Papercrafting Organization: A Series – The Back-to-School Edition
Are you all ready to get organized?
I sure am!
Yes, even those of us who are normally very organized need a “re-engagement” once in a while!
My need for a re-engagement always comes after an especially intense period of work (CHA Summer 2013) and/or being on the road (business trip followed by extended family visit).
This time around, it’s both, combined!
You should see what my office looked like after those trips! Oy!
We received a great response to our last papercrafting organization post where we asked papercrafters, including YOU, to share their papercrafting (and other) organizing challenges with us.
It seems that most of us need to dedicate a little time to get our homes, offices and creative spaces in order.
Fall is a perfect time for getting organized!
Organizing is all about being in control of your space, productivity, time and money – and getting organized now means you can have more of all of those, especially as the kids (or you!) head back to school and time becomes even more precious than during the lazy days of summer.
We’re going to focus on gaining control over our living, working and creative spaces. We’ll be applying the fundamentals to all areas of our homes, offices and even life!
And, since we’re smack dab in the middle of back-to-school season, some of our initial focus and tips will center around creating more harmonious home and study environments, and creating habits that can make our early mornings, activity-filled afternoons and evenings, study time, and weekend events less stressful and more fun! Again, to enable you to have more time for papercrafting!
And, since it’s back-to-school season, it’s a perfect time for learning – learning the fundamentals of organizing (these can make all the difference in becoming more organized), learning about yourself (what will and likely won’t work for you), and learning about the systems and products that are best suited to your needs and goals.
Now before we get down to business…
YOU Could WIN!
We are so very lucky to have a wonderful sponsor for our papercrafting organization series – a series all about getting our craft rooms, creative spaces, craft business offices, art studios, portable craft kits (and our study spaces, office and entire homes!) in order – order that can leave us with more enjoyable and functional spaces, increased productivity, less wasteful spending, and more time and mojo for creating (and fun!).
But, they’re not just a product sponsor. Uh, uh!
They’re a sponsor who not only provides quality organizing furnishings and products, but a sponsor who wants YOU to WIN them!
What could be more perfect than a sponsor known for quality organizing products, products such as the Jetmax® craft storage solution?
And, Go-Organize.com not only offers products to get your creative space organized, but organizing products for the rest of your home too!
After all, once you get one space organized, it’s highly likely you’ll be so motivated by the results that you’ll want to take on the whole house! Or, office!
FREE REGULAR SHIPPING
on all items!
Can you believe it?
We are thrilled to have Go-Organize.com join our papercrafting community and look forward to sharing their organizing solutions with you as we work on getting our spaces more organized.
So, how do YOU WIN Go-Organize.com‘s products?
Go-Organize.com is giving
THREE lucky papercrafters a chance to WIN
one of THREE $100 Shopping Codes!
I bet I have your attention now, right?!
You will have to actively participate in this
papercrafting organization series,
sharing your organizing challenges,
providing feedback on ideas and tips we share,
and showing Go-Organize some love (well, LIKEs).
No, it’s not hard!
Best of all? YOU benefit!
since you MUST participate on all six (6) Get Organized posts,
by leaving comments and/or answering the questions we ask,
in order to be eligible to win one of the THREE $100 shopping credits,
be sure to check out the last organizing post we published
A Series for Papercrafters, Crafters, Artists & Students –
and leave a comment,
sharing your organizing challenges,
so you’ll be eligible to WIN!
Organizing 101: Back in the Classroom!
As a former professional organizer (who still speaks about the topic at conferences), I’ve been fortunate to work with many wonderful clients on organizing (and reclaiming) their craft rooms, art studios, home offices, kids’ rooms, studies, kitchens, bathrooms, living rooms, garages, closets and storage units.
What do all these spaces have in common?
All can become easily cluttered, resulting in a space you dread going into. And, all can become wonderful, happy places to be with just a little organizing know-how and effort, know-how I will share combined with a little effort from you.
What are your options for keeping them all in a happier state?
Lesson #1: Everything you allow into your environment becomes an obligation to you.
Now, as a papercrafter and self-professed paper hoarder, I know what you’re thinking.
It’s not reasonable to expect that you won’t buy new products for papercrafting, and especially unrealistic to think that you’re going to stop buying paper, right?
And, it’s not likely that you’ll stop buying yet another pair of black strappy sandals (is that just me?) or great seasonal outfits, or pass up a deal on a nifty kitchen gadget seen on your favorite cooking show or skip taking advantage of an amazing bargain on 1,288 rolls of toilet paper, right?
(O.K., I know that was a bit of an exaggeration – one can never have too many black strappy sandals!)
The key, though, is being fully aware of the “cost” of bringing new items into your life.
Not only are you spending hard-earned, post-tax dollars on buying these items, but you have to store, clean/dust, insure and worry about these items (yes, they cost you mental energy).
We are such a shopping-focused society, it’s no wonder that we rarely ever consider these additional costs when we buy things.
And, with 3k+ marketing messages bombarding us daily, it’s not likely any of us will stop buying altogether.
And that’s o.k., because that’s really not the goal.
My goal is NOT to get you to stop buying, but for you to give more thought to the purchases you make. And, to have happy, productive spaces in which to be and create.
It’s time to adopt a new habit!
That is, if you truly want to get more organized.
What do you say, are you up for it?
Every time you are about to make a product purchase, quickly ask yourself these questions:
- Do I really NEED this?
- What does this really COST me?
- Will I really USE this?
- Do I have a logical PLACE to store this?
I know this may seem like it would take the fun out of shopping, and make buying things you really do need a chore, but it actually, eventually, has the opposite affect.
It does! Hear me out…
Once this becomes a habit (and that takes an average of 21 days to happen with focused effort and repitition), this process becomes a part of the shopping experience and leads to better choices and more enjoyment from what you DO buy.
How is this related to getting organized?
Lesson #2: A Place For Everything & Everything In Its Place!
Yes, I do subscribe to this theory.
Because it WORKS!
Organizing challenges that many of you shared with me, and that I commonly heard from my clients, include:
- an inability to easily find things
- hassle accessing things
- forgetting what you have (therefore not using what you have)
- laziness in putting things away (don’t feel bad, I am sometimes lazy too!)
- feeling overwhelmed by all the stuff!
All of these are related to (or are a result of) not having a place for everything, having too much stuff for the space and organization systems we have; and/or, employing systems that are not appropriate for our space, our way of thinking and/or our needs.
Let’s tackle the first cause of these challenges: not having a place for everything.
When we force-fit something into our space, it creates a stress on our ability to enjoy it.
Here’s an example, one that could have created all five of the challenges above:
This self-professed foodie recently spotted a great deal on something I have been lusting after for quite some time. It was a Hobart Kitchen-Aid Stand Mixer.
They start at around $260, used, and are much pricier new.
I have never been able to justify the purchase since I didn’t know if I would really use it enough to make spending the money worthwhile, and more importantly, where on earth I would keep such a large appliance. I’m sure you’ve been there, done that, right?
So, when I came across this bargain, I thought to myself, this is too good to pass up.
But, I had quickly run through the five questions (it happens automatically for me now!) on the way to saying “yes:”
- Do I really NEED this? No. (notice there was no “but,” justification here, just a simple, honest “no”)
- What does this really COST me? A place to store it and the bargain price of just $40. Yes, forty-dollars!!! (Can you tell I was excited?!)
- Will I really USE this? Yes, but I’m not sure how often yet because I’ve never owned something like this.
- Do I have a logical PLACE to store this? Only if I move some things around in our kitchen.
So, now I had to weigh the fact that I have wanted one of these for some time and that I would likely never find one at this low price again, against the fact that this was NOT a NEED and that I would have to make room for it. And, not just room, but accessible space so it would get used AND I wouldn’t feel bad about purchasing it and then not using it.
So, do you think I bought that stand mixer?
And, (Ho)Bart was immediately introduced to his new home, in an easily accessible cabinet with other items that are used frequently, but not daily.
Why is its location important?
Because I don’t want it taking up valuable “everyday use” space, but it needs to be someplace where I will see it frequently (so I’m reminded of my promise to myself that I would use it – guilt can be a wonderful motivator! 😉) and it must be easily accessible (I know myself well enough to know that I won’t use something that’s a hassle to dig out).
Why was immediately finding (Ho)Bart a home so important?
Because I made a commitment to doing so when I ran through my questions, and because I knew that if he sat out waiting for me to find him a spot, it would eventually “blend in” (pun intended) to the background.
You know, like that shopping bag of beautiful new 12×12 papers that you had to have, but that have been sitting on your craft room floor for weeks now? It’s o.k., you can admit it…we’ve all been there.
Now, let’s tackle the next cause of our unhappiness with our space and/or systems, having too much stuff for the space and organization systems we have.
This one is quite simple: we have to stop overbuying or find a larger space and/or organizing systems/solutions that better accommodate our “collections,” or both.
It’s as simple as that.
How exactly do we do this?
First, THINK about your purchases before making them – run yourself through the four questions above.
And, be honest with yourself – if it’s not a NEED, really weigh whether or not this item is worth the cost and space it will take up in your home and mind, and the true financial cost of its purchase (space, insurance, etc.).
Second, is it possible to gain more room for what you want to bring into your space? If so, make that happen…immediately (preferably before you make the purchase).
If it’s not possible to garner more room, then really consider whether or not the purchase will enable or hinder you in your goals – having an uncluttered space, being able to easily access things, being able to easily and enjoyably create or work, etc.
Third, are the organizing products and systems you currently have right for you? This is perhaps the biggest challenge because we are bombarded by magazines touting “10 Easy Solutions for Becoming More Organized,” and “Creating An Organized Space on a Budget,” etc.
Well, I’m here to tell you that all of these articles mean well and they can be valuable, but, and this is a big BUT, you have to know yourself pretty well to be able to discern, at first glance, if the recommendations will work for YOU.
They are written by organized people!
People who know how to be organized and who think and behave in a certain way, a way that may be totally different than you think and/or behave.
Most clients I worked with had numerous articles (in fact, some had binders full!) that they had hoped would get them organized.
And, even more had empty bins and boxes galore, items they had spent a lot of money on in hopes of even one working out.
Sadly, few were appropriate to the task at hand, worked with other items they had purchased and/or fit into their vision for their space.
Most of these clients were beyond frustrated with their attempts to adapt to these recommendations and organizing systems.
Because you must first have a very good understanding of how you think and work, and what you want to accomplish.
What they needed (and what I helped to provide) were systems that were in line with what they wanted/needed to accomplish in their spaces (whether that be relax in it, create in it, study or work in it, etc.) and that were in tune with their thought processes, habits, workflow, etc., not those of the writer of the articles they read, their neighbor, their friend, or even me!
Just like when we create, there is no right or wrong way to do this thing called organization.
What matters is knowing yourself and being clear about what you want out of being organized.
Being organized for organization sake is not the goal.
Being happier, less stressed, and more productive and creative, and using our hard-earned dollars wisely, IS!
OK, that’s enough lecture time for tonight. Now, it’s on to homework…
I bet you thought the “Back-to-School Edition” reference in the blog title meant we’d just be talking back-to-school tips for you and your kids, right?
It does, but not quite yet.
Those tips start Saturday, after you’ve completed your first homework assignment.
Tonight’s reference has just as much to do with your learning.
Just as in the way kids are taught addition and subtraction before multiplication, division and algebra, we need to first build a foundation of understanding – in this case, an understanding of YOU and how organizing is achieved!
A Papercrafter’s Homework Assignment:
Tonight’s homework assignment is designed to help you understand yourself a bit better so the organizing plans and activities have a hope of sticking!
And, to help me better understand you so I can shape the future content (and my responses) to YOU!
Copy (CTRL + C on a PC) the following list of questions and type in your answers. Then, copy both the questions and your answers to the comment section of this post.
This does two things:
- It helps you learn about how you process information and get clarity on the space you want to improve, and
- It helps me have a better understanding of what types of solutions might work for you.
Questions (add brief answers, please!):
1. What’s your number-one most challenging thing/category of things to organize (list your number-one challenge only)?
1a. Where and how is this item/category of items stored now?
1b. Why isn’t your current system working for you?
1c. If you had a “perfect” system for this item/category of items, what would it look like?
2. What’s your number-one most challenging space/area of this space to organize (again, list your number-one challenge only)?
2a. Why isn’t the space working for you?
2b. What would it look like if it was “perfect” for you?
3. Do you consider yourself to be more left-brained (analytical) or right-brained (creative)? Or, a fairly even combination of both?
4. Do those closest to you describe you as a) organized, b)messy, c) scatterbrained, d) hopeless! e) all of the above, depending on the topic?
4a. Why do you think/know they would describe you in that manner?
5. If I asked you where we should store the blue and orange flower patterned paper, where would you tell me it should get stored?
5a. If I asked you where the red heart brads go, where would you tell me they get stored?
5b. If I asked you where the iron gets stored, where would you tell me it gets stored, and why?
5c. If I asked you where the extra paper towels are stored, where would you direct me to find them, and why are they stored there?
5d. If I asked you where the mail lands when it enters the house, where would I find it, and why?
5e. If I asked you where your most important papercrafting tools are kept, what would you tell me about where they are and why they’re there?
6. Do you need your stuff to be front and center (or else you forget about it or can’t find it)? Or, do you prefer that everything be put away, covered (you can easily recall what you have and where it is)? Or, perhaps a bit of both, depending on the item being stored? Please explain.
7. When you are done creating, do you like to put things away right away, or do you leave things out (and, if you leave them out, do you then scold yourself because you have a big mess to clean up the next time you want to create – yes or no?)?
Thanks so much for joining me today for our Papercrafting Organization series.
Hopefully, I provided you with some good food for thought and you’re doing a little self-examination.
And, hopefully you’re gung-ho about completing your homework and learning what will (and likely won’t) work for you in creating more organized, productive and happy spaces for yourself.
You MUST do the assignments to have a chance
to WIN Go-Organize.com products
Please join us here again for our next lesson
and your first chance to WIN!
We’ll see you Saturday!
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and miss out on your chance to WIN?
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