Get a grip on freebie madness

Jennifer Wilson

I’m your guide here at Simple Scrapper. Our community helps people find what fills you up and fits your life in memory keeping.

February 8, 2010

I am totally zonked from four days of non-stop talking at the Blissdom conference in Nashville. I didn’t want to leave you post-less while I work on the new releases! In the meantime, a reader requested that I share an article with you that I wrote for the April ’09 issue of the DST Insider.

You don’t have to be involved in digital scrapbooking very long to recognize the massive quantities of freebies available for download. You’ve likely stumbled upon freebie blogs and directories as well as come upon many goodies at shop sites. Unfortunately, hard drive space is limited and you can only scrap so many layouts a day. Use this common sense approach to manage your digital clutter and keep that stash tidy.

The simplicity of FREE

Do you take every free sample offered at the mall or respond to every free offer in the mail? Likely the answer is no. So why would you download every free digiscrap supply you find?

Over-downloading is a common mistake of newbie scrappers, especially those who have not yet cornered their stylistic niche in digital scrapbooking. Trying out a bit of this and that is completely understandable, but there comes a time when decisions must be made.

To pare down your freebie-hunting, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does this item visually appeal to me?
  • Do I use items of this type? (e.g. quick pages, templates)
  • Do I already have an item that is very similar?
  • Is this item something I can see myself using again and again?
  • Would I pay for this item if it were not free?

With every acquisition, consider the personal value the freebie is adding to your stash.

Everything in its place

So many free digital scrapbooking goodies and so little time – it’s awfully easy to let your downloads folder become overrun with clutter, like unopened zip files and awkwardly labeled folders. Establish a basic organization system and use it always to control the download chaos.

To start, establish your downloads folder as your inbox. From your download inbox, every new supply should be moved into one of three folders: temp, freebie and purchased. (Creative Team members may wish to add a fourth category.) Like with an email inbox, your goal is always to reach zero. Empty.

Regardless of whether or not you use a folder system or leverage the power of software to organize your scrapbooking supplies, this kind of simple top-level category system is essential. Use the temp folder for 1 kit calls and challenge sketches. If you loved the item after scrapping with it, move it to your freebie folder. If you didn’t, feel free to trash it. It really is OK!

The freebie folder is where your new goodies will live, but don’t forget to tidy them up first. This folder should only contain files that meet the following criteria:

  • Are items that add personal value to your digi-stash
  • Are properly labeled with the designer and kit name
  • Are tagged to YOUR organization system, however detailed that might be

There is no one right way to organize, but even the most simple of systems can make finding that fun alpha or perfect paper all the easier.

Finally, surf through your digital freebie stash on a regular basis to purge items you no longer like. Consider it a must-do, like cleaning out your closet. You’ll find a sense of clarity and lightness that only decluttering can offer!

Free yourself from the madness

It’s easy to get sucked into the satisfaction of scoring a sweet deal, especially a free one. However, it is super-important to consider the intangible costs to your sanity. Set some limits for your freebie hunting. It might even be helpful to implement one or more of these rules to gain control:

  • Don’t hunt for freebies every day
  • Create a one-in/one-out rule
  • Require immediate tagging/organization

The important lesson is to keep a level head, reduce the clutter and not let digital scrapbooking freebies run your scrapping.

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5 Comments

  1. Elisabeth

    Thanks for sharing this excellent article on your blog. NOW I can bookmark it…:) 🙂
    As a recovering freebie-aholic, I have at least stopped madly downloading freebies but the purging process is not going so well for me. It’s true that you need to schedule time to go through the stuff and decide if it’s worth keeping. In the meantime, if I stumble across something in my stash that is ugly, I mark it with one-star (which means ready for deletion) and then every once in a while, I will review all the one-star and finally delete them.
    It’s a start and purging is a process, exactly as you say!

    Reply
  2. Leilanie

    Thank you for this article! I am still kinda new to digiscrapping (I only started in December) and I am a freebie-holic. I’ve recovered from downloading everything I come across, and realized what I don’t use (like QP’s) but I still am able to stumble across dozens and dozens of freebies everyday. I am getting better at it, and this article will help me stay in check. Thanks again for this article! :]

    Also, do you know is there is a way to tag your items withing using an organization software? I organize mine by designer name and kit, but I also want a way to just look at one type of item (like staples or frames), without having to search through everything. Do you know if there is an easy way to do that? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Jennifer

      You can tag files in both Leopard/Snow Leopard and Vista. You could also just do a file search for the item, as most designers label embellishments with the name.

      Reply
  3. Amy Bickel

    Thanks! I needed that life jacket.. I was starting to sink… in the freebies!

    Reply

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