I asked the whole team how they organize their products so they can save time and streamline their process. There are days when all I do during my creative time is sort through my stash or clean up my desk or look for a specific supply. At the end of those days, I often feel frustrated that I wasted all this creative-time on busy-work. This is why I put a lot of focus on how and where I store my supplies so they work best with my particular way of scrapbooking.
My goal today is to get you thinking about your process so you know where to put your supplies and how to organize them so that you can spend more time scrapping and less time moving things around.
So let's get started.
Coordinating and Grouping
Several team members said that they store their supplies by color. If you're the kind of person who is inspired by color, I think this is one of the easiest ways to organize your supplies. This way all your blue papers and flowers and alphas are together and you can match them very easily. This is my most-common way of creating a layout. I tend to pick a few colors from my photos and center my layout around them. So if I am creating a layout using green, red and blue, I just take out those three baskets and I am good to go.
However this doesn't work for everyone. For example, while Aly organizes her embellishments by color, she keeps her patterned paper by manufacturer. She says: " Keeping my patterned paper this way allows me to find coordinating papers quickly since I find it easier to scrap with papers from the same line most of the time." This way she never has to make sure the blues or greens match. She uses papers that were created to coordinate. Donna does something similar and she mentioned that this also helps her use her scraps more often.
And if you're a big kit scrapper like Francine, her system might work best for you: "I'm a big user of monthly kits, which make it easy for me to grab an already coordinated set of products and get a page done. " Just keep them in their packaging and you have a set or pre-coordinated products at your disposal anytime.
Yet, other people like to coordinate by type. Francine sorts her general stash by type because it makes most sense to her to have it that way. Celeste said she does the same thing for her digital products: "I organize my digital products using ACD See by Store, Designer, and type of product. This makes it easy for me to find bits and pieces when I need them - like buttons or an alphabet."
So the trick is knowing how your process works. Do you tend to scrap by color or prefer several papers from a similar manufacturer? Do you prefer all your alphas in one place and buttons in another. The best way to do it is the way that works with your particular process so it flows naturally for you.
Tucked Aways vs Out in the Open
There are people who can only create in chaos and those who cannot create unless the desk is completely clean. It is important to know what kind of environment inspires you so you know how to store your product.
I learned early on that I like everything tucked away. I don't mind chaos while I am creating but being able to see all the products overwhelms me, so I prefer to have things organized and then just pull out the drawers I need when I need them. And I always clean my desk after each project. The last thing I want to do when I am feeling creative is worry about cleaning my desk.
Donna mentioned that she likes to keep her space clean, too, but she does it for a slightly different reason: "I organize my embellishments and other supplies by type and keep them in open baskets. Everything is organized, but out in the open so that I can see what I have. I don't work well in a cluttered workspace and so after I finish a layout or group of layouts I make sure to clean-up my space and put everything away. For me, keeping my space clean is the key to making sure that I can find what I want when I want it." She has everything out in the open, so if it's all neat and organized, she can see everything well.
Many people prefer to have their supplies out in the open cause they tend to forget what they have. So you need to figure out what's best for you. Maybe you want it all out in the open. Or you want the papers tucked away but the ribbons in see-through jars. It's all about what works for you.
Same goes for the kind of storage. Some people prefer vertical paper storage and others put them in drawers. Yet others use baskets. Glass jars, tins, there's an endless list of options. I think the two things that matter most is knowing whether you like a cluttered or a clean space and if you like your supplies to be tucked away or out in the open. Those two questions tell you the most about where you should organize your supplies.
[Amy says: I mostly use the 12x12 drawers made by Sterlite. Each color has an embellishment drawer and a patterned paper drawer. I also have drawers for word-based items, Christmas, baby, and Halloween.]
One of the things I discovered during my layout a day adventure was that I used at least 5 types of alphabet stickers on each layout. For me, alphabets were an obvious exception to the "I organize by color" decision. In the middle of the month, I pulled out all my alphas from each basket and put them all in one basket (sorted by color). This has saved me more time than I'd like to admit.
I also moved all my punches so I don't have to get up from my chair to get at them. Same with my adhesive and sewing machine and white cardstock. These are items I use on every single scrapbook layout so having them really close to my desk saves me a lot of time on each page.
Others on the team do similarly, Aly says, "My adhesives are all in a basket with a handle so I can easily pull them out and keep it on my desk while I'm working." And Francine says, "I keep my most used tools in a tool caddy on my main work area, with other tools like punches and paper cutters in drawers and shelves that are part of the working desk. I now keep my sewing machine out and ready to go if I need it."
[this smaller expedit is right next to my desk, those are albums I am currently putting layouts into, on top the basket holds the layouts I just finished but didn't put into albums yet, the black baskets hold things I use all the time like alphas and the drawers have the punches I showed above.]
Having often-used items nearby and ready to go will be invaluable. These are also items that you know you need to stock up. So if you use a particular type of adhesive on every page, make sure to buy a few extras so you never run out. I always keep an extra-large stash of white cardstock since I use it on every page. I would hate to sit down at my desk, full of ideas, and find out that I had no cardstock left.
I wanted to take the time to talk about a few exceptions that almost every team member mentioned. Most of us seem to create a special area for holidays like Halloween or Christmas. And also for Baby. Depending on your family, the categories might differ but there are a few occasions that are special and might need their own mini-organizational structure. I have a Christmas basket that only comes out when I am doing December Daily and then goes back in until the next year. Others might keep all the school-related supplies in a drawer of their own. It's worth taking the time to think about what might be special exceptions for you.
I wanted to mention one more thing I use frequently. Since I am a "put everything out of sight" scrapper, I created one little basket on my table. This is where I put my most recent purchases or a supply that I've been saving for a special occasion. This way it's right there and I can attempt to use it on each layout. It's my way of making sure I don't forget about those special supplies I bought that I really want to make sure to use.
[I also put smaller items in this container and put the container in the favorites basket.]
That's all I have for supplies. Your task for today is to look at the way you organize your supplies and see if it works well with the flow of your scrapbook process. Can you change things around so it works better?
As always, I would love to hear more ideas or any questions you have. I hope you're finding these helpful and I will see you one last time on Friday to talk about how we can optimize little chunks of time we might find here and there in our day!