Monday, September 21, 2009

Organize Your Stuff Challenge - Week 18

Lovely morning, scrappers! Can you believe we only have 11 weeks left? You guys that are sticking with me - I'm in awe. Good job, keep it up!
The Challenge this week is to organize our tools. This is going to be a very individual task, since everyone has a different set of must-haves (heck, trimmers alone must come in 8 different sizes!), and tools can be small, sleek, bulky, heavy, you name it. So I'll offer up some suggestions for storage, and I'll leave it up to you to figure out the best method for YOUR stash. There are really 3 ways of basic organizing on tools - sort by frequency of use, function or size. You also need to decide 2 things:
First - are you going to keep your tools with all your other tools, or with the products that you use them with? For example - your heat gun. Decide whether to keep it with your tools or your embossing supplies. Do what makes sense to you, and stick with it. Also, in grouping tools, decide whether to keep ALL your tools together, or put some of your less-often used tools out of the way. By splitting tools up, you can gain a lot of workspace, but you also risk forgetting what you have.
Second - if you go to crops a lot, now is a good time to figure out how to make your life easier. Decide to invest in a second set of tools that will be packed and ready to go for your crops, or find a good tool storage solution that's also portable.
Here are a few ideas I came across for storing tools. 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.
Over-the-door organizers
Tilt bins
Clear plastic shoeboxes
Multi-drawer chest
Photo storage boxes
Tackle box
Hanging on a wall (no pegboard needed):
For my setup - I have my tools sorted by frequency of use. My less-frequently used tools are in a lazy susan in a cabinet:
I repurposed a cute garden tote to hold my scissors. ALL my blades are in here - I love my Exacto knife, so I keep my spare blades in a film canister. I also have a second canister out with a slit cut in the top to hold all my spent blades. When the canister is full, I tape over the top and toss the whole thing in the trash - no loose blades to injure someone!

This is actually a photo of my old tool storage. I currently have the Making Memories desktop carousel: This setup did work for me for a while tho - those are just garden planters, another Hobby Lobby find. I found that I needed a little bit more structure (ie, compartments) tho.

So go gather up those tools, make your decisions, and sort and store!

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 tools are all happy and content in their new home! Go do a happy dance and meet me back here for week 19, when we'll tame your wild hordes of raw chipboard.

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