Monday, October 5, 2009

Organize Your Stuff Challenge - Week 20

Good morning, scrappers galore! This week we're going to focus on organizing a mess that has probably been the bane of my scrapping existence for quite some time - die cuts! There are so many shapes, sizes, colors and themes, it's a nightmare to try to find a system that works. But we WILL tame that mess this week!

First off - HOW are you going to organize your die cuts? This will depend on how you scrap and how you organize your other embellishments as well. You can organize by theme (ie, baby, Christmas, quotations, etc), by color (which works well for things like blank tags), by type (borders, tags, frames), or by manufacturer (which is a good option if you sort your paper in this method - you can keep sets together easily). You don't have to choose one category - you can have a mix if it works better for you, as long as you know where your stuff is! You also need to decide if you want to take them out of their original home (whether it be sheets or boxes), or leave them attached as is. If you choose to separate them, it'll be easier to organize by theme or color. If you leave them attached, it'll be easier to separate by manufacturer. The choice is yours.

Now that we have an idea of how to divide up those piles, let's look at WHERE you can put them. 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.

In Crop In Style Paper Sticker Binders (PSBs) or 3-ring binders with divided page protectors: or
In zip top bags, hanging on a clip it up or pants hanger, or stacked in baskets or bins
In shallow drawers or a multi-drawer chest
In acid free envelopes in a photo box (for smaller die cuts)
In clear plastic shoe boxes or photo boxes
In Craft Keepers:''x12''%20Poly%20Envelope%20-%20Clear
Tilt bins (for smaller die cuts)
Hanging file folders
Expandable organizers
Over-the-door organizers
In a mini photo album
In clear CD cases or DVD cases

Now you have some options, I'll share the system that works for me and how I scrap - but it did take a while to find. I combined 2 methods of sorting - by theme and by color. The vast majority of my die cuts are in an Iris cart (I removed the wheels and stacked 1.5 together) - they fit nicely under my main work table:

In this stack are all my die cuts by theme. I have a box for baby die cuts, boys, stars, journaling blocks, floral, swirls, animal/nature, etc. If it's too% theme-related, it goes in here.

My second method (not pictured) is identical to my box storage for my alpha sets, it's just located on the other side of my work table. Using the cheap white photo boxes from Hobby Lobby, I have one box per color and all my "blank" die cuts (ie, not theme oriented) go in here. So if I'm looking for a purple tag, I go to my purple box and I likely have one in there. If I'm looking for a purple tag with a puppy on it, I go to my animal box instead. These are easy to kid proof as well - one strip of masking tape per side won't damage the box at all and the toddler gives up pretty easy.

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. One 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!

Your die cuts are now easy to find and you no longer have to threaten them with the paper shredder. See you all back here for Week 21.


1 comment:

  1. I just found your blog! Thanks for all the organizational tips!