Organize It!

We’re back with an all new post about how to stay organized! Below are some interesting, and somewhat fun ideas on how to keep clutter under control. Remember to get the kids involved too (when age appropriate). Besides doing chores teaches responsibility!


Overwhelmed to Organized
Go from Overwhelmed to Organized with this simple, step-by-step plan
Step One – Clear it all out!
The first thing you need to do is EVACUATE your space. Nothing will motivate you to get organized better than looking at a space loaded with nothing but possibilities. Productivity is usually at its maximum when you are in a clean, comfortable space with all of your supplies visible and accessible. The best way to get there is to actually MOVE COMPLETELY OUT OF YOUR SCRAPBOOKING SPACE.Tips for clearing it all out:

  • Get everything completely out of your space. If you just try to stack it in one area of your space, you’ll spend more time moving it around and less time getting organized.
  • Stack like things together, Pictures, Paper, Embellishments, Tools, etc.
  • Purge – As you come across things you will never use, either put them in the “give-away” box or throw then away.

Start with your current space

Move everything out

Step Two – Clean your space and maybe paint too!
Take the time to really clean your work space. Vacuum, dust, clean the windows, etc. A clean space will really energize and motivate you to keep on task. Nothing screams clean and fresh like a new coat of paint! When I went through this process I noticed my walls were all marked up, the paint was a dull shade of white. The area didn’t feel inviting. I picked up a $15 gallon of warm, pale sunshine yellow paint and gave the room a fresh look, smell, and energy in just a couple of hours.
Nothing says clean like a fresh coat of paint!

Tips about paint

  • Choose your room color carefully. As you already know, some colors reflect light and some colors absorb light. Painting your room bright colors like Pink or Red may reflect a pink tint onto everything in the room. Gloss paints will reflect more light than flat finish paints.
  • Painting a room with dark, mat earth tones will absorb the natural light , this is great if you have too much light, but could create the feeling of being in a “hole” if don’t have enough light.
  • Consider the natural light, reflection, shadows, time of day you usually work and your artificial light before you make a decision about paint colors.

Step Three – Take a seat and evaluate your space.
Now that your space is an empty canvass, sit down in your chair with a notepad and pen and think about accessibility. Make a list of the things you use every time you scrap. Next draw a quick sketch of your space. Mark off an 18”x18” area that needs to remain clear for completing 12×12 layouts. If you work on double page layouts you will need to bump the size of this blank area up to 30”x 24”.

Workspace Evaluation Worksheet – Click here to get a worksheet that will help you evaluate your space for maximum functionality.

Step Four – Organization Goals
One of the biggest mistakes we make when organizing is stuffing things into cute storage containers. Your goals for storage should include:
Visibility – One of the biggest problems with scrapbook supplies is remembering what you’ve got. If you can store your supplies in a way that you can actually see them you’ll be able to find what you need quickly and easily. Accessibility – Your organization tools should make it easy for you to access your supplies. Stay away from little containers, stored in bigger containers, stuffed into drawers, bins, boxes or rolling totes. Expandability – Be sure that the system and tools you are using are expandable. There is a very good chance you will buy more stuff. When you do, you want to be able to put it away without having to re-organize everything you’ve just organized. Portability – If you like to go other places to scrap, portability is one of the key ingredients to your Organization System. You need a system that will allow you to take what you need with out spending hours getting it all together.

Step Five – Get a System
If you take nothing else from this article and apply it to your scrapping life, take this!
When you organize your stuff, you need a system. A system can defined as the mental road map you will take to find your stuff. If there are 5 different places (containers) where you have diecuts, you’ll be driving up and down your mental road map far more often than you’ll be completing pages. The key to a system is combining like things so you only have to make one stop to find everything you need.
We recommend the 4 Section System. Click here to get a very detailed version of the 4 Section System as well as “how-to” photos.

The 4 Section System in a nutshell.

This system includes ALL of your Scrapbooking Supplies.

  • Alphabets and Numbers
  • Themes A-Z
  • The Calendar
  • The Rainbow

Section One – Alphabets and Numbers
These items are used on almost every kind of page regardless of the style, season, event or page content. Non-theme alphabets, numbers and punctuations marks.

Alphabets and Number

Section Two – Themes A to Z
This is a section for keeping all of your theme or event specific papers and embellishments. Things like Art, Birthday, Camping, Travel, Weather… It’s helpful when you are organizing this section to keep a Table of Contents.


Section Three – The Calendar
This is as simple as it sounds. January through December. This is where you will store holiday and season specific papers and embellishments. Using The Calendar allows you to store subjects you might use together, close together, i.e., Christmas in The Calendar would also be next to New Year’s Eve, Winter, and Thanksgiving, Easter would be next to Spring, etc.


Section Four – The Rainbow
This section should contain all of your solid colored supplies as well as patterned papers that are not theme specific (plaids, dots, stripes, etc.). This includes; Buttons, Brads, Eyelets, Fibers, Bows, Paper, etc. Remember the idea is to have everything in one place. When you need a red embellishment you don’t want to dig and search, you just want to flip to red.


Step Six – Get Organization Tools
Organization Tools are different than storage containers. Tools become a part of what is necessary to scrap. Sometimes we “make do” with what we’ve got. However, it you think of your Organization Tools as tools you’ll get a clear understanding of the benefits. Good Tools help you get the job done right the first time, they make it easier to accomplish your task, and save you lots of time and in the long run they even save you money. Choose the right tools to fit your room and your space. Keep in mind that you want to meet the goals of Visibility, Accessibility, Expandability, and Portability. As you’ll see in our room, our choices are mostly Lid Free! Visible and Accessible.

Do you need Organization Tools?

  • Plastic Boxes hold Stamps, Punches, Inks, Adhesives (try Target or Walmart for these). If you have lots of Stamps and Punches click here to get a more detailed article and photographs of how to organize these items.
  • The ScrapRack contains all of your Buttons, Brads, Beads, Glitter, DieCuts, Stickers, Fibers, Flowers, Frames, Paper, etc…….
  • The Tool Tower puts all of your Every Time use tools within easy reach. If you need to store your tools in something portable, try the Cropper Hopper Flat Pack.
  • Paper Storage boxes keep cardstock easily accessible with no bent corners or piles to dig through.
  • Photo Storage is the one container which should have a lid or some type of protection. Check out Cropper Hopper’s Photo Storage Box which can be used with the 4×6 Photo Negative protectors also from Cropper Hopper , or use the Advantus Photo Storage Box with the KSPO Photo/DVD storage envelopes. With Photo storage a consistent Size and shape is important. It makes it easy to stack and store chronologically. If you prefer to store your photos and memorabilia together, use the Album Planner Kit.

Step Seven – Start refilling your space with Organized Stuff
Before you start, decide what you will keep in the immediate vicinity. To avoid being overwhelmed you need to feel like there is space to work and not like you are being overwhelmed by all the things you need to get done. Keep only the box of photos you are working with at your workspace. Store the rest of them in the closet or in another area where they aren’t “haunting” you. Do the same with the stacks of kids school art and memorabilia. You can’t possible get it all done in just one sitting, so avoid the “deer in the headlights” gaze by putting it out of sight. If you completed the Workspace Evaluation Worksheet start by putting your Top 10 things where you can reach them easily.

Take care of the easy stuff first.

  • Tools into your Tool Tower.
  • Stamps, Inks and Punches into boxes and put into place.
  • Photos stored away somewhere else.
  • Albums you are working on somewhere close at hand. It seems like we consistently refer back to these to see “where we are.”
  • Paper Cutter on your work table. Notice that the paper cutter in our room is on a rolling cabinet. When working in this space, the paper cutter can be pulled out easily. The scrapper is literally surrounded with easy to access supplies.
  • Paper Storage Boxes are a great accessible way to store your paper. Use your color wheel to organized paper into colors and collections (i.e. Basic Grey.) Use your ScrapRack to organize Theme and Season papers.
  • Everything Else, Buttons, Brads, Beads, Fibers, Eyelets, Glitter, Embellishments, Diecuts, Frames, Borders, etc…. into your ScrapRack, Binders or Files using the 4 Section System. Whichever tool you choose, putting your supplies together in these categories will make finding your supplies faster and easier. Place your ScrapRack on your workspace, or put the files into the drawer, or the binders on the shelf and Start Scrappin!


Your finished Space!
Two more important design tips!
Room to Spread
Notice that there are lots of empty spaces in this area. As we scrap, we tend to SPREAD out. Leave lots of space so the supplies you are working with have room to spread. This will keep them visible and accessible.Surround Yourself
You’ll also notice that this scrapper is literally surrounded with Tools, Supplies, and most importantly WORKSPACE. The paper cutter pulls out to create almost a full enclosure. When you sit down to work in this space, you never have to leave your chair and you can put your hands on anything!A few more tips: 

  • Don’t try to keep everything in your workspace. You’ll be far more efficient with less clutter.
  • Store things you rarely use out of sight.
  • If you have several years worth of photos, store them in boxes that are all the same size. Label the boxes chronologically and put them in the closet. This will keep you focused.

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