Sunday, January 12, 2014

A few words about organizing and catching up on gifts

I want to begin by showing some lovely art I have received from two friends who have posted these gifts to their blogs.

The first came from Dianne, my gifted artist friend at Art Beneath the Cottonwoods and it is stunning.  If you want to see it in all its beauty,

here is a direct link to all the pages in the book, as well as a tutorial of how she made it.  What intrigued me were the circles she added to the "tags" inside the pockets.  Even my arthritic hands were able to remove those hidden beauties!

The second gift came from my dear blogging "buddy" Marlynn at Honeysuckle Breeze.

This book screams recycling from the covers to the beautiful pages.  I can't photograph the inside because of my sucky camera, but trust me, this is one beauty.

And PLEASE DO NOT PIN either of these books from my blog, since I have shared these photos from their blogs.

Marlynn wrote that I had helped her organize because I kept repeating things such as "like items with like items."  That's one of my mantras.

I've also been giving advice to Janet at Tattered 'N Worn, who is in the process of organizing her studio.  So, when I put my Christmas decorations away, I thought of Janet.  And since Janet said my advice was helpful, and Marlynn has taken my "words of wisdom" to heart, I thought I would share some ideas here.  Unfortunately, the camera I used to take the photos with is far from ideal.

I was explaining to Janet that you need a staging area for your items.  You can't do much unless you can take inventory of what you have, and an area to do that in.  In my case, it's my kitchen table.

What initially looks like a mess will soon be manageable as soon as you know how much space (or in my case number of boxes) you need for "like items."    In your craft room/studio, it is called zones.   Zones are specific and distinct areas of your craft room you designate for specific and individual tasks.

Next, you will designate the specific tools or products you assign to each zone.  Be sure to draw a diagram, then take measurements, because it's much easier to move things on paper, than to physically move them.  Some of you may recall I didn't follow my own advice when I was working on my basement hallway, and as a result, I threw my back out of whack for several weeks.

Now it's time to purge.  Get rid of anything you will never use again.  By getting rid  of these things it frees up space for things you really LOVE and use each year.  And try to remember sentiment doesn't count for much when purging.  If I held onto everything someone has given me in my lifetime, I'd have a bigger mess on my kitchen table every day, instead of just a few hours.  Of course, purging also includes saving/keeping, pitching, and donating.  Don't throw anything away, including craft supplies, that someone could use.  Donate them to worthy causes like schools, daycare centers, church groups, and women's shelters.

The items you have decided to keep should go into boxes that are placed near the zone you have designated for them to live.  Keep your staging area as clear as possible.  As donate and pitch boxes fill, get them out of your craft room.  This will free the room and you will feel real progress. 

You can see my "dead" camera with its battery charger on the table among the trees.  This is one of those purge items I had to deal with, since it was no longer capable of recharging.

To organize,  I had planned to show that the fake pine trees all go into bags, then into a large container, which frees up a LOT of room.  That leads to the concept of dealing with big items first.   When those were safely away, the next things were the stockings and holders, which were like items and are always kept together in my boxes.  Your system may vary, though.

As I was planning how to show what to deal with first, my camera started beeping, which meant I had to get to a computer to remove them before they were history.   Note Bleubeard's "better side" got caught in the final photo, too, as he was helping me.

Of course, remember that this will be an ongoing process.  Your new and improved craft space is not something that you will keep forever, because as media changes, so do your art habits.  Be prepared to change things around if an area isn't working for you.

I hope this has been helpful to a few of you who struggle with organization.  Of course, before you do anything else, you must decide if you are a crafter who prefers to work in clutter, where everything is out on your work table or bench,

or if you prefer a clean, uncluttered table or work bench that you clean after each art session.

Please let me know if any of this has been helpful and be sure to visit both Dianne and Marlynn.  They (their blogs, and their mixed media art) deserve it!!

11 thoughtful remarks:

Marilyn J. Rock said...

Lovely gifts and thanks for your tips on organization! Very helpful! xo

elle said...

very helpful, thank you. I organize all the time but I hadn't really thought about 'the staging area'!

dawn said...

Elisabeth, you are so awesome and always have just what I need on your blog. YAY!!

Thank you so much for these helpful ideas. They did help me so much. I have been a wreck all weekend trying to redo my craft space, it's a little wall in the family room. Since getting those bookshelves in there I am ready to move forward and do more cleaning up of my little space.

I love and needed to hear the part about changing it up as we change. THANK YOU!! All this time I keep holding on to my scrap space and having it take up lots of room and I don't really scrap too much anymore. I have PL and mostly care about that, so just last night I had a talk and quiet time and told myself it was ok to let this stuff go. I went thru it and am keeping some of my favorite things but packing the rest away. Guess what, it feels good and more free. Wish I had read this before all this started, my poor hubby had to hear me whining and getting frustrated.

Second thing, I hang onto every little thing. My scrap stuff and the kids papers. Well, I also went thru all these things this week and told myself to get rid of some of it and to not collect all these papers during 2014. Guess what, it feels GOOD!!
I feel a little sad but overall know it's best. Like you said if I kept it all we'd need another house just to store things in.

I like everything else you share too, SO HELPFUL!!! THANK YOU!!

Sorry, I wrote so much, if you had an email I would use that but this is my only way to connect with you.

Read your post below too, YIPPEEE!!! So excited your doing the Project 52, so glad you can utilize your files. I am actually thinking of joining too. Need to catch up too if I do.

I just tried to do a post before coming here but it won't let me. Not sure why but will try again tomorrow or Tuesday for T time. I do babysit tomorrow and my bible study starts back up so not much time to play around with it. Just wanted you to know.

Thanks so much for these much needed and excited for posts. Hope you are warmer by now! We are doing good, just wind and rain.
Take care and see you soon, HUGS!

dawn said...

OMG, I forgot to talk about your gifts. SORRY!

WOW, they are both lovely, lucky you to be the receiver of them. I will check out both their blogs later and see them. Thanks for sharing, it is so nice to get homemade gifts isn't it. I just received some beautiful things from blog friends in Australia and can't wait to show them.

Ok, now I really must go before I take up all your comment space, lol.

Vicki Miller said...

A beautiful gift. You have some wonderful friends. If you would like some foil (as you know I have plenty), I can send you some. Just email me.

Nan G said...

Lovely gifts! Yep, staging is a must. I too use my kitchen table then out all I'm keeping on a rolling table (old hospital adjust thingy) and move to the studio. More purging and sorting on schedule for this week. I like the idea of like with like... Thanks for the tips. Shame about your new camera biting the ballet. Hugs

Krisha said...

I'll remember your advice when I get ready to do a "purge" later this year.
LOVE the books you received.

Dianne said...

I am really good at moving stacks of stuff around, but not sure I actually make much progress in the 'purging' department! the recycled book that Marlynn sent you is absolutely fabulous...she finds the coolest packaging to use for her books! glad you liked the paper bag book. I had no idea the circles on the tags would be such a hit. glad you like them and I hope you will try it too. I do have a circle punch that I use so don't know if that is something your hands can manage but it makes cutting circles way faster. LOVE your post on organizing!

Linda Manning Findley said...

Very good advice "E" I have done this for years and still do it every January ... ;-)

Marlynn said...

Whoops posted this comment on the wrong day. Elizabeth, there is no better organizer than you. You have been the only one who helped me with a system and it still carries through today. Shortly I will post photos from my two weeks off and my organizing efforts. Like things with Like things is my mantra! Hugs

Craftymoose Crafts said...

I'm working on a re-do of my re-do as one area is just not working for me. It does take time and effort to get things streamlined. Thanks for all the helpful tips.