Welcome to Day Seven of Organization Week! Links to all of the "Organization Week" posts are available by clicking on the "Organization Week" image in the far right column of my blog.
Has this been a whirlwind week or what? Today is our final day of the organization madness! We're wrapping up with some more specific solutions and a bit of parting advice.
I've got two storage solutions that I want to share with you today. Both are systems I came to after a lot of trial and error with a number of failed systems.
I keep all (well...most) of my pens in a drawer filled with plastic cups.
I keep them by type -- all of my colored pencils, all of my Moonlight pens, all of my Sharpies, and so on. I like this system because I can take a whole cup (or two) out of the drawer and put it on my desk. Then when I'm done, clean up is simple and quick!
My alphabet stickers have been an ongoing nightmare. I've tried many, many, many systems and this is the one that I keep coming back to:
This is a rolling file folder cart. I like that it rolls because I can bring it inside of my primary work space and then push it out when I don't need it. (The drawers hold my adhesive and some secondary level tools.)
I have my alphas filed by color.
Each color gets its own folder (two for black). I do have a folder for "multi-colored" letter packs as well. I find that this system works for me because I can find what I'm looking for, put things away easily, often stumble upon a great coordinating solution, and the wheels make it super convenient!
And now Sally Lynn and Terrie are here to offer you some more storage suggestions!
Sally Lynn MacDonald is back with her alphabet storage solution!
No More Alphabet Soup
Do you feel overwhelmed by the alphabet? I did! I had so many chipboard alphabets, monogram stamps, grungeboard alphabets, letter charms, etc. but flung all over my studio. So one day, I decided to conquer the alphabet soup that was taking over my studio.
The first thing that struck me was the wealth of letters that I had. I had packages of this and that everywhere – but I don’t normally use my letters all in one style. For example, I made a piece the other day, and this was how I titled it.
So if this is my style, there is no reason for me to keep things in the packaging they came in. Instead I decided to abandon all of the original packaging and break everything apart into more usable single-letter bins.
Looking around my studio, I had one kitchen cabinet in a corner that was just filled with odds and ends catalogs, magazines and even books that I’d wanted to read at some point. But is this necessary to have in my studio? I normally read in the family room (while my husband is watching Ghost Hunters - shhhh!) So I purged a lot of that material and moved the rest into a shelving unit in my family room.
I measured the space and figured out what size I could accommodate for the full alphabet. Then off to the store! I verified the dimensions to make sure that my kitchen cabinet could hold enough boxes for each letter on the shelves and that my largest individual letters would fit in the containers I found. I ended up purchasing Kassett boxes from IKEA, for $3.99/pair. They are inexpensive, and roomy enough to hold a lot of pieces or varying sizes.
I took over the kitchen table and started sorting everything that was greater than an inch in size and put it into the boxes. I broke apart sets, discarded packaging and filled them with glee.
Metal, chipboard, cardstock stickers, even individually packaged monogram-sized alphabet stamps go into the boxes.
Shaped Up and Punctual
Once I started breaking up the alphabets, I found numbers, punctuation and generic shapes could also become a part of this new organization. Three more boxes were purchased and everything still fit nicely.
I stuck an identifying sticker onto the label holder on the front of the boxes and put them on the shelf.
As I mentioned before, I use the boxes for anything about an inch or larger. I figured that really tiny letters would get lost in that cavernous space and be hard to see. So for the little things, such as scrabble tiles, letter beads and letter eyelets and brads I needed a different solution.
I chose to put these into my ScrapRack, using the embellishment storage pages.
And now I have an organized, and very usable collection. No more alphabet soup!
So the result is an inexpensive solution that is easy to reach, easy to access (and keep organized) and attractive.
So why not get on your crafting apron and shout out, “No Soup For You!” to your studio? You’ll be so happy you did.
Terrie Purkey shares her system for organizing paper.
What wasn’t working about my old system:
I only started collaging less than a year ago and wasn’t sure how I’d like it, so much of my paper accumulation was unorganized and ended up in stacks here and there in my workroom.
I quickly realized I wasn’t going to be able to find anything without a system, so purchased the pocket file folders thinking that they would hold all the little scraps and bits I was gathering. Since I have a bin for just about everything, I stacked the folders in a bin.
As they filled, they slid down and instead of being able to just drop in a new magazine clipping, I had to push and struggle to be able to file any of my clippings. If I wanted to save a whole page, it didn’t easily slide into or out of the pocket folder. I’d get frustrated trying to just access the papers I wanted. About the same time I dramatically increased my scrapbooking papers for card making and collage.
I purchased a pretty decorated box to store my papers and spent a fair amount of time sorting all the papers into color families since that’s how I tend to look for a paper.
I felt so satisfied and accomplished at both the pretty and, I thought, efficient storage method. Wrong. With all the papers stacked on top of each other, I couldn’t see what I had or find the color that I needed very easily at all. But, it WAS pretty.
- Hundreds of pages of scrapbook paper stacked flat so I couldn’t see what I had; roughly color sorted but a mess after each project.
- A bin to collect my random pieces of magazine clippings, junk mail, etc. for collages. I initially started with the pocket file folders but quickly discovered they didn’t fit my needs. They slumped over in the bin, and though they held the small pieces in place, they didn’t expand readily enough for easy access. Small watercolor experiments, random catalogs, everything ended up smushed in this bin and I couldn’t find anything.
- My junk mail collection box – overflowing.
- Stacks of catalogs and miscellaneous cardboard, etc. on the floor.
As others who work in paper crafts (collage, scrapbooking, card making, ATC/tag making, etc) can surely attest, if you can’t access the paper you want, the process of creating becomes tiresome, frustrating and time consuming. The other big discovery I made is that paper breeds exponentially! I had to exert some control!
The new system works:
As I contemplated my problem, I realized in dealing with paper, filing is the answer for me. I purchased a pair of cardboard banker storage boxes (to be decorated later) for only $6 (lots less than bins!). I already had the pendaflex folders so I was quickly on my way.
For the scrapbooking box, I determined the color family breakdowns I wanted and made a folder for each.
I love that they poke up over the top of the box so I can easily see the colors and prints available. The other box became my magazine/junk mail collection file. I already had some categories from the pocket folders, but found that some of the categories needed more definition. I started with color separations, again because that’s often how I work and some magazine pages I clip specifically because of their color.
When I keep a page or flyer because of a specific image, it’s filed by category. My categories are things like: text, numbers, people, animals, flowers, symbols/graphs, tickets, maps, architecture, etc. If you happen to like to add people into most of your collages your “people” category might be more defined by male, female, faces, etc.
How the new system helps:
Easy, easy, easy. I love that the papers are all more readily visible, much more easily accessible and because I can just drop a clipping into a file folder instead of having to pry open a pocket folder, keeping up with the filing is a breeze. Or it will be if I stay on top of it! This filing system is not particularly innovative and doesn’t use any revolutionary new products. But, you know, sometimes a basic system and supplies are all that’s needed to create a more efficient work space. For me, getting all this paper in a manageable and accessible place is freeing. Now I can focus on what I want to make instead of where the things are to make it!
A: Maintenance, baby!
This is what my desk looks like today:
What a mess! Don't despair, it always looks like that when I'm in the midst of making things. The trick to keeping your studio organized and functional is to clean up after you're done with a particular project. I don't clean up every day, but I do clean up after every project. For instance, I'm currently working on CHA samples for The Crafter's Workshop. And my desk will remain at this level of disaster until (a) I've finished my samples or (b) I can't find anything -- whichever comes FIRST.
Cleaning up after every project may sound like a pain, but it's important. And it's a great barometer for when it's time to purge again. For instance, on Monday I talked about the cardboard box that I keep on the floor of my studio. It's stuff that I want to give away. I have a personal rule for myself and that box: If I'm not willing to take the time to put an item where it goes, then it goes into the donation box. Because not being willing to take the time to put it away means that I don't care that much about it. That said, there's comes a time when I don't want to put things away because they don't fit. That means it's time to purge. And like I said, I purge 3-4 times a year. Remember: It's not the value of the the stuff, it's the value of the stuff to you.
I hope that you have enjoyed "Organization Week!" I want to thank all of my guests for imparting their wisdom! Here are my big "take aways" from the week:
- Throw it away: this is a studio, not a storage room.
- Put your stuff where you can see it. Neat and clean does not equal organized.
- Label it.
- Organize the way your brain works. Your systems should reflect who you are now and will evolve over time.
- Store finished artwork outside of your studio or on the wall.
- Keep your ten-must-have-supplies within arms reach.
- Find the "right" storage containers.
- Make it easy to put away or the maintenance will never happen.
Finally, I wanted to share how I was inspired by Organization Week!
On Wednesday I shared a photo of my loaf pan where I stash all my tags and little bits:
At the time I mentioned that it was overstuffed and needed to be cleaned out. Well, I sat down to do it yesterday and as I was putting stuff back I heard my own advice echoing in my head and decided that the pan was becoming too much of a catch-all. So I customized it!
I threw away a bunch of stuff, removed finished art tags, and put away a number of items. Then I ran artists tape across my loaf pan (both ways) to create sections.
Then I put like-with-like: tags, journaling cards, small embellishments, and for my tiniest tags and embellishments...well, they were always getting lost, even in this little loaf pan. So I grouped them into two clear bags. One for loose tags and bits and one for tags and journaling spots in packaging. In order to make the "putting away" easier, I marked the bags with tape...
...so that I could see the edges of the bags more easily. Because they're clear, it's easy to stick something in the wrong bag. But with my taped edges (white with gold letter and orange with text) I can clearly see where each bag starts and stops.
It's the little things that make such a difference in whether or not an organizational system works, don't you think? And I hope my loaf pan is a good reminder to you that you don't have to do a huge room overhaul to be inspired by "Organization Week." My little loaf pan has already made me a happier creator!
If you've been inspired by "Organization Week" in any way at all, I hope you'll blog about it and leave a link so that we can all be inspired by your inspiration!
Thanks for stopping by!
Sally Lynn MacDonald has been an avid mixed-media artist since 1998, when her first child was born. Subsequently, after the birth of twins, she quit her high-tech career at IBM to be home with her growing family. "This is when random acts of creativity became a survival skill!" she says.
She has been a professional instructor for several years, specializing in techniques and multi-surface applications. She travels extensively, teaching workshops at stores and events throughout the United States and Canada.
Her most recent assignment was with the C-Thru Ruler company, makers of the brands Déjà Views, Little Yellow Bicycle and ART-C Mixed Media products as the Creative Director for the Art-C brand.
She is a member of the Copic Marker Design Team and was on the certification instructor team for the past two years. She does sample and catalog work for several companies, including Faber Castell. In addition she has been a certified and/or endorsed instructor for 7 Gypsies, Art-C, Clear Scraps, Graphic 45, Little Yellow Bicycle, Prima, Ranger, Tattered Angels and US Art Quest.
Her prior design team and guest blogger experiences include such wonderful companies as Cosmo Cricket, Hero Arts, Prima, Spellbinders and Tattered Angels.
You may have seen her on a couple of nationally televised segments on HGTV’s popular craft series, ‘That’s Clever!’.
She is developing self-paced, video and instructor-led workshops online, to be live in 2012.
Sally Lynn and her husband Neil have been married for nearly twenty-five years and live in Connecticut
I am a long-time crafter and have tried many avenues of creativity over the years. Currently living in Seattle and stretching my artistic wings, I’m exploring collage and mixed media, love working in an art journal for the first time in my life and am exploring the world of Zentangles. I find so much inspiration and support in the art blogging community that I’m encouraged to try new techniques and styles all the time. You can follow my exploratory journey at www.creative-explorer.blogspot.com. I also am a photographer and my ETSY store has some great inspirational photos.