It’s the start of a brand new year and many folks set a new year’s resolution of getting more organized.

If putting some order to your Canva chaos is one of your own resolutions for this year, I want to give you a bit of a kickstart by providing an overview of a framework you can use to get started.

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When I teach how to get organized in my Clean Up My Canva course, I teach 2 different methods.

First is the “Tackle the Mess” approach, which is for those folks who are ready to organize all their existing designs and images and create an intuitive Canva organization system… and depending on how many designs and images you have in your account, this could be a potentially time consuming project, though still very worthwhile. And if you have the bandwidth to do this, it’s the approach I definitely recommend.

The second option is the “Start Fresh” method. One of the biggest reasons that folks who know they need to get organized in Canva, and who WANT to get organized, still haven’t done it, is because they have an absolutely overwhelming backlog of designs and images.

So this is the option for those Canva users who feel like their account is an organizational pit of despair and who have zero energy to organize it, but who want to be organized going forward.

What I want to do today is to give you a quick overview of the Tackle the Mess approach, because since you’re watching this training today, that likely means you already have a hot mess account that you would like to impose some order on.

So I’m going to walk you through 5 steps and once you’re comfortable with the organizing process, you will likely find that you’re able to do more than one step concurrently… but I’d suggest breaking it down into steps when you’re new to the process.

The first step is focused on deleting and archiving your unneeded Canva designs and images.

If you were organizing piles of paper in an office or a filing cabinet, you would start by disposing of the papers that you no longer need.

You would also archive into long-term storage the documents that you may need for reference but that you’re no longer actively using.

The same process applies for your digital content, including your Canva designs.

So I’d recommend you take a stroll down Canva memory lane and review all of the designs in your account.

Delete any of the designs you know you don’t need. For example, you may have

– copies of the templates you never ended up using
– duplicates of designs you thought you would need (but didn’t)
– designs that are super outdated that you know you won’t need

And so on.

To those of you who are afraid to let go of any designs in case you might need it in the future, I would encourage you to create an Archive folder and move all of those “but what if I need it down the road” designs into that folder. If you haven’t needed to access those archived designs in the next year, chances are that you will feel safer doing a purge of them down the road.

Next up is to do a review of what’s left in your Canva account after you’ve finished deleting and archiving and to update your naming conventions.

If you’re like most Canva users, you probably have a lot of designs named things like “Copy of Template XYZ or “Design Version 2” (and Version 3, and Version 4, etc).

Or it’s labeled with a generic name like “Instagram Post” without providing any further description about which Instagram post it is, should you want to find it later.

It’s important to name your files in a descriptive manner so you can easily tell at a glance what all of your designs are from the outside, and also so you can more easily search for your designs using the Canva search bar.

And as I said, once you’re comfortable using the organization features in Canva, you’re going to be able to do more than one step concurrently, so for example, while I’m working through an account to delete or archive content, I might simultaneously be renaming designs.

Your third step is going to be to plan and create your folders.

Write down a list of all the categories and subcategories you think you’ll need to organize your designs, images and video.

There is no one-size fits all solution about how to break down your folders within Canva.

Some of you will only need a small handful of folders. Others will need a really robust filing system.

As an example, my own Canva account is broken down into multiple folders as you can see here, and then those primary folders are further broken down into subfolders as needed.

I would recommend not having more top-level folders than you can see without scrolling… I have 12 and I find that 12-13 is usually the maximum that feels manageable before you start having to many choices and feeling overwhelmed.

Once you have your initial list of folders, you can start actually creating your custom folders and subfolders in order to begin building your own Canva filing cabinet.

Or you may find it makes more sense to create your folders as you go through the category creation process. Whatever feels most natural to you.

Once you’ve got your folders setup so that your designs and images all have homes, you can use the batch organizing technique I talked about earlier in order to begin moving all of your files into your new folders.

And one of the best ways to start this process is to look for categories of designs where you know there’s going to be large chunks that you can move at a time.

For example, if I’m doing an Organization VIP Day for a designer that I know has a ton of designs and assets for clients, I will start by selecting anything that I know can go into that top level Clients folder. I’m not going to worry at this stage about only selecting designs for a specific client. I’ll tackle that later when I go through the Clients folder.

To start, you’re just trying to organize your designs and images into those top level categories, and then you can work your way down.

And your final step will be to maintain your organization. Once you finish getting through the first 4 steps of this process, your organization system should be in good shape, but even the best system will fall apart if you don’t maintain your Canva account.

You can create a recurring task on your calendar or your project management tool of choice to do your Canva organization on a weekly or bi-weekly or even a monthly basis.

I’d also recommend a periodic deep clean of your Canva account to review the contents of your folders and to delete and archive as needed. This doesn’t need to be very often, but this will also give you an opportunity to re-assess your folder system and whether it’s still working for you.

If you’re feeling inspired to tackle your own Canva clutter, I have a free guide that you may want to check out. The Canva Organization Roadmap will essentially walk through the framework from this tutorial, in a format that you can more easily reference while you’re tackling your own Canva organization.

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