How do you organize your reference material?
I have a lot of stuff, both work and home, all digital. I can't store it online (so services like Evernote are out of scope). I understand the GTD concepts of using a reference cabinet (akin to file folders on a PC), but I feel like I'm missing some of the benefits of a PC. I can search, although naming conventions come to play. Still, even crude searching via a PC is better than no searching in a file cabinet.
I have pictures, audio clips, documents, spreadsheets, and other documents I want to put into a reference location. I'm struggling to find a good organization strategy, especially for scenarios like:
- I have an estimate for project X. Do I store it under Project X, for when I want all documents related to the project, or estimates when I want to see all estimates. What if I think it was a great estimate and want to use it as a template for others. Do I also store it under templates?
- I have an image that I know I will need until the end of a project, then can be deleted. How do I store this without cluttering my reference material? I could make a task but I'm afraid I'll spend too much time managing my system
I try to leverage search and name files like estimate Project X blah.xls as much as possible so I can search for estimate and get all estimate and Project X and get all projects, but I can't help but think there is a better way. I heavily rely on file names, my folder structure is horrendous, so there is no hope in browsing (as opposed to searching).
Windows search also doesn't help with "What if I want to view all videos with the words dog and cat but not cow". Maybe I'm just not good at searching.