How to Clean Up Your Second Life Inventory: Ryan’s Tips and Tricks for Inventory Management, Organizing, and Weeding

While some older, system-layers-and-flexiprims outfits like this wonderful Faerie Queen Valentine Outfit from Fancy Fairy are still holding up very well after more than a decade, you will probably stiill want to weed out most of the older, pre-mesh items in your inventory which you never wear, especially if you created a Second Life account prior to 2011!

Well, after pillaging all the Advent and 12 Days of Christmas calendars I could find during the month of December, it’s time to take on a task which I absolutely dread: cleaning and organizing the inventory of my main Second Life avatar, Vanity Fair.

I created Vanity Fair on March 14th, 2008 and—although I did not plan it!—she has become my main Second Life avatar. As I have written:

If anybody had told me, at the start of my 14-year Second Life journey, that my main avatar (the one I use the most) would be a woman, I would have laughed my damn head off. It would have never even occurred to me that I could be a woman. When I started off, I created an avatar that, more or less, looked like me, dressed like me…was me. 

Vanity is the avatar I trotted out regularly over the intervening years, to snag the latest group gifts and store freebies, as well as vacuum up all the free presents left out at countless Second Life shopping events. As a result, at one point her inventory ballooned to almost 269,000 items! I noticed that, once my inventory size hit a quarter of a million elements, that it negatively impacted my overall Second Life experience overall (it was particularly noticeable when I logged out of SL, where I encountered a significant delay before Firestorm shut down).

Here are the four main things I did to try and get this mess under some semblance of control:

  • Ruthlessly pruning my landmarks down from hundreds and hundreds to less than ten;
  • Searching for certain keywords (see list below) and deleting such things as demo versions of outfits, notecards, and unpacking scripts;
  • Deleting tons of old system-layer-and-flexiprim outfits; and
  • Boxing up items that I am unlikely to wear again, but cannot bear to part with.

A friend gave me the following list of keywords to search in your inventory, in an effort to pinpoint those items which could easily be deleted, which I will share with you now:

Words to delete unwanted items from your inventory
HOLD (but be careful that this isn’t for a purse or a pet!)
DEMO (but be careful you don’t delete WEARABLE demos, such as the wearable hair colour demos at Elikatira Hair!)

Hopefully, you will find this list as useful as I did. Remember to never do a mass delete until you have made sure of what you are getting rid of, though! Every so often, stop and check through the Trash folder in your inventory that you really want to get rid of the items in it, then right click on the Trash folder and select Empty Trash to purge it forever. I was surprised at how satisfying it was to get rid of old outfits!

INVENTORY SEARCH TIP: Did you know that you can search for more than one keyword at a time when searching your Second Life inventory? Just put a plus sign between each term! For example, if you are searching for brown hairbases, enter “brown+hairbase”. This will pull up any items which include BOTH the word “brown” AND the word “hairbase”, IN ANY ORDER! I can’t believe I spent my first twelve years in Second Life not knowing about this wonderful hack!

First, before we start, a definition of a Second Life term: elements refers to the total number of items and subfolders in any folder (more information here if you use Firestorm). There is a total count of all the elements in your entire SL inventory at the very bottom of your Inventory window (please see image A below):

Here’s how I was able to filter my inventory to find and weed out the oldest items in my inventory, step by step:

Image A
  1. You’ll probably want to load up a classic, system avatar if you are trying on system-layers-and-flexiprims outfits (in these pictures, Vanity is wearing her Catwa Kimberly mesh head and Slink mesh hands, but the rest is a system avatar). If you don’t have much inventory before 2011, when mesh clothing was introduced, you can skip this step.
  2. Open your inventory, click on the little gear icon at the bottom left of your Inventory display window, and set your folder sort settings as follows (see image A). I find this useful, because it sorts the system folders to the top, to get them out of your way, and the rest of the folders are sorted in strict alphabetical order, which makes it very easy to see if you have duplicate folders!
  3. Then, to focus on the oldest items in your inventory, click on Show Filters and select the types of items you want to filter by (for example, just objects or just notecards). Also, at the very bottom of the Show Filters window, click on the button next to “Older Than”, and then enter a figure in the Days box (I used 4000.00 to filter my inventory to only show me those elements which were older than 4,000 days, which works out to about 10.9 years). Pick a value you’re comfortable with, where you’re pretty sure anything older than that is stuff you probably don’t want! (Please see the red arrows on image B below.)
  4. Find a quiet sandbox somewhere (if you are a premium member, I recommend using a sandbox for premium members; just search for “Premium” under Places and you should find a few good candidates in the first page of your search results).
  5. Then, go through your inventory starting from the A’s, working your way down to the Z’s, trying on outfits you don’t remember. For example, the following black Havana outfit was instantly sent to the pixelbin (see image B below). Keep a pen and paper handy to note where you stop, otherwise you’ll forget how far you got when you restart your task!
  6. Use an inventory box system to bundle together items which you don’t use very often, but which you cannot bear to part with! I use the Bright inventory box system, but there are numerous other products on the market which work just as well. Doing this significantly reduces the number of elements in your inventory, since hundreds and hundreds of items now count as only one element!
  7. Finally, don’t forget to click the little gear button at the bottom left of your Inventory window, and click on Empty Trash to remove the deleted items from your Second Life inventory permanently (see image C below). It’s such a satisfying feeling to see your total count go down as a result (give your SL client a moment to refresh the count, though).
Image B
Image C

INVENTORY CLEANING TIP: Hit Ctrl+P to open your Preferences window in your SL client, click on the General tab, and make the following selections indicated by the green arrows in the diagram below in order to display the ARC (Avatar Rendering Complexity) figure above your avatar’s head (see also image B above):

This is a very quick and handy way to see if any older, prim-heavy jewelry, sculpted hairstyles, or other objects you are wearing are significantly increasing your avatar rendering complexity! For example, I have a beautiful ballgown with three flexiprim skirt add-ons, and the flexiprims alone send my ARC soaring into the stratosphere!

If you choose to wear such an outfit (and frankly, sometimes I still do love to wear this gown), then you should be aware that you will render as a “jellydoll” in most other people’s Second Life viewers. Read up on this and related matters on the Firestorm wiki (if you use the Firestorm viewer, which most people do). So don’t expect other avatars to be able to see you properly in-world!

If the folder has an image, hooray! These pictures can often save you valuable time when you are weeding through your inventory! Open the image to see if it shows you what the outfit looks like. No need to wear it to check it out! The following outfit (shudder!) obviously did NOT make the final cut (God, I hope it was a freebie! I would hate to think I spent actual money on this monstrosity!!!)

The 8th and final step: Don’t forget to reset your inventory filters after your marathon cleaning session! Just click the gear icon in the bottom left corner of your Inventory window, click on Show Filters, and then click on the Reset button at the very bottom of the panel. Otherwise, you’ll get confused when you try to search for items you know are still in your inventory!

ONE FINAL INVENTORY MANGEMENT TIP: if you ruthlessly organize, categorize, label, and weed your inventory as you pick up items (e.g. deleting fits for brands of mesh bodies you never plan to own), then you won’t need to spend as much time on marathon inventory cleanup sessions! 😉

Finally, if you are looking for good advice on how to organize your Second Life inventory so it does NOT land up in the state Vanity Fair’s is, Google is your friend. Do a search for “second life inventory management” and you’ll find tips, tricks and tools!