Monday, May 21, 2012

use your scraps week 2 | scrap organization

Hi everyone! I'm so excited today to kick off a week-long feature that's been in the works for a while now. Last summer I ran a full week of nothing but ideas for using your paper scraps, and this week I'm doing it again. Yes, it's the return of Use Your Scraps Week!!

If you missed the first round of ideas, you can find all of those posts under the Use Your Scraps Week label in my blog's sidebar, and all of this week's posts will be filed in the same place for easy reference. This week is even bigger than the last round- after today there will be two posts per day all week long, and two of those posts this week will showcase some of the new items from Spellbinders that can really help you get the most of your scraps. When I talked to them a couple of months ago about this series they were excited to be a part of it, and I can't wait to share those posts and all the other fun projects I have in store for this week with you!

To kick things off, I want to talk about organizing your scraps. This topic comes up quite frequently on the message boards, and I think it's something that nearly every scrapper has to address at one time or another. There are so many schools of thought as to how they should be organized- by color, by size, by manufacturer, etc. I currently organize mine by color in oversized zip-top bags, with no regard for size or pattern. All of these bags live in a single plastic basket in a cube of my Expedit shelf, so they take up relatively little room.

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The problem is that I still never seem to actually use my scraps unless it's for a specific scrap-related project, so it's worth exploring other systems from time to time to see if another organization method might make my scraps more functional.

Perhaps one of the most orderly methods I've seen for organizing scraps comes from the same post by Betsy Veldman that was the star of one of the projects from the last round of Use Your Scraps Week. Betsy actually went through her scraps and cut them all into 6"x6" squares, then filed them by pattern/color in plastic bins. I love the way the scraps look when organized this way, but I'm not entirely certain that the 6"x6" size would work well for me. Betsy is a cardmaker (and a stellar one at that!), so the 6"x6" size makes perfect sense for her, but I mostly do 12"x12" layouts and Project Life, meaning that my size needs are completely different. After a bit of back and forth, I decided to try this method out with some slightly different sizes- 3"x4" and 4"x6" (both common Project Life sizes) and then a set of 12" strips. I didn't cut all of my scraps at one time, but I did cut a sampling of each color just to see how I liked the method (I still haven't made a final decision yet).

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Your assignment for today is to pull out your scraps and do a bit of organizing with them. You may want to cut yours into uniform sizes, you may want to simply sort them by color, or you may want to just get them all together and not worry about sorting at all. Whatever you want to do is completely fine!

If you want to do a bit of preparation for the rest of this week's projects, you'll want to separate your scraps as follows:
  • Neutral scraps (white, gray, kraft, and ledger papers) of any size
  • Colored scraps in 3"x4" and 4"x6" sizes (if you do Project Life or scrap in divided page protectors with those sizes)
  • Colored scraps in 12" strips of any width (we'll be using these for one specific project that can then be extended to a variety of uses, so you'll definitely want to do this one)
  • Small-ish scraps (smaller than 3"x4" and shorter than a 12" strip) of any color (yes, we're actually going to find a use for some of those tiny bits!)
If, in the course of cutting your scraps to size, you find yourself left with cut-off strips from the ends of papers (like the ones pictured below), save them!! We'll be using them later in the week. 

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I'm going to leave you with a more concrete project if you're wanting to do something practical with your scraps right away. This post was recently on the October Afternoon blog, and I was smitten with how pretty all of those plastic 2"x12" drawers looked after OA design team member Stacey Kingman dressed them up by sliding a strip of paper into the front of each one. This would work well for those plastic Iris cases, too, and you could either make your own rainbow of covers or select a smaller color palette that matches your scrapping space's decor.

I'll be back tomorrow with a set of ideas for using your scraps in Project Life- and if you don't do Project Life, don't worry! Many of these ideas as very basic items that can be used on regular scrapbook pages as well. 

See you then!
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