Is your scrapbooking area organized?
Or do you sometimes avoid scrapbooking because you know you won’t be able to find something when you need it? Or better yet, you can’t even find a clear space on your desk to scrap?
My organizational level seems to rise and fall. At times, everything is a huge mess with no hope of finding what I need. Other times, my scrap area is neat and tidy, allowing me to create freely and stress-free.
In hopes of getting you to the second condition, I thought I’d share some general organizational tips I’ve picked up over the years:
1. Use Online Resources
There are so many great resources to help you become organized the online ones are the fastest, cheapest and easiest to find.
Just type “scrapbook organization” into Google and you will find a huge list of references. One of my favorites is Organized Scrapbooks (www.organizedscrapbooks.com). They have been around for awhile and have tons of ideas, free printable forms, and photos of organized spaces.
Another favorite is the Yahoo group called Scrappers Challenge (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ScrappersChallenge/). If you sign up for the e-mail list, the moderator routinely sends out reminders and little challenges to help you achieve or maintain scrapbook space organization. Members of the list (there are over 8,700!) submit specific questions and members help each other with suggestions or success stories. They also have a photo gallery you can peek into for ideas.
Another favorite place of mine is the Gallery at 2 Peas (http://twopeasinabucket.kaboose.com/). Many “Peas” have posted their organized scrapbook spaces and they usually include several photos, with detailed descriptions of how or why they organized as they did.
So when looking for ways to organize your scrap area, the internet is a wonderful place to start.
2. Divide and Conquer
Once you’ve checked your resources and have some great ideas in mind, I think the next step is to divide and conquer.
By that I mean to spend some time separating your stuff into categories, so you can get a fair idea of how much you have of each item, and how much space it takes up. For instance, gather all of your 12×12 paper and cardstock and, at least as a starting point, get it into stacks, pizza boxes, vertical holders, or some kind of grouping.
Put all your ribbon into one pile or shoebox (okay, 3 shoeboxes!). Gather your photos from all over your house and place them into one large Rubbermaid bin. The point of all this is to get a visual of what you have and how much of each type of item.
If you sort your scrapbook items by type (or whatever categories you choose), it will be so much easier to find things when it’s time to scrap.
3. How Do You Scrap?
I think this is one of the most important questions you can ask yourself.
Think about your own individual process (NOT the way Becky or Ali or Lisa B. does it, but YOURS). Do you design your layouts based on the colors? Then your supplies should be organized by color, so when you need blue and white embellishments for a page, you go to the blue section and the white section.
Do you tend to scrap by sticking to all one designer’s paper, embellishments and letters? Then organize your stash by designer. I noticed this was the “method to my madness,” so why did I have Basic Grey baby paper with baby stuff and Basic Grey letters with letter stickers? Now I keep everything I have by Basic Grey in one container.
If you sort your stuff the way you scrap, it will be so much easier to find things, and so much more intuitive to put things away when you buy them.
4. Purge…Then Buy Containers
As you sort your things into piles that make sense for YOU, purge as you go along.
I’m sure you have some paper that is no longer your style, stickers representing a sport or hobby your family no longer participates in, etc.
While you’re organizing is the perfect time to purge. Why bother taking time and making space for something you’re never going to use? I recently purged my scrapbook supplies and ended up with a box of stickers and papers for kids crafts, and a bag I donated to a grateful friend who was just starting to scrap.
Does your local scrapbook store hold “garage sales”? What better way to get rid of your unwanted items and earn a little money…perhaps to buy new supplies that inspire and excite you.
Once you’ve cleared out unwanted supplies, and you have a visual of how much stuff you need to store, start gathering containers or utilizing more effectively the ones you already have.
5. Go Vertical!
Nothing has changed my scrapbook space organization more than “going vertical” with my paper storage.
Before, I had my 12×12 papers stored in a horizontal paper rack I bought, used, when an LSS closed, combined with accordian style folders with handles. When I saw these Vertical Paper Holders by Cropper Hopper, a light dawned in my head.
I said to myself, “If you change your paper over to those vertical holders, you can save so much room, cut down on the dust, and flip through your papers much more easily.”
So I switched all of my papers and cardstock over - I “went vertical” - and it was the best thing I ever did. They only cost about $5 to $7 each and are well worth the investment.
6. Go Big!
One thing I’ve learned the hard way is: When buying scrapbook storage items, always buy bigger or more than you think you’ll need. You WILL outgrow it if you buy too small.
Here is an example: When I first started scrapping, I bought a Creative Memories Journaling Mate Case to hold my often-used pens and tools. These are my “right hand items” which literally sit to the right of my desk within easy reach because I use them on every layout or project. Well, as time went on, I collected more pens, another pair of scissors, and added a second pen case. Needless to say, as my expertise in the craft grew, and my collection of craft knives, paper piercers, mini-staplers, erasers, file sets, etc. continued to expand, every small storage item I added to the mix was outgrown.
I’ve now finally settled on a Cropper Hopper Flat Pack, which holds all my adhesives, erasers, staples, etc. and a mini ToteAlly Cool Mini Tote for my pointy tools and pens.
If I had just “gone big” in the first place, I could have saved myself a lot of time in reorganizing, shopping and adding small caddies not to mention the money I would have saved. Just cut to the chase and buy the larger storage item from the beginning because I guarantee you’ll fill it up someday.
7. Purge Your Packaging
Depending on how you store your supplies, one great space saver may be to unpackage your supplies like I have. I keep my themed embellishments in the ScrapRack (this photo is from the Scraprack website):
I know many people use similar systems that utilize page protectors of some sort, whether Crop In Style binders with 12×12 slotted pages, or a regular office binder with 8.5 x 11 page protectors.
When it dawned on me that my stickers and embellishments were being shielded inside the plastic protector anyway, I asked myself, “Why not take them out of the packaging they came in?” I now have them filed in their protectors without the packaging and, wow, what a space-saver that has been.
Take one look at your full trash can after you purge all the packaging, and you’ll see how much room you were wasting just to “store” packaging.
I’ve heard one objection to removing items from their packaging is that, if you submit pages for publication, you need the packaging for your materials lists. A solution would be, before you toss the packaging, to use a Slickwriter or similar marker to write the pertinent information on the plastic sheet, back of the sticker sheet, or on a sticky note that you file in the sleeve with the item.
Well, there are 7 of my organizing tips and tricks. I hope you are able to put them to use, and organize your scrapbook space for maximum creativity!
Erika writes the Scrapbook Obsession Blog where she shares more scrapbook organization ideas as well as her great scrapbook layouts and other scrapbooking tips.