We've arrived at our final day of Spring Cleaning and Organization Week—it's been great fun to gain some perspective on how other scrapbookers work and organize their supplies! Thanks to so many of you who have commented this week about your own best tips. Today we'll take one last journey to visit Francine Clouden's tiny but efficient space in France, and we'll dispel the myth that going digital means leaving the organization and clutter worries behind.
Since we moved about six months ago my scrap space has evolved a bit from when I posted in July last year. My space is still in a corner of the living room however. It consists of two main pieces of furniture, the same Expedit desk and shelves combo, with an added standing height working surface, also purchased at Ikea. (This was originally in the kitchen at our former place, but was too big for the new kitchen so I got to nab it!)
How I organize my supplies hasn’t changed much. I still keep everything I use frequently close at hand, and I still rely on my basket and bin system for organizing tools and embellishments. The scrapbook island, as I like to call it, has two levels of shelves and three drawers. In the drawers I keep the bulk of my stamping supplies: unmounted stamps in CD cases, inks, acrylic blocks, alcohol inks and misters etc. The shelves hold a mishmash of items but the most important thing I keep on the lower shelf is a plexiglass container which holds all my monthly kits.
On the island itself I keep my most used tools: adhesive gun, paper trimmer, rulers, rub-on tool, scissors etc. On the Expedit combo is my computer, sewing machine, journaling pens, patterned paper and cardstock (in cropper hopper vertical holders), paints and other miscellaneous items. The lower shelves under the desk hold less frequently used items like my Bind-it-All machine and spirals.
The rest of the living room is to the right of the island, and as this is Kieran’s main play area, I can stand and scrap while keeping an eye on him. Sometimes I move to the other side of the island so that I am closer to him and he can come hug my legs and get a kiss and cuddle at any time!
Digital scrapbooking might mean less physical paper, embellishments and tools requiring storage space, but it certainly does not herald the end of clutter and disorganization. When we asked our team members to share a few digital tips for organization to feature here, there were plenty of "I can share what NOT to do" replies, too. It's so easy to purchase digital elements and then lose them in a pile of virtual folders. Celeste Smith bravely admits to her digital disorganization: "I download the zip files and stick them all in a folder and forget about them. Then I have to look through each one and try and find what I need. Nothing even has standard names or anything. It's a mess."
It seems there are two problems that plague scrapbookers who use digital elements:
1. It's difficult to find what you've purchased
2. It's difficult to identify what exists in each folder
Francine has a system in place to combat these problems that works well and better yet, is free.
Francine: My method for organising digital files is pretty simple. I have a folder called "digikits" on my hard drive, and in this folder I create a folder for each designer. I also have a folder to which I download the zip files before extracting them. For example, I am on the Creative Team for Karla Dudley, so I download those zip files directly into her folder. In the short term I plan to burn all the zip files to a DVD, and then eventually to an external hard drive for back up.
When I’m ready to scrap I use Picasa, which is a free download for photo organization. The great thing about this software is that it automatically scans your computer for image files, there’s not much you need to do! Once it picks up all the images, it’s very easy to just scroll through to see what you have. This is how I choose what papers and elements I want to use for a particular page. I find it much better than trying to scroll through the images in Windows, because you don’t need to open a bunch of folders to be able to see everything. Picasa also has a tagging function, so for each image you can add a descriptive tag like cardstock, patterned paper, ribbon etc, then search for exactly what you want. I’m still in the process of tagging all my items, it’s a bit of a task! [Ed. note: Picasa works with both Mac and PC operating systems.]
Sara Winnick employs a similar strategy when purchasing digital elements. As soon as she downloads a file, she saves it in her digital scrapbook file under the designer's name. "I don't keep all the "tous" or info, or even the embellishments I don't think I'll use—just what I'll actually use," she says.
Candice Palmer discovered a nifty trick to replace the generic folder icons with an image icons that help to quickly identify exactly what kit is inside. Here is her icon's "before" shot...
...and after she changed the icon to the actual shot of the digital kit.
That small switch could save you lots of time when digging around for the kit you want, even if you keep all kits by the same designer in a unique folder! Click on the links to find directions on how to do this for both Mac and PC users.
Even if you aren't a digital scrapbooker, there is a chance that you still have some digital disorganization lurking on your computer. Elizabeth uses the "cover flow" option on her Mac to quickly locate scanned layouts and other files on her computer.
A quick tap of the arrow key brings a new image to the front. It works for images, documents, utilities, anything! There are options to view the contents of folders as icons, a list, a grid, or cover flow, shown selected here.