After some reflecting, I realized there is nothing simple about Simple Five Fridays. It is usually a pretty long blog post! LOL And I've also added the Fiskars Fridays info to my posts making them even longer. So I am going to change the name to Five + Fiskars Fridays!
Five Organizing Tips
I have spent years organizing and reorganizing and reorganizing and reorganizing my scrappy stash. I think organizing is a necessary aspect of scrapbooking – we all have to do it once we start buying stuff because there is such a variety of stuff to store! Even if you don’t have much of a “stash” keeping everything in its package until you use it can take up a lot of space and is downright impossible at times (like keeping brads in a chipboard package after it has been opened—they get everywhere!).
How many times have you seen scrapbookers hosting a “clean your scrap room” challenge on forums? How often have you seen new organizational products come out trying to address problem areas, such as sticker or ribbon storage? Magazines have articles about it, store names like “Ikea” and “The Container Store” are frequently heard echoing in crop and retreat halls, and some women even have a ROOM for all of their stuff (hehe, like me). How do you pack for a crop without taking a U-Haul truck let alone get any layouts done at home?!
Over time I have tried to find ways to stay organized and to store my stuff in a manner that makes it the most useful for me. I am not always successful but here are some of my tried and true tips (culled from my own experience and from the advice of others) for keeping my space organized so that I know where everything is and I can use it.
1. Sort by color. If you look for your items based on color first, you’re more likely to use the items in your stash. I used to have my items sorted by type – but then I had to know A) WHAT kind of item I was going to use, B) what color I wanted and, C) where to find it.
Say I just know I want a green embellishment. I open the drawer and everything green is right in front of me.
I don’t have to remember I have green sequin stars before I use them—I can just see them in the drawer and use those, even if I initially was thinking of using buttons. It really helps me to keep a variety of embellishments and accents on my pages versus getting stuck in a button or eyelet rut like I used to.
I have paper sorted by color, ribbon, embellishments, EVERYTHING in my scraproom is sorted by color. Except for alphabets and themed stickers. I’ll address those both later.
2. Keep like items together. As tempting as it may be to make a “jar of red” to stand on your cute little Ikea shelves, resist! When it comes time to use those embellishments, you’ll hate having to dump out the jar to find the one red button you need. I use divided containers for all of my items.
I am currently using Dot Boxes by Cottage Mills—the individual containers fit inside a larger case so I have a whole box of “red” items but they are each in their own compartment inside—like red buttons in one box, small red brads in another, medium red brads in another, and so on.
I have also used Craft Mates containers –they work very well. Cropper Hopper embellie boxes also work well—anything to keep the individual items separate but where you can have multiple compartments in once case works well.
I have my paper sorted by color but within each section of color I have a cardstock (solids) section and a patterned paper section. This way I can find cardstock when I need that and patterned paper when I need that. I used to have it all mixed up and it was a nightmare sorting through 400 pieces of green paper to find the one perfect color of cardstock.
All of my ribbon is on rings by color on a café rod in my room. I have some ribbon on rolls above that.
And some rolls are stored in my embellishment drawers or in their own ribbon drawers.
One day I want to get rid of the ribbon rolls but for now, I have both systems until I stop buying rolls of ribbon. But even within the drawer, the ribbon is all kept with the ribbon, not dumped in some collective “blue” drawer all hap-hazard.
3. Keep it accessible. The more difficult items are to access, the less you will use them. For example, take the “red” jar scenario above. Tammy Inman told me once at a crop that she had dumped all of her buttons into a big jar to make it look pretty. It looked pretty but it was so difficult to USE the buttons that the idea had to be scrapped (and not on paper!).
I keep all of my alphabet letters in individual drawers by letter so I can use them any time (See photo below). I have my Silhouette and laptop OUT on a table, and plugged in at all times. Otherwise I’d never use it.
I have the Big Shot on my scrap table all the time with the dies in easy-to-access open-top containers on shelves—I can slide them out like a card catalog and see everything I need in them.
Less frequently used items and overflow are stored in open bins on top of my shelves and Crop in Style cubes. This is stuff like big rolls of felt, bulk ribbon for classes, and bags for class kits. Even my Etsy stuff is in a bin—I don’t need it until it sells or until I list something new, which isn’t like every day you know.
Less frequently used tools are inside cupboards or on shelves (such as idea books, magazines, and so on). The stuff I use the most is also CLOSEST to my scrapbook table. I use punches the most so those are within an arm’s reach. I WANT to use up all my alpha stickers so I keep those really close to me. Chipboard alphas and the Silhouette share a table so if I want alphas, I can get them all in one spot. Quickutz dies are ON my table so I will use them. Idea books, sewing machines and such are farthest from my table since I don’t use them much.
Bulky stuff, like things to alter, I keep in tubs in the garage. When I am ready to do the project, I pull the stuff out of the tubs. No need to keep it in my scrap room since I am really only using it ONCE, which is the time when I finally alter it.
4. Keep it neat. Nothing is worse than opening a messy drawer or container when you’re trying to find something. Doing a little tidying up between projects or even once a week (or month depending on how often you scrap) will keep your space easy to work in and your items easy to find.
5. Sort it by Use. This concept unifies all of the others. Here is my philosophy on it:
Embellishments. These are meant to enhance a layout so I sort these by color. The most important thing to me is that the color match what I am doing on the page—then I can figure out the TYPE of embellie once I see all of the “yellow” ones laid out in front of me.
Ribbon. Again, used to enhance and I choose it on color first. Then I figure out if I want grosgrain or a pattern or lace or whatever.
Paper. Again, by color because I choose it to match the pictures. And if I am just choosing it based on pattern, it’s easy to match the cardstock and other patterns in complimentary colors since I am matching based on color first and foremost. My paper isn't always “neat” but I can easily find the color I need:
Alphabet Stickers. For titles, I need the colors of the letters to work with my layout so these are sorted by color so all the pink alphas are together, then the red, then the orange and so on. And they are stored vertically in a bin ON my scrapbook table, not even 6” inches from me. This way I use them.
Themed Stickers. I use these by whatever theme they are. I am creative but heck, I am not THAT creative. A set of circus stickers should go on a circus page, right? I had the sticker binder in the beginning. Uggh. Then I got a Sticker Stadium. Didn’t work. Then I had them by theme in hanging folders in my Crop in Style cube drawers. They fell out and were hard to get to. After much self-protest (because I was pretty anti-sticker for a while there) I got a Clip It Up.
Everything is sorted by theme and I can SEE it. And I use it because of that. For me, stickers can’t be in a drawer because then I never think to use them.
Dies & Stamps. By theme because when I am looking or a canoe, I know it should be in the “outdoors” section.
Here are my acrylic stamps in drawers, all by theme with alphabets in the top 2 drawers.
Alphabet Letters & Foam Stamps. Chipboard, metal, fabric, whatever…if it is loose then I have it sorted by letter in my FIRA drawers.
I used to have them by type and brand and then I was always running out of letters and forgetting what I had. Now I can look for an “I” and then decide on the font. And it is a great system for doing ransom (mixed) style lettering.
Foam Stamp Storage:
I hope this gives you some good ideas for organizing your stash so you get more done. In a couple of weeks I'll be posting more organizing tips as well as tips on how to pack for a crop.
Fiskars Fridays – Fiskars Border Punch
Here's a project that demonstrates my organizational system in action as well as the Fiskars' “Threading Water” Border Punch:
I created this card using paper from my scraps stash, a card base (from the $1 spot at Michael's and I am covering the design on the front), ribbon, a brad, and a stamp.
1. Insert the paper into the border punch. Line up the edge of the paper with the groove on the base of the punch.
Then move the paper over, lining up the punched pattern with the white pattern printed on the base of the punch. Punch.
Punch the length of both edges of the strip of cardstock.
3. Add green patterned paper to card front. Trim about 1/2″ from the bottom front of the card so the scalloped edges of the red will show.
4. Adhere scalloped cardstock strip across bottom of card front making sure the scallops do not hang below the bottom of the back of the card.
5. Trim a tan patterned paper to fit inside the scalloped borders of the cardstock and adhere.
6. Add a ribbon and gold string bow. I wanted red ribbon so I went into my red ribbon drawer to see what I had that matched:
7. Stick brad through knot on hole and stamp sentiment on card. I knew I wanted gold accents so I went into my yellow drawer to get the goodies I wanted. I don't have much gold stuff so I put it in the yellow drawer since the colors are similar.
From the side you can see how the scalloped bottom of the card front is “see through”. This card is another one I am donating to the Cards for Troops campaign that Scrapbook Royalty is doing. We'll be creating a similar version of this at the card make n take I am doing over at Collective Journey on Oct 5th during my Halloween banner class. Please feel free to copy the design!
And be sure to check out these Fiskars Fridays posts from other Certified Fiskars Demonstrators!