By Jill Davis, Founder of Scrapbook.com

After living in the same house for almost 25 years, we decided it was time to move. What an organizational nightmare! While we tackled immediate storage problems, we temporarily stuffed all extra boxes into my craft room, completely filling it.

Two things happened as the weeks turned into months.
1. The clutter blocked me from my work place, and thwarted my creativity.
2. I lost track of my supplies and tools.

Working out of boxes overwhelmed and disorganized me. I longed for time, energy, and storage solutions. I finally just climbed into the middle of the mess and focused on what I had. What follows is the plan I used to get my creativity and organization back on track:

1. ESTABLISH IT
2. PLAN IT
3. GUT IT
4. SORT and ELIMINATE IT
5. STORE and LABEL IT
6. MAINTAIN IT

1. ESTABLISH IT- Ask yourself the following questions and honestly answer them:

  • What is my personal definition of being organized? (For me, it was a place for everything and everything in its place.)
  • Where am I right now on living with my definition? (I used a scale of 1 to 10)
  • What will this space be used for?
  • What needs to be stored in the area to support these activities?
  • What works in the space I want to organize?
  • What doesn't work in the space I want to organize?
  • What is cluttering the space?
  • What is currently stored in the space that can be relocated?
  • What equipment will I need to purchase to be at my number on the scale?

The answers to any organizational plan are in these questions. I kept evaluating until I could see what I was dealing with and what I needed to do about it.

2. PLAN IT- Scheduled a specific time and date to put your plan into action. Most people mistakenly over or under estimate the amount of time it takes to organize a room. If you overestimate, there's a tendency to procrastinate because the job feels overwhelming. If you underestimate you could become frustrated and feel failure because you're not meeting your own expectations. Take this project at your own desired and realistic pace.

NOTE: The average room, depending on the size and contents, takes about six hours to organize. Scrap spaces take longer, because of the paper and little items involved. Mine took several months because I had to work on it in the evening and on weekends.

3. GUT IT- To really have an organized space you'll probably have to TAKE EVERYTHING OUT, or at least do major shifting. Keep in mind to do this in stages, not all at once. By taking everything out you can easily assess what you have and find any duplicate items.

4. SORT and ELIMINATE IT- I purged my craft room with the help of 5 labeled boxes.

- To Keep
- To Donate
- To Throw Away
- To Fix
- To Put Away

As you sort through your things, decide immediately which box they will go into. My time was limited so my beginning goal was to sort two boxes a week and to work two hours on the weekends. Once your space (or the boxes you've tackled for the day) are empty take the "To Donate" box to its destination and take the "To Throw Away" to the trash.

Look through the "To Fix" box one more time and decide if those items can really be fixed or need to be thrown out or given away. If you can't afford to buy new, then fix them but focus on how and when. Chances are, you'll eventually end up getting rid of most of your "To Fix" items anyway, so be hard on your practical and sentimental sides.

Go through the "To Put Away" items and get them where they belong. If there aren't storage places for all items yet, put them back in the box and label it. Put it in the garage or another room for short-term storage.

NOTE: Resist the temptation to not use the "To Put Away" box as you sort. If you use it, you'll stay with the task at hand, conserve energy and save time. If you don't, you'll end up making numerous, tiring trips around the house while you put things away.

Once you've sorted and eliminated, you'll be able to see your scrap space with new vision and get excited about making a place for everything and putting everything in its place. This is possible whether you scrap from a tote, a closet or a room.

5. STORE and LABEL IT- Sort the "To Keep" items into stacks. Decide the most convenient place(s) to store what you have in piles, working on one compartment/storage place at a time. Break your storage decisions into small tasks on a list. By doing this you'll be able to see how many containers and what sizes you'll need.

Purchase storage containers so they fit in your space and store items of similar function together. In other words, store all eyelets in the same place with your setter and self-healing mat. Store paper scraps in a notebook in page protectors sorted by color or in stacking plastic trays so you can get them in and out easily. Store rubber stamps and pads in a tote or plastic container in the same vicinity.

I label everything. If you have items in bins or containers, consider labeling the containers AND the shelves or cabinets where they reside. Once you have a place for everything, you'll no longer have clutter.

 

6. MAINTAIN IT- Maintain your new organizational system by simply putting items back where they belong after each use. When clutter isn't in the picture, the mind can create things it may only be dreaming of. So, get organized and get creating! There are memories to be scrapped and lives to be saved for future generations!

I know there are still a few other storage solutions I'd like to share with you. So, I'll keep thinking about it and get back to you. Please post and let us know what you've found helpful in getting your craft areas organized!

Products to help you get organized:

Totes & Organizers
Stackable Paper Trays
Page Protectors
Stackable Eyelet Trays


2004 Jill Davis