While You’re Busy Ditching Folders, I’m Using them More

Welcome to a simple, future-proof method for organising your plain text files in apps like Obsidian

Ellane W
4 min readOct 1, 2022


Brightly coloured paper draped over a row of metal rods
Image used under license from jumpstory

Mem is inviting us to “Say goodbye to folders,” and Napkin wants to liberate us from them. With good reason — those babies can work magic!

Even in the plain text (or Markdown) arena, apps like Workflowy and Logseq strongly imply that folders are unnecessary. Tags and links are all you need, right?

Well, they may be all you need, and if so, I’m happy for you.

As for me, I’m finding a greater measure of digital liberation by actually using folders more. The specifics of what follows relate to the way I use Obsidian, but the principles can apply to any plain text system.

How Many Folders In Your Vault? Tell Me If You Dare

You’d be thoroughly gobsmacked if I told you how many folders and files live in my Obsidian vault. That is, until I mention that I’m formatting the KJV Bible, ready for transcluding separate verses into any app with the power to embed one file within another.

So. We won’t count those.

My main vault contains eight top-level folders, four of which house my P.A.R.A. setup.

  • Index
  • 1. Projects
  • 2. Resources
  • 3. Areas
  • 4. Archive
  • Calendar
  • Templates
  • Writing

FYI, my folder names are always written in all caps, so I don’t need to be able to see their icons to easily tell them apart from files. Also FYI, those PARA folders are numbered, so they display in order. Because I like order.

That’s quite a modest collection of folders, I can hear you say.

— Why yes, so it is!

Then how am I using them more?

— I’m using subfolders to do away with the need for database plugins and inline queries. Note that I said to do away with the need for queries and database plugins. I didn’t say I never use them!



Ellane W

Designer and educational publisher for 30 years+. Plain-text advocate. Still using paper, but less of it. https://linktr.ee/miscellaneplans