Instead of purchasing expensive tools, you can leverage the simplicity of folders to clean up any mess. Folders can be named, nested and moved all the way you want and therefore offer a lot of flexibility. These actions form the base of this guide.
By using a strict folder naming system, you can sort all parts of your inventory consistently. To explain how, I have created this which will—hopefully—teach and inspire you to take matters into your own hands. You can find links to the other guide pages in the Inventory submenu.
After following this guide, you’ll probably have tossed half your inventory and sorted the other half. You will know how to keep your stuff sorted and retrieve it. It may seem like painstaking work at first—ok, it will feel like OCD’ing a little—but I guarantee you, you will end up wondering why you never did this before!
You don’t have to sort what you don’t have
A nice side effect you’ll get from sorting, is that you will have a lower amount of items in your inventory. This way it will be quicker to load when SL decides it wants to reload everything. I have been consistently under 17k items over the past year, after writing the first version of the guide. Before that, I was around 45k (that’s over 20k deleted items over a course of two weeks!).
Deleting 45,000 items over a period of two weeks may sound like a lot, but it comes naturally while sorting. For one, sorting forces you to actually look at the items in your inventory: you will have to identify each item. You’ll find items you don’t like anymore or which are very outdated. Items which are quicker to delete than to sort. And likely you won’t even care much: you probably didn’t even know you had all that stuff!
Texture organizers are not optional
The guide will mainly focus on sorting items like clothing, landmarks, etc. However, there’s one group that will be consciously ignored: textures and (sculpt) maps. For these I simply recommend to find a texture organizer of your liking. Many good organizers are free, though I did pay for mine.
I use an organizer which supports both normal textures and sculpt maps, with added backup functionality. I find it important to divide textures into packages and put them as such in backup boxes. After putting all into an organizer and a backup box, I delete all the single items from my inventory. For an average builder, this could saves tens to thousands of inventory items!
Back it up!
Some things you cannot (or should not) throw away, but do not need them either. This is especially true for clothing items, which you manually fit. It’s in many cases essential to keep backups of original items, so you have something to get back to if your customization fails.
It’s always easy to keep a copy of the box (with contents) if the items you purchased. If you don’t have those, you can create your own backup boxes. You can either create a normal object, name it and drag all items in. Then save the object to your inventory and put it in the same folder as your items.
You can also use a scripted backup box, with easy unpacker functionality and informative floating texts. I created one and published the code on my scripts page on the Second Life® Wiki . Feel free to use it any way you like.