I’m delighted to welcome James Gorski of DesignRFix as a guest blogger to “Cyber Geek Girl”. This informative post will be invaluable to any blogger who uses WordPress and who needs to tidy up their media library, as I did. Thank you James!

Every image file or other sort of attachment you decide to upload to WordPress goes directly to the WordPress media library. For current files, that’s no problem. The in-moment media library is very well-organized and finding files you just uploaded is a breeze. Old files, on the other hand, come close to being an absolute nightmare to track down. It’s all too easy to find yourself spending far too much time just to simply track down a file from a few weeks ago. There’s an easy fix, however.

Add a bit of organization to your WordPress media library by creating WordPress media folders akin to those on your own computer and suddenly your life gets a lot easier.

For folders like those mentioned, all you’ll need to do is get your hands on a free plugin that will majorly up your file organization. This post will go through not only how to get that plugin, but also another free plugin to organize through specific classifications.

Media Folders with Media Library Plus

Media Library Plus is the only place you need to look if you would like to throw some folders into your WordPress media library. Development studio Max Foundry keeps this plugin in tip top shape with regular updates.

The plugin is installed just like any other WordPress plugin. Once you’ve done that, your WordPress dashboard will now show a Media Library + option that will not have been there before. This button will send you to a new and improved media library. Keep in mind, however, that, though this is a separate library, any files uploaded to it will also show up in your regular media library without the folders.

The default WordPress folder structure for Media Library + is simply by year and month. Simply make your way through these to find your media files. In order to start organizing in the way you’d like to, simply click on the Add Folder button. This will cause a box to appear and prompt you to name the new folder. Then click Create Folder to, you guessed it, create the folder.

Copying and pasting media files from one folder to another consists in highlighting the files by clicking the checkbox and dragging them to the folder you’d like. It’s important to specify you want to copy or move the files by clicking the appropriate button at the top of the folder. The default is to copy in order to prevent you from losing any links to old images. However, to completely move the files, simply toggle the option to move. Remember that moving an image will change its URL and so cause the past URL to no longer work in any links you may have used.

The one downside of the free version of this plugin is that there is no easy way to insert the old media files into your posts without the pro version. Inserting them directly from the WordPress Editor interface, you will need a $19 upgrade to Media Library Plus Pro.

Organizations with Classifications

For those who prefer not to have dozens of folders to try to navigate through, another organizational options is to use classifications for your media files. These are tags put on your files to group them together. Tag an image as “animals,” and it’ll be thrown together with all over your other pictures of critters. While this doesn’t grant you the visual folders to browse, it will give you similar organization. If you know what you’re looking for, you should be able to find it by category.

A great way to gain this ability is a free plugin called Enhanced Media Library. After installation and activation, this plugin will grant you a new Media Categories option in the Media section of your WordPress dashboard. To create a new category, just go down to the Add New Media Category button at the bottom. Once you’ve created any categories you think you might need, you’ll be given the option to add new or existing images to that category upon accessing them. The plugin will then allow you to filter images by category. So, if you want to track down a tasty picture of a burger you uploaded, you can simply filter out all pictures not in the category Food.

For those looking to streamline their WordPress media library perusal, both Media Library Plus and Enhanced Media Library offer viable and free solutions to your cluttered library.