First, you need to admit to yourself that you possess products that no longer work for you. They no longer inspire you. Maybe they never did. And you know what? Both scenarios - the products that have lost that loving feeling and products that never had it - are okay, so long as you are okay with letting them go.
Determine what you have that works. . .and what doesn't - that includes any current system(s) you may have in place. No point in messing with something that works. Be honest with yourself - yes, you spent money on the items, but if they're not inspiring you, it's perfectly okay to let them go. If all they do is bog down your selections when you do sit down to work - let them go. If you consistently pass over them - let them go. Keep the items that speak to you. That get you excited to create. And this includes organizing methods you already have that are working.
Knowing how you work and how you think about your work, it's time to think about how you're going to organize the items you're keeping:
- Color - if you think in terms of colors, maybe sorting all your items by color will speed up your process and keep you motivated. Putting all your blue buttons, brads, ribbons, etc. in one large container may be your ticket.
- Activity - this method is keeping all items to one activity together. Maybe you have a station for all your stamps, ink pads, etc. on specific shelves, or occupying a specific space. Maybe you have a cutting station where all your punches, trimmers and diecuts live.
- Manufacturer - if when you sit down you think, "Basic Grey has a great line for this," or you reach for your favorite manufacturer every time, or maybe you buy full lines of products, then sorting in this way could work for you. Keep all the items from a given manufacturer in one container.
- Topic - this is sorting and storing by themes: seasons, holidays, travel, birthday, masculine, feminine, baby, etc.
- Project - taking on Project Life, or your trip do Disney? Put all the items - paper, stickers, album, special tools or stamps - you think you want to use in a container sorted by these projects.
Sort and purge. Yep, it's that time. This is why before you began this process you identified people or places to send off the products that are outdated or uninspiring (to you - which doesn't mean they won't be perfect for someone else). LET GO!
Store and, if you want, display - this goes back to what sort of personality you have as a crafter. See this POST. After purging and organizing, this is my favorite part. Now remember, if you have storage or systems that are working, keep using them. Don't complicate it.
- Hooks - If you're a Visible and Open person this might be the ticket. Group your items according to the organization method you've chosen and hang on hooks, using rings or dowels.
- Altered Trays - Trays are big: printer's trays, artist's trays, even food trays. They're big and flat or big and compartmentalized. Change up their look - paint and paper - and sort your goodies away. Trays can also be portable if you're say working in your kitchen - store the trays in a dedicated cupboard and tote them to your work space.
- Glass Jars - If your a Closed but Visible crafter, these are great and inexpensive ways to store everything from stamps to buttons. Mason Jars come in a ton of sizes and are an inexpensive option. Save your jelly jars. Shop thrift stores. Upcycle away.
- Lidded Boxes - whether they are see-through or not. Lids protect contents from spilling out (when such a thing would be uninspiring to your creativity) as well as protecting your goodies from dust and light.
How this works for me:
I use a couple different methods depending on the product. I've already said I'm a Visible and Closed container person - so jars work for me when sorting my small embellishments: buttons, brads and ribbon are by color. Then like items are sorted: photo corners, florals, pins, chipboard letters. Sometimes I wonder if I should sort all my embellishments by color, no matter what they are. I may try it and see how it goes, but right now this works for me.
My paper is pretty much all in kits, which are stored by themes - so seasonal, holiday, travel, etc. I do have two favorite manufacturers and those items are sorted that way - anything October Afternoon is all in one place, papers, embellishments, stickers, etc.
When I can eek out no more from a kit, I've created all the layouts I can and made all the cards from the scraps, I sort out any leftover embellishment accordingly and toss the rest of the paper - this does not inlcude a full sheet or paper bigger than 6x12, those go in the giveaway box. I do not keep scraps. They don't work for me. I don't think of them. They clutter my space. Away they go.
Every so often I'll create a layout with a kit and I'm just not feelin' it with the papers enough to create anything further from them. When this happens, the remainder of the papers goes in the giveaway box to the kids' schools.
My stamping products (stamps, ink, tools, etc.) are all stored in one cupboard - behind closed doors. My Cricut sits on the window sill. Pens, pencils, everyday reaches are stored in a caddy.
As with all the posts in this series the ideas presents are inspired by "The Organized and Inspired Scrapbooker" by Wendy Smedley and Aby Garvy