Monday, November 2, 2009

Organize Your Stuff Challenge - Week 24

Happy Monday! We're down to the 6 week countdown! This week we're going to tackle memorabilia - we all do it on trips, hoard things like they're going out of style. I'm not going to tell you to clear out your clutter and toss the sugar packets from that cheap motel you stayed at. We're going to get things organized in case you really DO want to scrap those sugar packets, you can find them!
There are 2 types of memorabilia to deal with - flat and bulky. The best way I've found to accommodate both is to find a system that works with your flat memorabilia, and then add a note card or a photo in there noting your bulky items (which are stored elsewhere) that accompany that event. That way, you can keep all your items together and organized but not lose small things like ticket stubs, or bend important papers, amongst the big things. If you're up for it, the photograph may be enough of a memory to scrap to allow you to get rid of the bulky item altogether - greatly simplifying your life!
The most logical way to organize your precious mementos is by theme or event. If you keep items from something that's ongoing, or repeated every year, like a family gathering or trip, then it might be best to organize by theme. If it's a one time deal, like the birth of a child, then organizing by event is the way to go. Keep in mind these can be combined, it doesn't have to be all or none. So go grab your bags and boxes of "stuff" and find a big clean floor space to dump them out at (keeping the sugar packets away from kids and pets, of course). Dig in and start sorting! At the end, you should have several piles of things - this is also the prime time to purge. Do you really need all 5 brochures from the same boat tour? Be realistic, you DO have photos!
Now that you know HOW to sort your memories, let's look at ways to house them. For bulky items, I suggest finding a really pretty box that you love. Hobby Lobby has a great selection of unique ones, and I love the little suitcases from the Paper Source: Have fun with it! For your flat items, possibilities include:
In hanging folders in a portable file box
In zip-top bags in decorative baskets
In a 3-ring binder in page protectors
In accordian files
In scrapbook albums
Memorabilia can be tricky if you're taking an acid-free approach to scrapbooking. Make sure to keep your newspapers in a plastic page protector or bag away from your other items. Use acid-neutralizing spray as needed. And for important documents, make copies and file away your originals.

I've found 2 systems to house my memorabilia. The first is for my flat items - I use a 3-ring binder with page protectors. Each protector holds one "event." I have each event labeled at the top, so when I go to scrap the pictures from my Cancun trip, I just flip to the "Cancun" page protector and take the whole deal out. And everything I need is in there!

For my bulkier items, I found a lovely box (half off! which makes it even prettier!) at Hobby Lobby that matches my room decor. Problem solved!

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!

Your sugar packets are no longer in a box somewhere attracting ants! Congrats! Now go take out those trash bags full of stuff you found, and we'll focus on getting your negatives organized next week.



  1. Okay, now we get to the hard stuff..I knew you were saving it after all those easy weeks.

    Michaels, carries some suitcases like those in their "basket" aisles. Not too bad of a price.


  2. These are all the very informative article which is very much helpful in managing our packaging stuff and all the guide lines are very perfect for oneself to easily set up all the stuff which are required for an international trip for sure.

    Moreover, you may also consult American Packaging & Supply for the best packaging, wrapping and all kind of packing and shipping solutions to your packing and packaging problems and have a wide variety of storing, moving and shipping supplies.