Vanity Fair Finally Tackles Her Oversize Second Life Inventory: Some Tips, Tricks, and Tools to Help You Clean Up and Box Up Your Messy Inventory!

I admit it: My main avatar in Second Life, Vanity Fair, is a pack rat.

Vanity is the avatar I tend to trot out to pick up all the free gifts at monthly shopping events, snap up all the group gifts at stores, and patiently wait for her letter to come up and collect the lucky chair and lucky board prizes. And, as a result, she currently has a Second Life inventory of (does a quick double-check) 268,957 elements (elements is an SL term of the total count of both folders and items within folders)!

Now, over the past 13 years, I have tried to use third-party inventory systems, such as the inventory box system by Bright, to store items that I didn’t think I would need to access frequently, but still didn’t have the heart to completely throw away. For example, back in the day (circa 2008 and 2009), I used to scour the House of Heart store for freebies during their regular hunts, and I had amassed quite a few of their flexiprim hairstyles as a result. So I packed it all up in a Bright inventory box (L$600 on the SL Marketplace), on which I could do keyword searches on in local chat to retrieve items (e.g. “/500 brown” would pull up all hairstyles with “brown” in the description).

But unfortunately, I ignored one of the cardinal rules of inventory management: I did not do the work to keep my inventory neat and tidy as I was accumulating new items! I didn’t do this boxing-up work consistently over time, because setting up and packing the Bright boxes, then deleting the original copies, took a lot of time. In an older home, I used to store these boxes in my attic (they are one prim each when rezzed in-world). But, in my new Linden Home, I need every available prim space I can get, so they now sit in a quiet corner of my inventory, mouldering away.

There appears to be no upper limit on how many items you can have in your inventory. Up until now, I have not had too many problems dealing with such a massive inventory, but somewhere between 250,000 and 260,000 elements, my viewer performance began to degrade significantly.

For example, when I clicked the Recent tab on my inventory, it would take one minute or longer to get a full display. Signing out would take well over a minute as well, unless I forced Windows to shut down the process. Sometimes, that would lead to inventory corruption, which necessitated a trip to a quiet sim to clear my inventory cache and reload my inventory from scratch, which would take up to an hour or longer. (By the way, if you ever need the step-by-step instructions on how to do this in Firestorm, here they are.)

After several months of deterioriating viewer performance, I need to face facts: it’s way past time to clear out Vanity’s old stuff to make way for new stuff.

Fortunately, it is a relatively easy matter to sort your inventory to show only the oldest items. It’s a three step process:

  1. Click the Recent tab, then click on the tiny gear in the bottom left of your Inventory window, and select Show Filters from the menu that pops up;
  2. In the Filters menu, click on the button that says Older Than;
  3. Enter the number of days (in this example, 4,000 days, which will pull up all items in inventory older than 4,000 days, approximately 11 years.

Now I can go through all the items in your Recent tab, and delete them. You probably already know that you can use left mouseclick and then Shift-left mouseclick to select the beginning and end of two or more items at once. The selected items will then be highlighrted, and then you can right mouseclick on them and select Delete, to remove many items at once from your inventory:

Any older items which I cannot bear to part with will go into a new Bright inventory box. I can store up to 1,000 items per box, which replaces a thousand items in my SL inventory with a single element. Between deleting items and boxing them up, I hope to reduce my inventory size to somewhere under 250,000.

Inventory items you delete are moved to the Trash folder (which gives you an opportunity to retrieve them back into your inventory should you change your mind). Every so often, as your are deleting and boxing up items, you should click on the tiny gear icon in the bottom left-hand corner of your inventory display, and select Empty Trash, to remove all these trashed items from your inventory, once and for all (please note that this cannot be undone, and you will have confirm this task):

One final tip: you’re probably going to be unpacking a number of boxes to see what they contain. Find yourself a quiet sandbox somewhere to do this work if you don’t own any land with rezz rights.

Wish me luck! This is going to be a months-long project.

If you have tips, tricks, and tools which you have found useful to manage your inventory, I would love to hear them! Please feel free to leave a comment, thanks!

UPDATED! True Second Life Confessions: How I Deal with an Inventory of 240,000 Items

Sweetheart, I *wish* my inventory were this tidy, neat and organized…
Photo by Jamesthethomas5 on Unsplash

The avatar that, over time, has become my main avatar in Second Life is named Vanity Fair. (I got very lucky; the last name “Fair” was only available for a two-week period back in 2008 and I snapped up that name immediately.)

Back in August 2017, when I first started this blog, I wrote:

Ooh, shopping!  It just sends a shiver up my spine.  Vanity Fair, my supermodel avatar in Second Life…has an inventory of exactly 160,760 items, as of this morning. (I can stop shopping… ANY. TIME. I. WANT.)

Well, as of today, Vanity has an inventory of exactly 239,322 elements. No, that is not a typo! (Elements is the word used by Linden Lab for the total count of items and folders in your Second Life inventory.) But by any count or measurement, Vanity has a rather serious inventory problem. I don’t know of any other avatars that have such an overstuffed inventory (although I’m quite sure that there some avatars on the grid who could give me a run for my money).

Yes, people, Vanity is a hoarder. (Oh, the shame of it all!) Someone call the TLC television network people! This could be a new reality show 😉

You wouldn’t know it to look at her, would you? Vanity seems like such a sane, model citizen, a pillar of the community! You wouldn’t know it to look at her lovely, tidy, neat Linden Home, either:

Now, I should state, in my own defense, (erm, I mean, in Vanity’s defense… oh. bloody hell, you know what I mean to say…) that the major reason her inventory grew by a whopping 80,000 items since August 2017 is that Vanity is the girl who hits all the major shopping events and sales in Second Life in order to obsessively vacuum up all the gifts, freebies and bargains. No stone left unturned, no gift left untouched.

And it’s not as if I haven’t tried to clean out my inventory. Lord knows, I’ve tried. Two years ago, I made a very half-hearted attempt to clean, by using my inventory filters to select all items older than, say, 4,000 days, and I started throwing out the very oldest stuff. You might not even have known that you can do that! Here’s how it works in the Firestorm viewer (sorry, but I never use the standard Second Life viewer, so I can’t tell you what the equivalent commands are):

But I hesitated throwing out even the oldest system layer and flexiprim clothing. Why?

Well, the introduction of Bakes on Mesh means that you will still be able to use all those items on your mesh avatar. In fact, just within the past week, Catwa and Signature have both issued a Bakes on Mesh update for their products, and Maitreya has as well, for their popular Maitreya Lara mesh female avatar body. (While the standard Second Life viewer now supports Bakes on Mesh, the Firestorm viewer does not yet support this feature. But I’m pretty sure it’s coming soon.)

Here’s a YouTube video explaining how the Catwa and Signature Bakes on Mesh works:

And another video demonstrating the new Bakes on Mesh relay HUD for Maitreya:

So, you see, I need to keep all the old stuff. It might be useful someday 😉

Yeah, yeah, okay, I know. I know. I have a problem. Vanity can’t let go.

Now, you might wonder, what kind of impact does an inventory of almost 240,000 items have on my Second Life performance? You might be surprised to learn: very little. First, I have an absolute beast of a computer, to be able to run an Oculus Rift VR headset and explore various social VR platforms like Sansar and High Fidelity.

But there are times when having such a large inventory affects my enjoyment of Second Life. The worst thing that happens is when I click on the Recent tab of my inventory, to sort items by most recent. And I wait, and I wait, and I wait, for the display to catch up. When I click on the Worn tab of my inventory to limit the display to just the items I am currently wearing, that tends to take a while too.

But other than that, things run pretty smoothly. I’m racking my brains to think of other times when Firestorm slows down just for Vanity (as opposed to an alt with a much, much smaller inventory), and really, I can’t think of anything at the moment. (If I do think of something, I will just add an update to this blogpost.)

Now, you might also ask: Ryan, how the hell do you FIND anything? Well, a couple of years ago I learned an extremely valuable search tip for finding things in my inventory, using multiple keywords connected by the + sign. For example, to search for items that have both the words pink and earring, in either order, enter “pink+earring” in the search box:

I swear, when I first learned that I could actually do this in the Firestorm viewer, I just about fell over in shock! How had I been playing Second Life for so many years and not known this tip?!?? So I share this tip with you and hope that you find it useful to navigate your inventory, too. Here is the page from the Firestorm viewer website that explains in detail how to use all the features of your inventory window. Read, study, and learn.

In these pictures, Vanity Fair is wearing:

  • Outfit: Dany by Seniha (Lucky Board prize; the Seniha group is free to join, and there are many lovely group gifts available to pick up)
  • Shoes: Adore shoes by KC Couture (only L$50 for a fatpack of 20 shades to match just about any outfit)
  • Earrings: Sienna earrings by Lazuri (a free gift from last year’s Pumpkin Hunt for Parkinsons event; every single aspect of these earrings is recolourable or retexturable! They go with everything!)
  • Hair: Dasha by Truth Hair (my favourite hairstyle; L$250)

Vanity is also wearing:

UPDATE Sept. 8th: Another consequence of Vanity Fair having such a huge inventory that I forgot to mention is that when I exit the Firestorm viewer, there is a noticeable delay before the program shuts down completely. With my alts, I can exit Firestorm almost immediately.