Papercrafting Organization: A Recap of the Basics & A Giveaway
Papercrafting product organization starts with a foundation – join in to WIN!
Hey there organizing papercrafters!
We sure hope you’re enjoying the Fall (or the Spring if you’re on the other side of the globe!).
For many the Fall (and the Spring) bring about many changes – changes in weather, changes in mood, and changes in activities.
I don’t know about you, but I LOVE the Fall and Spring – both are times of renewal for me.
Both seasons provide motivation to change things up…and create space!
If you’re in the same boat, then this post is for YOU!
Whether you’re looking to more easily find, access and use the stuff you already own; to make space for new products or activities you enjoy; to save money by not making duplicate purchases because you can’t find things (or own so much stuff you forgot what you have!); and/or to find more time for creating, it starts with a foundation – the basics of getting and keeping your stuff and your space organized, and having more time to do what you love (and I bet for most of us, that’s papercrafting!).
Before we move on to another product-specific Get Organized Series post, we’re going to go back to the foundation of papercrafting organization (well, actually, organizing in general!), to quickly review the principles behind organization, to examine what challenges some of us, and to set goals.
I promise it’s not hard and you just might start enjoying more space, and save money, create more and have more fun!
Oh, and YOU could WIN!
Note for the Newbies
If you’re just now joining in on our Get Organized Series
and you haven’t checked out all the previous Get Organized Series posts,
I encourage you to do so after you read this
papercrafting organization basics recap post.
There is a TON of valuable information,
including tips and tricks,
and links to
LOTS of product-specific
papercrafting organization solutions!
Click the link above to be taken to
all previous Get Organized Series posts,
as well as to other organizing resources,
and learn, learn, learn
comment, comment, comment!
And if you’re not already a subscriber,
subscribe to our blog feed so you’re notified
when the next Get Organized Series post goes live…
…and get ready to stash your stash!
As I mentioned in one of our previous Get Organized Series posts, it can be valuable to rethink organizational strategies around a change in seasons, times when our schedules, activities and priorities often change.
This is also often a period when we might have a little down-time in which we want to focus energy on revamping how we organize our possessions and spaces (and time!).
For those who are now heading into the “Holiday Crafting” season and a time of year when we’re all usually even busier than normal, this is a great time to get your “house in order” so you can be super productive and not waste time looking for supplies which might have been stored away since last year’s holiday season crafting exploits.
But before we get started, we just have to say another huge thank-you to Go-Organize.com for their sponsorship of PaperCrafter’s Corner – all of the organizing resources we’ve created for you are possible thanks to their support!
If organizing and saving money are at the top of your priority list, then you’ll be even more thankful for them – they offer FREE shipping on all items!
Can you believe it? How many online stores offer free shipping…on furnishings?!
There’s no better time to get your craft space (and the rest of the house!) in order than when you can SAVE some hard-earned dollars, right?
O.K., it’s time to get down to the business at hand…
Starting With The End In Mind
As a former start-up and branding consultant, I was primarily responsible for helping clients at the beginning – helping them to define what their business “promise” would be and how to best execute on their vision in order to reach their goals.
Part of that process also involved looking at what might get in their way – their challenges.
As a professional organizer, I was almost always brought in much later…when things had gone horribly wrong!
O.K., most of the time the situation wasn’t that dire, but the clients (or their family members!) often thought it was!
And even though my organizing clients and I were often working to fix a current disorganized situation, we started in the same place as I had with my consulting clients – at the beginning, with a list of challenges, and a review of their goals.
Challenges & Goals
It would have been wonderful to work with every organizing client when they first started accumulating possessions, before they became overwhelmed with their stuff and their cluttered spaces, and before they developed “less than ideal” (o.k., sometimes really bad!) habits around accumulating, organizing, storing and parting with (or holding onto) the things they worked so hard to acquire (or had been given).
And, it would have been great to work with them on setting goals right from the get-go.
I bet a lot fewer would have needed my services had they been more purposeful about what they wanted their space to include and how they wanted it to function, and how they wanted to spend their time and money.
Of course that wasn’t the case, so I focused on guiding them through becoming aware of their challenges and setting goals.
And, I learned from them!
As someone who finds organizing easy (in fact, enjoyable!), it was initially hard for me to understand why my clients struggled so much with many aspects of getting and staying organized.
But rather than get frustrated by this, I decided to focus on learning as much as I could from them.
After all, how could I help them if I didn’t truly get where they were coming from?
I collected lists of challenges and came up with potential solutions, which I shared with them (and we implemented) as I taught them the principles of organizing.
And, I kept a list of goals clients had so I could make sure they stayed on track when it was tough for them to stay focused and, more importantly, committed.
Starting with goals almost always leads to better outcomes. Well, if you stick to achieving them!
Principles, Challenges, Goals & Suggestions
Below you’ll find a short list of organizing principles – hopefully you’ll find them helpful.
Below that you’ll find a list of the challenges I heard most frequently from crafters (I continue to add to these lists) and my thoughts on each.
And finally, I’m sharing a list of the goals I most commonly heard (a list that’s also added to from time to time) and suggestions for reaching them.
But, before you look at these lists, I have a quick task for you…
Grab a piece of paper, a favorite journal, your Evernote app or whatever works for you and create a list of your organizing goals.
What’s your “organizing vision?” What do you want to create now, and in the future? What’s working, and not working, in your current space? How would your ideal space feel, and function?
Create a vision board if that’s helpful!
Now, write down what challenges you on a separate piece of paper, page or note.
What keeps you from getting and/or staying organized? What’s not working in terms of how your space is set up and how it functions, and how it feels to you?
Of course, we’d love it if you’d
share your goals and challenges in the comments below.
You might just help another papercrafter,
or at least show them they’re not alone!
We’ve Got Principles!
With your goal(s) in mind, and challenge(s) expressed, please review the following organizing principles, (the foundation) principles that I feel are especially important to learn…and remember.
At the Core
These are the first principles I taught my organizing clients:
- Being organized ISN’T about being perfect!
- Being organized IS about quickly and easily finding what you’re looking for
- Being organized IS about quickly and easily accessing what you own so you can actually use it
- Being organized IS about making the best use of your available time, being productive
- Being organized IS about creating and maintaining spaces that are attractive, comfortable and productive…with room to breathe
If you take away nothing else from this post (and I certainly hope that’s not the case!), take these principles to heart – they are a wonderful “guide” when you’re working on setting organizing goals and getting more organized.
It’s Not About the Stuff!
What? How can it not be about the stuff when we’re talking about getting organized?!
It’s about the space, the productivity, the money and the time, or a combination of one or more of these – and it’s about a lack or misuse of one or more of these due to a lack of organization.
Sometimes a total lack of any kind of organization.
Sometimes a lack of an organizational solution that’s right for YOU. Right now.
Remember, being organized is NOT about being perfect – it’s about finding and employing solutions that enable you to enjoy your space; it’s about being productive when you have time to create; it’s about using your money and time wisely and efficiently; and, most importantly, it’s about finding what works for YOU!
Perhaps the most important concept I can share, however, is this:
Everything you have in your life is an obligation to you.
Whether you buy something or it’s given to you,
it requires your attention.
Be purposeful about your choices,
whether the choice is to acquire, accept or retain –
acquire only what you need, love, will use, and have room for;
accept only that which you truly need, love, will use, and have room for; and,
retain only what you need, love, use and have room for.
When making purchases, ask yourself these questions:
- Is this something I really NEED?
- Do I have something similar that will work just as well, or can I borrow this from someone when I need it?
- Is it worth the money? (Consider how hard you worked for the pre-tax dollars you’ll need to pay for this, and the future cost of storing and/or insuring it.)
- Am I buying it solely because it’s a “good deal?” (If you don’t need it and/or won’t likely use it, it’s a bad deal!)
- How often will I use it?
- Where will I store it? And, could I use that space for something more important? (Adopt the one-in, one-out rule and you’ll likely find you keep less or buy less!)
When determining what to accept into your space (such as when someone is getting rid of stuff and offers it to you), ask yourself these questions:
- Do I really NEED this?
- Will I even use this? And if so, how often?
- Am I accepting it simply because they’re offering it and/or because it’s free?
- Where will I store it? And, could I use that space for something more important? (Again, adopt the one-in, one-out rule and you’ll likely find you keep less or buy less!)
When reviewing what you own and determining whether or not to keep something, ask yourself these questions:
- Do I really NEED this?
- Do I still LOVE this?
- When was the last time I used this? (If it’s not being used and is referred to as a “someday” item – as in you MIGHT use it, someday – let it go!)
- Am I only keeping this because I paid “good money” for this? (The money’s gone and it’s not coming back – keeping something you don’t need and/or use costs you more money every day!)
- Am I only keeping this because (fill in the blank) gave it to me? (Most gift givers want to delight you with gifts, not burden you – if you don’t like/want/need something, pass it along to someone who does!)
- Could I use the space this items requires for something more important?
And now, onto your papercrafting organization goals…
Goal: I need more space! OR I’m creating a new craft space! OR I do several things in my space – how do I set it up? OR I changed what I’m into – how do I adapt my space to my new goals?
First, you need to define your space in terms of how it IS and not how you WISH it were.
And when I say wish, I am not referring to how you hope it will look or function when you’re done organizing or creating it (you need to have those dreams!), but what the space itself is actually capable of providing you.
For instance, one of our papercrafters is frustrated by the sloped walls in her space. Wish all she might, those walls are not going to change without major remodeling.
She will have to plan her space around this feature. It’s certainly not impossible to have a functioning and lovely space, but she will have to take into account that some storage options will not be appropriate for this type of wall.
How about your space – what are its best features, its limitations?
- How large is it? Who uses the space (is it a shared space and others’ needs need to be accounted for)?
- How do you need it to function (single use, multi-use, etc.)? Create a list of everything you need to do in the space.
- Where are the power outlets (and what will they handle in terms of usage)?
- Where are the light sources (and are they affected by the time of day)?
- Where are the windows, doors and obstructions?
- What are your work surface options (taking into account all the different types of creating, and other activities, that need to take place in the space; and, whether you prefer to sit or stand while creating)?
Once you have your space evaluation done (you can copy and paste the above list to help you in creating yours), look back at your goals and consider your organizing plan of attack.
- Are the goals still realistic given your space features and constraints? If not, adjust your goals.
- Is your plan of attack viable? If not, make changes.
It’s also important to take into consideration what kind of thinker and creator you are (see below) and be sure to set up your space to work with how you think and create.
- Will it work for you to have everything tucked away or do you need it out in order to recall and use it?
- Do you need to have more space for some projects, less for others?
- Do you work on more than one project at a time, and do you need to leave them out?
- Do you need your solutions to be portable?
- Is it likely my supply collection will grow – do I need to leave empty space for the future? (I will answer this last one for you – YES!)
The answers to these questions will help you determine the best set-up for your space.
- How will you organize your supplies, the items you use most often and those you rarely use?
- Do you prefer organizing by type/category of item? By color? By theme? By use? By season? Or, perhaps by manufacturer?
- Will it work for you to have everything tucked away or do you need it out in order to recall and use it?
- Is it likely your supply collection will grow – do you need to leave empty space for the future? (I’ll answer this last one for you – YES!)
The answers to these questions will help you choose the most appropriate organizational and storage solutions.
If you’ve changed the type of creating you’re doing (e.g., you used to scrapbook and now you only quilt), take a look at what you no longer need and get rid of that first.
Then, re-evaluate your tools and supplies and what else you need to bring into the space.
Next, evaluate what you have in terms of space and organizing options. I suggest making use of what you have first, then looking for additional solutions you might need.
As a reminder, there are lots of “adaptable, revisable” solutions available, including many craft storage solutions from Go-Organize.com.
Take advantage of these and you’re less likely to find yourself having to replace your organizing solutions.
Goal: I need to be able to find things – right now I can’t!
The key is to first know what kind of thinker and creator you are.
‘Out of Sight, Out of Mind’ Papercrafters
For those of you who find it difficult to recall what you have if you can’t see it, I suggest employing more visually open ways of storing your tools and supplies, and storing them in a manner that enables your “first instinct” to quickly lead you to where they are stored.
Just keep in mind that you’ll want to store them in a safe manner so they don’t get damaged (for example, attics, which can get very hot, and basements which can be damp, may not be the best solution for some products and tools). And, be sure to check the manufacturer’s website or your products’ packaging to ensure you are storing the items in the best way for use and longevity of the item.
The challenge for these folks is that with everything out and at-hand, their space can feel overwhelming or soon be so crowded that they have no space left for creating! Both of these can impact productivity and enjoyment.
My recommendation is to keep only those things used most often at-hand. And, create a list of where other things are kept, a list you can refer to when you forget where you put them.
‘Out of Sight, It’s a Good Thing!’ Papercrafters
For those of you who prefer everything be “behind closed doors” – I fall into this camp! – I suggest you choose storage options that provide easy access, but that keep your supplies out of sight, reducing the visual clutter that can derail your creative process or lead to overwhelm.
Keep in mind that I like a clean environment, with most things “hidden” from view.
I do, however, keep my tools readily accessible.
Why? Because I use them a lot more when they are out and handy and, again, I don’t like wasting time going to get things again and again!
Here’s what I’m using to store my tools!
Remember, the more accessible your items are, the more likely you’ll use them, so don’t bury them so they’re never to be found again, o.k.?
That said, just like the advice I gave to the “Out-of-sight, Out-of-mind” papercrafters, be sure to store your products in a safe manner so they don’t get damaged, and so they last.
The challenge for these folks is that with everything out of sight, they can forget what they own! This can lead to duplicate purchases and/or not using what they buy.
My recommendation is to keep those things used most often visible and at-hand. And, create a list of where things are kept, a list you can refer to when you need quick access.
Goal: My space is neat until I start working on projects or get busy – then it’s chaos! OR I’d rather be creating than putting things away – how do I stay organized while working on projects?
It’s likely this answer won’t be popular, but here goes: you have to make time to clean up!
Just like when we had art time in school and there was a clean-up period, allow/schedule time for cleaning up after a project is completed.
Nope, it’s not fun, even for those of us who like organizing, but there is a reward – a clean and welcoming space with easy-to-find tools and supplies next time you create! Of course, if that’s not important enough, then you may still find it challenging.
For the next few weeks, try dedicating time to cleaning up every time you create – the more you do it, the easier it becomes. Eventually it becomes a habit, something you don’t have to think (or moan!) about.
And now, onto challenges…
There are many reasons people find it challenging to get (and stay) organized, even after reading articles and books, and watching videos on the topic (or even hiring an organizer).
Here are the most common causes of being disorganized:
- There’s no motivation to get organized (organizing only as a result of someone’s else’s prodding)
- It’s a control issue (you feel as though you’re giving up control by letting someone else “tell” you how to be or how to maintain things)
- You believe there is something wrong with you because you can’t adapt to “normal” organizing solutions (you feel/know you’d be organized if you just implemented the same solutions/systems that the super-organized folks use)
- You’re looking for perfection (a solution/system that will be perfect, now and forever!)
- You don’t have the necessary resources: knowledge, time, space, money, etc.
Motivation & Control (#1, #2):
If you’re not motivated to get organized, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be successful.
I never accepted clients who were sent to me by a loved one (unless that person really wanted to get organized AND wanted MY help in doing so).
Why? Because a person has to want to do something to do it well, especially when it’s something that they find hard or it’s an aspect of control (keeping or losing control).
If you don’t have the motivation to get organized, and being disorganized is at the root of issues in your relationships, or is negatively impacting your happiness, productivity and/or goals, then it’s worth examining why you’re not motivate to get organized. If it’s a control issue (a matter of your not wanting to give up control or give control to someone else), that’s also worth examining.
Being True to Yourself (#3):
It’s vitally important to be in touch with your own way of thinking, doing and being.
Can you make improvements or changes? Yes, of course.
But, you’re not likely to experience success (and are likely to get really frustrated!) if you try to change your way of thinking, doing and being to match that of someone who thinks differently than you do, who values different things than you do, and/or who is more naturally organized.
Honor your way of thinking and doing things – find solutions that work for and with you, not against your “natural” thought processes and instincts, and certainly not in conflict with your desires and goals.
It may take a few attempts before you find solutions that work for you – be patient and celebrate the small successes!
This one can derail even the super organized folks!
The best advice I can give is that there is NO perfect system!
There are great systems, even systems that are perfect for now, but most systems will need to evolve over time, just as you and your desires do.
There are almost always pros and cons to all available solutions. Choose those with the most pros and the least cons.
And, sometimes good is good enough!
Lack of Resources (#5):
There is so much information about organizing available that you might think this is not applicable.
But, this can be applicable if it’s tied to perfectionism (see #4) or fear (of making a bad decision).
Some are paralyzed and can’t take action as a result of analysis-paralysis – the need for more information, even when they really have plenty at hand.
Important: Often it is an abundance of choices and information, rather than the lack thereof, that causes the paralysis.
My advice here is to just take action. Once you’ve researched options, choose one and try it. What have you got to lose?
Or, ask questions – Here! Now!
Time & Space
Like many of you, I consider time to be my most precious asset (well, besides the people I love, my beliefs and my health).
Therefore, when I have (make!) time for creating (whether for myself or for PCC), I want to quickly get to work, and not lose the inspiration that motivated me to create!
I despise wasting time looking for tools or supplies I need for a particular project, or moving things around so I have room to work.
Who’s with me?
I also need to feel creative to create, something that doesn’t happen when my environment feels messy or “stuffed.”
I can’t be the only one, right?
Storing items where they are used most, and in a way that makes them easily accessible, is key to being productive and making the most of your available time.
Not overwhelming your space with too much stuff is another key to being productive.
And finally, making creating a priority is what will create time.
We all have the same 24 hours in a day – how we choose to use them is up to us.
I’m sure we all hate wasting money as a result of making duplicate purchases because we can’t find what we’re looking for (or don’t recall that we already own the item!), right?
How about wasting money as a result of not using what we have because we can’t find or access it? Or worse, never should have bought it in the first place?
It’s being purposeful in our acquisition, acceptance and retention of stuff that counts.
And now, for those of you who are ready to do some organizing, a few tips before you get started:
- Post your goals front and center – when making decisions (especially tough ones!), check to see which action will get you to your goal and take that route.
- Allow plenty of time – it almost always takes longer than you think it will!
- If your available time for organizing is limited, set a timer and tackle one thing at a time. When the timer bell rings, celebrate what you’ve accomplished! If you have more time, continue. If you don’t, then stop (but immediately schedule more time!).
- If organizing, and especially letting go of things, is challenging, enlist help (someone open and objective is best). It can also help to take baby steps rather than trying to take on a whole space at once. (Note: be sure you choose someone who’s supportive and helpful and who won’t make you feel bad about being disorganized – they need to be on your team, working to get you to your goal line!)
- Don’t touch things! Seriously. Touching items creates a bond – the less you touch things, the easier it will be to let them go during a purge. Get help with this part of the project, if you can.
- Having a hard time letting go of things you paid “good money” for? Find a worthy recipient to give it to (I’ll soon share a list of organizations that would love to have your unwanted craft supplies!). Remember, the money is gone, gone, gone and it’s not coming back – holding onto things you don’t need and/or use just costs you more money!
- Things will almost always look worse before they look better (prepare your housemates for this!). Celebrate the small successes and stay focused on the prize – reaching your goals! And remember, allow enough time.
- If at all possible, take (or in the case of a new space, keep) everything out of your space while sorting, organizing into groupings, and purging – only bring in what you must bring in and only do so after considering how you need the space to function and feel, and where and how things will be stored. Creating a floor plan of your room (with measurements and obstructions) and plotting out where everything will live is really valuable.
- Make sure you assign a place for everything, and leave room for growth (be honest, you and I both know we’re going to accumulate more stuff over time!). Leave “breathing room.”
- Be sure your organization set-up works well with your style – if you need to see it to recall and use it, then keep things in open or see-through storage solutions; if seeing everything is distracting or overwhelms you, place items in closed or opaque containers. Just remember: you’ll use what’s at-hand most often and likely not use things that are buried!
- If you won’t use (or put away!) things that are hard to access (e.g., requires unstacking of containers), then don’t store them in a manner that requires you to do so, if it’s at all possible to avoid doing so. Trust me, as one who hates unstacking things, you’ll eventually stop using those items, or at the very least, avoid putting them away (and we know what that leads to, right?)
- Label everything! Yes, even if you think you’ll remember what’s in that container!
- Go vertical with your storage when possible. Empty walls? Use that space! Empty backs of doors? Use that space too!
- Make a list of “behaviors” that will keep your reorganized or new space a happy place to be (e.g., allowing time for clean-up after projects, putting away new purchases as soon as you get them, one-in-one out, etc.) and post that list where you’ll see it every day. Do your best to initiate and continue these behaviors – eventually they’ll become habits and you won’t even have to think about them!
So, what do you think?
Have you found a principle
and/or solution that’ll make organizing
easier for you?
Remember, very few solutions are “perfect” –
even fewer are “perfect forever!”
But we have to start somewhere and
even little improvements can be of great value.
We challenge those of you who find
getting and staying organized challenging
to create a plan and get started, now!
Then, let us know how it’s going
by leaving a comment below!
Thanks & A Giveaway!
Again, a HUGE thanks to our
They’ve already given away
quite a few of their wonderful products,
and some fun shopping sprees,
to members of our papercrafting community.
And well, that’s what we’re here to do again today!
is giving away a
$50 Gift Card
to use on organizing furnishings at
We are and we aren’t even eligible to win!
How do you enter to win
the latest giveaway?
Leave a comment on this post –
tell us which challenges you can relate to, if any,
and which solutions and/or principles
you want to to adopt, and why.
Share your goals too!
If organizing is your thing
and you don’t feel challenged by it,
please share an organizing principle,
or tip or trick,
that works for you
so your fellow papercrafters benefit
from your organizing know-how!
the Go-Organize Facebook Page,
Share this post
using the social media icons at the end of this post
(and leave a link to your share in your comment on this post)
Friday, November 7, 2014
Fun giveaway, right?
Sorry, but this giveaway is open to U.S. entrants only –
please see information below*.
Remember, I’m always happy to assist you with your papercrafting organization challenges and finding solutions for your tools, products and in-process projects.
Addtionally, Go-Organize.com now offers an Ask Your Organizer service – ask your organizing-related questions and receive a response from an organizer!
Questions asked and answered are added to their Ask Your Organizer page, under the Recent Questions & Answers section, for the benefit of everyone looking for organizing advice.
If they find that a particular struggle is common among many of their customers, or I find that many of you share a common challenge with us in the comments of any of the Get Organized Series posts, I may provide additional guidance in a future Get Organized Series blog post.
Thanks again to Our Sponsor:
What could be more perfect than a sponsor known for
quality papercrafting/crafting organizing products,
products such as the Jetmax® craft storage solutions?
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!
We are thrilled to have Go-Organize.com
as a sponsor of our papercrafting community,
and of our Get Organized Series,
and we look forward to sharing more
of their organizing solutions
with you as we continue to work on getting
our creative (and other!) spaces more organized.
And, we’re thrilled to again be hosting
a fabulous giveaway!
And don’t forget,
Worried you’ll miss out on the next Get Organized Series post
and other cool information, inspiration and entertainment?
Subscribe to our daily blog feed –
you’ll be reminded each time a post goes live
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Full disclosure: Some links are links to our sponsor, Go-Organize.com. Paid site sponsorships are one way PaperCrafter’s Corner is able to provide all of the FREE resources we provide you, our papercrafters. We greatly appreciate your using these links when researching and/or buying products from this supplier, one of our valued sponsors. Please note that we do not receive a sales commission when you make a purchase from this sponsor. Thanks for supporting us and for being a valuable member of our papercrafting community. Lastly, we are sometimes provided with products for review and testing, but we are never paid for these reviews and all opinions are strictly our own.
*Because Go-Organize.com only ships within the Continental U.S., only entrants with a Continental U.S. (non-FPO/APO) address are eligible for this giveaway.
*Go-Organize.com currently ships only to continental U.S. addresses – see the Go-Organize.com Shipping Information page for info.