My idea is a take-off of Stacy Julian's "Start Here" jar from Photo Freedom. What you will need (please note that the links I posted are intended to give you a visual idea of what it is I'm talking about - it doesn't mean I endorse the product or the store):
1. Some sort of enclosing system to hold 12x12 paper and elements. Some options include:
Zip lock bags: http://cgi.ebay.com/50-NEW-ZIP-LOCK-PLASTIC-BAGS-13-X-15-X-2MIL-ORGANIZE_W0QQcmdZViewItemQQ_trkparmsZ65Q3a12Q7c66Q3a2Q7c39Q3a1Q7c72Q3a1205Q7c240Q3a1318Q7c301Q3a1Q7c293Q3a1Q7c294Q3a50QQ_trksidZp3286Q2ec0Q2em14QQhashZitem588150e83cQQitemZ380126685244QQptZLHQ5fDefaultDomainQ5f0QQsalenotsupported
Snap-top Iris boxes: http://www.stacksandstacks.com/iris-storage-box-snap-case-snt/
3-drawer chests: http://www.stacksandstacks.com/sterilite-3-drawer-organizer-clearview-wide-20938003/?id=176&sku=11565&utm_medium=shoppingengine&utm_source=googlebase
Expandable files: http://www.shopwiki.com/_Cropper+Hopper+Expandable+Paper+Organizer-Clear
Planning folders: http://store.scrapbook.com/cmp-04972.html
Paper pouches: http://www.save-on-crafts.com/cropperhopper3.html
Note that some of the options are better suited for pages (ie, they won't hold bulky embellishments), while others will be better for projects or kits. I bought a 50 pk of bags off of Ebay for pretty cheap - they're 13x15", so they'll hold larger supplies, and they're thick enough not to tear. I don't need 50 bags right now, but I'm sure I'll find other uses for them, and they're cheaper in bulk than the large ziplocs you find at the grocery store. You can also split them with your friends, or use them for page kits. I use the Iris boxes for my larger projects (like baby albums) - I like that they stack and I can put a ton of stuff - including memorabilia - in them.
2. A way to store these enclosing systems. A bin, box, tiered skirt hangers, filing cabinet or upright holders (such as Cropper Hopper paper files) will work. If you're using page protectors, look into 3-ring binders. I went with the Cropper Hopper vertical paper holders. They hold the 13x15" ziploc bags beautifully.
3. Popsicle sticks. Raid your rub-on packs or your kid's art supplies.
4. A small can or jar to hold the sticks. I use a small wooden planter.
5. A black pen.
6. Your label maker (which should be permanently attached to your hip at this point).
How to do it: Place each one of your unfinished projects, layout, kits, etc in its own bag/container. Each bag gets a label - start with #1 and move up. You can label larger projects individually (ie, Baby Album). At the end, everything should be in a matching container so you can pull one out with ease. Place all these containers in numerical order in the larger bin or basket. So for my system, I have my ziploc bags labeled and stashed in the Cropper Hopper vertical files. I also use the Iris cases for my larger projects:
Grab your popsicle sticks. For each number on your bag, put the same number on your popsicle stick. This goes for your projects as well. So you should have a "1" popsicle stick, "2", etc and one labeled "Baby Album" (for example). Use as many sticks as you have bags/projects. Here are my sticks, feel free to dress them up:
Once you have all your sticks labeled, put them in your jar:
Ok, great! So now you have a jar full of popsicle sticks and you're probably thinking I'm nuts. Well, a little, but that's ok. This jar is going to be your little scrap angel who gets you moving in the right direction when you don't know where to begin. You know those moments - when you have 2 hours of freedom, you walk into your CLEAN scrap space, and think "OMG where do I start?" and log on to 2Peas instead and kill your 2 hours dead. You will not be doing that anymore. Instead, you're going to pull out a stick - randomly. Say your stick says "#6." Go to your bins and grab bag #6. It may be the kit you got in the mail yesterday - go find some pics and create a layout with it. It may be the page you set aside last August - finish that baby up! Work each project as long as you have time, and then re-file it when it's done - or keep on working if you have the mojo. Once the file is cleared out, recycle that bag for the next project or finished page. Or if you get stuck again, just re-file it - you'll come back to it next time you choose that stick. And you don't HAVE to use the sticks everytime - your system is now organized enough that you can flip through everything you have in-progress and choose a project that matches your mood. Isn't organization wonderful? Aaaahhh.I want to quickly share one neat tip I found to keep track of your kits - take a picture of each one with all the contents spread out. You can then keep this with the kit itself (so you don't have to search through the whole kit), or in a separate notebook. And if you want to keep track of everything that you have page-wise, here's a very cool download I found from Becky Higgins. It will help you keep track of what's missing what.
In closing, I want to add my 10 rules for organizing. I'm going to post these at the end of every challenge, because I think they are very, very important. I want you to keep them in mind as you tackle each of these projects - they will make your life easier and the task less daunting.
1. Label your containers.
2. Be consistent in your methods.
3. Don't be too specific - your search for your items within your space should be short and simple.
4. Your organizational method should be easy to take out AND put away.
5. When organizing, break any large piles into smaller groupings. Have a 2 foot tall stack of paper to sort? Do it in 1" high chunks, it will be easier to handle mentally.
6. If it's something that you use on almost every project, then keep it within reach of your main scrap area.
7. Don't stress your containers. Get a new system or purge your stash.
8. For most items, product packaging adds bulk. Toss it. With once exception - rub ons.
9. Repurpose when you can - almost anything can be painted or covered in paper/fabric.
10. THE GOLDEN RULE - FIRST choose an organizational method, THEN choose a container that fits your space and style. Always shop for containers with a list in hand - a beautiful container is simply clutter if it doesn't have a dedicated purpose in your space!
Congratulations, your piles of projects, kits and pages have now been tamed! Raaar! Go relax with a latte and I'll see you back here for Week 9 - be ready ladies, we're going to get those embellishments in order!