Good Housekeeping

So, now you have all your lovely downloads, how do you manage to organise them?

You will find several hints and tips here on file management and general game organisation which I have learned in my years of simming. Many of these ideas I would not know without the kindness and openness of many other simmers, some gone and some still helping simmers along in their day-to-day forumming and my hope is that you will pass any useful information on yourself when you come across someone needing help.


This page is more about preventing problems from occuring in your game than troubleshooting existing problems. If you have a particular game problem, you may find the answer (or a link to your answer) on my Downloading Without Tears page. I hope you find something of use here, and please do check the links I give for further information, hints and tips for general gameplay, safe downloading and good housekeeping.

I am in no way implying that these hints, cheats, tips, fixes or links below are the definitive and only ways of helping you organise your items with the minimum of problems, only that these are the ways I (or other simmers I know) have found most effective. I am sorry but I cannot give additional help if things go wrong as a consequence of using any of the information here. What I know I freely share, however, in good faith. But do please check out the links where given to compare and contrast methods.

Please note that although I am a Mac user, I only have Sims stuff on my PC, and while I know that certain procedures, filenames, etc are very different on a Mac, I cannot give any technical help for Mac Simmers, unfortunately. But if you use Google, I am sure you will find what you need - and probably much better than any help I could give anyway.

Finally, a dire warning. Some of the hints and tips below may involve you altering a downloaded object in some way. Before altering any object, make a copy first. You never know whether it will be available for download again. I cannot urge you enough to do this! Sims 1 sites are disappearing quicker than hot dogs at a barbeque and not all are file-share friendly. Back up all your downloads regularly, preferably onto a CD or DVD. Protect your investment. You know it makes sense.

Bunny's Best Links throughout this page list just some of the best places to get help when organising our game! This is where the Sims Community comes into its own - people having problems, asking questions and sharing what they learned, whether on forums, in chat rooms or on sites of their own.

This game of ours may drive us crazy at times, but, it has also brought many diverse people from across the globe together to share experiences, joys and frustrations, both with our sims lives and our own lives. Best of all, it has helped forge real and lasting relationships with people from all walks of life with whom we were otherwise highly unlikely to ever meet.

Long may it last!

The Bunny Wuffles Troubleshooting Kit includes some of the essential help utilities mentioned on this page. Download this at the Winzip symbol:

Please note that all of these have either been included with previous permissions, are freely shareable or archive files from OldVersion. Where I mention files you need or should have that are not shareable, I provide links to the site where you can obtain them from.

Watch out for Lil' Sad Housekeeper Wuffles! She will tell you if there is anything more to read on a particular subject at my Downloading Without Tears page. Click on her and she will take you there in a new window.

While my old TSR label "computer wuss" can still at times be applied successfully to me, there are certain organisational issues I have come across which I have solved either by myself (yay! go me!) or (very likely) with the aid of others. Below is a list of some of those problems with my suggested solutions, links for further reading and, where applicable, even essential files which you should keep in a safe place "just in case".

I hope you find this page useful for those times you feel like uninstalling The Sims and sticking to Minesweeper instead. Scroll down to see them all or use the shortcuts below to jump to a specific point:

Using and creating folders becomes an essential skill for the avid downloader. For instance, it is a good idea to organise your objects into separate folders for several reasons:

  • You can find things easier when (not if!) you need to
  • You will optimise game loading time considerably
  • You will increase game stability
  • You can easily organise your neighbourhoods or lots into seasonal or other themes
The good news is that organising your objects, walls and floors within folders will not mess up your game, and I will walk you through what to do later in this section.

Don't worry if you have never had to find folders on your desktop before. It is easy as this:

  1. Close down your sims game. Never try to do this while the game is running.
  2. Click on your "Start" menu icon.
  3. Double click on "My Computer" which brings up a new window.
  4. Double click on "C" which brings up a new window.
  5. Double click on the folder called "Program Files"
  6. Double click on the folder called "Maxis"
  7. The same for the folder called "The Sims"
  8. The same for "GameData"
  9. Then "UserObjects"

Can you see what's happening?

Look in the Address bar of each stage I mentioned above. See the address getting longer each time a folder opens?

Where I say something like C:\Program Files\Maxis\The Sims\GameData\UserObjects each time there is a forward-slash symbol \ this means there is a new folder of that name inside the previous folder.

This is actually a set of instructions called a "Path" and works remarkably like a postal address.

Files of all types on your computer need to be in the exact place they were designed to be in order to work. Sims downloads are no different, and the way they work (or not) depends on the places they are downloaded or moved to.

All downloads (except houses) which you acquire from fan sites like mine will go in a folder within your C:\Program Files\Maxis\The Sims\GameData\ folder.

You may have noticed that there is a file called C:\Program Files\Maxis\The Sims\Downloads\. Some creators suggest you put your fan-site downloads in there, but this folder is actually only intended for the free sim-day downloads from the official site, and those you make yourself in Transmogrifier (if indeed you ever do).

Your precious collection of Sims downloads should go in the folders as follows:

  • .iff to C:\Program Files\Maxis\The Sims\GameData\UserObjects (unless it is a house file)
  • .wll to C:\Program Files\Maxis\The Sims\GameData\Walls
  • .flr to C:\Program Files\Maxis\The Sims\GameData\Floors
  • .bmp to C:\Program Files\Maxis\The Sims\GameData\Roofs
  • .cmx .cfp .skn and .bmp (when it comes with the skin files) to C:\Program Files\Maxis\The Sims\GameData\Skins

House files are placed as follows:

  • For the original "The Sims" game they go in: C:\Program Files\Maxis\The Sims\UserData\Houses
  • For a game where you have one or more expansion packs they go in:
    C:\Program Files\Maxis\The Sims\UserDataXX\Houses\HouseZZ
    where XX is the number of the neighbourhood and ZZ is the number of the lot.

For example, if you want a house in Neighbourhood 3 - Lot 3, it goes into:

  • C:\Program Files\Maxis\The Sims\UserData3\Houses\House03.iff

or if you want a house in Neighbourhood 4 - Lot 3, it goes into:

  • C:\Program Files\Maxis\The Sims\UserData4\Houses\House03.iff

The only exceptions to these general rules are with certain hacked objects which come with a dedicated read-me file included in the zip. It is vitally important that you follow the installation directions within otherwise the object will not work properly and may even crash your game. Objects like this are usually either intended to deliberately replace a Maxis object (such as Sir Laphelot's plant upgrades from Simslice) and in general, with specialised hacks like these you will be instructed in the read-me file to put them directly into the "ExpansionPack" folders.

FoldersMaking new folders becomes second nature for the sim downloader, yet it is still surprising how many people have never had to do this before embarking on sims downloading and don't know how. Until now!

You can see in the image on the left that I have the "The Sims" window open, but you can do this in any window.

Click on File, then New, then Folder.

Give your new folder a name which is easy to see what it contains - for example, "SpareStuff".

The path to this folder will then be :

C:\Program Files\Maxis\The Sims\SpareStuff

You can also make a new folder by right-clicking.

Here, I am in My Documents, and by right-clicking anywhere in the window, a pop-up menu gives me various options including the one I highlighted called "New".

Mousing to the arrow brings up another pop-up menu, and on the top is Folder. Choosing this creates a new folder within My Documents.

Again, give your new folder a name which is easy to see what it contains - for example, "NewSimsStuff".



Back them up NOW.  You  KNOW it makes sense. If you want to conserve your Zip (or RAR) files intact, you need to prevent Winzip from auto-opening the download when you click on it. But why would you want to keep your Zip files?

  • So you can unzip your files in batches at a time that suits you
  • So you can archive your Zip files to save space
  • So you can check them for virii all in one go
  • So you can unzip the object at a later date should the original object become corrupt or deleted by accident
  • So you can unzip a hacked object which includes skin files into a separate folder of its own to keep all the bits and pieces together until you come to install it

Wherever possible, I use "right-click / save as" for my downloads. However, some sites don't allow right-clicking, and while I used to just shrug my shoulders & leave that site to visit another, these days, Sims1 sites are all premium and so I configured my File Download associations to ask me whether I want to open or save the file.

I always choose Save, and am very careful not to uncheck the box "Always ask before opening this type of file".

This is something you do in Windows, but you might even be able to do this within your internet protection suite; some do offer to give you warning pop-ups when a file is about to be downloaded.

If you want to have your downloads confirmed in this way, here is how to do it. In Windows 98 (and maybe later editions too, but certainly not in XP) the procedure to stop Winzip auto-opening is:

  • Start
  • Run
  • Type WINFILE
  • File Manager will pop-up
  • Choose File, then Associate
  • Fill in the box at the top with the file extension you wish to change - i.e. .zip or .rar
  • Scroll to the top of the list of file types and select (None)

I feel this is especially important for XP users as the inbuilt uncompression function opens your zips automatically, and if you want to keep your zips intact, you have to tell it to do so. So in XP, the procedure to stop Winzip auto-opening is:

  • Start
  • Control Panel
  • Folder Options
  • File Types
  • Scroll down till you find ZIP File and highlight (here I have used XXE to demonstrate; you should choose ZIP File)



  • Click the Advanced button
  • Make sure the "Confirm open after download" box is ticked


  • Click OK then Apply



  • Repeat this process for RAR files.

It is fairly well documented around the community that over time, our precious stash of objects may develop one or two corruptions. The reason is not yet fully known, but according to the sim utility programmer James "SimWardrobe" Sausville, the game writes "garbage" lines to object files on saving and exiting, and more often on items since Hot Date. Most of the time there is no harm done, but occasionally, an object will be rendered useless and, worse, turned into a game-crasher. Unfortunately, these are not always detected by the otherwise splendid third-party sim utilities I usually recommend.

The good news is that there are two things you can do to help prevent this happening; one I recommend and one which I personally do not, although many other simmers do.

Make your files "read only".

As well as helping prevent corruption, making all your objects "read only" is very important to the game loading time.

It is very easy to do, and easy to undo should you need to (if you want to alter an object with Transmogrifier, it needs to be readable first).

Because I only recommend putting your user-created objects into the UserObjects folder, this is the one I will demonstrate on.

Let's take a look at the folder of Dincer's marvellous objects.


By right-clicking on the folder, we bring up a menu of different things we can do to it.

Select "Properties".....

...and up will pop a very handy window indeed.

As you can see, it tells us lots of things about this folder, including its address path, the size of the folder in bytes, and the number of files it contains (incidentally, this is too many - but I will go into this later!).

We are going to change an attribute of this folder. You can see in the Attributes section here a box marked "Read-only" and there is a little greyed-out arrow inside.

This means that some of the 240 files (objects) are marked as Read Only but some of them aren't. We want all of them to be marked Read Only, so click this grey tick and.....

.....magically it disappears.

Click the empty box and a black tick appears.

Of course, your box might have been empty, or the tick even fully black. But I am guessing that among all your folders, you will find grey ticks, and as greyed-out items usually mean you can't click them, it may come as a revelation that this one you can!

Press OK and..... get a pop-up confirmation box, in which you get a choice of options.

Previous to my having to upgrade to WinXP, I was a staunch Win98 user, and this box was nonexistent then. If you clicked the folder and changed its attributes, it made the folder read-only, but not the files within. You had to do the files themselves in batches and it took simply ages. Trying to do them all at once sometimes froze my computer - and I had a very high-spec machine at the time.

I don't know when this changed, but now I am an XP user it is so amazingly quick and you are given the option to not only change folder but the files within AND make the changes to any subfolders inside as well. Woo! Yay!

Although you could in theory change your entire User Objects folder this way, this still might lead to a freeze-up if you have thousands of objects, so while doing this one folder at a time seems tedious, just remember that Win98 users could easily spend the best part of an entire day doing this exercise (points at self, wearyingly).

So, click the "Apply changes to this folder, subfolders and files" option and press OK. After a short, very short, or very very short while this window will disappear and your Read-only box will have retained its black tick. Press OK and you're ready to go onto the next folder.

You can even change your walls and floors like this - and you will really notice a significant difference in loading time if you do! I don't download skins, so I am sorry but I couldn't tell you if this could be done to your skins folder successfully or not.

"FAR" your files.

This is something I tried once, fell foul of, and no longer do it myself or recommend it either. However, many other simmers do this and probably wouldn't dream of any other way, so here is how to FAR your files.

First, you need a FAR utility such as FARout (free) FarX (free) or SimEnhancer Object Manager (pay, with 48hr free trial). While there are a number of other FAR utilities at TSR I would not recommend you try FarEdit as, despite it being made by the otherwise wonderful Bil Simser, it does have a bad habit of creating files which don't actually work. When I got Vacation and my loading time went sky-high, I used FARout and found it relatively simple. Thankfully, it was also simple to use when I came to unFAR most of the objects later, though I did lose one archive through corruption - thank goodness I had copied the IFF files first.

So what are FAR files and why FAR your objects?

FAR files are used by Maxis to load all of the Maxis-made default skins and objects quickly. A FAR file is no smaller in size (give or take a few kb or so) than the equivalent IFF (object) files. However, the game reads a FAR file differently to IFF files in that it will load one FAR file many times quicker than it would loading the individual IFF files it contains. So if you have an excessively long loading time, it makes sense to FAR some or all of your IFF files. Those who regularly FAR their files don't seem to report in-game corruption of objects as much either.

There are downsides as well as upsides to FARring your files, and this is an updated version of a little spreadsheet of both which I made for TSR some time back.

Prepare your IFF files carefully before FARring them. Ensure that they don't conflict, are suitable for whatever expansion packs you have or don't have, that they are categorised for wherever you want to use them and that they are not corrupt in other ways. Use SimExplorer to determine this last point. And last but by no means least, ensure that you like them in your game!
Backed up your files yet?Make copies of the IFF files and archive them NOW. Do not wait until after you have FARred them. The FAR process can and does sometimes corrupt the contents during the FAR or during an unFAR. You might think you will never unFAR your objects, but, as the saying goes, "never say never". There are plenty of reasons for wanting - or needing - to unFAR a file later on.
If a FAR file becomes corrupted during the FAR or unFAR process, EVERY object within that file becomes corrupt and you cannot retrieve any of them. Good thing you backed your IFF files up first, isn't it?
While FAR objects make the game load much quicker, it does not get rid of all normal object problems which may occur. Object ID conflicts and the "Build Mode Bug" (pre-Unleashed especially) can happen just as often with objects in a FAR file as not.
If you come across ID conflicts between a loose IFF file and an object within a FAR file, change the IFF file (so long as it isn't a specialised hacked object relying on other files to work - such as .skn ones for an NPC).
Before FARring a whole folder of stuff, you MUST ensure that folder does not contain another FAR file. You cannot FAR other FAR files.
Do not EVER be tempted to use a FAR program to remove some of the ugly Maxis objects from the default game objects FAR folders. While many of those objects might be a completely and utterly redundant waste of space (for instance, there are quite a few objects from Livin Large I have never used in my game nor ever intend to) they may well be the bases for objects made by a creator which may not resemble that original base but will not work in the game if the original base isn't there, or (as I recently read somewhere) the game may even reference them in some other way and if they are not there, cannot.
If your long loading time is not too excessive (I read once that someone's game took 45 minutes to load and 20 to unload; my record after installing Vacation was 35 mins load and 10 mins unload) then it would be simpler to organise in other ways. While FARring gives the better loading time, there are other ways to significantly lessen the loading time which are less drastic and much easier to update should you need to, and I will address these later on in this page.
Another object problem which is common among those of us who indulge in frequent downloading frenzies is getting the same object more than once. The game really does not like this at all if you try to load it with both installed. Unfortunately, once you have FARred your objects, you cannot easily see the individual file names for them, which makes identifying which object you may have twice much harder than if they were just "read-only".

For further reading let me suggest:

Such a huge topic with such a small title.

Ask 20 simmers how they organise their files and you will get 20 different replies. Heck, just ask 2 simmers and you will get 2 different replies. This is not intended to be THE definitive way of organising files, just to show you the way I do it - and have done for the last few years. I have so many objects it is unbelieveable, and while I don't want all of them in my game at any one time (tiki on a Victorian lot anyone?) I want to be able to use the ones I want WHEN I want.

The Wuffles Way might seem over complex on first view, but for me it is important to keep freely cloneable objects separate from non cloneable ones as I am primarily an object maker than game player, so I often need to use two folders for a particular task where you may well only need to use one. Looking at the length of this tutorial, it also might seem very long - but don't forget, it takes longer to show you how to do it than for you to actually do it. Also, bear in mind that any new system gets quicker the next time you implement it, and it really takes me no time at all these days in organising my downloads effectively.

If you have never organised your files before - or even if you have - I hope you will find here some hints, tips or ideas that you will find useful. I rarely have any problems in my game that can't be fixed easily and quickly, and my UserObjects folder can be measured in gb, so I must be doing something right!

If you want to try "The Wuffles Way", I have included a framework set of empty folders in The Bunny Wuffles Troubleshooting Kit for you to put in your My Documents (or straight onto your desktop, so long as it is away from the Maxis folder) and a set of empty folders for you to put in your User Objects folder, to save you having to make all the folders & subfolders I detail below. Ah, don't I spoil you. No, actually I don't. If I was to REALLY spoil you, I would have included lots of objects too. But no, these folders are empty with the exception of the two files I use as illustration.

Downloading - how?

"But Bunny, we already know how to download, thank you." Well, yes, but as I am going through the stages of organising in a methodical manner, I need to start at the very beginning and in any event, I rather fancy that I do my downloading in a different way than many simmers.

While revisiting some well-loved sites for inspiration, I came across some downloads from Persimmon Grove that I don't have for some inexplicable reason. Naturally, these are must-haves, and so I downloaded.....

....the Tall Toitoi Plant....

....and the Strewn Stones 1-Tile.

We will see more on these later as we follow their progress from website to game.

Back them up NOW.  You  KNOW it makes sense. I don't unzip straight from the download. Instead, I unzip my files singly or in batches later. Wherever possible, I use "right-click / save as" for my downloads so I can save the zip (or RAR) files intact for storage.

I go into why I do this in detail above where I also show you how to stop Winzip from auto-opening.

So here is my pop-up telling me I am about to download the Toitoi plant, and I will press Save, being very careful not to touch the "Always ask before opening.." box.


Downloading - where to?

Some people like to put their downloads directly into their respective folders, but if you want to even remotely organise your downloads, this is not really a good idea.

I have a master folder outside the game folders in which I store things I don't use in my game at any one time, and this sits inside My Documents and is called, rather appropriately "All Sims Stuff".

This folder itself contains three folders shown below.

It is generally a good idea to have a folder outside the game to download to, and for this I use a folder in My Documents\All Sims Stuff which I have called, appropriately, "Sims Downloads". This makes it much easier to organise my downloads and - more importantly - easily find any downloads which I later discover may not agree with my game for whatever reason.

You can also see I have additional folders called "sims stuff all folders" & "Sims zips to archive" and we will look at how I use these a little later on.

For now, let's take a look inside "Sims Downloads".

Firstly, I quarantine my newest downloads in a folder of their own. Why? Because if the game crashes, I know exactly where my latest downloads are and won't have to scour the entire User Objects folder for them.

So, in my Desktop/My Documents/All Sims Stuff/Sims Downloads folder, I have two folders called "TodayTrayCloneable" and "TodayTrayNotCloneable" and those are where I put all new objects I haven't tested in the game yet.

Because I am primarily an object maker, I like to keep any free-to-clone items separate to avoid any accidental mistakes when transmogrifying. If you don't make objects (why not? I make it really easy!) then you will not need to separate them in this way. You can also see additional folders called "NonGame to alter" & "NonGame to archive" and we will look at how I use these in the next section.

I call these initial folders "Today Tray" because I like to test small batches at a time, and I generally only have a downloading spree once daily. If for some reason I cannot check the Today Tray files before downloading another batch on a separate date, I make two more new folders and give them that day's date in their title.

This sounds rather fussy I know, but it makes the batches small (nothing worse than opening a Today Tray to be faced with hundreds of items waiting to be unzipped & checked) which helps no end when I find that for some reason a zip got corrupted during download and I can then look in my Internet History for that date to see what sites I visited.

As Koromo generously gave us the privilege of cloning her objects when she announced her "retirement" (quotation marks because I refuse to give up the hope she comes back at some stage), here are my two downloaded Persimmon Grove zip files in my Today Tray Cloneable folder:

Finally, before unzipping, as I said above, I always scan the folder of new zip files with Norton by Right-Clicking and selecting "Scan". I should imagine this is an option with any anti-virus software, and I highly recommend you do this too.

So, in conclusion, here are my downloaded Zip files in:

C:\Desktop\My Documents\All Sims Stuff\Sims Downloads\TodayTrayCloneable

all ready for the next stage.....


Unzipping & testing

As I said above, I unzip the files either singly where I know it is a hack which carries additional files, or in batches where not. Sometimes, creators will put zip files inside folders inside other zip files - if I find any of those, I unzip them as well. If I download houses, I also unzip those separately too, so they don't get mixed in with all the other .iff files.

I use WinRAR for unzipping, because it offers far more options when you right-click:

  • Extract Files...: see next image below.
  • Extract Here : everything inside those two zips will end up in the TodayTrayCloneable folder.
  • Extract each archive to separate folder : you will end up with two folders in the TodayTrayCloneable folder with everything from each zip in its respective folder.
  • Extract to KRiverStonesStrewn1-tile\ : you will end up with a folder of the same name in your TodayTrayCloneable folder, containing everything from both zips.

  • Extract files.... : Choosing this option brings up a pop-up window with more options than you could shake several sticks at. Don't ask me what they all mean because I have absolutely no idea.

So, now I have batch-unzipped the folders, I now have the contents (just two .iff files) and the original zips in my Today Tray Cloneable folder.

Then, I move all the zip files into the folder in All Sims Stuff called "Sims zips to archive" and from time to time burn this folder onto a CD-ROM or DVD-ROM. Once I am sure the burned disk works fine, I delete the contents of this folder to start filling it up again.


Where applicable, I then move any walls, floors, roofs or skin files into the appropriate folder within C:\Program Files\Maxis\The Sims\GameData\ and any Read-Me, picture files and other information-only files like .sif ones into the "Sims zips to archive" folder.

The object .iff files should now be the only items left in my Today Tray folders.

Let's now take a look at my UserObjects folder.

Despite what you may see in other screenshots throughout my site, this is what my UserObjects folder looks like normally. It has only three files - the default lil one, and two folders: SafeToClone, and NotCloneable. This is where my tested and approved objects will eventually live.


I then move the TodayTray folders into C:\Program Files\Maxis\The Sims\GameData\UserObjects for testing.

Here I am only moving the one folder because I have not downloaded anything to the other!

Before testing in-game, I move the other two folders (SafeToClone and NotCloneable) into My Documents/All Sims Stuff. I do put them back before checking for ID conflicts though, otherwise that would be a pointless exercise!

I give the full testing procedure I use in my "Downloading Without Tears" section - "Help! A bad object is crashing my game!" but to précis, the checks I do are as follows:

  • Sim Explorer to ensure none are corrupted, and that I like the look of them close up
  • In-game checks to ensure they don't disappear due to my not having MM installed
  • In-game checks to see if they show up in the catalogue and haven't been miscategorised in any way
  • In-game checks to see if I like the look of them in my game
  • SimCat or similar to categorise / recategorise them
  • Sim Enhancer Object Manager to check for object ID conflicts between them and my full collection of downloads

By now, I am able to know which category I am going to put each object in:

  • Objects I don't want in my game (freely cloneable or not)
  • Objects I do want in my game (freely cloneable or not)

What I do with objects I don't want in my game

Once I have "weeded out" all the objects I have decided not to keep in my game, I put these in different categories. These days, as sim sites are vanishing quicker than Ferrero Rocher at the Ambassador's Party, I never delete an object completely. After all, who knows when that lime-green-and-fuschia striped dishwasher might come in useful?

If the object is a new shape and it doesn't bleed badly, I keep it in a folder called "NonGame to alter", and at some unspecified time in the future, I will possibly recolour / retexture it for my own game. Within this folder are two folders marked FreelyCloneable and NonCloneable which allows me to see in an instant at some future date whether I can put the recolour on my site or not. It is also in this folder I put objects I want in my game but need some fixing first; more often than not this is usually due to a Z buffer problem, or a case of the smaller zoom measles I detected during testing.

If the object is indeed that lime-green-and-fuschia striped Maxis dishwasher straight recolour, I will move it to a folder called "NonGame to archive" where, from time to time when burning a CD of backups, I will include this folder as well.

What I do with objects I do want in my game

And this is where the fun really starts!

As I said above, regardless of any other screenshots, normally there are only two folders in my C:\Program Files\Maxis\The Sims\GameData\UserObjects folder; one with subfolders of freely cloneable objects and one with subfolders of non-cloneable objects.

I have always organised my object files alphabetically. That way, I have managed to get NO duplicate files in my six years simming (with the sole exception of Well Dressed Sims because when they became a paysite they changed the names of all their old objects, including the prefixes). Oh, and my old objects of course *blush* when I changed my prefix to Bun.

But these days, I also organise my objects by theme. That way, if I am in a Tiki mood, I can just unload all my objects, load up all my Tiki ones, and Aloha Paradise!

So how do I do that?

Easy. I have two sets of identical objects, arranged in two different ways. This doesn't necessarily mean that I have duplicate objects in each set; that would be a waste of time. Instead, let me show you what I mean.

Inside My Documents/All Sims Stuff, you will recall I have a folder called "sims stuff all folders" and inside that are all my theme folders waiting patiently to be called into action.

These theme folders are also numbered according to the neighbourhood, so here you can see I have a folder called N10 Tiki. That means my Neighbourhood 10 is - guess what - a Tiki neighbourhood.

When I want to play in a tropical paradise, I move my folders out of User Objects into "sims stuff all folders" and move this N10 Tiki one into User Objects. Swapsies! And because I know my Tiki neighbourhood is number 10, I can use EliSims to load up Neighbourhood 10 immediately and won't have the problem of trawling through my 99 neighbourhoods to find it.

So, let's go!

Here (shown in Sim Explorer) are my two downloads from Persimmon Grove; the Tall Toitoi Plant.....

....and the Strewn Stones 1-Tile.


During the testing process, I have already decided that while I would want both items in my everyday simming folder, if I was in a Tiki mood I would want the Toitoi but not the grey stones.

So, it is a simple matter of right-clicking on the Toitoi object, and copy/pasting it into my N10 Tiki folder.

Because I only do this AFTER I have done all the testing, I can be sure that neither Toitoi will cause any object ID clashes with anything else in my main UserObjects folder, because any other objects I ID test in the future will be tested against the Toitoi which I am about to promote to my main UserObjects folder.

I am unlikely to change the ID of the Toitoi any more, because according to the criteria I use for testing, I only change the ID of the newer object in my Today Tray, and by then this Toitoi will have been sitting in UserObjects for some time.

Because all files in my N10 Tiki folder are all direct copies of items from the User Objects folder, I will never use both folders in my game at the same time so I won't get any conflicts.

Before I close my "sims stuff all folders" folder, I make the N10 Tiki folder Read-only.

So, what becomes of the objects inside the TodayTrayCloneable folder? Why, they go into my C:\Program Files\Maxis\The Sims\GameData\UserObjects folder. Simple as that.


Well, ok. Maybe not that simple.

As you have already seen, inside my User Objects folder, I have two main folders - SafeToClone and NotCloneable.

Inside each of those folders, I have many MANY folders with names like "game 4esf 1 4esb to 4esfcc" "game 4esf 2 4esfch to 4esflau" etc. The name tells me the contents - for instance game 4esf 1 4esb to 4esfcc is:

  • game: this folder is for my everyday gaming
  • 4esf: the files all came from 4EverSimFantasy
  • 1: this is folder #1
  • 4esb to 4esfcc: the files inside begin and end with those filenames


So why do I have three folders devoted to 4es? Because to keep my game running smoothly and quickly, I ensure that no object folder has more than 200 files in it (in fact I tend to stop at 195). I talk further about this below.

In my SafeToClone folder is a file marked "game K Persimmon Grove" and it is to that folder I will move the contents of my TodayTrayCloneable folder. Before I close my SafeToClone folder, I will make the "game K Persimmon Grove" folder Read-only.

Now my TodayTray folders are empty again, I move them back to their home in the Sims Downloads folder which you will recall itself lives inside My Documents.

And that's all there is to it!

In all my thousands of downloads, I find it incredibly easy to find "that" certain object I am ever looking for, because I generally have a good idea who's work it is, and can easily go to that folder or set of folders because of the naming system I use, and then use Sim Explorer to find it. I never have any problems when I want to play any of my theme neighbourhoods after a break, and this system allows me to have fairly easily organised every single sims object I have ever downloaded in my six years of simming, and continue to organise the many more which are being made now and those hopefully in the future.

As you will no doubt have guessed, I cleaned out my folders to show you these screenshots - I do have a lot more folders tucked away than just the one or two you have seen. I just didn't want to make the task of following each step too daunting for you!

Once upon a time in Simland, there was no real problem with the length of time the game would load, even if you had all the objects, skins, walls & floors there were to be had. Then along came Sims Vacation. Why I do not know, but for some reason this expansion made a huge difference in loading times, and all of a sudden the forums were full of queries about what we could do to alleviate this.

I remember reading that someone's game took 45 minutes to load and 20 to unload; that made my personal record of just over 35 mins load and 10 mins unload seem paltry in comparison. Many suggestions were made as to what we could do in the time between loading the game and actually playing; these usually involved much-neglected housework, making coffee & a sandwich, popping out to McDonalds; that kind of thing.

But by far, the best suggestions involved the following, and these still hold true today.

Having a large number of downloads slows things down.

Yes, this sounds obvious, but how many of you thought I just meant objects? You may be surprised to find that having a large number of downloaded walls and floors will also slow your game loading time measurably. Periodically, use SimExplorer to weed out those walls and floors you simply don't use and I guarantee you will find a significant difference afterwards. I am given to believe that skins load in a different way and don't affect loading times at all but having no downloaded skins in my game at this time, I couldn't vouch for this personally.

A folder of 199 files will load much quicker than one containing 201.

While I am both a Mac and a PC user and therefore look to Mr Jobs and Mr Gates with equal reverence, I am sure I am not incurring his wrath if I tell you that Mr Gates' otherwise excellent Windows application in conjunction with The Sims really does not like large folders. While a folder can actually contain as many items as you like, for optimum performance and stability less than 200 is essential; any more and it makes a considerable difference in game loading length. This is obviously very important if you have lots of objects! One of our dear object hackers found this out (P8ntmstrG? Cooptwin? can't find the original posts now but bless you anyway wherever you are) some considerable time ago and tests done separately at both TSR and N99 proved this true - and that it still holds true today.

While you can have subfolders in your objects, walls & floors folders, you can't put subfolders in the skins folder as they have to remain loose in order to work properly.

Convert your files into FAR or "Read Only".

A "read only" file takes less time to load up than an untreated file, so the more you have converted to "read only" the quicker the game will load. Whether you decide to FAR or not, you should always make your IFF files "read only" as the added advantage is that the game can and does corrupt IFF files from time to time, and by making them "read only" you reduce that chance to almost zero.

Forego the merry loading song.

While it is fun (at first) to let the little messages scroll across the screen while merrily playing the loading theme, if you minimise the screen once it has started loading, the game will load considerably faster. To minimise (or maximise again), press Alt + Tab. You can also minimise during play but be warned - sometimes the cursor disappears if you do this too often.

Defragment often.

Yes, defragging can make a huge difference, especially if like me you move files and folders about often. Look in your PC's user guide for specific instructions on defragmenting your system.

Have nothing running in the background.

Too many programs or utilities running at the same time will slow your game loading down considerably. Also, having a lot of programs on "stand by" in your Start-up folder can make a difference. Look in your PC's user guide for specific instructions on removing items from the Start-up folder.