.
1. UNPACK YOUR HUNTS! Seems simple, right? A lot of people will do a hunt, then stash it away to unpack later on. Later never comes, and you end up with folder after folder of unknown stuff. Unpack it all, and toss the items you don't want. Because of the blogging, I have great incentive to unpack right away and usually do so the day after finishing a hunt so that we can get pictures. I do not throw things away until the end of each month. I set aside one day, go through the blog pictures, make a list of what items i want to keep, and throw out everything else. It hurts sometimes, but it really makes a huge difference. (Case in point - at the end of March, I cleaned out my March and February hunt folders and tossed over 8K items!)
2. SORT YOUR STUFF! Once you decide what you are keeping, sort it out so you can find it again. I use 3 sorting methods: by item, by organizer and by hunt.
By Item: This is the easiest method by far of keeping track of what is in your inventory. It is also the most painful the first time you do it. Once you have things set up, though, its a breeze to keep things in order. I use this method mostly for things I buy in SL, rather than hunt stuff (more on why later!). Once a week, I go through new purchases and get them in the right folders and it only takes a few minutes. Lets use pants as an example.
A. Create a main folder entitled "Pants".
B. Inside that folder, create subfolders such as "shorts", "capri", "long".
C. Inside those folders, break it down even more by colors such as "blue", "black", "brown", "misc", "striped", etc.
D. Next time you buy a pair of pants, stick them in the appropriate subfolder, and you will always know where to find those great cream and brown striped capris!
Alternatively, you can sort by designer as well:
A. Create a folder for a specific store, "Sn@tch" for example.
B. Inside that folder, create subfolders such as "dresses", "pants", "tops", "outfits".
C. Put your items into the appropriate folders.
D. Sorting by designer requires a decent memory, though - when you want those cream and brown striped capris, you have to remember where you got them. =)
By Organizer: One of the things I do a lot of in SL is take pictures and buy items to build with (sculpts, textures, etc). Those items also tend to take up a lot of inventory space. Keeping things in organizers is a godsend. Again, as with any sorting method, the first time you get it set up can be painful as you work through the accumulated mass of stuff clogging your inventory, but once it is done, upkeep is very simple. Photos are easy - I have individual organizers devoted to various things: "Blog pics", "Thanos", "Friends", etc. Most organizers let you rename buttons on them for individual subjects, and I just fill them with pictures. Each organizer is renamed so I know what is inside, and when I need to find something, all the images are there at my fingertips. This works for sculpts (use a sculpt organizer that lets you see a 3D image of the sculpt maps) and textures as well. One difference with the build items I keep in organizers is that I keep notecards with them, so that if I am looking specifically for laced leather textures from XYZ shop, I can look at the notecard, find the specific item and know which organizer to pull out to get the textures. I also sort the organizers so 1 holds all my own store clothing templates, 1 holds bought templates, 1 holds landscaping textures, 1 holds fabric textures, etc. to help make it easier to keep track of what is in which organizer. All the organizers with build stuff are in one main "Building material" folder, all the organizers with my store stuff are in one main "Dark Water Design originals" folder and so forth. A lot of work - definitely. But the payoff of being able to find what I need quickly and the resulting 1000's of items NOT slowing down my inventory was/is definitely worth it.
By Hunt: This is not as effective a method as the other 2, but I do use it. I consider the blog an extension of my inventory, and reference it when I am looking for specific things. For instance, I might remember there was a really cool goth skin in a hunt some time ago and I will flip through blog posts for the goth theme hunts until I find it again, then go to that hunt in my inventory to pull it out. The hunts themselves are in a huge "Blogged Hunts" folder in my inventory. The folder has subfolders by year and inside those folders, it is broken down further by month. After I unpack a hunt, blog it, then go through and toss the items I don't want to keep, the hunt gets put into the corresponding month/year folder so that I can find it again easily. So as an example, somewhere in there, there is a "Blogged Hunts" > "2011"> "December"> "Gothmas by Gaslight" folder with all the items I kept from that hunt. Makes for an easy reference for me. Since most of you do not blog, it might be easier for you to take the hunt items you decide to keep from each hunt, and sort them by item instead.
3. BE RUTHLESS! Honestly - how many pairs of black boots do you need? How many do you HAVE versus how many you actually WEAR? Keep your favorites, but toss out anything else, especially if you haven't worn it in a while. Styles change, SL technology changes - you probably wouldn't be caught dead in the clunky, made from prim, presculpties shoes with the invisaprims on them, so why keep them? Try on your old stuff, and deep six the items that have you thinking to yourself "What the hell was I smoking??" Do all of Sl a favor, and if your clothes or shoes bling - throw them out! Its really hard to do at first, but once you get going, it is amazingly liberating to get rid of the deadweight in your inventory.
4. SAVE SPACE! If you can consolidate items you do not use frequently, do so. For example - how many beds or living room sets do you have in your inventory? How many do you actually use? I have a ton of pretty, well-made pieces I really want to keep, but I know I won't be using them any time soon. For stuff like that, box it up. I have a "Furniture" folder filled with boxes marked for what they contain: the "Living Room" box has over 20 living room sets in it for example. There is also a NC in the box where I listed the sets (where they came from, colors, number of pieces, etc) so that when I want to pull one out, I can just reference the NC and yank the right set from the main box. Pain in the butt to set up? Sure! But it saves a ton of space. Do the same thing with notecards - sort them by topic and box up the older ones that you want to hang onto. Back when I was actively roleplaying, I collected hundreds of notecards related to the RP. I don't need them anymore, but in case I ever decide to revisit that aspect of SL, I have them all stashed in 1 little box. Easy to access, not taking up a lot of space. The same goes for your clothes, those special outfits you don't use regularly but still want to have. I have an entire "Costumes" folder filled with boxed costumes I picked up through the years that I want to hang onto. This is stuff that gets pulled out once in a blue moon, and I would much rather have a single box adding 1 to my inventory than a folder adding 20 items. Likewise, if you have a furniture set, rez it all, and softlink it together to take back into inventory. The softlinked item counts as 1 item versus a couch, 2 chairs, a rug, a table, a lamp counting as 6 items. It doesn't sound like much, but the little bits add up.
5. USE YOUR FILTERS! Periodically, I use the filters feature on inventory to search for specific types of items. Landmarks is a huge one - I use the filter to pull up just landmarks, and I go on a deletion spree. LMs I want to keep go into the landmark folder. The 8,000 LMs you get in a hunt (especially a hunt where every folder has a LM for the store you are at, the store you are going to, and the start point of the hunt) can mostly be deleted. I can usually knock out several thousand items from my inventory just by tossing unwanted/unneeded landmarks. I do the same for notecards - if the card has instructions on how to use an item, I keep it. If it is a thank you for your purchase type card, I read it, then toss it if there is nothing in it I need to hang onto. Go through your notecards folder regularly - stuff has a way of building up there from all the notices we get deluged with every day.
6. DELETE THE EXTRA JUNK! When you get a folder, most times it has the item you wanted and a bunch of extra stuff tossed in by the designer. A lot of that can be deleted to help keep your inventory numbers down. For example, pose stands, multiple LMs to multiple shop locations, thank you notecards, catalogues, give content scripts, etc. can all be tossed. Its good stuff to look at, but not stuff you need to hang onto. One thing i DO keep whenever it is included in the folder is a picture of the item, especially clothing. Makes it much easier to be able to look at a pic when deciding what to wear.
These are a few of the tried-and-workable methods I use to help keep my inventory under control. Right now, my count is hovering in the mid-50K range when everything is cleaned up and sorted where it should be. That is roughly a 20K increase over the almost 2 years I have been blogging, which I don't think is too bad. I am still working on getting everything organized myself, though, so it's still a work in progress.
It is hugely daunting when you have never sorted anything in your inventory or tried to bring some kind of order to the mess, but if you really want it all cleared out and manageable, don't be afraid. Start small and simple. Pick 1 thing to do first, like your notecard folder. Then pick another, and another and pretty soon you will begin to see a real difference in your inventory. Don't try to do it all at once, you will get overwhelmed. Just do a little at a time, whenever you have some down time. I like to take a day or two at the end of each month to do a quick clean up and get ready for the next month's hunts, but each person will have their own best time to work on it.
That concludes Inventory Control 101, I hope something in this wall o'text is helpful. If any of you hunters out there have tips or tricks to share, comments are enabled, and I'd love to hear from you!
Cheers and happy hunting,