Organizing Eternally

For the past few years, I have been in a pretty hard core “Organizing mode” on a lot of various fronts. It honestly feels like an endless uphill climb because there is just so much and it doesn’t help that I am constantly adapting and updating the methodology. Some of these topics are ones I will likely touch on in more detail in the future, especially the technology related ones, but I wanted to run over a quick list. This is partially for my own sanity.

Physical Organization

Part of this involved The Basement upgrades, which aren’t really complete but they are at a good stopping point. Most of my physical stuff is pretty well organized, for the most part. The basement has a second half that’s a little jankey that we use for storage. It’s lined with totes for various holiday decorations and winder clothes, and one corner is all of my stuff I don’t have room to display or use, sorted into a bunch of shoebox sized totes, along with a bunch of boxes in larger totes. I’ve thinned out a lot of my extra electronics over the years. I’ve started thinning out some of my video games stuff as well, often because I have PC versions or even just newer versions on newer consoles.

Having a toy collection requires a fair amount of organzining. For example, I use these tackle boxes to sort out the accessories.

For import figures, I generally give each figure it’s own cubby, bot things like Marvel Legends, I have entire sections for alternate heads and hands. I’ve got effect parts sorted, missiles sorted, transformer guns sorted, I have one that’s all 4″ scaled parts. I have a different organizer that’s just 1/12th accessory parts I have collected over the years for use in photos.


I want to do an entire post just for photos. I take an enormous amount of photos. It’s slowed down now that my kids are all adults, and there is less going on, but just a quick check suggests I have at least 250,000 photos or 160 gigabytes of data.

Photos of school and family events, photos of projects, photos of toys, just tons and tons of photos. Half of these photos never get used or posted anywhere but they are meticulously organized.

I am also slowly working on scanning in old photos from my own photos to my parent’s photos to my in law’s photos.


I also have a lot of video files. And not just movies and TV from the high seas. I honestly don’t really have a ton of that to start with, you can pretty much just get everything somewhere on streaming these days so why bother. But family movies. I’ve had several digital video games over the years, and at least one Professional Panasonic camera I used to do Professional video production (IE, I got paid for it). Video takes up a lot more space than photos though, so I’ve been working on converting a lot of that down. Video will probably also get it’s own post.

Files in General

Another topic for discussion I want to cover that I have been sorting is files in general. I’ll admit, it’s a bit of a problem, but digital storage is cheap, and I save a shitload of files. From random memes, interesting landscapes, photos of toys others have taken, news clippings, hot-to articles, and other web stuff, to my own files. I’ve got files I’ve moved forward from floppy disks to zip disks to CD-Rs to modern day that were writings or drawings or even custom levels for super old DOS games.

Backup Strategies

I also do my best to keep a fairly robust backup system for the things I’d rather not lose (mostly family photos and important documents). Some of which I have had to update recently due to software changes by certain companies (Amazon no longer working with Synology).

A lot of the systems are similar, but I want to go over some of my general organizing techniques in the near future because it’s something that’s been on my mind a lot for a while now. It also works pretty well, for the most part, especially now that I am caught up.

Too Many eBooks and Keeping them Organized

The nice thing about digital books is that they are easily stored and accessible in very little space. The bad thing about digital books is that it can be hard to find things in a virtual shelf where you can’t easily see covers and authors and topics. There is something to be said for covers, when you can easily glance at a row of books and see the color combination that sticks out as “This is the book that I like”.

Tech books present a different problem, since it’s less easy to make notes or stick papers in important bits of code that you want to reference later. I usually resort to screen shots, but they become hard to sift through later the more screen shots there are. Especially since you usually can’t name files with useful names on a tablet or phone where you may be reading a tech book.

Despite a few tools out there to organize your files for you, probably most notable and easy to use is Calibre, I still prefer to sort things by a basic directory structure.

This is useful for a few reasons, one, if an organizing program ever breaks or I want to upgrade, things are still sorted at a base level. For the most part everything is sorted by base type, though in a few cases they are sorted by source. For example, the Packt eBooks are almost all tech books and almost all of them include zip files of code, so I’ve given them their own directory. Also a lot of them aren’t super great, so, while I like to have them around, I don’t need the clutter in my actual Tech books folders. Most were freebies from when Packt used to give away books daily.

Most of these folders have their own internal structure, For example, the image above is for Tech books. The comics folder has folders for series and publishers, the Foreign Language folder has folders for languages, the Fiction folder is sorted by series and genre. Etc. Etc. Etc.

This whole ball is the core archive. Most of the time I keep working folders with copies of these various books on my laptop or on a portable drive. The comics I am currently reading or the tech books that are actually useful, that sort of thing. All of the books in the archive are DRM free, so I can copy and read them as I want. I prefer to buy DRM Free books, Humble Bundle, O’Reilly, Packt, StoryBundle, Leanpub, Project Gutenberg, probably some others I’m forgetting are all pretty good for DRM free ebooks.

What complicates things are Nook and Kindle, which are both more proprietary. I had an early generation of the Nook for a while, but Amazon tends to have better deals on books, so I ultimately dropped buying from Nook. I hate having my library fractured across platforms. If I am going to buy DRM locked down books, it’s going to be one storefront, and Amazon has better sales. There are way to strip out the DRM but it’s a hassle to do regularly. Occasionally I update a backup archive of Nook and Kindle books to DRM free versions, in bulk, but it’s not worth bothering with on a single book by book case every time I buy a book.