Creating a Digital File Structure – Picture a Flower

Digital FIle

Creating a digital file structure is as easy as drawing a flower.

Creating a digital file structure can be as easy as drawing a flower. Click To Tweet

Are you a visual person and just can’t see making the above statement happen? Try this.

Get out a piece of paper to sketch your filing structure on it.

  • How do you visualize where you’d find your digital files?
  • What are the major categories of files on your computer?

Write them down and draw a circle around each.

  • Picture that as a center of a flower.
  • Now draw pedals off of each center to make subcategories.
  • You can even make another layer of outer pedals for sub-sub categories.

Continue this drawing exercise. Let your mind flow free. Be creative and see what you come up with. This is the beginning of your digital file structure.

Your next step is to implement what you drew on paper into your computer. Creating a digital file system is the same as a paper filing system (watch this video). Actually, if you have a paper system, you can copy that system for your computer files. But if not, use the method above to come up with a system that works for you.

Let more about digital clutter here.

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Janet Schiesl

Janet has been organizing since 2005. She is a Certified Professional Organizer and the owner of Basic Organization. She loves using her background as a space planner to challenge her clients to look at their space differently. She leads the team in large projects and works one-on-one with clients to help the process move quickly and comfortably. Call her crazy, but she loves to work with paper, to purge what is not needed and to create filing systems that work for each individual client. Janet is a Past President of the Washington DC Chapter of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) and was voted 2016 Organizer of the Year by the Washington DC Chapter of NAPO.


  1. Seana Turner on December 16, 2019 at 8:11 am

    I love this visual image. My brain works this way, and I have folders and subfolders, etc. What has been interesting to me is how it seems many in the younger generation rely on the search functions to find their documents. I just don’t think I could relax without a file structure LOL!

    • Janet Schiesl on December 16, 2019 at 10:20 am

      I kind of do both. I have a file structure but also use the search function. Unless you are the sole user of your system, you need to make it logical for everyone.

  2. Janet Barclay on December 16, 2019 at 9:21 am

    I have never thought of things quite this way. I always think of file structures being linear rather than circular, but what you say makes perfect sense!

    • Janet Schiesl on December 16, 2019 at 10:21 am

      Just another way of thinking about it. Helpful to some people who have a hard time visualizing a system.

  3. Sabrina Quairoli on December 16, 2019 at 11:42 am

    Great idea! My husband is in Technology and we always do this mind-mapping technique when developing our process for doing backups. Since we have several computers and several different backup locations, we draw it out like this too. Thanks for sharing. I am going to try it with future clients’ filing structures.

    • Janet Schiesl on December 16, 2019 at 5:45 pm

      Happy to share. Something the more creative you can be the more successful with some clients.

  4. Linda Samuels on December 16, 2019 at 9:23 pm

    This is such a creative way to conceive of a digital filing system. My files are already set-up and when I think of them this way, I feel like I have a beautiful garden of information.

    • Janet Schiesl on December 17, 2019 at 6:57 am

      I think the visual can really help some people who can’t see filing the traditional way.

  5. Carol Jones on December 16, 2019 at 9:30 pm

    This is such a creative idea! I would think this would resonate with our artistically-minded clients.

  6. Nancy Haworth on December 17, 2019 at 2:15 pm

    This is a great way to visually map out your digital file structure. Thanks for these tips!

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