Free for All: I got the Second Life inventory management blues

Second Life screenshot
Every year I attempt to go through my Second Life inventory in the hope that it actually works out for me. I really do want to get rid of the 7,000+ items I have after eight years in the game (my game-birthday is on May 26th!), but it's such a daunting task. Where do you start? Is organization really even needed? Well, yes it is, from what I have heard. Everyone is running in-world carrying endless pockets filled with everything possible, and that's going to cause some lag and effort on the server's part.

Also, I have an obsession with minimizing my life. I hate physical stuff. It takes up room, collects dust, and just sits there. Sure, I maintain all of my art if I can and some other important items like pictures and cute little knick-knacks, but otherwise, if I don't use it, it gets tossed, sold, or set on the curb for the junk-people to grab.

I feel the same way about Second Life. There's a mental burden that years of junk presses onto someone, digital representation or not. It's no wonder those people in that Hoarders show look so down; it's a hard life to lose the ability to throw anything away, ever.

I am making a stand, slowly. I am going to get this inventory under control by coming up with some ideas to help me along.

Second Life screenshot
First of all, I searched my inventory for everything called "object." Any Second Life resident knows darn well that simple "objects" take up so much room. They are unnamed and unfinished projects, bits of other bits and the stuff that makes up our ideas in the world. I have found entire treehouses that I built many years ago, tiny castles, miniature animals, and costumes. If I haven't thought about those items in years, why would I keep them now? I deleted over 500 "objects" the other night. That took some of the burden off.


"I found 12 of the same house and more of another. I couldn't stand it. It was driving me crazy, and I was starting to get a headache."

Then I sorted by names and found so many duplicates that it drove me nuts. See, in Second Life, you can make an object and allow copies of it to be made. For example, if I were to buy a bed from someone and pull it out of my inventory, that would generate a copy of the original if the creator of the object allowed it. Perhaps there is a shortcut that allows a player to pull out the original copy to lay down in the world, something I would love to know about, or maybe Linden Lab would have it in its heart to put that feature in, but I ended up with copies of copies of copies. I found 12 of the same house and more of another. I couldn't stand it. It was driving me crazy, and I was starting to get a headache.

I took a moment and decided that since I had removed all of the nameless "objects" from my inventory, I would at least be able to see the descriptions and titles of the remaining pieces. I found so, so many ancient pixels that I had built or had been given so many years ago. I have such fond memories attached to some of those objects... how strange. Does that make the objects as real as a special book that sits on my shelf? I think so. It's all valued in my heart.

Still, it drives me crazy. I will let these objects go.

I have always wondered why, after a major storm or fire tears down someone's home, the victims seem almost happy while they are being interviewed on the television. I don't want to offend anyone, but is it possible that as long as no one was hurt, there is almost a sense of relief coming from that victim? Not always, and possibly never, but is it a possiblity that deep down, a reset, even a forced one, is sort of welcomed by us? All of that stuff brings quite a bit of weight. Again, reference the look on the hoarder's face.

Second Life screenshot
That's how I feel about my Second Life inventory. Now, I will take my time and get rid of the stuff in a fashion that doesn't make me regret it later, perhaps through a series of garage sales on a chunk of tiny, rented land and with the help of a series of events. Maybe some of my readers can come out and support their favorite writer? Maybe afterward I will have a sort of glow emitting from my pixelated skin, a certain look of happiness and bliss thanks to the lifting of all of that weight from my animated shoulders?

It could take weeks to do this. Could Linden Lab make the job easier? I think so. Where are the tools that pop up a "preview" of the item upon right-click? In many MMOs, like EverQuest II, a player can review an item, try it on, and adjust the camera angle without having to actually buy that item. Why can't Second Life residents have a preview option that loads in a window so we can quickly see what we have before we pull out another darned copy? That's what we need. How about an option for creators to allow buyers to turn off "copyable" permissions? If I buy a couch, I want that one copy. I don't want 100 copies of it, so allow me to change that setting and maybe lose my ability to resell it. Let's think here, people -- there are millions of items that need to be organized in the world, and we need serious solutions.

Until then, I am just going to take my time, give away some stuff, throw away a bunch, and get rid of multiples. So many multiples. Perhaps as new players pop into existence in the world, a Linden helper can take them by the side and warn them, and I mean scare them, about the dangers of overpacking their inventories with so much stuff. Explain copyable objects, remind people to skip picking up copyable objects when they move, and instead, just delete them. Get rid of those copies.

Anyway, I'm off in-world. I have a ton of random pieces of junk to get rid of, somehow. If you have any tips to help, please feel free to put them in the comments section.

Each week, Free for All brings you ideas, news, and reviews from the world of free-to-play, indie, and import games -- a world that is often overlooked by gamers. Leave it to Beau Hindman to talk about the games you didn't know you wanted! Have an idea for a subject or a killer new game that no one has heard of? Send it to beau@massively.com!
This article was originally published on Massively.