I'm pretty happy with my current paper system. Years ago, I purchased a ton of Cropper Hopper vertical paper storage holders. I've organized all of my 12" x 12" cardstock by color in one section:
My DCWV Cardstock Paper Pads are in another section:
And then there is my Basic Grey (which has long since outgrown it's cube):
Here are my suggestions to get your papers organized:
Step One: Gather It All Up
Find all of your papers and bring them into one place. All of them. Even the scraps.
Step Two: Decide How You Are Going To Store It
As I mentioned, I love vertical storage. I buy my paper holders at Michaels, using a coupon. Or, you can wait until they have a "scrapbook storage" sale and take advantage of buying a ton of stuff at once!
Before I had sooooo much paper, I used these clear trays from Display Dynamics:
I know a ton of people who have used this:
If you only have a small amount, you might try this (found at Michaels -- use a coupon!):
I have my cardstock sorted by color (ROYGBIV), I tend to buy patterned papers by lines within a brand (so that they coordinate with one another), and I sort them that way (for example, I just bought a ton of paper from the Hometown Summer line by Pink Paislee). If I have a ton of one brand, I keep all of the lines within that brand together (for example, all of my Making Memories lines are together in one big paper holder). I am an absolute whore when it comes to Basic Grey, so I have an entire cube of Basic Grey.
If I have a few remnant sheets or I bought a single sheet of patterned paper, I store it in my patterned paper holder by color.
To see how I store my scrap papers, you'll want to read this blog post from 2007. I'm still using the exact same system and I still love it!
Step Four: Purge
Really, how much do you need? I plan to purge and sell off the good stuff in bulk lots and give the really old (I've been scrapbooking since 1998 and still have paper from then...) stuff to my daughter's old pre-school teacher.
Step Five: Label
You won't know where it is unless you label it! If you are using the same vertical storage holders I do, it is very easy to label the fronts. I punch a circle from patterned paper and put it in a metal rimmed tag. The tag is glued to the front with a pop dot. I love being able to quickly access my papers when I need them.
Hop to it! Time to get that paper organized!
I'm woefully behind in my Studio Spring Cleaning this week. Life and warmer weather keep getting in the way. That, and wanting to sleep more than four hours a night... A number of you have e-mailed to confess that you're falling behind. No worries! Take it at your own pace. Focus on getting yourself a clean primary workspace. The rest is secondary. You need a clean place to work and then you can start organizing your inks, papers, stamps, etc.
In that spirit, I'm not even going to try to work on organizing my paper this week. I'll bump it out a week and give myself time to catch up on my inks. I have worked my way through my Stampin' Up! and Close To My Heart ink collections. Everything has been catalogued on index sheets I created myself:
I saved each index by color (i.e. reds, oranges, yellows) and group (i.e. CTMH Cozy, Stampin' Up! Regals). I personally index mine by color (see above) so that it is easy to distinguish between the varying shades within each color family. Others prefer to keep them in their selected groups. It makes it easier to find complementary colors.
I will add more ink indexes as I do them for myself. Feel free to change the fonts up and make them your own. If you do post them on your own blogs/websites, please make sure to credit www.wewillalwayshaveparis.com.
When you print out the index sheets, make sure you print them on good quality smooth cardstock. You'll need a good stamping surface. Find a solid stamp that fits in the squares and start stamping away. I found it handy to work right next to my new stamp cleaning station. Stamp. Clean. Ink with a new color. Start all over.
Week one of "Spring Clean Your Studio" is done! Hopefully you have cleaned up your primary workspace and established work stations for the crafting activities you do the most.
As you continue along, be sure to:
This week we are going to focus on inks & papers. If you are not a rubber stamper, the inks should be pretty easy for you. If you do dabble in ink, you know how easy it is to accumulate a couple of dozen different types of ink. How do you know what you have and how do you store it? And paper..... don't even get me started on how much paper I have. We'll focus on inks today and come back to paper early in the week.
Step One: Gather It All Up
Dig around your studio and figure out just how many ink pads you have. Ten? Twenty? Over one hundred?
I ran around yesterday afternoon and snapped some pics of all of the different types of ink I own. Oh my holy cow!
Nik Bantock dye ink pads (and refills)
Ranger Distress ink pads (and refills)
Big and Juicy rainbow pads
Step Two: Purge
In true hoarder fashion, I can lamely try to justify each and every one (OK, maybe not the Big & Juicy... but at least it has a home!) of these ink pads. Most of them stamp on different types of media. Some have completely different colors -- stamp just once with a Nick Bantock pad and you'll want to buy the entire line. Some have beautiful colors, but can't handle acrylic stamps (ahem, Ancient Page?).
It is time to decide what you really need. If you have space for everything, great! Keep it! But if you're keeping different brands that serve the same purpose, you might want to consider putting some of it up as a bulk lot on E-Bay. Take a look at Ellen Hutson's ink comparison charts and decide if you can get by with one type of dye, one type of pigment, one type of chalk and a couple of specialty pads (Staz-On, VersaFine).
A couple of years ago, I purged all of my ColorBox pigment inks because I realized that I never heat emboss. Of course, I kept a ton of embossing powders, which is kind of like selling your DVD player, but keeping the DVDs. I also sold off all of my VersaChalk and Stampa Rosa Chalk pads. I had three types of chalk pads and decided to stick with my ColorBox chalks.
I've narrowed my inks down to what I truly (might) use. Every time I think I can get rid of one line, I think of a reason to keep it.
Step Three: Decide How You Are Going To Store Your Ink Pads
Some people choose to sort their inks by color and some choose to sort by brand. My inks are stored by color (ROYGBIV) within each brand. I decide which brand I want to use based on what type of media I am stamping upon (or what type of stamp I am stamping with). For example, if I am using an acrylic stamp, I will choose my Close To My Heart ink pads. If I am using a photo-realistic stamp, I'll reach for my VersaFine. If I need to stamp on glass or metal, it's Staz-On.
Step Four: Decide Where You Are Going To Store Your Ink Pads
If you only have a handful of ink pads, a pretty basket that is kept within reach will do. If you have a ton of ink pads, you'll need to find something that will work for your workspace. If you have wall space, there are some great options (see below) for storing your pads. My studio is in an unfinished basement, so my walls are created with Store-In-Style cubes & pegboard so I can't really hang anything.
My Stampin' Up! pads are stored in their handy-dandy tower. I've recently signed on as a Close-To-My-Heart consultant (I love the products so much that I need the discount!) and I was delighted to see that they have a storage tower for their ink pads as well. I use these two brands the most, so they sit proudly on my primary work space. On top of the Stampin' Up! caddy, I have a handful of my most-used pads (India Ink Black, Staz-On Jet Black, Memento Tuxedo Black, Memories Black, Palette Black, VersaMark, ColorBox Chalk Creamy Brown & ColorBox Chalk Chestnut Roan).
The majority of my ink pads are stored in Tim Holtz's Cropper Hopper Ink Pad Cases.
I love the fact that I can store a ton of inks in one small confined space. I can fit 80 pads in each case and I have three of the big cases. It used to take up tons of room, but now it is pretty well contained (and that allows me to justify KEEPING IT ALL!)
Unfortunately, it is hard to see what colors I have, so I'm going to have to label everything. If I was using these ink pads regularly, this would be a lousy way to store my inks. I would probably opt for something like this:
There are a number of stamp caddies available. This particular one is by Angie Noe and you can find it by clicking here. A 64 ink pad holder is only $40.
A quick search on E-Bay will give you a ton of options as well (click here for ink pad storage).
Step Five: Create A Color Chart
As you put your inks away, create color charts for all of your inks. This will allow you to see what the color looks like when it is completely dried and it will stop you from buying similar colors. It also helps when you're trying to color match with your paper! I'm going to whip up my own color charts for each line this week. When I do, I'll post them for you to use as well.
If you want to make your color guide easy on yourself, try printing out ready-made manufacturer forms and stamping the color in the appropriate spot. Here are some I found yesterday:
Step Six: Label
If you are storing your ink pads in a caddy or case, you'll want to label them so that you can identify them without taking them out. I use the tiny Avery labels and run them through my printer. I need to re-label all of mine this week!
So, there you go. Inks. Get going. Clean it up! I'll see you back here in a couple of days with my progress. Please keep sending me pics of your before & after progress. I love it!
I'm making progress! I took everything off my table, gave it a good scrub and replaced my work mats:
If you've never tried Meyer's Clean Day Basil Countertop Cleaner, scurry down to Target and buy yourself a bottle. Each spray is a refreshing burst of clean herbs. It will totally perk you up! I slowly replaced a limited selection of truly necessary items back on my workspace. I combined the tools in my AMM Tote-Ally Cool tool holder with those in my Pampered Chef tool-turn-about (which also needed a good scrub) and then spruced up the holder with rub-ons. I sealed the rub-ons by spraying Krylon Workable Fixativ on the tool-turn-about:
I added my "Scraps" bin. I find it so much easier to have a big bin on my table when I'm working. As I'm done with paper, punches, tools, etc. I toss them into my bin. It keeps my workspace clean as I work. When I'm done with the project, I clean out my scraps bin and I'm ready to work on something new!
I added a cleaning station -- paper towels, baby wipes, scrubbing pad, stamp cleaner. The paper towel rack is from Ballard Designs and I have had it for years:
Then, I started working on my additional work stations. I need a place to trim paper. I can't stand having a paper trimmer on my primary workspace, so I cleared off my old IKEA rolling cabinet and did this:
I purged a ton of old paper trimmers and narrowed it down to these two and my trusty Super-Carl (it cuts matboard and 30 sheets of paper at once!). Carl is stored in one of my long drawers, but these two trimmers are used every time I scrapbook.
I cleaned up the shelves on my papertrimming station and added my Diamond Glaze, brush cleaner and paint brushes. I purged a bunch of old liquids I never use - crappy stamp cleaners, 4 spray bottles of Future floor wax (remember when that was all the rage?), walnut ink in spray bottles, etc.:
I tidied my little pink desk that I use as my computer workstation:
I still need to set up a sewing center, but that can wait for right now. I've made peace with the fact that my sewing machine has bit the big one (it no longer zig zags and the feeder feet don't work) and I'm ready to trash it and get a new one. I'm still in research mode, so I can hold off on creating a workspace for it.
Thank you to everyone who made suggestions for a new work table. I think I'm going to follow up on the IKEA Lagan Countertop and place it on top of the Target cubes. I could really use the storage space and I would love to have something that's not quite so dark. I need to sit down with some butcher paper and cut out patterns to see exactly what size I want it to be... I won't be getting it this week, but hopefully in the next month.
Remember that we're organizing "Paper and Inks" next week (starting Saturday). I can't wait to cull my paper and inks and get them into something more manageable!
If you've taken "before" and "after" pics of your "Work Zones" studio clean-up, be sure to send me pics! I'd love to see them!
Keep on cleaning!
I am absolutely delighted by the number of people joining me in this year's studio clean-up. I get so excited each time I get an e-mail update from a reader. Keep the pics and stories coming!
I've had a bunch of people ask me for suggestions on work tables. This is a tough one, since I'm not particularly thrilled with my current table:
At the time, it was cheap (around $80), sturdy, and I knew it would hold up to years of abuse as it was the exact same table I had seen in every rubber stamp store workshop in our area. I love the fact that I can really spread out and work on several projects at the same time. But, good gravy, it is an eyesore.
I've pondered this beauty from IKEA:
I love the fact that it is counter-height. I work best when standing up and I would love to not have to lean over my table. Unfortunately, I would need two back to back and these bad-boys are $499 each. I can take my family to Disneyworld for a week for that. But, oh, can you imagine having all of that storage space????
I'm currently contemplating buying a laminate countertop and placing it on top of two of these (one at each end):
These are only $44.99 each at Target. I would have additional storage and I could build it to 36" high (standard counter height). I could probably store all of my idea books in the cubes and free up my primary bookshelf for pretty things! The countertop would be a nice firm surface for stamping and it wouldn't be yucky brown. Hubby suggested a hollow door from Lowes that I could paint any color (hello, pink!) as the topper, but I don't think it would have a firm enough surface. One mishap with the eyelet hammer and I would have a hole through my work space. What do you think?
My girlfriend Jenny is getting one of these for her studio:
Again, great storage! The drawers on the right are perfect for rubber stamps! Unfortunately, this is only half of my current workspace and at $479.69 each (Jenny found hers used, clever girl!), I'm right back at Disneyworld vs. table. Disneyworld wins each time.
I've also heard from a number of people that scrap in their dining room. They store their stuff in there, but the dining room table must be kept clear when they are not working. I wanted to mention this great product:
It is called the "F.R.E.D." and it is a portable desktop that allows you to hold your work with magnets. Need to move your stuff quickly? Just fold the legs and stack your work. Done! I've had these on my wish list for a while. Even though I have my own workspace, I often need to switch from personal scrapbooking to other projects. I'd love to be able to switch my work space out quickly! Each $44.99 "F.R.E.D." contains one 15"x15" table, one 14"x14" removable mat and eight magnets.
If you have some space in your home, but not an entire room, you might consider the ScrapBox:
I couldn't handle such a small work table, but look at how much you can cram into such a small space. The price tag on this beauty is a whopping $1,495! There are cheaper models, but seriously, that's a plane ticket to Paris and four nights in a great hotel!
So, tell me, what is your primary work space?
I'll be back on Wednesday with photos of my own clean-up and some links and photos from readers. Keep the e-mails and comments coming!
Our first week of "Spring Clean Your Studio" will be spent establishing work zones. You may have your own craft room, a shared office, or you may have carved a niche out of the family dining room. Regardless of how much space you have, it makes sense to create different work zones within that area.
Step One: Establish A Primary Working Space
1. Pick a spot. Everyone needs a clean space in which to work. For me, it is the ugly 8-foot banquet table in the middle of my crafting room (an atrociously heavy piece of crap we picked up at Staples years ago). I plan to replace it with a table I can stand at, but I just need to save up enough to have a custom made counter top.
2. Clean it up. Once you decide where you're going to do the most of your work, take everything off the table. Everything. Give it a good scrub with some household cleaner. Pick something that smells good!
3. Pick a view. Which way do you want to face? I tend to face out towards the half-wall of my studio because it looks into my kids' playroom. It saves me constant neck strain from having to turn and answer every "Mom! Baby A. hit me!" If you don't have adjoining space with two tiny terrorists, pick the best view. Feng Shui principles dictate that you should sit in the far corner of the room, looking out. If you can avoid it, try not to face a wall. If you have the room, scoot your table out a bit and put your chair on the other side. A change of view can be incredibly refreshing!
4. Add essentials. Now, slowly add only the things that you need within reach at all times. Clean everything before it goes back on the table.
I use a Making Memories 17"x23" cutting mat as my working surface:
Additional things I have to have at my fingertips at all times:
A. My cupholder - I'm a wee bit accident prone and I've discovered that I need to have my coffee locked down where it can't do any damage. Get one that locks onto your table and frees up more space.
B. A turning caddy to hold the tools I use the most (scissors, running adhesive, glue stick, corner rounder, paper piercer). I've always used the Pampered Chef Tool Turn-About AND my old electrician's tote that was so popular a few years ago. I need to move into just one and free up some table space. If you're looking for some sort of caddy, you might want to try the JetMax Desktop Carousel (available at Michaels).
Step Two: Set Up Work Stations
Next, take a long hard look at the types of crafting activities you do the most. You're more likely to sit down and craft if everything doesn't have to be a big production. If you find yourself pulling stuff out each and every time you want to work, it becomes a hassle and sucks the fun out of your hobby.
Look around your studio/work space and get creative about setting up permanent work stations. Do you have room for a side table? I use an old dresser that I salvaged from a beloved crafting store that closed their doors. The top houses my die cutting center and the drawers hold a ridiculous amount of stuff! Hit up garage sales, Freecycle or Craig's List and find something that you can re-purpose.
If you use a die cutting machine (whether manual or electric) regularly, doesn't it make sense to establish a "die cutting center", rather than pulling out your machine every time you want to craft? If you don't have enough counter space, consider investing in a small table with a drop leaf side. The drop leaf can stay down when you're not using it, but your machine will stay out which will make it much more likely that you'll use it. Why not get yourself a pretty little cover for your Cricut /Wishblade/Silhouette while you're at it? Claire at Scrapincovers on Etsy will whip one up for you in your choice of colors!
If you're a stamper, you might want a stamp cleaning station. A scrubbing pad, stamp cleaner and baby wipes in a pretty little basket will make things so much easier for you!
If you love to sew on your projects, consider setting up a sewing station (this is what I need!). Keep your sewing machine plugged in and ready to go. If you're worried about dust, order a cover!
I desperately need a paper cutting station that is not on my primary workspace. That way my paper trimmer isn't in my way as I'm working, but I don't have to dig around to find it when I need it. I happen to have a rolling IKEA cabinet that I think will do the job!. I can keep it next to me when I'm working.
Step Three: Keep Like With Like
Most of us dabble in all sorts of paper crafting -- scrapbooking, rubber stamping, altered art, journal making, home decor -- and the easiest way to move from project to project is to have all of your supplies for each hobby together (of course, there's always some overlap!).
Where do you keep your laundry detergent? Under the bathroom sink? In your bedroom closet? Chances are, your fresh-smelling Gain or All-Temperature Cheer is located where it makes the most sense -- right next to your washing machine. It makes sense, right? You'll use it there. The same sort of thinking applies when using your crafting tools. If you use a Cricut machine, does it make sense to store the cartridges on the other side of the room?
Here are some suggestions:
I will check in a couple of times during the week and keep you updated on my progress. Please e-mail me blog links, photos and updates as you work on your space too! I am sure my readers would love to see what you're doing to establish your own work zones!
Here are some great photos of other creative work spaces to get you inspired:
Grab your apron and label maker! It's time to get control of your craft space! I don't know about you, but my studio needs a little attention after a long winter of crafting. Join me over the next eight weeks as I sort, purge, dust, empty coffee cups and spruce up my little bit of heaven. I am always getting super-sweet compliments on my workspace, and people have always asked me to help them organize their crafting spaces. As I do some cleaning up around here, I'd love to help you get yours organized as well.
It is easiest for me to work by zones, so I've assigned different areas to different weeks.
Week 1 - Establishing Work Spaces
Week 2 - Paper & Inks
Week 3 - Embellishments
Week 4 - Tools
Weeks 5 & 6 - Stamps (I have too many stamps without homes to do this in one week!)
Week 7 - Photos
Week 8 - Decor (all the junk I have hanging up on the walls)
I will try to post each weekly assignment on Saturday with tips & tricks for getting organized. Who's ready to tidy up?