“Our dreams are a second life.” ~Gerard de Nerval
By Cat Boccaccio.
In the real world, there is a name for people who amass thousands of items, most of which they don’t really want or need, and who rarely toss things into the trash. There are even reality TV shows about such people.Yes, I’m talking about the hoarders. My RL home might get a tad cluttered now and again, but I don’t (yet) have towers of old magazines and pizza cartons stacked to the ceiling.
In Second Life… well, I know I have a problem when it takes a shocking amount of time to scroll through my Landmarks. Or Notecards. Or Objects. I have close to 30,000 items in my Inventory. I’m almost certain that I don’t own 30,000 actual RL items, unless you count individual almonds and a drawer full of nails, paper clips, safety pins and lipstick. So what happened in SL? How did I become a sad and secret pixel hoarder?
That question has an easy answer: because I can. As far as I am aware, there are no limits to the number of items you can hoard…er, keep in inventory.
According to Thunda Masala’s research (update: blog has been deleted), my inventory count is not completely out of whack. In an informal poll conducted for his blog (which excluded SLers under 150 days old), Thunda found a resident with as few as 4,400 items and one with as many as 135,000, with the median number resting at about 20,000. So while I am over the average, maybe I don’t need to panic just yet. Except that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find things I need in a timely manner, and, unless I reform my hoardy ways, I could easily find myself with freebies or outfits or textures teetering in giant piles to the ceiling of my virtual closet. You might have a similar situation staring you down. Or you might be smugly gazing at your tidy Ikea-closet-organizer-style inventory, unaware of the perils that await. We all need to take action now!
The most straight-forward method of taming your inventory is to concentrate on the care and feeding of your folders. And let’s be proactive! When you acquire something new, rename it to something searchable and file it away in the correct folder. Don’t be afraid to create sub-folders. In Landmarks, for example, I have folders for Art Galleries, Animations & Poses, Avatar, Clothing & Accessories, Clubs & Live Music, Explore or Meditate, Freebies, RP, Rentals… and so on. You can of course fine tune these categories with additional nested sub-folders, for example creating Skins, Hair, and Eyes sub-folders in the Avatar folder. The more the merrier! And paired with the Search function, your logically organized inventory helps you track your items and have faster access to the things you want… and weed out the things you find you never use or wear.
Renaming is key here, since the names of landmarks can be cryptic, and creators of clothing and other items have their own methods of titling their creations (and their own endearing typos, sometimes). So fear not re-naming “STICK UP LALA derss maroon” into “Purple strapless long dress”. The item is no-mod? Give the item its own folder, and name accordingly. I have started typing keyboard symbols (like”~”) in front of the items that are particular favorites, to make these pop up in search.
A few tips when it comes to weeding out the unwanted or forgotten: go to the top of the inventory window and click Sort—By name. You can then scroll through your items and delete unwanted duplicates. Another, much more merciless tip: go back to Sort by date and simply delete the bottom half of, for example, your bloated Objects or Notecard folder. It’s old stuff. Let it die a peaceful death.
Do you ever call on your Calling Cards folder? If not, you can safely delete every single name, though new ones will pop up as you make new friends.
And when you delete items, they go to your Trash folder and are still part of the count, until you remember to take out the trash. Remember to take out the trash!
There are inventory organizers to be had by the dozen on Marketplace, and most benefit from early compliance, as opposed to playing catch-up (which is what I am doing). Some resemble chests or filing cabinets, but really are simple boxes wherein you can move items from inventory and pluck items out again as needed. Some have search and other features. This is a good method for backing up your inventory, but also to store objects or clothing that you seldom use but take up space, like specialized furniture or costumes, textures and scripts. I store a lot of my art textures and art prims in pretty little deco boxes that I keep at my SL home, instead of having them take up space in inventory..
Organizer huds allow you to sort and move your items into preset categories, with the bonus of taking up only one item in your inventory. If your inventory is deadly slow to load (usually the result of a lazy ISP), then the one item solution is a no-brainer.
As an adjunct to my shiny new logically renamed and reorganized folder system, I use a clothing organizer. These allow you to categorize your massive collection of designer wear or freebies, but also can be used for almost any item in inventory, like skins, vehicles etc.—anything visual. I am currently using the CTS Wardrobe (slip over to BlaiseJoshua’s review at EverySecondMan.com), because although it is a bit pricey and a bit intimidating at first, it has many layers of functionality AND since all the pictures are stored on a website, there are no SL upload fees (I have paid more than my share of these in my five years as an SL photographer). I simply take pictures of outfits or makeups or poses and email them to the website. A search by tags/keywords then pulls out the visual reminder. Since my brains were fried by drugs as a youth, this is extremely helpful. There is also a physical wardrobe that you can rez in your pixel bedroom, which allows you to browse the website inworld, all cosy and curled up under a big fluffy mesh quilt.
With or without a clothing organizer, you can create outfits, which are a great way to avoid scratching through your inventory for the individual items. Wear all the components of the outfit, then under Outfits in the Appearance tab, click Save as, and name that look (make it descriptive and searchable!). Be aware that outfits, unless you specify otherwise, include skin, hair, and huds. JKat Farquart has a free Inventory Organization Tips notecard available, which has some good basic information regarding inventory, and also explains the outfit function in more detail.
So before the TV crew from “SLHoarders” comes bursting through your door and exposes your hoardiness to the world, start taming that monster inventory, even if it is baby steps… a little each day. It has been a revelation to me, to find the things lost but once loved and the things that I thought were important but are not.
I love life’s lessons!–no matter what the source. Work it out and enjoy. 🙂
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