I’ll admit, many iterations of craft room organization started with containers and my force-fitting what I had into them. Other people use Iris carts – they must be good! Other people use 12×12 file folders or trays for their paper – it must be good! and so forth. But my space was mostly a crowded place that had lost it’s creative energy. I had stuff EVERYWHERE, but nothing seemed to have a true home. Lots of containers and having to dig through them, but more often completely forgetting that I indeed had something because I couldn’t find it. And putting things away? NEVAH!
Before I started out reinventing my broken wheel this time I spent a lot of time thinking about WHAT I needed to organize and HOW I use it. I cannot emphasize the second part enough.
So one night I sat down and categorized the WHAT that I had to organize and began designing my space with the same intensity that I design a project. My first area of attack?
When I’m creating a card or scrapbook layout I typically use solid cardstock and then add pattern to the top of it. So cardstock comes first in the paper hierarchy. Because there is SO MUCH paper to be had, a long time ago I decided to go with a brand of cardstock, and I’ve pretty much stuck to CTMH cardstock. I am a collector by nature, so this one limitation was to keep things from getting completely out of hand. Besides that, I liked how they had the paper sorted by color season and what went well together. That makes a difference to me, as I am COLOR CHALLENGED! I don’t want it getting crumpled. I don’t want to DIG for it. And finally, I like to have people over to craft, and I wanted it accessible to them as well.
The cardstock paper solution came in the form of a sad event, my scrapbooking home away from home, The Scrapbook Palace, was closing its doors. Liz offered to sell her fixtures off and I found a lot of wonderful solutions that otherwise would have been hard to come by for a home-crafter. I purchased two paper towers, with removable plastic trays. Each had 30 trays. So with two of them, I had 60 trays. CTMH carries 60 colors of cardstock – was I in heaven or what? If you would like something along these lines, Novel Crafts has coated wire shelving units which would have been my second choice.
Flexibility is key. No labeling. No tabs. I can move things around and there is plenty of room in each tray to combine tones of a color if I wish to do so. I’ve been a labeler for too long. I love to label, but lets make things OBVIOUS so that labeling doesn’t get me stuck in a rut and unable to move things around with out relabeling guilt. ;o)
Portability is also a big aspect of organization for me. I craft at home, my friends’ house, stores, weekend crops. All over the place. I needed a way to bring that kind of organization with me on the road. The answer? A Crop In Style P3 tote. With 10 paper trays, I was able to organize my not only my cardstock paper by seasonal colors: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, Neutral, but also my patterned and specialty paper (vellums), metallic, etc. and kit papers as well, by theme. It’s easy to refill the P3 from my organized paper towers, because they follow the seasonal color theme.
Oh, Scraps. Paper doesn’t stay in one piece for long and those scraps are mighty useful Truthfully anything smaller that 3" on one side can go into the trash bin (don’t fling eyelets at me!). I wanted to sort scraps – not just a bin (once again, I hate digging!). I found clear Iris containers at The Container Store that would fit not only a 12" long scrap, but that would fit an entire sheet of 12×12 paper, for maximum flexibility. I purchased twelve and labeled these, since they are basic categories of Red, Pink, Orange, Yellow, Blue, Purple, Green, Black, Brown, Beige, White, and Miscellaneous/Retired. Now if I want to design a card to make many of, or a project for my Brownie troop to make — I can start in the bins.
What about the Patterned Paper? Once again, by color, similar to the scrap bins – but in Cropper Hopper Vertical Paper storage bins. These keep the paper from getting crumpled and are easy to sort and add paper to it. No stacking. I can add one of the divider pages if I want to subcategorize by brand, for example. I could have one entire bin for Basic Grey or Cosmo Cricket! I also have a ‘specialty’ bin for metallic foils, handmade papers, etc.
So that’s it for paper. If you can tame it, you will find your crafting flows straight from concept to completed project with much more ease.