Earlier in the summer I asked our Facebook fans about their biggest organizing challenges. The response was fantastic!
Recently I transferred all of the comments to a spreadsheet and began categorizing the issues you face. While there was a good diversity of interests, the vast majority of the responses fell into five categories.
- You want to access your supplies more easily.
- You just have way too much stuff.
- You don’t have enough space.
- You have trouble managing in-progress projects.
- You can’t get around to organizing.
In this post I want to offer some of my best advice for tackling these common challenges. Then, later this week I’ll have a free video series that teaches you the fundamentals of getting organized.
1. You want to access your supplies more easily.
The most common organizing challenge you face is efficiency. Whether on large or small scales, you have trouble knowing what you have and how to get to it quickly.
Tackling this challenge requires looking at both how much stuff you have and how you’re storing it. The more you have, the harder it will be to find what you need and to store it effectively. Before you look at streamlining your workflow you’ll need to streamline your stash, even if only a little bit.
Next, imagine yourself in the act of scrapbooking. With each category of supplies you want to organize, consider how you identify and use the items. How can you reduce the number of steps it takes to find what you need?
2. You just have way too much stuff.
Let’s assume you’ve decluttered and parted ways with the supplies you’ll never use again. And you still have too much stuff! There is hope.
At a certain scale of stash, it’s just going to be more difficult to have everything within easy reach. (This goes for digital as well as traditional supplies!) It’s at this point where I recommend coordinating your own kits.
Treat your stash like a superstore and go shopping. I like to create kits for one layout at a time, but you can even gather items in larger quantities to create mega kits for multiple pages. You’ll be far more efficient by selecting supplies in a different instance than actual scrapbooking.
3. You don’t have enough space.
Most of the time, literal space constraints are not easily fixed. However, you can make the most of what you have by scaling back on quantity and looking for optimization opportunities.
Small space scrapbookers do best by shopping with space in mind. Try to become pickier about products and avoid buying duplicates. Make sure to match your shopping rate with your scrapping rate!
With less coming in (and maybe even more going out), you can also seek out better storage solutions. Look for opportunities to use spaces under tables or up the walls. Can a closet be configured with shelving?
4. You have trouble managing in-progress projects.
I am not surprised this was a common challenge; I totally face it too. You’ve got several things going, maybe even not excessively, but there never seems to be enough flat surfaces. And if you have a small space, oy vey!
If you’re like me, you also resist putting an in-progress project in an envelope or box because you might (or you will) forget about it. I get it, but there’s a trick. For each item you put away for now, add it to a list.
Seeing this list growing will deter you from starting new projects and help you see everything “on the table”, even if not literally. You can even use our Quick Start guide to make decisions about what to work on even easier!
5. You can’t get around to organizing.
Organization can sometimes feel all or nothing. I either takes up all your time or you let it go, to overwhelming consequences.
To combat this cycle I plan organization sprints into my year, intensive periods where I work hard on getting it all together. Then, the rest of the year I do my best and don’t stress.
Knowing that I’ve reserved time to get organized helps to appease the part of my brain that craves order, while making sure that managing my stuff doesn’t get in the way of using it!
Did you resonate with this list? Leave a comment sharing one step you want to take to tackle your own toughest organization challenge.
I am so excited for the video series that you mentioned, thank you! Although I have issues with each of these items listed above except the physical space restraint, I really need to be able to access my supplies easily. I still struggle with that. In order to do that though, I HAVE to get rid of stuff – that is my biggest problem. I am going to set aside time to purge some stuff and then take another look at how I use my supplies and try to find a way to “have them out” so I will use them. Because I have a large scrap space, I find that it is a challenge to have my supplies in arm’s reach as they are spread out over the entire space. Most times I have to walk across the room from where I scrap to get the item I want. I guess I also need to look at how I have my room set up and see if there is a more efficient way. I have the “bonus room” space above a 2 car garage. I am blessed to have that much space, but I think I was more efficient when I had a much smaller space in my old house. Go figure!
I can help you with space organization, my friend!!
In-progress projects list – I have a cute (repurposed) notebook where I list ongoing projects. In particular, I write where the materials are. I can expand this to now include the LOM-type layouts I’m doing that don’t yet have an album system.
I am going to make some kits this afternoon. I have purchased some new product recently and I think I will be more likely to use it if it is ready to go in a kit!!
I have way too many layouts that just need the journaling to be finished. I have made myself try to finish one or two of them before allowing myself to start a new one.
Also I have trouble responding to so many challenges online; like here, or over at Studio Calico, or if one is taking an online class. I guess I will need to rate their importance using one of our planning pages, correct? Any other thoughts on wanting to participate in online communities but just not having enough time to do so!
Darlene, we are kindred spirits!
2104 has been a year of turmoil and upheaval for me, and I am stepping back from scrapping for a while.
I am just trying to organize everything to get it into my new scrapping room. I am moving my scrapbook room from a spare bedroom to a double garage we closed in years ago. It is slow moving everything. My granddaughter and husband are helping. Almost got all cabinets moved and on the wall. Bookcases moved and everything that was in the closet is moved. My closet in the new room is 6×8 with shelves on 3 sides from the floor to about 11 feet up the walls. Lots to still do but getting there slowly. The reason we are moving this is because my mother has dementia and one day will move in with us and I needed the extra bedroom. The other spare bedroom is used for grandchildren to stay in when they come.
One other thing I want to say is, this is the best website to learn about organizing everything. Once my room is done I am going to start organizing my digital pictures and scanning older pictures.
THANK YOU for all the info on this website.
Thanks so much Betty! Good luck with your transitions.
Needing to empty the closet by Sept 8 so they can run piping for a heat pump is going to make a dent in the organize/purge process – I have no choice so cannot procrastinate! Then the rest of the room needs to be dealt with so I can move it all across the hall to a bit larger and better laid out room. Surely this will begin the process.
Firm deadlines work so well to get you moving. I’m under the gun as well!
The “In Progress List”…to have it open and displayed on my computer desktop…don’t know how to do that, but I want to do it!
Every and I mean EVERY Friday..to put boundaries around that day to clean up, and then make kits from my stash, which will be added to my “In Progress List”.
I want to feel that I can make progress instead of piles of unfinished projects.
Trish, I was thinking of a sticky note on your desk.
My scraproom got boxed up and everything taken out during our home remodeling project. Finishing the painting, new baseboards, and a cleaning of the new floor are all that remains to do before I start setting the room up again. I’m giving a lot of thought to how I want the room to be arranged for efficient scrapping. I’m even thinking about not bringing all my supplies back in right away. I have several projects ready with paper etc. Maybe I will work on those and get them completed before I bring more stuff into the room. I think I need a visual ‘works in progress’ list of my top 3 projects to complete. More than three would be overwhelming.
I really love the idea of getting those projects completed before you finish organizing. I think that will give you a lot of momentum!
Love the idea to list my unfinished projects. I will find a place to store these projects together rather than in several spots! My list will be on a sticky note, love that idea also.
Thanks Sandie! A central location means you won’t forget a thing.
Jennifer…that would be a google app? I think I have it unused somewhere on my computer’s hd…I think that’s what I need…how simple!!
wonderful tips! Just this weekend I tried making my own kit and I think it will be very effective for me. It’s much easier to work with a finite set of supplies.
Unfinished projects – ongoing visible list and where to put the unfinished items. Digital photo organization (I’ve signed up for your class – thank you). Organize everything by theme – I scrapbook by theme and need to organize it so it is all together. Pre-planning kits/pages before an all day crop really helps me accomplish so much. I need to do this at home and set aside a day/evening to put the pages together weekly. Thank you for all of your tips and tricks. You are awesome!!!
I love the idea of putting together my own kits. Then I could store the pictures with the kits and just pull out the whole project at once because everything will be together. Thank you for the idea!