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Find Focus with a Clean Slate with Olatz Garaiyurrebaso

As part of our Simple Tip Saturday series, we're inviting fresh voices into the mix. Today we’re hearing from Olatz Garaiyurrebaso with her simple tip.

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What is one way you simplify scrapbooking?

When I start a project, my first step is picking the photos I want to work with and then gathering a relatively small kit that would suit the project that I have in mind. This kit isn't a commercial kit or a collection. It's a "handmade" kit composed of various things from my stash. In order to pull together this kit, it is very important for me to start with a clean desk and with a very well-organized stash. While building my kit, I separate the supplies by type rather than by manufacturer. It is easier for me to reach for an item based on the type (a wood veneer, a sticker, a paper, a die-cut, a tag/label, a bulky embellishment, etc.) rather than remembering what collection it is from or what manufacturer made it.

What problem does it solve for you?

Having a well-organized stash and a clean desk, with just a few basic tools, helps me to focus on the project and the story I want to tell and to create my project in a short period of time. Once I have all the items in my "handmade" kit gathered, I focus on sticking mostly to those items in order to avoid getting lost in my stash while searching for that one item that might be the perfect addition to my project. And when I really need something that isn't in my kit, my supply organization (by type) makes is easy to find a particular item without having to do a lot of searching.

Why do you think it works so well?

One of the best things about this method is that it allows me to keep my desk relatively clean.  I only take out what I think I will use. Once I finish a particular project, all of the bits and pieces remaining in the kit I've created can be placed back in my stash easily and quickly using my 'organization by type' method. When I am ready to start my next project, my desk is clear and I can easily build another small kit to work with on that project. This system helps me to effectively work with my stash without being overwhelmed.

How can others get started with it?

The first step is to clean your desk and keep out only the supplies and tools that you would like to have on hand for every project. For me, those basic tools are double sided tape, a trimmer, a black pen for journaling, black ink and a date stamp. I recommend keeping all of the other items in your stash organized in drawers or boxes that are easy to reach but out of my immediate working space. For example, I have one tray with all my stamps organized in clear plastic pockets, another tray full of mini bottles with my wood veneers (separated by type as well), a drawer with my small collection of washi tape, a box with my alphas, a bottle with all my clips and so on. The great thing about this method is that you can separate your supplies into as many categories and subcategories as you may need based on your stash. My final advice - be aware of your stash and keep your desk space simple! 😉

Simple Tip Saturdays are for sharing easy ideas to grab and go. Would you like to be featured? Complete this form to submit a tip for consideration.

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Do This to Feel Motivated Fast with Sabrina Alery

As part of our Simple Tip Saturday series, we're inviting fresh voices into the mix. Today we’re hearing from Sabrina Alery with her simple tip.

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What is one way you simplify scrapbooking?

Sometimes the hardest part of putting your memories down onto paper is finding the time. I rarely feel short on ideas but life gets busy and by the time everyone is in bed, my brain and motivation have shut down for the day. I've found that seeking out cardmaking and scrapbooking challenges for inspiration and motivation gives me something to look forward to and pushes me to carve out small chunks of time during the day.

What problem does it solve for you?

When it's just up to me, I can put an idea off forever - simple moving it onto the next day's to-do list again and again. But when there is a deadline to meet or someone else's time wrapped up in me finishing a project, I'm almost certain to finish. The time has always been there of course, but it's easy to fill it with all of the day-to-day life stuff and mindless phone scrolling instead of making memory keeping a priority.

Why do you think it works so well?

I am motivated and excited by deadlines. Knowing that something has to be finished by a certain date gives it a sense of urgency in my mind. The thought keeps popping up in my head throughout the day and I look forward to sneaking away to work on an idea. Also, with challenges, you get to interact with and be inspired by the other challenge participants. I  love seeing how several people will interpret the same inspiration photo, color challenge or sketch. Not to mention, there are often prizes or awards along with winning a challenge. Some choose a winner randomly and other's pick their favorite project. But as fun as it is to win or receive a little pat on the back, try not to get caught up in the winning or losing because that will suck all of the joy out of participating in challenges. Just have fun with it and be happy you have another project to add to your album!

How can others get started with it?

If you like the idea of joining a challenge or just need a little extra motivation to get started, just type "scrapbook challenge" or "cardmaking challenge" into your Google search bar. There are tons of blogs dedicated to challenges and you can seek out one that works for your scrapbooking style. You can also visit the blog of your favorite manufacturers, kit clubs and magazines to search for challenges. Most have at least one monthly challenge.

Simple Tip Saturdays are for sharing easy ideas to grab and go. Would you like to be featured? Complete this form to submit a tip for consideration.

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7 Simple Habits of Organized Scrapbookers

Why is it that some folks seem to have it all together? Their workspaces are inspiring and tidy, adorned with motivational art prints.

You might be surprised that the most organized scrapbookers aren't all naturally gifted in this domain. Instead, many have cultivated simple habits to cope with the chaos of a creative life.

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1. Give every thing a home.

Every item you use for scrapbooking should have a designated storage location. It doesn't have to be pretty or even logical, just one place where you know it goes. This will make the next habit even easier.

When choosing homes for items, I often consider proximity. (This works for digital too.) Make the items you use most often the easiest to access.

2. Pick up after each session.

I can create quite the mess from just one layout, but picking up each time ensures that the clutter never gets truly out of hand. Return each item to it's home and start your next project with a clean slate.

To make the cleaning up process fast and fun, I'll often try to beat the clock. I set a timer and see if I can tackle the piles in less than five or ten minutes. It always works!

3. Spend time on maintenance.

Every garden needs weeding. Organized scrapbookers not only pick up after every creative session, but devote time here and there to tending. When you're already organized though, this doesn't have to take hours.

Spending 15-20 minutes each week on tasks like putting away new purchases and added layouts to albums makes a huge difference on the accumulation of clutter.

4. Monitor stash growth.

Organized scrapbookers keep tabs on how much they are purchasing vs. how much they are using. Excessive growth of your stash makes is harder to stay organized and often means something is out of balance.

You don't have to go on a spending freeze though. Simply being mindful of spending, including not making impulse purchases, will help you maintain just the right size of stash for you.

5. Know what you love most.

We all have those items that seemed like a good idea, but never make it to the page. By thinking about the items you use a lot - and the ones you commonly skip over - you can make smarter purchases going forward.

This leads to more efficient and happier scrapbooking overall, since your stash will be filled with items you use and truly love.

6. Choose to enjoy letting go.

Then, when you know which supplies work with your style and your scrapbooking process, minimizing clutter can feel easier. The most organized scrapbookers relish in sending items off to a new home.

Instead of feeling guilt or fear about letting go of supplies, you can be filled up with the joy of having more space and a refined, usable stash.

7. Reset at least once a year.

Even the most organized scrapbookers can't escape all the chaos. Maybe it's a junk drawer or a file system of patterned paper. Maybe it's a downloads folder or a computer desktop. It's there, for everyone.

All things in life tend towards disorder, so it's important to do a deep clean at least once a year. It's worth it to set other things aside and truly focus on caring for the supplies that make this hobby so fun.

Stash Bash begins next Tuesday. Register now to use up, declutter, and organize your scrapbook stash.

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July Story Starter Challenge

For the past four years I've been releasing new storytelling prompts to members every month. This year, we're celebrating each month's theme with a Story Starter™ Challenge. You're invited to create a layout and submit it for a chance to win a 3-month Simple Scrapper membership pass.

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How to Participate + Win

Step 1 (optional) - Download this free story discover tool to brainstorm story ideas and make a plan for your layout.

Step 2 - Create a new layout, pocket page spread, or mini album related to this month's theme: Soundtrack of Life

Step 3 - Submit a photo of your completed work in the comments below by 11:59pm on the 30th of this month.

This post will be updated on the 1st of next month announcing the winner of a 3-month Simple Scrapper membership pass. The winner will also be contacted directly with instructions on starting her membership.

Three Ideas from the Creative Team

Each of these layouts from our creative team uses a sketch or layered template from the membership along with one of this month's twelve new Story Starters.

You can get instant access to a library of more than 400 Story Starter™ prompts when you become a member at Simple Scrapper.

This layout from Jennifer Larson tells the story of a night club she went to when she studied abroad in Germany, one particular song she remembers hearing there and what it means to her today.

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This layout from Arielle Gordon tells the story of how her family uses music to set the tone for their day

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This layout from Jamie Leija tells the story of the few records that she listens to and how she isn't a big music person.

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Now it's your turn! Upload your layout by 7/30/15.

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What You Might Not Know about Stash Bash

Stash Bash is one of our most popular events of the year, but if you've never participated or are new to the community you might be wondering what all the fuss is about.

There are a lot of fun classes, challenges, crops, and other experiences in our industry. Stash Bash is totally different from them all.

I've mapped out all the details for our July 14-20 event, but here are nine things you might not know unless you've participated in the past:

What You Might Not Know about Stash Bash

1. It's not just about organization. Stash management is more than just where you put your stuff. That's why Stash Bash includes activities that put a dent in the surplus and help you better understand your preferences.

2. It's not a class. I can promise you will learn a ton, but instead of having you read extensive handouts or watch long videos you'll spend time in Stash Bash doing. This is a challenge-based event that's all about action.

3. It's customizable. It can be frustrating to receive an assignment you're just not in the mood for. Instead, Stash Bash puts the reins in your hands, allowing each participant to choose activities that suit your needs now.

4. You have time to participate. This flexibility also means that it can take as much or as little time as you have. Even if you're crunched, you can still see progress by completing as few as three challenges.

5. We're all cheering for you. One of my favorite parts of leading events like Stash Bash is the generous community. We will celebrate victories and tackle challenges together.

6. Digital scrapbookers are welcomed. Clutter on your computer can be just as overwhelming, so we don't leave out those who scrapbook with pixels instead of paper. Stash Bash is inclusive.

7. The effects are long-lasting. While the event is just seven days, what you take away with stick with you for the long haul. You'll be able to permanently reduce clutter and better manage your stash.

8. You might fall in love. Warning: spending time with your stuff might make you want to shop less. As you re-discover products, you'll feel more excited to create with what you have.

9. It's all about fun. There's enough work elsewhere in life that managing your stash can seem like the least fun thing ever. Stash Bash turns something meh into an enjoyable experience.

Sign up for Stash Bash today.

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