REPOST from January, 2013:
I've had some comments, or pleas, to post some ideas on organizing your craft spaces, since I tackled my own space last year. January seems as good a time as any to post some ideas, strategies and inspiration for digging into your own space; that whole, "strike while the iron's hot" geared up for a new year of challenges, goals, and the will to tackle projects. Today, will begin a multi-post topic of dealing with your supplies and your spaces.
The following ideas were inspired by "The Organized and Inspired Scrapbooker" by Wendy Smedley and Aby Garvy. I picked up my copy when it was first released several years ago. It had been out of print but has been re-released. I highly suggest it whether you're organizing an entire room, or the boxes under your bed. There are questionnaires to help you discover your work flow and how to figure out what solutions will help you work best.
Today, I'm just going to cover a some basics before digging into your space and supplies:
- First things first, being organized doesn't mean you have everything in containers. Sure you've got your supplies tucked into cute containers and baskets, but if they aren't inspiring you, getting you excited or helping you work, then it's not organized in a way to help you create.
- As you go through the process this month (or at any time) keep in mind that the changes you want to make are ones that will make you work better. Ask yourself before moving, shuffling or purchasing: "Is this solution going to improve my process? Make me work better?"
- Over the course of the month we'll touch on the method you choose to organize by. NOTE! One method is not a fit all for everyone and everything. More often than not, it's a combination of several styles. And what works for me, or your best friend, doesn't necessarily work for you and how you work. Don't be afraid to try one way and admit that it's not working and trying something else. This is NOT a failure (and therefore a reason not to scrap or create), it's a discovery and should excite you to try something new.
- by Activity - what are you doing. Do you have tools? Are you using tools? This is where you'll think about creating stations, maybe for your most used tools.
- by Topic - by theme, by season, by color
- by Manufacturer or Line - keeping the various manufacturers together, or all the pieces from a given line together.
- by Color - if, when you work, you think in terms of colors this may be your method.
- by Project - keeping all the pieces for a particular project together.
- by Pattern, Shape or Mood - if you think in terms of, "I need something round" or "I need something romantic"
- by Chronology - this is mostly for photographs, but could also be in terms of whether you jot notes for journaling, titles, or the funny things your kids say. It could also be if you want to use your older products first.
As we work through, think about storage solutions. They are as, if not maybe more, important as how you'll sort your products, tools and photos. This is where the quizzes in the book come in handy, though you probably already know what might be best for you:
- Open and Visible - baskets and bins, perhaps doubling as decor if you create say in your kitchen or dining room.
- Open and Not Visible - the same baskets and bins, but probably stored in shelves or cubbies as opposed to out on a table or desk.
- Closed and Visible - Glass Jars come to mind. Things with lids, but that you can see into.
- Closed and Not Visible - Solid containers with lids and probably stored behind closed doors.
You'll want to find a charity to give your donated items to. Places like pre-schools, day cares, kindergartens, senior centers and several non-profits will happily take your supplies and put them to good use. There's no guilt in giving!
As we move through the various topics keep these things in mind:
- What's your vision for your space and, ultimately, where you'll draw your creative energy from. We'd all love the ultimate in scrappy/crafty spaces we see on magazine covers. Those are great for inspiration, but don't get caught up in something that's unrealistic for you and your life style.
- Keep the organization methods above in mind as you work.
- Organizing also means paring down. There's nothing wrong with donating that which no longer works for you. Scrapbookers seem oddly attached to items that sit for three years unused and untouched. If it were a 10 year old sweater (barring some sentimental attachment) you wouldn't keep it if you hadn't worn it. The same thing goes for that two inch stack of paper. Let it go! If it helps, it's a tax deduction, same as the sweater you're giving away. Just be sure you follow your tax codes.
- Finally, keep in mind the way in which you will store and/or display your organized and parred down items. It's about making them work for you. . .not about the basket you got at 50% off. If baskets aren't the best for your work flow, it doesn't matter how much you saved.