Papercrafting Organization: A Series – Challenges, Opportunities & Solutions
Is everyone ready for some more organizing talk?
I sure hope so because that’s what today is all about!
As I went through the comments on the first Papercrafting Organization Series post, two things stood out:
- Many of you have the same challenges
- None of these challenges are insurmountable!
Now before we get down to business, some important information for those who are just now joining us and a quick reminder for those who’ve already been participating…
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. Nope!
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 we 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 three organizing posts we published
A Series for Papercrafters, Crafters, Artists & Students;
and leave a comment,
with the required information,
so you’ll be eligible to WIN!
Challenges and Situations
Just like anything that challenges us, the first step is to identify the challenge(s) and/or situation(s).
You’ve all done that well, so give yourselves a round of applause!
You’re already one step closer to becoming more organized.
Next, we need to identify the underlying cause(s) of the challenge(s) and/or situations (if there are any), then look for opportunities and find solutions.
Below you’ll find a complete list of all the challenges (and situations) that were shared.
Each challenge/situation will be followed by the usual cause(s) (if applicable).
Following this list is a list of opportunities and solutions (with corresponding numbers), including at least one step you can take, right now, to alleviate (or at least lessen) this challenge/situation.
Additionally, I’ll offer ideas and solutions for situations that are not necessarily challenges in the negative sense (ex: getting a new craft space!).
IMPORTANT! You don’t have to read every challenge/situation, its causes (if any) and its opportunities and potential solutions – just scan the list for those that apply to you and take note of the probable causes (if any) and the solutions offered. Of course, you can read them all – and it’s likely you might recognize challenges you didn’t mention or may not have even been conscious of – and take action as indicated.
While reading through the lists, keep in mind that there will be a homework assignment today so you might want to check today’s homework assignment first (below, toward the end of the post) so you know what to jot down as you read the lists.
Our Organizing Challenges & Situations (and Causes, where applicable)
- I struggle with putting things back. This is usually caused by a lack of motivation due to a lack of space and/or organizing solutions which make the process easy; alternatively, it can just be that you’ve never developed a habit of doing so and/or of taking stock of how you feel about the “putting away” process.
- I don’t have a dedicated crafting space – I craft in the “_____________.”
- I have too much stuff (much of which is not being used). You are likely always gathering ideas for new projects and are easily swayed to make purchases for those projects, whether or not you actually have space for the supplies and/or time and/or true motivation to complete the projects; if the items are not being used, it’s generally because you can’t find it, it’s too difficult to access, or, you really aren’t motivated to use what you have already purchased, and/or you’re more focused on looking for what’s new and exciting.
- I am moving/have moved to a smaller space and had to downsize my craft room.
- My taste has changed, but I have a hard time letting go of stuff. When we have a hard time letting go of things there are usually three primary reasons – 1. Something in our past has created a sense of scarcity – we believe if we let it go we will never be able to get it again if we need it; 2.We believe we’ll actually use it “someday,” no matter how unrealistic that is; and, 3. We paid good money for it and we can’t “afford” to just give it away or toss it. Perhaps you recognize a bit of all three in your situation? Many people do.
- I’m torn about the BEST way to store things when there are several options available. This is usually because we are not clear about the goals for our space – what we want it to feel like, how it needs to function and what we want to focus on; AND, we haven’t examined our thought processes and workflow – we haven’t examined our creative selves.
- I have too much paper! OK, harsh reality here: you’re a paper addict! Don’t worry, you’re in good company.
- I’m not sure what the “right” storage is for _____________. Again, this is caused by a lack of clarity about how you want your space to feel, how you want it to function, what you want to create, and how you think and work.
- My space is too small for the amount of stuff I have. See #3.
- I’m too lazy to hunt for stuff (so it’s not being used). This is either a lack of motivation to actually use what you have, or a result of not having organizational systems that work for you. Or both.
- I forget what I have. See ALL above! Every one of the causes above can be a cause here.
- I can’t keep things neat and tidy. See #1, and possibly #6 and #8.
- I like to leave projects, supplies and tools out – that’s an issue. It’s likely that you’re the “out-of-sight, out-of-mind” type and you won’t remember you have things and where they are unless you can see them. Others are simply excited by seeing their “toys” and are creatively motivated by their toys’ obvious presence.
- I have a hard time letting go of items given to me by others (even if I don’t want/need the item[s]). See #5 above, and add this: you may relate the gift as precious and as part of that person, as if getting rid of the item(s) somehow dishonors them.
- I find I’m making duplicate purchases! Again, see ALL above!
- The containers I have are not working! They are not space efficient (ex: Cricut cartridge storage unit). See #6 and #8 above.
- I’m setting up a new space!
- It’s hard getting to supplies that are stacked. The obvious answer here is that the cause is stacking the items, but the real cause may be more along what I suggested in #6 and #8, with a little of #2, #3, #7 and #9 mixed in.
- I want to be organized, but the solutions I read about don’t work! The likely cause: the solutions are generally created by really organized people, people who are hardwired (or well trained) for organization and that may not be you. You may think in a different manner and be differently motivated. The causes mentioned in #6 and #8 also likely play a role.
- I don’t have enough light (in my craft room or where I craft). Believe it or not, this may not be just about a lack of installed lighting and outlets for lamps, but about the causes mentioned in #6 and #8 as well.
- I travel on the go and need help with packing and staying organized.
That’s the list!
How many of those challenges and/or situations ring true for you?
And, more importantly, how many of the causes do you recognize AND are you willing to own up to?
If you are totally honest with yourself, it’s likely you know what’s causing the challenges you have, but it may be tough to own up to them or to make the necessary changes.
This is perfectly normal and even those of us who are organized struggle with some of these same challenges (and causes).
What are my challenges and causes?
#3 & #9: I have too much stuff for my space! It’s well organized and neat, but I need to do some purging. I need time to make this happen!
#4: I moved and down-sized. I had a much larger space in my last two homes, and it’s been an adjustment for sure.
#15: I have made duplicate purchases! Yup, this has happened a couple times – duplicate purchases of clear stamp sets. Primary cause? An expanding collection and I waited too long to adapt to a new system, one that would enable me to easily and regularly see and use what I own. Perfectionism at play there! 😉
Organizing Opportunities & Solutions (where applicable)
Now, find the numbers that correspond to your challenges above in the opportunities and solutions list below and take note of what’s recommended.
- I struggle with putting things back. Has this always been a struggle? If so, why is that? Get at the root of this and you may find something you need to address. I have had clients who hated putting things away because their partner was a neat freak and it was a control thing. Others hated doing so because their parents were super strict about their home always being perfect and not putting things away was a small act of rebellion (even though the parents didn’t live there!). I’m not saying that’s what’s going on with any of you, but there is almost always an underlying cause if this has been a long-time issue. The Soluton: 1. Examine why you feel this way, then let it go. Tell yourself you are going to change this belief system or thought process. 2. Establish a new thought process, and routine of putting things away – do this for 21 days, without fail (it takes that long to develop a habit). 3. Reward yourself for changing your thinking and your behavior – that’s huge! *** If this is a relatively new challenge, think about why that is – is it that you don’t have enough time set aside for crafting, you don’t have space for things or good solutions for storing them, or that you simply hate doing it? Feel free to share your thoughts on this in your comments (or privately with me by email if you feel more comfortable) and I will try to help you walk through it and find a solution. The Solution: 1. Leave enough time at the end of your creating for putting things away. 2. Establish this new “habit” and be diligent about it for at least 21 days (21 days of crafting!). 3. Reward yourself for sticking to your new habit!
- I don’t have a dedicated crafting space – I craft in the __________. This can be really tough, but there are some simple solutions. I will be walking you through the process of understanding your individual thought processes and thinking style, and helping you to determine how you want/need your space to look and function, what you want to accomplish/create in that space, and which storage solutions are best suited to all of the above. Make some notes about this and stay tuned for Thursday’s post!
- I have too much stuff (much of which is not being used). There are only two options here: better organize it or purge! And, as “your” organizer, I’m going to push you towards purging first. When we have too much stuff it can actually impair our ability to be creative and innovative. Our stuff can overwhelm us (and we often don’t recognize that it’s doing so!) and it can rob us of energy, creative energy. You know the saying “Necessity is the mother of invention?” It is very true! Some of the most innovative inventions and creative solutions have come about as a result of having less to work with. Why do you think industry challenges are so great for creativity? They “free” us to create with a defined set of tools or supplies – they limit us! What can you give up right now? We’ll be discussing the purging process on Thursday, so join us then, to-be-purged list and notepad in hand!
- I am moving/have moved to a smaller space and had to downsize my craft room. The only solutions here are to more efficiently organize your space and/or purge some of what you have, or both. (Or, find a friend with an extra storage unit! Kidding.) I went through this twice and I will share what I have done. Create your wish list and have it on hand on Thursday when we’ll walk through the purging process and for subsequent posts when we’ll start focusing on various storage options for the many different types of supplies and tools we all own. See you then!
- My taste has changed, but I have a hard time letting go of stuff. Even though we’ll be walking through the purging process on Thursday, I want to address this specific challenge right away so you have some time to give it some thought and come to an understanding about why it’s hard for you let go of specific things. Again, the three primary reasons we have a hard time letting go of things are: we live in a state of scarcity – “What if I need that and can’t afford it again?“; we just know we’ll need it “someday;” or, we don’t want to waste our hard-earned money – “I paid good money for that and I can’t just give it away or toss it.” If you are living in a state of scarcity, it’s important to get to the root of it. Why do you feel as though you can’t let go of things; why do you not trust that there will always be “enough” of what you need? For some it stems from growing up poor (as it did for my mom who grew up during WWII); for others it comes from experiencing significant loss; for others it may be tied to job loss or financial troubles. There are many, many possible causes for scarcity thinking. Knowing why you feel the way you do is helpful in changing your thinking and being able to more easily let go of things. *** Now, for the other two possible causes of having a hard time letting things go, here comes some tough love! 1. “Someday” may or may not ever come! If it does, trust that you can again get these things, if you really NEED them. 2. The money’s gone and it’s not coming back! If you’re not using what you bought, you’ve already wasted that money. Don’t compound the loss by holding onto things that “cost” you to keep them. They cost you in space and insurance, and they cost you in mental energy (don’t you think about the wasted money and/or feel guilty every time you look at those things you bought and aren’t using?). What can you give up? Create a list, or better yet, purge it now!
- I’m torn about the BEST way to store things when there are several options available. The keys are to: 1. Know how you want your space to feel; 2. Know how you want your space to function; 3. Know what you want to create; 4. Know what you NEED (supplies, tools, etc.) in order to create those things; and, 4. Know how you process information and how you think, creatively. I’ll be walking you through the process for discovering all of this on Thursday, but make some notes for yourself in preparation for that next post.
- I have too much paper! Again, we all know the solution for this, right? 1. Purge some of what you have. 2. Stop buying more! O.K., as papercrafters I know we are not likely to take #2 seriously, but, we can certainly slow down the buying by buying for projects only on an as-needed basis rather than buying every single paper we think is pretty/fun/awesome. Know that there will always be new paper lines coming out – you will find others you want, maybe even more than what you’re contemplating buying right this minute! I will be sharing several paper storage options with you starting next week – hopefully one will be just right, at least for now. Take note of how much paper you have and perhaps even sort through it and create three or four piles: Keep, Maybe, Donate and/or Sell. Then sort your papers into these piles, and immediately purge those sheets in the Donate pile so you can feel the taste of success!
- I’m not sure what the “right” storage is for X. The consultant answer? Well, that depends! First, how do you process information – if I ask you where you store item X, what’s the first thing that pops into your head? Second, where do you need things stored – out in the open or hidden away? Do you craft on the road, at crops – does your storage need to be portable? Do you have kids – do you need to keep things safely hidden away from them? Is you space in a basement or attic – is light or temperature a factor? How do you want your room to feel, function? Is it a shared space or do you have it all to yourself? Are there obstructions in that space (such as numerous windows, slanted walls, etc.) that make storage more challenging? Soon we’ll walk through each of these questions, and I’ll offer numerous solutions for every type of supply, and your tools, taking your answers (which you should jot down now!) to these questions into account. Stay tuned!
- My space is too small for the amount of stuff I have. See my comments for #3, #4 and #7 above.
- I’m too lazy to hunt for stuff (so it’s not being used). Is this because of simple laziness, you aren’t really that motivated to use your things, or because your organizing systems are simply not working for you? If it’s because you just don’t feel like looking for things (and they are well organized so they are easy to find), and you’re this way about everything, not just your crafting stuff, then it’s likely you’ll have to work on why that is and develop new habits. Be honest with yourself and think about what you can change to feel, and behave, differently. Then, put that into practice, for at least 21 days straight, and see if there’s improvement. If there is, reward yourself! *** If it’s only your crafting supplies, tools and projects that you are too lazy to hunt for, then it’s likely either a lack of motivation to create (or an excuse to buy duplicate stuff?) or organizing solutions that require too much energy of you in order to locate things. If the former, examine why you don’t feel motivated to create (or why you want to buy more things) and own up to it. If the issue is that your organizing solutions aren’t working for you, think about what you want to change and tune in for our next few posts for solutions for every type of supply and tool we papercrafters own!
- I forget what I have. Again, this is likely due to having too much stuff, storing it in a manner that doesn’t click with how you think and create, or simply needing an inventory of your supplies and tools. We’ll cover the sort and purge process on Thursday, and shortly thereafter I’ll share a bunch of options for every type of supply and tool we creative types have on hand. In the meantime, inventory what you have, by category, and determine which systems work, and which don’t. Have that list ready for Thursday’s post and the posts following closely behind.
- I can’t keep things neat and tidy. Because you don’t want to? Or, you just don’t have the skills to do so? Or, your space set-up isn’t working for how you think and create? Or, your organizing solutions make it too hard to put things away? Perhaps a better questions is this – do you need to? Seriously, does your space have to be neat and tidy? There are people who can easily find things and who are hugely productive in what some might consider messy spaces. In my experience, most artists are not neat and tidy! If you simply need skills and organizing solutions, stay tuned because we’ll be sharing a lot of them! But, really give though to why you think your space needs to be neat and tidy – perhaps it doesn’t. Remember, this isn’t about being perfect – organizing is about being in control of your time, space, money and productivity. If your “messy” space works for you in all of these areas, perhaps you don’t need to make changes?
- I like to leave projects, supplies and tools out – that’s an issue. Why is that an issue? Just as with #12 above, think about whose issue it is and why. Is a change necessary? I will provide some solutions for keeping in-process projects out, and for keeping tools and supplies more visible, in upcoming posts. If you are in a shared space, let me know what you need to leave out, and when and why, and I’ll make some suggestions.
- I have a hard time letting go of items given to me by others. The items given to you were likely given because the giver thought you would enjoy having them. It’s not likely they would want you to feel burdened by them. And, if they were handed down to you after that person’s passing, it’s likely because the giver, or someone close to them, thought you would want to have the item(s). In either case, they are things – they are not the person. In the event of a person who has passed away, see if someone else close to that person wants the item(s) you want to part with. If not, donate it to someone who needs and will appreciate it, or sell it and buy yourself something you’ll really enjoy owning and using. In the event it’s an item(s) from someone still living, and most importantly, someone you have a current relationship with, talk to them about letting the item go if you are worried about the possible repercussions of doing so. It’s likely they will tell you to let the item go! Note: when you give things to people, think about whether the item really adds value for them or not. And, preface giving with this offer: “If you don’t want/like/need this X, please don’t feel obligated to keep it. I only want you to have it if you truly like/need/want it. My feelings won’t be hurt if you pass it on to someone else.” I have made that my standard line when giving gifts and I’ve received favorable feedback!
- I find I’m making duplicate purchases! Causes: 1. Too much stuff and you can’t remember what you have; 2. You can’t find what you have; 3. You like the item(s) so much, you wanted back-ups! This is usually due to having so much stuff that we can’t recall we’ve already bought the item, or we can’t find it and we buy another (often just in time to find the original). Solutions? Purge and reorganize! We’ll be talking about both of these in the next few posts, but think about why you do this, and think about what needs to change so this stops (if you want it to ;)).
- The containers I have are not working! They are not space efficient (ex: Cricut cartridge storage unit). This is often the case when we buy based on other’s needs and systems – what works for them – or when we buy the hot new organizing item before thinking through how we want our space to look and function, what categories of items we need to store and how much we have to get organized. Sometimes, though, this is because we have changed – what we’re doing and/or how we use the space – or because our “collections” have grown. I will be sharing numerous solutions for each category of supply, as well as for tools and in-process projects in the coming posts. I suggest you create a list of those categories of items that you need to find new storage for and keep it handy. Also, feel free to share what you currently own and use in your comments and tell me specifically why it’s not working, and what your space limitations are, so I can make some suggestions that might work for you.
- I’m setting up a new space! Yay! We will have a ton of specific solutions for you, but I suggest you start with this list before buying any organizing items. 1. How do you want your space to feel – what colors will you use and what kind of organization appeals to you? 2. How do you want your space to function – is it a shared space that requires others to be comfortable in it, or do you have it all to yourself; what crafts and/or other activities will you be doing in this space; and finally, what are the limitations of the space – windows, doors, closet, etc. (I suggest measuring the room and creating a floor plan, including placement of all furnishings you KNOW you will need and the limitations of the space)? 3. What kind of lighting will you need – task vs. ambient – and where will the lighting need to be plugged in/powered? Do you prefer crafting while sitting down or while standing? Determine what kind of work surface you will install based on this. 4. What categories of supplies, and tools, will you need to store and access? Will you use them all the time or only occasionally? Do you need to see them to recall you have them and to find them? Or, do you prefer everything be hidden from sight? Lastly, do they need to be portable (for travel, crops, etc.) and/or safely stored away from little hands? Having all of this thought through will help you narrow your options when buying furnishings, lighting and storage/organizing systems.
- It’s hard getting to supplies that are stacked. This is something that drives me crazy! You? I hate unstacking things, therefore I work hard to employ systems that include either drawers or that don’t require stacking. Now, some things may have to be stacked, but I would avoid it, if possible. For instance, I won’t look through paper that is stacked. But, I will search through the same stack of paper if it’s stood on end, in a vertical holder. Weird, I know, but I know myself well enough to know what I will and won’t enjoy using and I steer clear of that which will only frustrate me. If you can share the items you have stacked, I will try to offer alternate solutions in the upcoming posts.
- I want to be organized, but the solutions I read about don’t work! Again, that’s because organized people write the articles! 😉 And, they often don’t take into account how less organizationally-oriented people think (and create). The goal in the upcoming posts is to offer numerous options for each type of supply and for your tools and projects, and offer the pros and cons of each, so you can decide what will work better for your way of thinking, storing, accessing and working/creating. Think about what’s most challenging for you and think about how you might change those things.
- I don’t have enough light (in my craft room, where I craft). This a problem many face, especially if the room had another purpose prior to being a craft room and you didn’t have a chance to install proper lighting before “setting up shop.” I highly recommend getting some tasks lights – I love OttLights, but you can use any task/desk light and add daylight and/or true color bulbs. It makes a huge difference to see well and to have colors show up accurately!
- I travel on the go and need help with packing and staying organized. I was faced with this a few years back when I traveled full-time in other countries. I have lots of portable solutions to share with you, solutions I’m still using even though I am mostly home-based now. Create a list of the things you need to take with you, and how and where they’ll be used, and bring your list with you on Thursday and beyond. Stay tuned!
We did it!
We wrapped up this portion of the Get Organized series – the “think hard, personal reflection” part.
Now, it’s on to tonight’s homework…
A Papercrafter’s Homework Assignment:
Tonight’s homework assignment is designed to help you make quick progress and experience immediate success, something I found necessary to my clients’ long-term motivation and organizing success.
Tell me ONE thing you’re committed to doing, right away, to overcome the challenge you identified.
Yup, just ONE thing!
It can be making a list I suggested you make, thinking through underlying causes of the challenges you’re facing, creating a room floor plan, picking up file boxes for your upcoming sort and purge, talking to your roommate, friends or family about what’s not working, or whatever you think you can do right now to move forward.
Feeling especially motivated today? Then do more!
Copy this into the comments section (CTRL + C on a PC) and fill in the blanks:
I, ________________________, commit to ____________________________.
Easy homework, right?
The key is to immediately do this ONE thing…NOW!
Thanks so much for joining me today for another edition of our Papercrafting Organization series.
Hopefully, I provided you with food for thought, and/or solutions you can immediately put into practice, and you can’t wait to get started.
And, hopefully, you’re looking forward to getting more organized and having another chance at WINNING!
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 chance to WIN!
We’ll see you Thursday!
Worried you’ll forget to check for your assignments
and miss out on your chance to WIN?
Subscribe to our daily blog feed –
you’ll be reminded each time an organizing series post goes live
(plus, you’ll see and hear about all sorts of other cool stuff!).