Monday, May 25, 2009

Organization Challenge Week One - Space Audit

Welcome to Week One of the Organize Your Stuff Challenge! Let's get down to the nitty gritty - today we're going to do a space audit. Let's see what you have that works for you and what's bogging you down in the scrapping process.

This week I'm going to start off with scrapping. What a GREAT Challenge, huh? Seriously, tho - I want you to complete a layout. Any layout, it doesn't matter. And I want you to have a pen and notepad nearby when you do it. Scrap how you normally would, and at each step, I want you to make a note about your supplies and how it's helping or harming your process. So suppose you start with photos. Can you easily locate the ones you want? Great! Why was it so easy? Or does it take you half a year to find that one photo of your neice in the pink swimsuit? Then that's obviously a problem area. On to paper. And journaling. And embellishments. Et cetera. You should go through most of your supplies in this process, making note of which ones are easy to find exactly what you need and when you need it, and which ones make you want to give up scrapping altogether. If you don't use certain supplies on the layout, or if you have piles of stuff that need a home, then take note of those separately once your layout is done, but use the same guidelines. And hopefully you will start to see a trend in those supplies that work well in their current storage setup. Maybe they're close to your workspace. Maybe the boxes are labeled clearly. Maybe it's in a divided cart. Regardless of the reason, you've already found a system that works for you, and you can start to apply this type of storage to the problem areas in the future.

As this week goes on, I want you to post your lists - the good, the bad and the ugly. You can then compare your list to the Challenges and see what weeks you might be interested in, either by re-vamping your storage system or offering advice to others if you've found a great solution that works for you. Keep in mind that there is no one-size-fits-all in organizing - even if you have the most bizarre way of storing ribbon on the ceiling using small bits of chewing gum, it may be the perfect solution another scrapper is looking for (but I hope not. Really. I do. It's unsanitary).

As promised, here is my list from the scrapping audit:

What works:

Photo selection - easy to pull from photo binders

Layout ideas - notecards filed by number of photos in Cropper Hopper boxes

Finding tools - tool caddy near work desk

Choosing embellishments - items in labeled containers, which are in labeled drawers

Journaling - pens in caddy by type and color

Finding stamps and stamping supplies - organized by theme in Rolodex, stamp pad rack

Alpha organization - labeled drawers by color

What needs help:

Finding coordinating paper lines - all are mixed in by color, it takes too long to sort through

Choosing die cuts - some of my containers are too small, they need more space

Sticker/rub on organization - love my PSBs, but the shelf they're on is a nightmare to navigate

Kits - if I take one out, they all fall over. I don't want to even touch them!

From my lists, what seems to be working for me is containers, by theme or color, and labeled. So I will make sure to incorporate those features in my new storage systems for my "problem area" list.

In the meantime, I'm going to make note to check out the weeks on paper organization, die cuts, stickers/rub ons, and kits! Post your lists, and I hope to see you next week, when we'll don our thinking caps for a brainstorming session!


Let the Challenge Begin! Overview.

Thanks to all those brave souls who decided to join me on this task - let's overhaul our scrap spaces so we can get back to doing what we LOVE instead of tripping over piles of paper and brads. I love organization, but my space can always use a little tweaking, so I will be joining in on the fun as well. Once you get organized, it is SO much easier to scrap and scrap effectively. Which is what we all want, right? I won't lie to you tho - this will not be easy. There is no magic Scrap Fairy who will come and make your space Becky-Higgins-worthy overnite. You're going to have lots of ugly boxes, some trips to Walmart, and many thoughts of hurling small objects out the window (your cats and kids may want to steer clear of you during these episodes). But I PROMISE you, if you keep plugging along on this, you WILL have an organized space at the end. Just envision what your dream space will look like...minus David Duchovny in the Speedo....and repeat to yourself, I CAN DO THIS!

Here's an overview of the Challenge and what you should expect each week. I will post the new Challenge every Monday morning. I strongly suggest you keep your Sunday newspaper ads around - you never know what Target or Hobby Lobby may have on sale that week that you may need, and you really don't want to go digging through the garbage on Monday night looking for those ads (or if that's your idea of fun, have at it). Please bear with me if you all have any comments or questions after I post the Challenge, tho -I have 2 kids (ages 3 and 1) and the only time I really get to sit down with my beloved computer is at 4 PM CST, when they both go down for a nap (sans drugs, I swear!). So if I don't respond by noon, I'm not ignoring you, I'm just usually cleaning ravioli off the walls or scrubbing finger paint off the poor dog. Anyways, I figure a Monday start will give you plenty of time to read through the Challenge, figure out the solution that's right for you, buy your supplies, and be ready to organize by the weekend.

Even though there will be a new challenge every week, I do NOT expect some of these challenges to be completed in that time frame. For a few reasons. First - some tasks are obviously bigger than others. You can organize your paints in an evening. That's simple. But organizing your photos will take much, much longer (I'm still working on mine, and I started in February!). What I want from you in this challenge is not to complete the task per se, but to get started and KNOW WHERE YOU'RE GOING. Does that make sense? So at the end of the week, you should know exactly how, what, when and where you're going to store that scrapping item. And having that off your mind is a HUGE start - you just have to put in the work to make it happen, and that really is the easy part. Second - I am a huge, huge proponent of planning. I think if you plan your space and think it through first, you won't have to re-do it months down the road. So I would rather you find the absolute 100% perfect no-doubt-about-it this is MY stamp pad holder that takes 2 weeks to save up for and another 2 weeks to ship, and miss the 1-week "deadline", than scurry over to Walmart and get something that will "do" just so you can say you organized your stamp pads in a week. This challenge is going to be about learning about all the options out there, which ones will work best for YOUR space, and making them stick. I have been there - I took 4 months to plan my scrap space. And in the 2 years since I've had it, I might have changed 3 things. Which has been great (ok, a little lie there....I MISS organizing!!!).

For each Challenge, I will do a few things. First, I bare mine, you bare yours. Which means I will post a photo of my storage solution for that item - and if it's in-progress, in all it's mess and glory. And I want you to post yours - if you're looking for a solution, post your problem area. If you've found a solution, post it so others can benefit. In addition, I will be posting links galore to sites and solutions I've found over the years. I'm hoping to have at least 10 different storage ideas for you per Challenge - for small and large spaces, sitting and standing scrappers, big and little budgets, you name it. So hopefully everyone can find something that works for them. I'm essentially going to do all the brainstorming and idea gathering for you. In return for spoon-feeding you organizational goodness, you'd better get your rear in gear and get organized, or I will find you, and I may not be so pleasant.

One thing I'm doing differently than the previous challenge - I like Shannon a lot. But I think you must be smoking crack to find any uninterrupted time during the day to devote to organizing. If you had free time to organize, then you'd be teaching this challenge, not taking it. My philosophy is that 5-15 mins can do WONDERS. Think of what you can do around your house in just 5 minutes. Go through the mail. Put away the dishes from the dishwasher. Pack a lunch for school. Make the bed. Each one of those tasks makes a huge difference in the household, right? Well, cleaning up your scrap space is no different! Got something simmering on the stove? Then sort your scraps! 10 minutes until the kids get home from school? Then file those new rub-ons! If you keep on taking little chunks like that, you WILL make progress. I guarantee it. But you are going to have to force yourself to migrate towards your scrap space during this challenge when you find a chunk of time. Not towards the remote, or the bag of Hershey's kisses, or the new hunky gardener at your neighbor's house. Organizing MUST become a priority.

So....drum roll, please! Here's what you've signed up for - no regrets! Just do it!

Week 1 - Space Audit
Immerse yourself in your space - what do you love? What annoys the daylights out of you?

Week 2 - Brainstorming
If the Scrap Fairy DID exist, what is your idea of the perfect space?

Week 3 - Clean Slate
Get out the boxes ladies, it's moving day!

Week 4 - Paper
We're all guilty on this one. I know my stash could wallpaper the White House.

Week 5 - Scraps
What to keep, what to toss, and where to store them.

Week 6 - Photos (print and digital)
Solutions for your most prized possessions.

Week 7 - Ideas
What to do with that 3' stack of layout ideas under your bed.

Week 8 - Projects, Incomplete Pages and Kits
I found a system to help you get these off your table and into your albums!

Week 9 - Embellishments
Containers galore!

Week 10 - Alphas
Stickers, chipboard and rub on storage.

Week 11 - Non-Alpha Stickers and Rub-ons
When a giant box just doesn't work anymore.

Week 12 - Ribbon, Thread and Fibers
My pretty little things!

Week 13 - Stamps
Know what you have and where they're located!

Week 14 - Crop Supplies
How to keep the sanity in your space when you're always on the go!

Week 15 - Ink, Ink Pads and Embossing
How to deal with these little things that take up so much room!

Week 16 - Paints and Glitter and Stickles
Oh my!

Week 17 - Punches
Not the boxing kind.

Week 18 - Tools and Adhesive
Keeping them handy

Week 19 - Chipboard (raw)
Sheets or die cuts, let's get them in place!

Week 20 - Die Cuts
By theme and by color

Week 21 - Pens and Pencils
The basics we can't live with and can't live without!

Week 22 - Dies for Die Cutting Machines
Quickutz, Sizzix, Cuttlebug, and more!

Week 23 - Templates
Plastic and metal

Week 24 - Memorabilia
How to store your glorious collection of ketchup packets for that layout you're going to do...someday....really!

Week 25 - Negatives
Yeah, we probably will never use these again, but they need to be stored safely!

Week 26 - New Items and Keeping it Neat
How to avoid re-taking this Challenge

Week 27 - Fonts
First step....stop downloading!

Week 28 - Cards and Card-Making Supplies
What DO you do with 300+ birthday cards?

Week 29 - Room and Space Decor
Time to make all your hard work look pretty!

We can add on to this list if I forgot something - no deadlines here, as long as there is continued insterest, I'll be happy to keep hosting. So welcome, and let the games begin! On to Challenge Week 1, ladies! See you on the dark side.