Tuesday, March 16, 2010

From This to That: Fine Tuning Scrap Supply Organization

It seems that most scrapbookers enjoy accumulating and organizing a supply stash almost as much (or maybe more) than they actually enjoy scrapbooking. I can easily see myself falling into that category, though I try not to organize just for organization's sake- my goal is to make my supplies more accessible so that I might actually ::gasp:: use them.

For the most part my scrap room is functional, but there are a few sticky spots that have been irking me for a few months now. I talked about some of them when I went through my scrap room tour in January and February, and since then I've started taking some steps to fix my problem areas. I'm trying to go the low- or no-cost route with the improvements, using items I already have.

First up for an organization makeover is this beast:

Yes, my mug-holder-turned-small-embellishment-organizer is cute, but it's just not working for me. It sits on the floor all the way across the room from my drawers full of embellishments (you can see them in this post) and there's no room to move them closer. Plus, having each little item in its own bag is not as useful as I thought it would be- I think I actually need them all together.

While I was unpacking a box from the move (yes, I still have unpacked boxes and probably will for the next thirty thousand years), I came across a pile of these...

Come on, you know every Prima-obsessed scrapbooker collected Frappuccino bottles at one time or another. :) I used to use mine for flowers, but digging all those paper bits out every time I wanted a certain one just wasn't cutting it for me (hmmm, sounds familiar), so I stuck them all in a box in my old scrap room closet and promptly forgot I had them.

Now they have a new purpose as I slowly empty all those little baggies out. I'm just mixing everything together- eyelets, brads, hinges, tabs, and assorted other bits- using a jar for each color. I can already tell that I love it. It's so easy to glance and see exactly what I have, and pouring everything out and putting it back again is so much easier than when items were in plastic bags.

And an added bonus is that the jars fit perfectly in the color drawers with the other embellishments. I love it when a plan comes together!

Next up on my organizational hit list was my scrap binder. I'm perfectly happy with all my solid color scraps being in big Ziploc bags sorted by color (as seen in this post), but my patterned scraps that I keep sorted by manufacturer just aren't getting used. Something not getting used is my first clue that I need to tweak its storage situation.

The solution for this is easy. I'm splitting up all those lines that I've been keeping together and sorting them by color right in with the other scraps. I already have the bags made up and the basket to keep them in, so this solution requires little effort and absolutely no new supplies. As a bonus, I'll have cleared out a scrapbook album and a bunch of page protectors when I'm finished.

I have never, ever been happy with my chipboard alphabet storage. I keep each alphabet in its own sandwich bag and have tried everything from throwing the alphabets in their corresponding color drawer to keeping them all in one basket, as you can see below (I wrote about that in this post).

No matter how I store these alphabets, I always have the same problem- when it's time to make a title, it takes forever to go through the ones that match my layout and find one that actually has all the letters I need. Ugh. No wonder they never get used.

I rummaged through some of the office supplies that I've unpacked and put away and came across this pack of file folder labels, and then it dawned on me...

That I could label each bag with a number...

and then somehow relate that number to what letters are available in that alphabet. I briefly thought about just sticking a slip of paper in each bag with a list of the quantity of each letter, but after some thought I decided to go one better- I set up a spreadsheet in Google Documents. Yes, I am a total digital girl.

So far these are the only two sets I've done, but I can already tell that this is going to be great!

I should tell you now that I haven't finished (oh, not nearly finished) any of these organizing makeovers yet (lest you think me some sort of organizing Super Woman). I'm taking it slowly, doing little pieces here and there as I have a few free minutes and making sure to leave some time for actual scrapbooking. I'm hoping that these little changes will have a big payoff in the end as I start to work through and use up my stash.


TracyJ said...

Oh wow...I love your idea for the chipboard alphas. I never used mine for the same reason. Mine are each in their own drawer in a nut and bolt organizer, but the time it took to dig through each, only to find I didn't have a "t" was so annoying! I am going to work on doing this. Thanks for sharing!

Valerie said...

Loose chipboard alphas are a difficult area for me. So difficult, I barely use them anymore. I love how you have gained control over them.
I also just sorted my pattern scrap by color and have to say the system is really working out well. Scraps are getting used. Thanks for all the detail in these posts. I really enjoyed reading them!